Computer games as Art, a Watching mirror and a Beautiful Withering

By 3 April 2022 entering the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow will get you into the first International Biennale "Art for the Future". It occupies all of the floors of the MAMM and involves 60 projects, many of which were exclusively elaborated for the Exhibition. This Biennale's theme is – Technologies and their impact on our lives.
In the current world's reality, the event curators went an extra mile and managed to achieve impossible – bring together artists from all over the world in one place, since the majority of the represented projects are international. Also it is very symbolic that the project was launched in the Year of Science and Technology. Therefore, not only were the ideas of modern technologies' reflections and our ever-closer relationship with them embedded by the exhibition curators, but also rethinking the definition of "artist" itself.

If 30 years ago, before first computers entered people's lives, the materials used by artists were the ones from our physical reality, now, since the advent of the Internet and digital space a material for an art work can be anything from computer program or a game to augmented reality objects or even just a binary code!
The main thing is to create a mythology for these objects and partially connect it with natural phenomena of our physical world.
Physical and digital realities of human existence are becoming increasingly closer to each other. Will they merge and become one? That is a matter of time and morality.
The works participating in the project are rich in concepts as well as in materials. One of the most beautiful works represented here was teamLab's "Continuous life and death at the now of Eternity II".
It is a digital 12-channel infinite work, where its creators explore the limitations of the human perception of time and the ability to realize its continuity. Narratives are constantly randomly-generated with a specially designed computer program and are never repeated. The installation itself changes depending on the time zone of the city in which it is demonstrated. As noted by teamLab's representatives themselves, digital allusions to changing life cycles of flowers displayed on the screens are similar to a human life, each and every moment of which is unique and mesmerizing in its own way.
One of the immediately eye-catching interactive works in the Museum space is an installation by Random International "Fragments". This kinetic sculpture is literally watching every visitor!
A grid of 200 mobile mirrors is constantly moving and each time a visitor approaches a "mirror", its surface curves replicating the water surface in which a stone was dropped.
Some of the mirrors turn to a viewer creating an entirely new three-dimensional form. This work can be interpreted in different ways – as an idea of Big Brother watching us or as an attempt of shifting our physical form into the realms with an alternative structure of the universe (2D, 3D, 4D and so on).

Among the works with no reference to physical is a work named "Line" by Kseniia Kononenko and Kirill Makarov. It is a video game where you need to find a way out of a maze. The labyrinth's walls are made of sculptures, resembling a verse which cannot be read entirely. Against the background of travelling through the maze of words, a player is accompanied by soothing sounds of summer – grasshoppers' chirping, birds singing, children's voices while the landscape itself remains deserted.
The creators of the work reveal their idea: "By using labyrinth in the game we wanted to remind of a great variety of already existing game labyrinths, those that have been walked through and those that have yet to be solved. Paying a piece of our attention to everything waiting for a way out of our personal mazes in order to share the paths with each other, to find our own together". You can download the game by clicking on the link.
After the Biennale the presented works that had physical implementations inside the walls of the Museum will start their tour in Russia until the end of 2022. In addition to the exhibition itself, the biennial includes online and offline events at the intersection of art, science and technologies of the Industry 4.0, which include neural networks, robotics, 3D animation and modeling, virtual and augmented reality.
A broad spectrum of interactive works introduced is enabling viewers to be fully engaged in the process and 27 projects figure in digital reality (that are on the website) exclusively in online format. What that means is that you can watch them and interact with these works from any place in the world for free!
To learn more about the Biennale and its concurrent programs visit the Project website.
Text and photo Ekaterina Surat
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