An exhibition of the GEDOK Karlsruhe
and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission
in cooperation with the ZKM
in the context of the 25th European Cultural Days “Europe – a Promise”.
with the premiere of
Sabine Schäfer’s new audiovisual installation “Europa – so nah, so fern”.
Sa. 1.05. – So. 6.06.2021
Opening Hours: Mi-Fr 10-18 Uhr / Sa, So 11-18 Uhr
Current Information: www.zkm.de oder telefonisch unter 0721 / 8100 1200
From 3.05.2021 online presentation of the introduction by curator Dr. Annette Hünnekens (GEDOK) and video clips on the exhibits on:
On the occasion of the European Culture Days, GEDOK Karlsruhe is a guest at the ZKM | Karlsruhe together with the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the joint research center for Europe. One of the currently most important issues is to reconcile the goals of environmental and climate protection and the energy turnaround, i.e. the associated safe dismantling of nuclear energy, with the increasing energy requirements of Europe’s digitalization. The exhibition focuses on the enormous challenge and addresses the approaches to solving these contradictory objectives. With a total of seven exhibits, the exhibition condenses the current positions in each case and, seen together, clarifies the global situation.
Europa, so fern und doch so nah
The new commissioned work “Europa – so nah, so fern”, created for this occasion by Sabine Schäfer, will be shown for the first time in the exhibition. The two-part audiovisual work is interactive. The backlit glass panels of the free-standing object show satellite images of continental views and capitals of the European Union at night, alongside a trio of music stands with audio QR code panels. Using a free image-scanning app, animated videos and sound compositions can be accessed via QR code.
The audiovisualle Installation Fragil by Sabine Schäfer is a further development of the SEM light image gallery „MicroSonical Shining Biospheres No.1“ by the artist dou of <SAJO> Sabine Schäfer / Joachim Krebs.
The artist’s two works use audiovisual experiences to open up a broader field of tension between energy supply, its achievements and prices
The Joint Research Centre of Europe presents five works from its collection “Art Spaces”, whose common denominator is a barrel typical of the disposal of radioactive material, which has served as a starting point for renowned artists in their reflections and comments on the theme of responsible energy supply, which also includes thoughts of disposal. Works by Fabrizio Plessi, Raphael de Vittori Reizel, Paola Ravasio, Roberto Barni and Peter Hide 311065 will be shown.
Projektpage of the ZKM: mehr…
Projektpage of the GEDOK: mehr..
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a two-part work by Karlsruhe-based media artist and composer Sabine Schäfer. Her works are part of the collections of the ZKM and the city of Wolfsburg.
The two-part work has visual and auditory components: 16 printed glass plates are suspended in the free-standing, luminous light metal object. Associated with it is a trio of music stands that hold the notations of a three-part sound composition using large-format QR codes.
The image gallery presents colorful portraits of the earth in shades ranging from blue and yellow-orange to red and bright white, hung in double rows around the rectangular object.
These are satellite images of eight continental views and as many European Union capitals, showing views at night.
The base material for the city views are satellite images from the ISS, International Space Station, which were processed by scientists for this project. Four out of eight of the aforementioned big city views can be scanned using a smartphone or tablet and ARTIVIVE’s free augmented reality app.
In contrast to the light-filled metropolitan views, the less to not at all illuminated sections of the earth reveal plan squares that refer to the more natural state of the earth’s surface, facing away from the sun, not shining by themselves.
Where the luminosity of the cities reveals their structural pattern to us, these are shaped by bluish-looking framings in the upper and lower areas into a landscape format characteristic of the cinema image. These framings are aesthetically implied as an earth atmosphere, but in the context of the large cities they refer to their inherent ambience – the invisible haze that has lingered over them since their creation. The decontextualized atmosphere becomes a framing and thus a content element that can be interpreted as a price without which neither the big city nor the view of it can be had.
By means of augmented reality, the viewer can undertake virtual zoom-in journeys into the big cities, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, and Rome, via an image-scanning app, and set in motion or change his visual and mentally associative view of courses and relations.
The imaginary camera journeys show the widely ramified, luminous streets of the EU capitals in their interconnectedness and fragility. The factor of time also leads these journeys into a historical thread, since the development of large cities cannot be thought of without the overcoming and structuring of space and time, also independent of day and night. Here, light seems to symbolically stand for the subjugation and colonization not only of space but also of time, and refers to the empowerment and inflection of physical quantities and their transformation into energy, communication and data transmission.
