Mila Askarova and Claudia Hart, the pioneer digital women artist discussed the artist’s exhibition on view at London’s Gazelli Art House, the unveiling of Claudia Hart’s new series ‘An Imaginary Ruin” on until 10 January 2021.

Claudia Hart

Claudia Hart emerged as part of that generation of 90s intermedia artists in the “identity art” niche, but now updated through the scrim of technology. Her work is about issues of the body, perception, nature collapsing into technology and then back again. Everything is fluid in it including gender. She considers it Cyborg-ish, creating liminal spaces, and is in love with the interface between real and unreal because it is space of contemplation and transformation.

Hart was very early into virtual imaging, using 3D animation to make media installations and projections, then later as they were invented, other forms of VR, AR, and objects using computer-driven production machines, all adapted from the same computer models. She is considered a pioneer in this, taking a feminist position in a world without women when she started 20 years ago, inspired by the French media artists of the 60s.

Hart produces real things, not just mediated ones, meaning “mediated objects” (digitally enabled sculptures, drawings, paintings, wallpaper, conceptual crafts), and projections on painted walls, and ultimately on human bodies wearing sculptural screens of some sort. She produces bodies of work shown in galleries that then inspire performances that, for the past five years, have been shown in the experimental theatre and performance context.

Hart’s work is symbolist and poetic, not really narrative, but vaguely so, and is mesmerizing, hypnotic and formalist. Bodies or natural forms like flowers always appear in it. Hart calls her work, “post-photography,” and has created a body of theoretic writings and exhibitions based on this concept The things in her worlds are generated from computer models instead of captured with a camera. At SAIC, she developed a pedagogic program based on this concept. It is called Experimental 3D and is the first art-school curriculum teaching simulations technologies in the art world.

She lives in both New York and Chicago, shows with Transfer and Bitforms galleries and is married to the Austrian media artist Kurt Hentschlager.

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This event was produced for you by our super Team of VolunteersLots of shine toIsabella Helms and Monica Raithel

video coming soon

During the talk, we viewed two videos. Watch those videos in their intended sound qualities

Claudia Hart and Mila Askarova in Hubs Mozilla
Claudia Hart, The Ruins (2020) for Single Channel @ Courtesy of the artist and bitform gallery

What did we learn?

More info

Previous collaboration: Travels in Hyperreality

When Mila Askarova invited me to her platform for a virtual residency, we both thought of it as a means of introducing my practice for a future project. I loved her suggestion of a video diary – a way to meditate on my 20-year media practice. My personal history with media is such: after showing in New York for a decade what was in the early nineties called Intermedia, I then escaping to newly liberated Berlin. There I was invited to a screening at the Berlinale of Toy Story 1, then in pre-release. I was not a fan of cartoons or animation, having seen few. As a child, they were outlawed at home. Nevertheless, I was more than intrigued, immediately falling down a simulated rabbit hole. I haven’t been out since.

The frame for my video diary also comes from another recent invitation, this time to propose a survey of my work. As is my habit, I decided to make a Tumblr preset website. I’ve used Tumblr since 2007 when it went on line. I built a Tumblr survey of work produced between 1997 and the present. Most of these are media work that had appeared previously on other Tumblrs, both mine and others. This time, it was all censored. So I made the site ‘private’ and provided a password (fyi, its www.claudiahart-survey.tumblr.com and the password: claudiahart).

Tumblr’s ownership had transferred, and its policy had changed. I wasn’t surprised; its new protocols are in keeping with current alt-right US culture. I found this explanation on Wikipedia:

On December 3, 2018, Tumblr announced that effective December 17, all images and videos depicting sex acts, and real-life images and videos depicting human genitalia or “female-presenting” nipples, would be banned from the service. Exceptions are provided for illustrations or art that depict nudity, nudity related to “political or newsworthy speech”, and depictions of “female-presenting” nipples in relation to medical events such as childbirth, breastfeeding, mastectomy and gender reassignment surgery. The new rules do not apply to text content. All posts in violation of the new policy will be hidden from public view, and repeat offenders may be reprimanded. Shortly prior to the announcement, Tumblr’s Android app was patched to remove the ability to disable Safe Mode.

My censored work has been shown internationally in public spaces and on various public platforms. It often references classical art tropes such as the Renaissance odalisque and Hellenistic sculpture. It has never been censored nor suggested to me that it was pornographic. I was inspired! And so I will walk you through my life by means of these censorings just to see what happens when I post them in this context. I will start in the middle and end in the middle (by means of avoiding an end, of course). Here we go.

Artist’s Portfolio

Discover more about Claudia Hart in our featured Artists.

Claudia Hart, Digital Death, 2013 – 3D Animation installation, 23-minute loop © Courtesy of the artist and Gazelli Art House

Alice: A Machine For Thinking (2019)

Claudia Hart, Alice: A Machine For Thinking, 2019 (Video documentation of VR Experience). 3-Channel 3D-Animation, 1920p x 1080p + Vive VR © Courtesy of the artist and Gazelli Art House

Coming soon: An Imaginary Ruin in Hubs and gallery installation at Gazelli Art House

25 November 20 – 10 January 21

Claudia Hart An Imaginary Ruin (2020) Gazelli Art House
 © Courtesy of the artist and Gazelli Art House

The Ruins, the central artwork from which the exhibition gains its title, is an audiovisual animation tracking through a claustrophobic game world from which there is no escape. As the three-channel maze unravels, Hart introduces her newest interpretation of still lifes—low-resolution polygon models. These models, hearkening to the idea of a poor copy or image popularised by Hito Steryl, are computer-made replications of copyright-protected paintings. Taken from works by Matisse and Picasso, patriarchs of the Modernist canon, these forms cover The Ruins in flirtatious copyright infringement. Copyright marks the beginning of Modernism as a response to the emerging technology of photography. Music composed by Edmund Campion furthers the ethos of modernism through the tactical mixing of failed Utopian ideologies: Thomas Jefferson On American Liberty; The Bauhaus Manifesto by Walter Gropius; Fordlandia, Henry Ford’s failed suburban rubber plantation in the Amazon rainforest; and Jim Jones’s sermon, The Open Door. Campion has processed and mixed each recording read by the artist, using Hart’s voice as an instrument that serves as the soundtrack to both the animation and the exhibition itself.

Gazelli Art House – Gazell.io

ENTER THROUGH THE HEADSET 5

Virtual Reality Exhibition

4 September – 17 October 2020

To mark the fifth anniversary of the groundbreaking new media group exhibition, we will be featuring both previous participants and new talent from our Gazell.io online residency.

The show will feature works by Rebecca Allen, Jocelyn Anquetil, BRiGHTBLACK, Claudia Hart, Michael Takeo Magruder with Drew Baker, Gibson/Martelli with Roche & Mercier, Matterlurgy, Mbryonic with Xavier Sole, Iain Nicholls and Matteo Zamagni.

 © Courtesy of the Gazelli Art House.
© Courtesy of the artists duo Matterlurgy and Gazelli Art House

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