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On Alchemy and Magic - group exhibition

Museums/Institutes Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond

Nes 45
1012 KD Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 6229014

Open Mon - Fri / 11-18 hrs
Sat - Sun / 13-18 hrs

Exhibition 12 May — 2 Jul

Opening 12 May, 18-20 hrs


'The Finite State Fantasia' (2016), Tobias Revell. Installation view STUK © Kristof Vrancken. 	Femke Herregraven, 'Subsecond Flocks – When you startle awake at four in the morning it’s not because you’re feeling happy', 2016, 2016, detail, Neoliberal Lulz / Carroll/Fletcher, London (UK)

Participating artists:
Tobias Revell (GB), Frederik De Wilde (BE), Femke Herregraven (NL), RYBN.ORG (FR), Natalie Kane (GB) en Verena Friedrich (DE).

Opening Program:
12 May 18-20 hrsOpening with a panel discussion with the artists, moderated by curator Karen Verschooren (STUK, Leuven).

About the exhibition:

From automated consumer electronics and computer information systems to high frequency trading, complex systems are mapping, intervening and creating the experience of the everyday in contemporary society. Their internal logic seems to be hyper-rational, beyond what most human minds can come to understand, intentionally designed to surpass it. But in its far-driven logical functioning, these systems seem to be touching that which goes beyond the rational. Is there a bridge to be made between the hyper-rational and the irrational? How do we make sense of it? And how can concepts such as ‘alchemy’ and ‘magic’ assist in a different understanding of these systems? Will this in fact result in a different relation with these systems? Or do we continue to struggle in a distanced dark?

This exhibition is the result of an invitation by de Brakke Grond and FIBER to curate an exhibition based on the Artefact 2017: The Act of Magic (Feb 21st - March 9, 2017 in STUK, Leuven) in relation to the topic of the FIBER Festival 2017: Prima Materia – Art and The Potential of Matter.

About the artists:

Tobias Revell
 (b. 1986, Hampshire) is a British artist and designer whose work centers on critical engagement with contemporary technopolitics. In his artistic practice he works across film, mixed media and images while producing supporting theoretical work in the forms of lectures, essays and papers. His most recent works focus on the relations between mythology, magic and current technologies. He is undertaking a PhD in the Design Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is a founding member of research consultancy Strange Telemetry.

Frederik De Wilde (b. 1975, Aalst) works at the interface of art, science and technology. Frederik studied fine arts, media arts and philosophy. The conceptual crux of his artistic praxis are the notions of the inaudible, intangible and invisible. An excellent example is the conceptualisation, and creation, of the Blackest-Black art made in collaboration with American universities and NASA. The project received the Ars Electronica Next Idea Award, amongst other awards. In 2017 De Wilde brings the Blackest-Black art to the Moon ( Studio de Wilde is represented by White Circle Agency (Brussels) and Sedition (London).

The multimedia practice of Femke Herregraven (b. 1982, Nijmegen) is based on the friction between the material and the digital. As an artist, she is interested in power structures and the relations between financial markets, international law, geopolitical structures and climate change. She turns her ideas into games, videos, prints, drawings, installations and sculptures. Femke Herregraven studied at Artez, Arnhem and the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam and did a residency at Rijksacademie. She won the MINI Young Designer Award in 2013 and is represented by Future Gallery, Berlin.

In 1999-2000 the extra-disciplinary artistic research platform RYBN.ORG (1999, Paris) came into being. In its interactive installations, its digital and analogue performances and interfaces the platform explores the world of high-frequency economics and information technologies. RYBN’s practice exists of writing esoteric datamining algorithms, inserting suicidal trading machines into financial markets, perverting neural networks and hunting ghosts in the noise of data traffic. With their work, RYBN.ORG tries to deconstruct and to subvert the ideology that lies behind the cybernetic capitalism. 

In Verena Friedrich’s (b. 1981, Hanau) work, organic, electronic and sculptural media come into play. Theoretical research and practical hands-on experiments with very diverse materials, objects and functions are the starting points of her artistic work. In Friedrich's’ oeuvre art, science, magic and technology come together. She received, among other awards, the International Media Award for Science and Art from ZKM Karlsruhe 2005 and an honorary mention in the Prix Ars Electronica 2015. She was artist in residence at “SymbioticA – Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts” in Australia and at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing Cologne and studied at the Academy of Arts in Offenbach and Vienna and at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. 

Karen Verschooren / STUK.


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The Unseen, 2015 © Tereza Zelenkova