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Independent journal exploring the intersections between material and digital cultures, and broader themes to do with our bodies, labour, and time.
Aims to promote discussion about how technology will reshape ideas around community action, communication, and the arts.


Submit     Contact     Shop     Instagram

Independent journal exploring the intersections between material and digital cultures, and broader themes to do with our bodies, labour, and time.
Aims to promote discussion about how technology will reshape ideas around community action, communication, and the arts.


Instant Infinity; In Reflection

Maria Dragoi in Conversation with Doron Beuns and Isabelle van Manen
Time of Publication: 12:26,  27/2/23

INSTANT INFINITY was a group-exhibition about co-existing with the current state of the internet, curated by Isabelle van Manen & Doron Beuns. The event was hosted by OFFGRID agency and included the work of Annie van Noortwijk, Carl Rethman, Daan Couzijn,
Doron Beuns, Elizaveta Federmesser, Natalia Jordanova, Max King, Seb Price and Viola Renate.

This selection of artists explore how their lives and practices have adapted to a significant increase in overall screen-time. They belong to a second wave of Post-Internet artists who use digital strategies to create physical objects. After an increase of social media users, algorithms and Web-3, the time has come for an update of the initial wave. Another chapter with new main- characters, technologies and reflections on the current state of affairs. The internet has changed a fair bit over the past few years and so have the responses of its respective artists.

I spoke to Doron and Isabelle about their exhibition over email, not having had the chance to see it in person:

Maria Dragoi: For me, reading your statement and seeing the works, I understood the binding theme was tension - between the fleshy and the binary, between the time bound and the eternal - hence the title. These are concepts a lot of people are wrestling with, across all fields. How do we make sense of ourselves in new technological time? I want to know what your personal attachment is to that concept? What brought you to wanting to explore it through an exhibition format?

Doron Beuns and Isabelle van Manen: We have been feeling uncertain about the impact of new technologies. We feel a strong sense of optimism towards artistic possibilities, but we also kind-of dread the political and public-health implications that new technologies could have. However, we may be proven wrong in both ways. The fun and interesting aspect of this present-moment is that our reality is highly unpredictable. It seems like the only way we can make sense of ourselves in this new technological time is through trial and error. Cultural production can certainly help us to evaluate this trial and error process. We noticed that the pathology and beauty of this new technological time shines through the cracks of many people’s works and practices. Therefore, it made a lot of sense to combine perspectives in a group-exhibition.

M: The creative industries have been some of the most affected, but also most embracing of changes in tech. Working with the artists in the show, what was the atmosphere and attitude about their own practices in this ‘second wave’ of post-internet art?

D&I: The artists seemed very observant and somewhat a-moral (not to be confused with immoral). In the process of talking to everyone we noticed that many of the artists made work in response to some phenomenon they have witnessed very recently. Most, if not all artists were operating from a place of fascination and possibility rather than commentary. Ironically everything inevitably becomes commentary in the context of contemporary art. But it certainly did not dominate the overall attitude. The overall atmosphere was actually quite convivial and seemed to celebrate the odd moment we’re in. Maybe this was a form of coping, but it was certainly a lot of fun.

M: I was only able to see the exhibition online - although all the work in the exhibition had an element of physicality, despite being about the intangible internet. What do you think I missed? Do you think the exhibition could work digitally?

D&I: You would certainly miss how proximity, texture, shimmer and movement transform the perception of many works. Despite this exhibition being about the internet, there will always be more aesthetic levers to play with in physical reality. Also, a work like ‘Continuous Presence’ by Seb Price came to occupy a social function within the space. People where standing and sitting around the digital fire animation, drinking wine and exchanging perspectives. We couldn’t possibly replicate that in digital form.

Perspex, String, Electric

Candles, Casket handles, 5” Display, 0.8” Display, Raspberry Pi
4, Raspberry Pi Zero 2w
14 x 14 x 9cm (display)

A response to research surrounding death rituals, ceremonies and how within the 21st century, death is becoming the most public it has ever been.

For recent locational reasons, funerals and other death ceremonies have been moved online enabling relatives and friends to attend virtually while also providing a lucrative opportunity for digital media companies. Privacy and data rights are often not thought
about I these situations and the upselling of funeral ceremony add ons is more prominen than ever with the introduction of new technologies.

The program within the box scrapes the internet for live death ceremonies in and form, globally that are made public on major streaming websites. The web-scrape is performed every 15 minutes in order to update the list and continue a rolling display of live
ceremonies. Below the main stream is a view counter showing the number of people who you are watching with. The program only shows the least viewed ceremonies

Continuous Presence
Video animation on led screens
5 x 126 x 122 cm

Continuous Presence is a screen based digital artwork that contemplates our associations and relationships with concepts of originality & truth, the real and fake. We see a simulated fire, using the current state-of-the art hardware. ever reaching a closer and closer resemblance to faithful recreation, is counteracted by a black mirrored surface, and an inability to nourish any sense other than our sight, creating a sense of dissonance.

On one hand the perennial relationship to fire, one of warmth, sustenance, shelter, in memory and emotion reciprocates warm emotions inside ourselves, while the cold materiality of the work and its two-dimensionality amplify it's inability to properly satisfy us.

M: You describe the net as a ‘zone of spiritual warfare’, where ‘where…identities, hopes, fears, dreams, pasts and futures constantly collide.’ Why does an area of disembodiment allow for this conflict?

D&I: I believe one takes more risk in a virtual environment where you literally have no skin in the game. People would most likely face physical repercussions if they would behave offline like they do online. Combine that with social media apps that strongly incentivise us to constantly engage, battle, reiterate and transform. We find it fascinating that the internet can simultaneously function as an emancipatory rocket-ship and addictive zombification trap that makes you dwell on something for far too long.

M: It’s a bit of a buzz-topic, but I have to ask, why the decision to include work dealing with, or using, AI? Stable diffusion and GAN softwares seem poised to redefine all sorts of artistic practices - this is creating a mixture of excitement and dread from artists.

D&I: We were really interested to see how GAN softwares would translate into physical outcomes. ’Pinterest Vase’ by Carl Rethmann,

‘It-Bags’ by Elizaveta Federmesser and ‘I said follow the clouds that look like Sheep’ by Daan Couzijn use GAN softwares in their production process. The singular aspect of these pieces outsourced to an A.I was the image-making, whilst the reproductive part was done by human hands. It may sound dreadful to some but we were positively intrigued by the role-reversal in these works. After all it is the artist that remains in charge of orchestrating these processes.

M: What’s next - will you keep working in this conceptual vein, or are there other things you’d like to explore?

D&I: There are certainly enough interesting artistic practices around us to do another edition of INSTANT INFINITY. We would love to see if the overall attitude towards new-tech could shift within a year. Besides that we are considering to explore subjects in our curation that are somewhat adjacent to the internet; Gore vs. technological advancement, cultural production vs. trend-forecasting, memes as psychotherapy. We are generally attracted to subjects that invite duality, contingency and a sense of humour.

Machines Looking at People Looking at Machines
(Pinterest Vase)
Digital media and ceramic vase, handmade in Italy by Stylnove
32x16x20 cm

Ceramic vases generated by an “artificial designer” trained on the most popular Pinterest boards that feature ceramic vases. The AI is used to generate shapes that represent the style popular at the time of creating the dataset. The generated vases are reproduced together with a professional
ceramics manufacturer.