New media big focus at Moscow's Fourth Biennale

Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:28pm EDT
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By Amie Ferris-Rotman and Nastassia Astrasheuskaya

MOSCOW (Reuters) - New media and depictions of financial turmoil were on display at Moscow's fourth Biennale, which kicked off on the weekend across the capital giving a much-needed boost to Russia's modern art scene.

Called "Rewriting Worlds," many of the 64 featured artists, from 33 countries, are exhibiting for the first time at Russia's largest art show, in a plush department store and trendy galleries dotted across Moscow.

"We wanted a digital piece of art to show how we are both fueled and dominated by the computer age," said German artist Uta Kopp, who produced "Remote Words" with partner Achim Mohne.

Specifically created for the Biennale, a Google map of Moscow five meters (yards) wide is stretched across the floor, which viewers can take aim at with a flying machine that magnifies parts of the city on an iPad and projector screen.

Thirty silver life-sized dogs with red digital clocks gaze forward in Indian artist T.V. Santhosh's "Houndington" from 2007. Beneath them runs a digitalized text by a teenage boy who has suffered from radiation.

Biennale commissioner Joseph Backstein said globalization -- by way of the Internet -- had forced art go more digital.

"The Garden of Error and Decay," a large video installation by Czech artist Michael Bielicky, is reminiscent of a computer game and invites the viewer to shoot at the piece with a joystick, either eliminating or multiplying disasters spurred by the stock exchange and Twitter updates.

"It's a metaphor showing how helpless we all are," Bielicky told Reuters of why he chose the new media format. "It is a data driven narrative. Like in real life, things that happen actually take place in another sphere."   Continued...

<p>Visitors look at he Houndingdown by T.V. Santhosh exhibition at the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov</p>