The exhibition project presents the topic of perceiving a virtual identity. We understand virtual identity as a dynamically changing medium of interpersonal relationships within electronic communication between individuals and, at the same time, also as a tool used to create social ties between the Internet users. The environment of the virtual world has become a working, learning, hobby-pursuing and shopping space, and that is not just because of the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the limited possibility of any physical interpersonal contact, we have become passionate users of the Internet and have been developing countless profiles — possibly diverse identities. We ask ourselves whether today an individual loses their identity or, on the contrary, whether they develop and adapt their identity to the rapidly changing opinions and tools of the society. The curatorial selection provides space for diverse interpretations and approaches to the topics related to virtual identity. This allows an interesting selection of works of art to be displayed, in terms of both their content and form.
Among the exhibiting artists we can find such names as Milena Dopitová, who was a key figure in Czech art in the 1990s. Her work focuses on general phenomena that, while encountered by every one of us, are often considered a social taboo. At the exhibition, she will present The Hallo! / Hello! project using prehistoric archetypes of various identities that serve as an expressive tool connected to traditions and civilization. There is a certain revision of perceiving and dealing with what masks in general mean and represent, both in connection with the identity of the individual and the society.
Andreas Gajdošík and Marika Volfová are the creators of a software called TAUTO designed for adding automated Tweets on Twitter; the program allows to manage a large number of different accounts and is primarily intended to “spam” Twitter from many fake accounts / bots. The goal is to create something like a “troll team” where individual users of the program could manage, for example, dozens of fake accounts and share the goals they would target.
In his work, Milan Mikuláštík thematizes the characteristic aspects of society or the problems that afflict society – and, more precisely, the global phenomena across the social classes. In connection with the upcoming exhibition, the author returns to his older works, such as The Prehistoric Venus With a Mobile Phone. In the works presented at the exhibition (Virtual Landscapes, The Mother of Memes, You Only Live Once Twins), Mikuláštík will focus on the combination of “Neolithic and digital technology”, revitalizing the concept of time and questions such as “what will remain after us as a digital culture” or “the extension of the human body”.
As for foreign authors, the exhibition will feature the artist Joana Moll (Spain), a researcher in Berlin (University of Potsdam) and Barcelona (The Institute for the Advancement of Popular Automatisms). She is the founder of the Critical Interface Politics Research Group. Thanks to this, her work acquires an analytical dimension. In her work Sprinters, presented at the exhibition, the artist will point out how a virtual environment can change – and actually changes – an original idea into something completely different. Joanna examines the relationship between man and the Internet, virtual reality, the material existence of the Internet, monitoring, social profiling, and interfaces very critically. In the Czech Republic, her work was on display at the DOX exhibition Datamaze: Hidden Layers in 2019.
Another artist is Matúš Lányi (Slovakia) who will present his Wikipedia Prophet Casule project. In his work, the artist follows the Christian tradition, culture and iconography, transforming their image into new contemporary media. However, this transformation is neither negative nor offensive. The aim of the work is to emphasize the philosophical point of view, trying to stimulate the viewer’s thought processes associated with the perception of a traditional iconographic theme.
The exhibition concept is being completed by two young artists, students of the Faculty of Art and Design of the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University. The first one is Lucie Kramperová whose work focuses on the transmission of information, their flow and the distortion of reality. She will present the audio-visual installation Alternate me at the exhibition. It is based on her previous works, especially on topics such as observing oneself as a subject influenced by society, finding connections, confrontation with certain global and social problems, integration of the individual into the virtual environment, and presentation on social networks. The second artist is Zdeněk Svejkovský whose work deals with gaming identity, abandoned virtual realities, Net art and moving images in general (such as classic film, animation, computer games, and experiments with software tools).
The exhibition project has been prepared by the first-year students of the follow-up master’s study programme Curatorial Studies at FAD JEPU and is part of a year-round exhibition cycle marked by the institutional framework leitmotif.
Curators: Henclová Natálie, Sudová Linda, Svobodová Alžběta, Šedivá Jana, Zábranská Alice (students of FAD JEPU Curatorial Studies)
Supervisors: Michal Koleček & Mariana Serranová & Barbora Hájková