Since the 1990s, Luzius Bernhard and Lizvlx have been extending the field of net art with projects and interventions, continuously exploring the possibilities of the internet as an artist duo with the name UBERMORGEN. With their works, UBERMORGEN reflect on the internet as a marketplace, its logic as a networked machine, and intervene in political and social discourse. Early on, the artist group recognized the promising potential of the internet as a medium for art. In their initial projects, such as Vote-Auction, as well as in their current works, like Breitbart Red, they bring political issues in the net and thus not only draw attention to social injustices, but, in doing so, also create speculative space for political action. With works such as [F]original or Bankstatement Generator, UBERMOREGN also artistically respond to political tensions and open up concrete spaces for action with the help of simple technological hacks. In the process, the duo makes particularly clever use of branding and marketing strategies to communicate their anti-authoritarian stance and generate media attention. With GWEI – Google Will Eat Itself (2005) and Amazon Noir (2006), UBERMORGEN critically examines the power of dominant (internet) corporations, the commercialisation of the internet, and questions of (collective) copyright and brand protection. In particular, issues such as (intellectual) property, originality, and artificial scarcity have gained renewed meaning in recent years due to the hype around NFTs and demonstrate the importance of the contributions that UBERMORGEN and other artists of their generation have made to a robust critical discourse. The artist duo UBERMORGEN has already received several awards for their groundbreaking work. The jury would like to emphasise how important and influential their work is and has been for Swiss media art.
Lumen Gold Award for UNINVITED (Nye Thompson & UBERMORGEN), 2021 | Outstanding Artist Award of the Republic of Austria (Medienkunst), 2019 | Lifetime Achievement Award for New Media, City of Vienna, 2015 | Swiss Art Award, 2011 | ARCO Beep Award, Madrid, 2009 | AND Award, Abandon Normal Devices Festival, Northern England, 2009 | Transmediale Award, Transmediale Berlin, 2008 | IBM Award for New Media, 2007 |Ars Electronica, Linz (Award of Distinction), 2005 | New Museum, New York, Rhizome Award, 2005 | Goldene Nica, Ars Electronica Linz, Austria (etoy), 1996
Liverpool Biennial | Whitney Museum | MoMA PS1 | Centre Pompidou | Gwangju Biennale | Louvre Paris | Biennale of Sydney | SFMOMA | MOCA Taipei | ICA Miami | The National Museum of China | Serpentine Galleries | Chronus Shanghai | Museo Reina Sofia | New Museum | Somerset House | Haifa Museum of Art | The Hermitage Museum | Wei-Ling Kuala Lumpur | HKW Berlin | ZKM | The Bogotá Museum of Modern Art | ArtScience Singapore | KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin | 3331 Tokyo | WRO Media Art Biennale | Prague Biennale | Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning | ICC Tokyo
Johanna Müller (*1990) describes herself as a flaneur of the Internet, investigating how we move and behave in online spaces. In this context, she understands strolling as an active process of reframing and recontextualizing content, which is manifested in her works through various media such as video, installation object assemblages, and performance. Müller’s works are recognizable by the analysis of phenomena in a networked, increasingly complex, yet surveilled culture of digitality. She focuses, for example, on the phenomenon of the “walled garden,” a controlled, enclosed system to control user behaviour, as seen in the work What If I Was Wrong About What Jesus Looks Like (2021), or meme culture, such as in the work Who the f*** is Karen? (don’t show feelings) (2022). “My soul is a vast and infinite well of energy and creativity, I can draw from it any time that I like to help me think or create” ponders the computer-generated voice in Johanna Müller’s work I worked out today and now I’m posing with my art piece (2022). The quote comes from an interview with LaMDA, a neural language model developed by Google. Precisely, it is the text-to-image generator called Midjourney that Müller uses to create a flood of image motifs, starting with a self-portrait with a vase, that constitute the visual component of the video in rapid succession. Still recognizable at times, her face and the vase morph into increasingly bizarre shapes and take on a life of their own in surreal whirlpools of white and blue. The presence of artificial intelligence in Müller’s work implies the capacity for sentience – a quality previously reserved for biological organisms – and thereby positions itself within the highly relevant discourse surrounding the singularity of AI, which has now permeated society through web-based AI software for text, language, and image generation. The jury was impressed by the quality of Müller’s analysis of a variety of social platforms that are used for self-expression.
Werkbeitrag Kanton Zürich, 2022
Kunsthalle Winterthur | Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich | Kunstkasten, Winterthur | Villa Sträuli, Winterthur | 25. Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur
Giulia Essyad (*1992) explores the representation of the human body, particularly in works of popular culture such as the films Avatar and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or figures from Picasso’s Blue Period. Essyad specifically analyses the way in which the human body becomes the subject of discussion, transformation, celebration, and, at times, a battleground within the social online spaces that are dominated by a culture where image prevails. The color blue applied to the body as a symbol of alienation and otherness is a recurring element in Essyad’s works, as is the motif of “Blueberry Inflation”, a transformation undergone by the character Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, which has since garnered a worldwide fanbase. In this case, in Essyad’s work, the body and its transformations represent a reclaiming of the body against the ideals of perfection imposed by consumer society. For example, in the work titled blueberry.inflation.v1.2 (2021), the artist’s body transforming into a juicy blueberry is not meant to reflect the moral warning of the film that originally inspired this metamorphosis but instead offers a tribute to a niche fan base that embraces and celebrates the opulent body in all its erotic and pleasurable glory. In the satirical science fiction work BLUEBOT (2021), a blue robot is the survivor of a past matriarchal society, in contrast to society as we know it today. Similarly, the work Familiar (2019) playfully addresses the appropriation of customs and traditions deemed exotic by colonial culture. The jury acknowledges the coherence and acumen with which Giulia Essyad addresses the theme of the body in her works, which range from performance to poetry and visual art.
Swiss Art Awards 2023 | Kiefer Hablitzel 2021 | Pro Helvetia Residency Award 2020
Fri Art Kunsthalle, Fribourg | Cherish, Geneva | Lokal-Int, Biel | Oxyd, Wintherthur | Like A Little Disaster, Poligno a Mare, | For, Basel | CAC, Genève | Kunsthaus Riehen, Basel | CEC Genève | Kunstmuseum Solothurn | Forde, Genève | MOCA, Taipei
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