Nxt Museum opens UFO – Unidentified Fluid Other, an exhibition curated by Bogomir Doringer, on 11 June. Taking over the entire museum, the exhibition features a series of large-scale, multi-sensory art installations, mostly new commissions, that investigate who we are becoming in virtual worlds.
Post-pandemic and pre-metaverse global identity is in a state of flux. The convergence of major societal change and technological advancements provokes collective questioning and overthrowing of norms, and an open space in which fluid ideals can take shape.
Amidst the trauma of the early 20th century, surrealist artists explored the creative potential of the self to access different worlds. A hundred years later, artists are revisiting surrealist legacies as a means to deal with our turbulent socio-political times. By portraying distorted figures in dream-like landscapes, surrealism did for its time what emerging technology does for ours: allows us to transcend mortal bodies.
While artists detect the early tremors of our approaching digital existence, and developers manoeuvre bricks in the blockchain to build metaverses, the general public are gearing up to populate this next realm with post-human identities. In a world free from fixed social constraints, with no binary labels or checkboxes, who we will evolve into is – as yet – unidentified, joyfully fluid, and inclusively ‘other’.
These endless possibilities, and inherent dilemmas, are explored by a line-up of pioneering cross-disciplinary creatives working in a range of new media technologies, from augmented reality and fractal art, to programming and 3D sculpting. At the start of the exhibition, ‘Viatrix’, an androgynous avatar – or ‘Unidentified Fluid Other’ – guides the visitor through the installations, as they become a protagonist in Lu Yang’s layered and philosophical videogame-like world; alter their appearance with garments, masks and face filters by digital fashion house The Fabricant; and play games together to rediscover their uninhibited self in Oseanworld’s kaleidoscopic, dopamine-boosting landscapes. We discover the digital world as a place where fluid ideals can take shape and complex existential questions can unfold.
Nxt Museum has implemented web3 technology in the exhibition as part of its ongoing research project related to emerging technologies. POAP’s (Proof Of Attention Protocols) are hidden throughout the museum for visitors to collect for free and the first NFT drop is available in the museum store with the aim for visitors to collect digital art. The profits will be held in a fund with the sole purpose of investing in the arts by collecting and commissioning new artwork.