A New Kind of Institution – Brought to you by Hyundai Motor Company

November 18, 2019 0 By Kody Olson

It’s a key place for new experimental art,
more adventurous than most museums. It’s about art and technology
but not in a kind of academic way. Not like technology for technology’s sake but more like what happens
to art when these new technologies, digital formats,
when they really enter the art world? So, my name is Daniel Birnbaum. I’m the Director of Acute Art,
a studio or laboratory, if you want, exploring art and technology. I was an academic. I studied philosophy and art history
and I started to write for friends basically. I got very close to some artists
and wrote their catalogue essays, and at some point, they wanted me
to be involved with their exhibitions. And one thing led to another,
and suddenly without noticing, I was a curator, someone who helps artists to stage exhibitions. Now, I’m involved, in a way I’m going, I think backwards and forwards at the same time
because acute art explores new technologies, it’s about new visual possibilities
introduced through augmented reality and virtual reality,
and other such technologies. But, in a way, I also go back
to where I began because I work very directly with artists and it’s not a big institution,
it’s a production site. It’s kind of atelier and it’s all about
the artists and their vision. So, in a way,
I’m back to where it all began. I’m talking day in and day out
with artists and trying to understand what it is
they want to do. The main idea is the artist,
we should be more like a tool. As they have like a brush,
they have their hands, you create a sculpture; we are kind of that tool. When we started working in Acute Art, it was interesting to see
like Daniel’s involvement, how he understands the artists
and tried to get from the artists what they were not able to do
in their own media. The idea was to approach
important artists and see what would happen if they were
given access to new visual technologies that they wouldn’t normally maybe work with. We did a virtual reality piece
with Jeff Koons and one with Marina Abramovic, and one with Olafur Eliasson. What happens if very important
artists who are well known for other reasons, not for collaborations with high
tech environments – what happens if they get access to this? Is it interesting? And we all thought it was very interesting. There was a great starting point. When I think about VR, because there’s this
connection with the actual space, the idea of sharing experiences
is quite interesting not just for the art industry
but like for all the industries. It’s like you create something
that physically is not there, but in a virtual space, you are there together
doing exactly the same thing, reviewing a project
or just experiencing an art piece. These technologies, AR and VR, of course are developed
not only in the art world; they’re everywhere. They will change entertainment,
cinema, many other things. But in the art world,
it’s all relatively new and they represent a certain challenge because it’s not obvious
how one would reach a big audience if you need headsets for every viewer. Of course, it’s getting easier and some
of the experiences are relatively short, and in principle, one could have
a hundred headsets next to each other in a big, big space and thousands
of people could see a piece in a day. It’s just like a different technology
to kind of represent the world.