I just had a trippy time in the back room of Tender Trap and not because I was beer happy and dancing to old school hip hop. The back space moonlights as Superchief Gallery (66 Greenpoint Ave), and it’s there that I stepped into the virtual world of the Digital Museum of Digital Art (DiMoDa), where it is currently exhibiting the works of four New Media artists in DiMoDa 2.0: Morphé Presence.
Equipped with the Oculus Rift and Xbox controller, I landed in what looked like a deserted space station with a futuristic Pantheon in the distance. Here is where you see the work of DiModa’s two founders – Alfredo Salazar-Caro, who designed the terrain and the 3D modeling using a medley of tools (Blender/Z-Brush/Substance Painter/Unity) and William Robertson, who did the programming to make it fully functional. Once inside the museum, you are faced with four monoliths, each of which take you to one of the artists’ works.
After fumbling around with the control a bit, I made my way into the world of Brenna Murphy, where colorful geometric shapes and textures whirled around me in slow centrifugal motion as though I was in the middle of a kaleidoscope.
Venezuelan artist Miyo Van Stenis pays tribute to the game Doom with “War Room,” a densely political allegory to warfare as a symbol of toxic femininity. Inside this world, there is a building full of strippers you can shoot and kill. More curious visitors might jump over a few obstacles and navigate around dancing naked women to retrieve a spinning golden memory card, which gives access to a door that leads to a “feminist cocktail” video of speeches by powerful women juxtaposed against hardcore pornography – a “poetical image” that alludes to the fact that “sex or war as forms of power are independent from individuals, it’s a constant.”
Theo Trian‘s architectural self-portrait is where things felt sticky and if immersion was the end-game here, it worked because at some point I just wanted to run out and take a long hot shower. When you navigate around the giant mountain of a human head, its unblinking eyes follow your every move as though it’s the last vestiges of life in a persecuted Greek God. He’s rolled out the pink carpet in the form of a lopsided tongue for guests to enter the caverns of what you can imagine as the stench-filled innards of our barely alive friend. You inhabit this space with maggots and flies while the host sometimes whispers things like “I wouldn’t go there if I were you.”
A cube inside of a cube inside of a cube that keeps spinning. That is how you jump between scenes in the world of Rosa Menkman. Navigating here was like going through a maze of quicksand while being engulfed in white noise and black and white glitchery. Menkman’s mastery of the glitch art form is no surprise, considering she is one of the champions of glitch scene, has numerous written works that inspired future glitch artists, and started the Glitch Festival.
The impetus behind DiMoDa was to break from the traditional sense of a museum and embrace the cyber ethos of connecting anywhere, without being bounded by the “white cube.” It’s traversing in the young territory of net art and challenges previous notions that unique art objects are more valuable than multiplied objects. Our contemporary reality is almost always textured by the devices and software around us. So having the physical manifestation alongside the virtual seems like an appropriate reflection of how we often experience the world. And the value placed on the experience of art over it as a tangible object is just scratching the surface of its potential.
DiMoDa 2.0: Morphé Presence is on view at Superchief Gallery (66 Greenpoint Ave) until tomorrow (Friday, 9/23) when they will be having their closing party from 4-10PM. Musical Performances, DJ Sets, and FREE BEER from 6-7PM.