Immersion at Beit Ha'ir Museum
Opening Event: Tuesday 18.5
Psychology defines "immersion" as absorption, loss of the sense of self in the real world and its transference into the game world.
Beit Ha'ir museum, as part of its Year of Communication, chose in this exhibition to deal with the blurred boundaries between the real and virtual worlds, by examining the "gaming" phenomenon as a key product of the digital revolution. This phenomenon and its far-reaching implications will be examined in their philosophical, social, technological and existential aspects, in the context of their relations with the world of art and culture.
Immersion at Beit Ha'ir challenges the preconception that gamers are passive, absorbed in games to the point of losing themselves, and points to the possibility of maintaining an active life in the virtual world, making the game a place for establishing and presenting new identities.
The video game is a work created out of the raw materials of reality, and each person may interpret his or her experience of the gaming world and choose whether to define it as real or imagined. High technology, which affects the creation and design of digital games, brings the immersive experience to an extreme, while making it common among a wide population. The exhibition will present a new world that is developing in an exhilaratingly fast pace, while addressing the raw reality of human consciousness using high technology, to return to an elementary-primeval-childish place.
The world of video game creation consists of many different disciplines: design, programming, art, animation, cinema and more. The exhibition will present all types of games – war, adventure, social, art, role playing, arcade, commercial and indie – all offering a platform for realizing fantasies and for creation.
Video games are often criticized and blamed for creating addiction and for espousing 'escapism.' Others may argue that such an escape offers, in effect, an alternative way of life. Beit Ha'ir proposes another approach, presenting an entire genre of video games encouraging critical thinking and social activism, in order to change and improve our world. This is exemplified by the activities of the Games for Change community and the game Half the Sky, promoting cultivation and empowerment of women in developing countries.
The exhibition at Beit Ha'ir embraces immersion, in both spatial design and presentation methods, so that the museum visitor is not always sure whether he or she is being invited to play a video game, look at a work of art, watch a film or simply stare into space.
The exhibition will turn the museum space into a secular cathedral, inviting the public to join the congregation of this new religion and immerse themselves in the world of video games.
Beit Ha'ir's windows will be covered with stained glass paintings of past and present superheroes, with the ceiling turned into an interactive playing grounds for a new video game developed especially for the exhibition by video artist Lior Sade. At the center of the hall, an art installation will be presented with over 30 computer monitors displaying different video games from Israel and abroad.
:These will be exhibited next to video and media works by international artists, including
Avivit Erel (Israel), Ofek Gilboa (Israel), Eliran Vegh (Israel), Assaf Halevi (Israel), Gil Naamati(Israel), Gal Fridman (Israel), Jesse Kanda (UK) , Dan Hernandez (USA), Yotam Shifroni (Israel),Lior Sadeh (Israel), Martin Le Chevallier (France), Eddo Stern (Israel, USA), Idan Kimel (Israel),Stav Goldstein (Israel).
Chief Curator and Director of the Bialik Complex: Ayelet Bitan Shlonsy
Concept and art consultant: Claudette Zorea
Curatorial and production team: Yamit Shimon, Yael Moshe, Sivan Lustgarten
Video game consultants: Shalev Moran, Omri Rosen
Exhibition #1 Not Book
Beit Ha'ir is launching a year which will examine the wider meaning of the concept of communication in an up-to-date, local and global context, through art, science and philosophy.
In a digital world, where economic and political forces coerce us to continuously be swept away in the technological whirlwind, this exhibition raises questions currently at the center of the art, cultural and social discussion: what is the balance of powers at present between the new and the old media, and where is this heading? What is original creation in the digital era? What is the role of the museum and the curator in an age where hierarchies have blurred, and information is free and available to all?
In the exhibition Not Book, we will try to create a world allowing at the same time both the archaic and the hyper-modern – two extremes that will raise fundamental questions in the field of art in the digital age. For this purpose, Beit Ha'ir has invited Kenneth Goldsmith – founder and editor of UbuWeb – the world's largest online archive of avant-garde art. Goldsmith, born in 1961, leads a contemporary and revolutionary cultural movement: he addresses creation in the digital age in general, and text in particular, asking, what is the meaning of art and of the artist in the internet era? Goldsmith advocates 'uncreative writing', and proposes ideas such as unoriginal creation, how to deal with the surplus and multiplicity of information, collecting information as a creative activity, free culture, tangible text and more.
Together with Kenneth Goldsmith's work, the exhibition Not Book will place at its center the "International Plain Notebook Project", curated by Dr. Guy Morag Tzepelewitz, dedicated to theplain brown notebook. This notebook, associated with the educational system of the early days of socialistic Zionism in Eretz Israel, is a political object of sorts, which like the ideology, faces extinction. The notebook becomes an international creative platform, inviting subconscious connection to free and liberated creation. The brown notebook – which we are familiar with from our first years in school is radically transformed when removed from the ideological Israeli context and put into our current times, in which values of internationalism and individualism are cherished. The project proposes a fresh model for collective, interdisciplinary and universal art, which brings together hundreds of artists from different backgrounds, abolishing the customary hierarchies defined by the art establishment.
Over 350 artists from 45 different countries participate in this wide-scope project, contributing unique pieces in a variety of techniques: two-dimensional, sculptures and 3D, video works and spatial installations. Internationally acclaimed artists exhibiting beside high school students and common people, all artworks inspired by the plain brown notebook.
Chief Curator and Director of the Bialik Complex: Ayelet Bitan Shlonsky
Curation and art consultant: Claudette Zorea
Curatorial team: Ruth Garon and Yael Mosh
Content Editor Website & Blog: Yamit Shimon
Daniel Landau's talk "The Evolution of the Self" relating to his artwork "Look at Me" exhibited in Beit Ha'ir as part of The International Plain Notebook Project curated by Dr. Guy Morag Tzepelewitz. The project, dedicated to the plain brown notebook, is a part of the exhibition Not Book.
The talk was given at the event "Keeping it Plain" at Beit Ha'ir, curated by Dr. Guy Morag Tzepelewitz and Keren Shpilsher.