New Elements
17 November 2021 — 27 March 2022
Moscow, New Tretyakov Gallery

Organizers:
Laboratoria Art&Science Foundation
State Tretyakov Gallery

Curators:
Daria Parkhomenko (Russia)
Dietmar Offenhuber (Austria / USA)

Technological expert: Alexander Gostev (Russia)

Artists:
Memo Akten (Turkey – UK)
Ralf Baecker (Germany)
Erich Berger (Finland)
Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov (Russia)
Thomas Feuerstein (Austria)
Forensic Architecture (UK)
Ryoichi Kurokawa (Japan)
Tuula Narhinen (Finland)
Anna Ridler (UK)
Tomas Saraceno (Argentina)
Theresa Schubert / Ivan Taranin (Germany)
AKI INOMATA (Japan)

Strategic partner:
Technical Partner:
Supported by:

The exhibition NEW ELEMENTS explores an unusual perspective on data and computation, centering on the physicality of information and its implications for how we make sense of the world. 12 works by artists from different countries show how to close the gap between data and the world.

“The idea that digital information is abstract and exists outside the physical world is a harmful myth. Since technology has entered all aspects of our lives, its material nature deeply affects us. Artworks at New Elements bring digital data back to reality and show how everything is interconnected” — Dietmar Offenhuber

NEW ELEMENTS consists of three parts — “The Autographic World”, “Material Computation” and “Digital Materiality” — and collects artistic approaches that deal with the physical aspects of information: in the natural environment, in technological systems, or in the inaccessible structures of neural networks.

The physical world is an analog computer. Everything that happens in the atmosphere, the soil, or the water inscribes itself into the world in countless ways. Polar ice, ocean sediments, and coral skeletons record the history of the global climate and aggregate it into physical patterns. But such autographic processes are not limited to the natural world; they also lurk below the abstract world of digital information.

Physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach introduced the concept of “elements” to overcome traditional dualisms of body and mind, matter, and information. For Mach, an element is a physical event that can manifest itself both as an object and a sensation.

The seemingly abstract world of digital information, which governs much of our lives, is brittle — never safe from the countless intrusions of the analog. From benign glitches due to an overheating processor to cyberattacks, from chip shortages to the energy footprint of blockchains — the material world, with all its messiness and unpredictability, constantly lurks beneath the immaterial virtual surface.

“Studying the mutual influence of nature and technology, there are many questions, which can be answered in the dialogue of artists and engineers. This dialogue makes it possible to capture and understand the relationship between physical and digital reality. And new forms of art help to reflect the continuous interaction between live nature and the technogenic world” — Alexander Gostev, chief technology expert at Kaspersky Lab

The works in “New Elements” are propositions for closing the epistemic gap between digital data and the experiential world.

Three sections of the exhibition

Material Computation

Digital Materiality

The Autographic World

As a part of a public educational program of the exhibition the international symposium ‘New Elements’ was held. It aimed to bring to the forefront the current issues of new artistic practices that redefines the relationship between digital and analogue computational processes and systems. You can watch all the sessions and performance by Ralf Baecker ‘A Natural History of Networks (Soft Machine)’ on our YouTube channel.

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