The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Magdalena Pederin: Contagion
A Holographic Installation
Contagion is a multimedia work in which the artist examines the phenomenon of perception and simulation, researches the symbolic space of the real and the virtual, as well as their reciprocal influences. With this work, Pederin further thematizes a dystopian vision of future in which the human matrix is a “simulated reality”, created by machines endowed with artificial intelligence. As well as in her previous works, the artist is also a protagonist, i.e. her avatar that is identical with the artist’s person in reality.
The holographic installation consists of an interface, a video, and a holographic projection. Using the interface, visitors choose options containing excerpts from texts, such as: Plato’s Republic, Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, Baudrillard’s Simulation and Reality, McLuhan’s Medium is the Message, and Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
The software then applies random choice to phrases taken from these texts and joins them into a unique combination. The mixed texts that form a new whole are projected onto the wall of the exhibition hall, and the other projection, a holographic one, shows the author declaiming them. The selected texts are known as superior examples of analysis, as well as accounts of changes in perception in their respective fields: contributing to political theory (Plato), exposing the mechanisms of media manipulation (Debord), analyzing how technology influences art (Benjamin), or differences and similarities between reality and its image (Baudrillard). The newly created texts are cybernetic constructs whose purpose is to stimulate the potentials of cognition and perception that we have, but, being exposed to the technological information overload, use them less and less.
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