The Rodina, Poring the Ecocide, 2023 (Courtesy of the Artist)
ARE YOU FOR REAL
Phase 2: Cosmo-clusters on computation, agency, and magic
2 Aug 2023 - 31 Dec 2024
Web-based project: areyouforreal.ifa.de
Are you for real? It would be an odd question to ask if we didn’t have technologies at hand capable not only of representing but generating realities. Computation propels a shift in our understanding of what "real" is, and how it should be distinguished from the merely possible, the virtual, and the actual.
Realities can be constructed by calculating machines as much as by the scientific activity that shapes how we perceive our digital and analog life-worlds. The understanding that computation and scientific investigation are two main forces that define our realities lies at the core of ARE YOU FOR REAL Phase 2. In arriving at this second phase, areyouforreal.ifa.de becomes a platform for investigating how computation and the sciences relate to reality—the full potential of their roles in generating new worlds—through the work of artists.
Artworks commissioned for or otherwise featured on the platform converge into thematic clusters, manifesting as planetary systems, to disclose a new cosmology of interpretations of the digital sphere. The intention is to show the irreducible entanglement of real and digital and to transpose fundamental questions present in our terrestrial life to the online sphere.
The artists featured on ARE YOU FOR REAL use computers as tools, as collaborators, and as agents of world creation. They increasingly base their works on the results of scientific research, while also borrowing and transforming its methods in their investigations.
In recent decades computation has reached a planetary scale: its infrastructure now interconnects and forms the Earth. Because the ARE YOU FOR REAL artworks are held up by the stack of computation, the digital cosmos they create cannot be interpreted separately from the infrastructure it relies on.
The first cluster of artworks reflects on infrastructural issues. They engage with the manifold ways in which the virtual worlds generated by computation depend on the planet, but they also feed on its ecosystem’s imagery, relations, and data as they imagine alternatives for the world from which they emerge.
The second cluster speculates on what never was but might have been; these artworks imagine the regenerative power of the virtual and its possible impacts on real-world scenarios, ecosystems, and non-human and interspecies alliances. They are collaborative human-machine explorations that provide counternarratives around technology and around artificial and natural agency.
The makers of the works in the third cluster interlace reality’s warp and weft, reconstructing it through combinations of technology and magic, reformulating ancient traditions. As its foundations begin to crumble under the pressure of technology, we can see ever more clearly that reality is not an unchangeable given, but a weave in a state of constant becoming.
Rituals of Nascent Worlds closes the first year of Phase 2 releases by weirding our understanding and experience of reality through magic, as an alternative system competing with technic and as a generative tool that weaves "the ineffable" (Federico Campagna) into reality, manifesting and actualizing in digital worlds. By claiming the critical and generative potential of magical thinking, the artists featured in this third cluster reimagine our alliances with technology, queer our belief systems, and engage in collaborative practices. They obstruct and restructure perception, representation, and narrative by infusing them with alternative thought in dynamic and evolving environments. The third cluster of works is premiering a newly commissioned virtual space by Sahej Rahal: Azalabad.
ARE YOU FOR REAL Phase 2 aspires to situate and question a multiplicity of cosmotechnics (to pick up Yuk Hui’s term) shaped by a diverse and decentralized community of artists through a sequence of cosmological propositions, alternating between planetary and terrestrial, ecological and technological, magical and decolonial. They enable us to grasp various aspects of digitalization, and to explore a reality now irreducibly entangled with the online sphere.
Visitors enter the website from a point of view experienced in real life only by astronauts. Navigating the platform, visitors may leap from planet to planet but also enter them, shifting between planetary and terrestrial perspectives. They surf among configurations of clustered planets, visiting commissioned and featured works as well as selected contributions to ARE YOU FOR REAL Phase 1.
Nolan Oswald Dennis
Nushin Isabelle Yazdani
The project features further contributions by
Ibrahim Cissé & Asmaa Jama,
João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga,
Nelly Y. Pinkrah,
Ainslee Alem Robson & Kidus Aailesilassie
Michelle M. Wright
Dior Thiam, George Demir, Luïza Luz, Mathias Becker
Ruben Susanne Bürgam, Gertruda Gilyte, Théo Pożoga, Andi Teichmann
Marcel Heise, Yuyen Lin-Woywod, Zaidda Nursiti Kemal and
Xiaoyu Tang & Sayaka Katsumoto
LINK: ARE YOU FOR REAL