Stuttgart/Berlin, 8 December 2020 - Imagine you are standing in the micro-studio of a street artist in Luanda, and the next moment you find yourself behind a guy picking up money from a Western Union Counter in Nairobi. Suddenly you are on a stage with a young spoken word poet in Berlin and see people in the audience sharing images of this moment on Instagram. You step out of that Berlin bar into a gallery space in Lagos and from there move into the abstract digital universe created by an art collective in Jakarta.
ARE YOU FOR REAL is a new, participatory web-based project, testing unique and interactive artistic practices. It brings together artists, researchers, filmmakers, writers and coders to create exclusive works, each offering an understanding of and approach towards the concept of “reality”.
Initiated by ifa and curated by Julia Grosse, Paula Nascimento and Yvette Mutumba, ARE YOU FOR REAL launches in December with newly commissioned participative and interactive digital works by artists Nushin Yazdani & Can Karaalioglu and Nolan Oswald Dennis via an online platform designed and coded by Yehwan Song.
How do we interpret and apprehend what we are seeing and experiencing? Are privileged perspectives becoming more real than others? Who can judge if something is real? Who is allowed to judge? Can digital space ever be a neutral location?
Concepts such as digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) are steadily becoming a bigger part of our daily routines and cultural practices. Increasingly, video games expose us to alternative, inspirational universes, while algorithms impact our decision-making or even control our behaviour.
ARE YOU FOR REAL is about engaging with and visualising connections of people, thoughts, things, and places—communication happening through the trading and training of data. It addresses the material and immaterial aspects of the digital, and how these are perceived from the perspectives of various disciplines.
The ongoing project is a platform of exchange that supports formats such as exhibitions, workshops, digital art spaces and apps. Physical events will be planned over the course of the project and the coming years. These will take place in arbitrarily chosen sites, as wide-ranging as betting halls, post offices, gaming venues and cultural centres.
Like the children's game in which a message is created, passed on, and distorted between one player to another through whispering, the outcome is always unexpected and unpredictable. This playful approach generates conversations between perspectives and concepts, helping explore the overlaps and interstices that link fields, formats, and contexts.
ARE YOU FOR REAL aims to create an international cultural exchange as well as a contemporary co-creative practice of exhibition-making. It challenges the inflexibility of the classic touring format and explores other models that respond to the questions posed through international collaboration and new artistic production, confronting the decades-long format of touring exhibitions.
The artworks produced will change over the course of the project, as new artists join and take over, add and react. This means that certain qualities of a travelling exhibition will become visible, articulated through the touring of thought and the changes and traces in each work.
Public launch: Thursday, 10 December 2020 at areyouforreal.ifa.de
(site only accessible from that date onwards)
Twitch performance: Thursday, 10 December 2020, 19.00 CET / 20.00 CAT
"a black sun rise", with Lindokuhle Nkosi and Nolan Oswald Dennis:30 minutes live stream on areyouforreal.ifa.de or via Twitch [areyouforreal_ifa]
ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) is Germany’s oldest intermediary organisation for international cultural relations. It promotes a peaceful and enriching coexistence between people and cultures worldwide. ifa supports artistic and cultural exchange in exhibition, dialogue and conference programmes, and it acts as a centre of excellence for international cultural relations. It is part of a global network and relies on sustainable, long-term partnerships. It is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, the state of Baden-Württemberg and its capital Stuttgart. www.ifa.de/en
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