From February 23 to April 22, the Fundación Telefónica invites us to take a sensorial trip with “Digital Nature” exhibition, by Jennifer Steinkamp (Denver, 1958).
Through a 3D projection inspired by nature, the artist plays with perception, movement, and space. “It’s about dematerializing the place’s architecture, about transforming it with video. I realized that movement and projections can change the space and, in consequence, the space transforms the animation.”
Jennifer Steinkamp invites you to a trip to nature through a visual language easy to understand to which you open fearlessly. Once there, the wind makes you feel like you’re being cradled along with the flowers, and a feeling of life overcomes you. When looking at your surroundings, you see that the work is being projected in an industrial, empty, close space. However, the pieces create an atmosphere where you can breathe pure air; where, despite of the silence, you listen to a known sound inside you that relaxes you, the sound of leaves cradled by the wind.
A Trip Through the Senses
When dividing the enormous room in different areas where the five different audiovisual works are exhibited, the artist has managed to transform the space into intimate places that invite you to stop, to make an interior trip to your sensorial world, to your memory, to what a field of flowers is for you, to the sensation of laying in the grass and of observing how a tree’s branches move. Perhaps, if you manage for a moment to be in the present, just observing the piece, you’ll be able to make a trip to your world of memories, that place in which you’re surrounded only by green, where you can breathe fresh air and nature, where you feel the grass caressing your feet, where you hear the sound of leaves to the rhythm of the changing air… where, in the end, you feel hosted, held by Mother Earth.
“We are nature. For me, it has to be with connecting with movement, the scale and the feeling. The fact that they are virtual works that with their projection they can promote that, when you look at those moving trees inside the walls of a living room, we start to notice that in the streets. It can make us connect with movement”, the artist says when talking about her work.
Artificial 3D Universe of Flower Fields and Trees Moved by the Wind
An example is her work Marie Curie (2011), with which Jennifer Steinkamp pays tribute to the scientist by creating a digital garden with her favorite flowers. Through trees, in Dervis (2009) we observe the eternal loop of the four stations in three projections of moving trees that make reference to the hypnotic power of nature evoking the meditative dance in circles made by priests or dervishes to free the soul and to find yourself in communion with the divine. In Ovaries (2017), the artist invites us to reflect with a video full of color and fruits that are falling and finding each other: the feminine ovaries are like fruits.
“Digital Nature” for Me
Ever more, I see museums inviting to trips through the senses with sensorial exhibitions in which not only the sight receives stimuli to invite the spectator to reflect, but it also invites the rest of the senses to complete the experience. Digital art has a direct language that’s easy to understand.
When we visit the exhibition, to later take our learnings to our experimentation working table, we’re going to really try to stop and observe, let ourselves to be invited by Jennifer Steinkapm and her trip in movement through fruits, flowers, and digital trees. This week’s workshop will be about the journey that each of us had had when observing the works. We’ll try to paint the trip to digital nature; this is to transfer our feelings into the paper through colors, shapes, and textures. Steinkamp’s work is like a poem that, when you read it, it takes you to a trip to the living worlds, to your experiences, evoking visited places, cherished smells, tasted flavors, and familiar sounds, that are only yours.
What do you say? Do you think it’s possible to wake up sensations that make you stare at branches cradled by the wind through a video art projection? I invite you to go to the exhibition to see what it wakes up in you and reflect your experience. Make a sketch with the memories that the exhibition has woken up in you and then create your own poem using words that describe it.