In July Photographic Gallery Hippolyte shows Teemu Kivikangas’ experimental, interactive installation titled The Aleph, which is based on the 1949 short story El Aleph by Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges. Built using a game engine, used to make computer games, Kivikangas’ spatial essay investigates the artistic possibilities of games. The speed typical for the game world is replaced in the piece with static space and instead of action the viewer rather looks and finds.
The Aleph is a melancholic story on time and disappearance, a triangle drama the players of which are no longer present. “The Aleph” described in Borges’ short story is a point where you can see everything, everywhere, all the time. One of the characters in Borges’ story uses the Aleph to build an encyclopedic picture of the world, a perfect archive.
Kivikangas’ piece The Aleph investigates the history of both image and seeing as well as of surveillance and record keeping. In the piece’s virtual reality a viewer walks through a manor, where the Aleph is claimed to have existed. The viewer however might not be able to find it in the building, but at the same time the manor lives, not unlike the Aleph, on different layers of time. Also the characters in the story are only seen through old photographs. They – especially Beatriz who acts as the focal point of the story – are combined from countless real people, alive at different times.
On a technical level the piece looks at the relationship of reality, image and the virtual. The virtual world and its characters are built from thousands of photographs, collected from the artist’s own or public archives.
It also takes a look at the performative aspects of gaming. The piece can be played only by one person at a time on the main screen, which makes them a type of performer, a narrator and a lead character. However other viewers can explore the piece through other screens around the gallery, not unlike through the Aleph.
Teemu Kivikangas is a media artists and a game designer based in Helsinki. In his recent exhibitions at MUU Gallery (Helsinki), Titanik Gallery (Turku) and Gallery Huuto (Helsinki) he has investigated the border lines between digital games and visual art. His photographs and experimental films have been shown in group exhibitions and festivals in Finland and around the world. Kivikangas has received his MA from the University of Art and Design’s Media Lab (now Aalto University).
The exhibition has been supported by the Alfred Kordelin Foundation.
2 – 31 July 2015
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
Yrjönkatu 8–10 courtyard, 00120 Helsinki, Finland
+358 9 612 33 44, www.hippolyte.fi
Mon–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun Closed