The exhibition Space Invaders brings together works by three artists working in Düsseldorf, Cologne and Berlin who deal in different ways with the question of exploring and taking over space. The title quotes the computer game “Space Invaders”, launched in the 1970s, a shoot ‚em up game with limited freedom of movement. In the gameplay of the 1978 classic, aliens approach from the air in a grid-like arrangement, which the players fight from the ground.
Deliberately, Gallery 3AP’s exhibition titles cite works from the visual arts, architecture, music, literature or, in this case, interaction design, and refer to the work of contemporary artists. The named cult game can be found today as a „historically and culturally significant landmark“ (MOMA, New York) in numerous private and museum collections and is soon to be reissued in an AR variant for smartphones after more than 45 years. The group exhibition focuses on references to behavior that the game triggers, including aspects of behavioral design, but also visual ‘qualities’, especially simulations, illusion, and the connection between technology and entertainment. Through the exhibited works, however, the artists do not outline (utopian?) life dreams of a better world in which human encounters with unknown objectified life forms are less confrontational and destructive. The aim is to address the phenomena immanent to computer games from an artistic perspective and with artistic means, such as spatial observation and surveillance as well as interventions in visual habits or participation at the interface of physical and virtual living spaces.
Sonja Heim (*1997) deals intensively with ‚human-animal-object-relationships‘ in her work. The expansive installations form small-scale worlds, formed from elements of craftsmanship or mass industry, such as glass beads or chicken blinders. In doing so, she transfers behavioral patterns or production processes of Western-influenced high cultures and class identities into the exhibition space. Her most recent work, a woven tapestry of glass beads, is based on a pencil drawing sketched by the artist, which was transformed into a digital image via a text-to-image AI (Dall-E) using descriptive words. This in turn served as a template for the creation of a number and letter grid (BeadTool 4), in order to subsequently translate the data obtained, bead by bead, back into a weaving frame. In an impressive way, Sonja Heim stages human-machine cooperation anchored in the process of creation and the transformation of a working-class culture linked to it. The Sisyphean labor of manual craftsmanship contrasts with files created in seconds, emphasizing the inevitable discrepancy between man and machine. Sonja Heim is currently studying at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the class of Franka Hörnschemeyer.
In her artistic work, Catharina Szonn (*1987) deals with technological and social realities of our present, in which she draws on cultural phenomena that have already passed and depicts machines as left-behind colloborateurs of an incessant idea of economic expansion. The boundaries to philosophical themes, textual and linguistic forms are fluid in her mode of expression. Thus the artist draws on the ride that has become known as the „Kiddy Ride“ as an archetype of the imagination and service machine: she transforms the helicopter, which looks as if it has fallen out of time, which as a kind of artifact may also awaken childhood memories and symbolically carries the dream of ascending (into the air), into an artistic financing model. Included in this is the addictive nature of a society that loves the „spectacle“ (La société du Spectacle, Debord). Catharina Szonn studied at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach, at the Iceland Academy of Arts Reykjavik and at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She lives and works in Berlin.
Jacqueline Hen (*1989) works at the intersection of design, art, and research, exploring possibilities for social transformation through communication and participation. In her light art objects and large-scale immersive installations, she explores the unconscious perception of one’s own movement, tension, posture, and position in space (proprioception) as well as experiences of contingency (Luhmann, Parsons) in the intertwining of physical and virtual living spaces. The work „Off Grid“ creates the illusion of an infinite space of brightness and darkness with the help of a mirror and grid-like arranged lights, whereby the perception of the body takes place in the face of a physical and, as it were, digital space. The explosion particles floating in the air are reminiscent of the first colored arcade games created by means of overlay foils. In her research and teaching Hen focuses on developing a contemporary „basic doctrine of design“ that relates to all areas of analog, digital, 2d and 3d design techniques and addresses universal principles such as symmetry, rhythm and interaction. She studied at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Art Center College of Design Los Angeles, and worked at Studio Tomás Saraceno from 2013-2016. In 2019, her work „Ligh High“ was awarded the International Light Art Award. Jacqueline Hen lives and works in Cologne and Wiesbaden.