There are no limits to the associative thoughts of neuronal connections, interconnectedness and network formation in such a view from an outside standpoint or, better, from an astronautical point of view.
Thus also the thought of artificial worlds germinates, which seem to form and multiply silently around the globe, as the three circular moons on the view of the Benelux countries suggest. Or is this already the visibility of those bubbles in which our digital world, down to the individual, is retreating? Perhaps, however, we have long since found ourselves in a “suicide mission” and are looking from afar at the catastrophes, infernos and collapses that are imminent for us. In any case, the astronautical view of the Earth is a view in suspension and a view from a great distance and only in this way allows us to sense the immense dimensions of global forces.
Consequently, the two image motifs on the narrow sides of the installation ultimately turn the dimensions of orientation upside down: Thus, all horizons are given in portrait format, so that the luminous events of the cities show themselves to a viewer in a now free-floating state only as a glittering rain of light, which can mean anything – from wars to eruptions of the earth or large-scale forest fires, the extent of which we can actually only experience through the satellite images of the media.
Under this global view, Europe recedes into the distance and the reflection on its union more than 70 years ago for the purpose of solving economic and ecological tasks allows the European idea of solving global questions across countries to live on in a next larger community in the sense of a global union.
The interactive astronautical large-scale installation is accompanied by a trio of music stands, facing each other and extended at different heights, reminiscent of a nuclear family. Instead of sheet music, however, each stand holds a panel on which a QR code can be seen in different positions and sizes. If the viewer scans this with his smartphone, a separate sound composition sounds for each code. The compositions interpret and comment on the current situation in three different ways: visionary-fictional, classically cathartic or purely scientific.
Original voices of students of KIT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Music, Karlsruhe were used for this purpose.
Each of the audio compositions gives rise to auditory images that connotatively convey different states of mind and accompany the view of the distant portraits of our current, technically shaped earth.
The compositional polyphony silences any polarization in favor of the undisputed perception of a state of emergency and the call for each individual to act responsibly and self-determinedly.
(Dr. A. Hünnekens – Excerpt from the introduction to the exhibition)
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with four REM-light images from the picture gallery
MicroSonical Shining Biospheres No.1, 2009
by the artist couple <SA/JO> Sabine Schäfer/Joachim Krebs
in the version with piping covering, 2019
and the audio composition RaumklangMilieu III from
Audio Biosphere No. 1, 2009 by <SA/JO>.
Metal, LED lighting, print graphics, audio composition,
audio QR code graphic
The light image gallery consists of four SEM image motifs of representative micro-organisms and insects, as well as an oversized QR code trailing the installation.
The creatures are rendered as classical portraits of a scanning electron microscope, in a rectangular rod on strings, as if “on silken threads.” Lined up one behind the other, however, the hanging does not follow the usual pattern of, say, a gallery, but is more reminiscent of the arrangement of dominoes. The first portrait is given in the situation of toppling over, so that the eye of the viewer continues this process of toppling over in his mind’s eye and triggers a chain reaction of toppling over. But the ropes on which the pictures hang stop the process and render it as a key moment in the sense of Laocoon, a moment that is able to narrate the whole event from all sides. The given snapshot of the falling over shows the smallest creatures and insects in the form of oversized portraits, which for the first time Visavis appear to us almost at eye level, expressing their equality as living beings. It looks as if they have already mutated into monstrous creatures through external influences and present their angry-looking likenesses in a vertical “lopsided” position. The viewer participating in this experimental arrangement can immerse himself in a laboratory-like staged insect milieu by means of a QR code with his smartphone. What can be heard are insect sounds that have been highly magnified using a specially developed sound microscopy process, arranged into very unique compositions that together intone a haunting canon of one of the most important inhabitants of the earth. An unveiled rear view reveals technology and leaves open the question of its original size and equality. In this way, the aesthetic staging of monstrous insect portraits in the midst of a wire mesh cage takes up themes of both the technoid and the living, and poses fundamental questions about power, naturalness, and limits.
Most forcefully, however, the principle of chain reaction is presented here as a central theme that sets in motion connotations all its own in connection with our intervention in nature.