Empty Models, Flattened Language
2021
media installation
screens, iPhone, screen mount, truss system

The installation - inspired by Nora N. Khan’s 2018 text of the same name - inquires into the idea of the avatar, or digital body for oneself’s presence in virtual space. It focuses on the moment of transition from material to digital, tracking the viewers movement and mapping it onto a digital avatar. The 3D model of the body is, as Khan writes,

the body without history and the body without politics. The 3D model, empty when you cutaway, is without history or politics or backstory. This body exists on an equal plane with all other bodies, all with essentially the same ability, or, if deficient, the ability, through sheer will, to conquer that “lack” to become a “real,” full model. […] In this [virtual] world, you can have different–enough looking models, a whole palette of representation,: so visually, yes, different ages, ethnicities, genders, orientations, weights, heights, level of ability that manifest in mechanics that are fluid and slotted into the game’s mechanics. There is no friction. You have no history. You are just a body moving through space.1

For Empty Models, Flattened Language we utilize Unreal Engines Metahuman framework, which in its name suggests precisely this claim: digital bodies that transcend individual situatedness, that are universal. As many of such products do, Metahuman focuses on photorealistic models of human bodies and highfidelity animation to become believable, or, conquer the above mentioned „lack“ in order to become „real“. The tracking glitch suggests a mismatch, or insufficiency between hardware used and body, or rather, bodily expression, to be computed. While the hardware might be state-of-theart, it is build on certain ontological conceptions of how to calculate human bodies, or, abstract them in order to make them computable, that go back to renaissance studies of human proportions and further. On an even more basic level, it suggests that a digital body is most sufficient when its look and movement most closely resemble that of an actual person, however, disregarding everything internal. The only way to nonverbally express the internal or inscribe the digital body with history is movement, which, here, gets lost in the translation from material to digital. To express oneself one has to struggle against the technological interface.

1 Nora N. Khan (2018): Empty Models, Flattened Language

Empty Models, Flattened Language was first shown at UdK Rundgang 2021

Getting Away with Being an Amateur
2021
video installation
screen, screen mount, truss system
The video references an exhibition review by critic Klaus Speidel of the same name. Reviewing Manuel Rossner’s phone-game “Surprisingly This Rather Works,” he notes how his character at some point fell through the terrain and into an endless white void, describing the (perhaps unintended?) glitch as an “experience so strange that it becomes valuable in its own right.” The video takes this moment and strips away everything functional that would normally surround it, in contrast to which the glitch would appear as an error.

Getting Away with Being an Amateur was first shown at UdK Rundgang 2021