The Kasseler Kunstverein presents Aram Bartholl’s first institutional solo exhibition Hello World! featuring new pieces together with pivotal work from his existing oeuvre. Aram Bartholl’s work bridges the gap between virtual and real space. With an astute sense of humor, he focuses on the increasing influence of the Internet on our daily lives. Oscillating between fascination and critical distance Bartholl shows the playful potential of the digital world. The tensions between private and public, online and offline, curses and blessing of new communication technologies constitute a starting point for social investigation: Bartholl is not just interested in the use of New Media, but rather how they influence, shape and change people. For both his installations and his public art projects Bartholl extracts fragments from computerbased worlds and translates them into physical reality. A prominent example of this process is his seven meter high sculpture 'map' on the Friedrichsplatz: a reference to the position marker in Google Maps. Bartholl uses his own method, a kind of unravelling mimicry, to reveal the simple components that make up complex technology. In his light installation RandomScreen, one of mans oldest discoveries – fire – meets with 21st Century communications technology. Randomscreen is a thermodynamic screen that does not require electricity. In a similar way the light-installation 0.16 in, in form of a high wall from floor to ceiling, plays with the visitors expectations.
The large-scale installation 'Dust Excerpt 2' is part of a body of work in which Bartholl addressed the emotionally charged memories of space in computer games. The 3D virtual world of the Dust levels in the first-person shooter Counter Strike has provided Bartholl with rich research material for some years now. For the exhibition a 1:1 scale version of a part of this landscape, now etched into spatial memories of a whole generation of gamers, will be modeled into the foyer of the Kasseler Kunstverein.
Parallel to the solo show Hello World! Aram Bartholl has developed and curated the exhibition ‘HARDCORE’ using his own OFFLINE ART concept featuring a select group of net art artists. An otherwise empty wall presents various wireless internet routers that are not connected to the internet, but transmit art works to the tablets, laptops or smartphones visitors bring along to the exhibition. In the transmission radius of the router works are publicly available, but can only be viewed on the private screen of a visitor.
Aram Bartholl is a member of the artist group FREE ART AND TECHNOLOGY LAB - FAT LAB. His work has been exhibited internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art / New York, The Pace Gallery / New York, DAM Gallery / Berlin and XPO Gallery / Paris. Aram Bartholl lives and works in Berlin.
“Originally, the term Hello World! comes from programming software. To display the words "Hello World" on a screen represents a type of software function testing, a minimal program with just this one function: to welcome the world. But in this show Hello World! also represents the materialization of the digital. While previously pixels were only displayed on screens, today objects are printed by 3D printers. Increasingly, the issues raised by computers and the internet are discussed on a broader level and in society as a whole. Topics such as digital surveillance, copyright issues or "Facebook revolutions" represent only a fraction of the changes that a whole generation has grown up in. “ – Aram Bartholl