As a prelude to the A View From The Cloud discussions among international innovators at the United Nations Church Center on May 17, three artworks set the tone with visualizations of world affairs, its reinterpretation, and a meditation, integrated with music and sound:
EXIT, 2015, by DillerScofidio+Renfro – a data visualization of human migrations today and their leading causes, including the impacts of climate change. Inverso Mundus, 2015, by AES+F – a reinterpretation of reality and a poetic vision. Circuconcéntricos Fluo Bleu 2, 2015, by Elias Crespin, Jacopo Baboni-Schilingi, and Pascal Maillard – a meditative and futuristic work that follows the movement of a kinetic architectural sculpture.
Art was displayed throughout the room where hundreds attended A View From the Cloud’s 5th program. A View focuses on the role of art and technology in sharpening how we see the world and creating innovations that address humanitarian objectives and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The program is co-produced with World Council of Peoples for the United Nations.
Among the presenters at the May 17 event were neuroscientist Dr. Emile Bruneau, astronaut Nicole Stott, humanoid robot Bina48 with Bruce Duncan managing director of Terasem Foundation, Paula DiPerna, global finance and environmental expert, Kristin Gutekunst, Executive Producer, United Nations Virtual Reality, New Media and Immersive Content, Eduardo Artigas, UN Department of Field Support, virtual presentations by Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, Director, Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz and artists Shahzia Sikander on Nationhood, Place, and Identity and Richard Mosse on the artist’s lens in the DRC.
Inverso Mundus, 2015
HD video installation (7-, 3-, and 1-channel versions, duration 38 min), series of stills, and series of pictures (digital collages). Above: Still #1-09, 2015, pigment InkJet print on FineArt Baryta paper, 32×57 cm (12.5×22.5 in), edition of 10
Inverso Mundus, Still #1-02, AES+F, 2015, pigment InkJet print on FineArt Baryta paper, 55.6×80 cm (21.9×31.5 in), mounted/framed size 75.6×100 cm (29.8×39.4 in), edition of 10, 6/10
Inverso Mundus, Still #1-17, AES+F, 2015, pigment InkJet print on FineArt Baryta paper, 48×80 cm (18.9×31.5 in), mounted/framed size 68×100 cm (26.8×39.4 in), edition of 10, 4/10
Single channel trailer: aesf.art/projects/inverso_mundus
Engravings in the genre of “World Upside Down”, known since the 16th century, depict such scenes as a pig gutting the butcher, a child punishing his teacher, a man carrying a donkey on his back, man and woman exchanging roles and dress, and a beggar in rags magnanimously bestowing alms on a rich man. These engravings contain demons, chimeras, fish flying through the sky and death itself, variously with a scythe or in the mask of a plague doctor.
The title of the work, Inverso – both an Italian “reverse, the opposite” and the Old Italian “poetry,” and Mundus – the Latin “world,” hints at a reinterpretation of reality, a poetic vision. In our interpretation, the absurdist scenes from the medieval carnival appear as episodes of contemporary life in a multichannel video installation. Characters act out scenes of absurd social utopias and exchange masks, morphing from beggars to rich men, from policemen to thieves. Metrosexual street-cleaners are showering the city with refuse. Female inquisitors torture men on IKEA-style structures. Children and seniors are fighting in a kickboxing match. Inverso Mundus is a world where chimeras are pets and the Apocalypse is entertainment.
EXIT (2008, updated 2015) an idea by Paul Virilio, a dynamic cartography created by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Mark Hansen, Laura Kurgan and Ben Rubin, in collaboration with Stewart Smith et Robert Gerard Pietrusko. 45:00 immersive panoramic installation.
Based on a prompt set out by French philosopher and urbanist Paul Virilio, this experimental work was created by American artists and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with architect-artist Laura Kurgan and statistician-artist Mark Hansen with a core team of scientists and geographers for the exhibition Native Land, Stop Eject in 2008, and is now part of the Fondation Cartier collection.
Exit is composed of a series of immersive animated maps generated by data that investigate human migrations today and their leading causes, including the impacts of climate change. Its complete 2015 update has been planned to coincide with the pivotal Paris-based United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). A crucial opportunity to limit global warming, the COP21 provides a powerful context in which to consider the issues at the heart of Exit: “It’s almost as though the sky, and the clouds in it and the pollution of it, were making their entry into history. Not the history of the seasons, summer, autumn, winter, but of population flows, of zones now uninhabitable for reasons that aren’t just to do with desertification, but with disappearance, with submersion of land. This is the future.” (Paul Virilio, 2009)
Commissioned by the Fondation Cartier at a time when human migration flows began to take place on an unprecedented scale, Exit was first shown in its space at the end of 2008 as part of the exhibition Native Land, Stop Eject, and subsequently at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen during the COP15 in 2009, and at the inauguration of the Alhóndiga Bilbao, Bilbao in 2010. Conceived as an artwork, Exit uses geo-coded data that was collected from over 100 sources, processed through a programming language and interpreted visually. The work is a reflection on the notions of being rooted and uprooted, as well as related questions of identity, Native Land addressed issues that have continued to intensify. The current asylum crisis makes the 2015 presentation of Exit more timely and relevant than ever.
Circuconcéntricos Fluo Bleu 2, 2015, Elias Crespin, sculptor, Jacopo Baboni-Schilingi, composer, video Pascal Maillard
This film of the “mobile” minimalist kinetic sculpture of Venezuelan artist Elias Crespin (plexiglas, nylon, motors, computer, electronic interface 50 cm diameter) traces into space a slow and silent choreography of signs that reveals nothing of its heavy technology, only a serene perfection of absolute purity. The music of Jacopo Baboni-Schilingi is based on self similar sound landscapes that put the listener in a meditative state of consciousness.