View of Pariser Platz 9th Berlin Biennale, 2016 Client — Jon Rafman Studios Virtual Reality Installation —
Photo courtesy of Artsy, Berlin Biennale.
For the 9th Berlin Biennale, Jon Rafman & Studio Samuel Walker have created a new site-specific virtual reality experience using the Oculus Rift. The work explores the haptic and uncanny aspects of VR as the viewer takes a journey through a series of dramatic, ever-changing scenes. On the terrace, the artist presents sculptures of animals swallowing and being swallowed. The simultaneously violent and erotic encounters can function as a metaphor for our local immersion in and consumption of digital media. The work is situated on the balcony of the Akademie der Kunst in Berlin, overlooking the historical Pariser Platz.
Klaus Kiesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1, says of the work: "Such a strong statement it should be kept for the next two years here in this venue."
As described in the Berlin Art Link by Alison Hugill, "The virtual experience begins in almost the exact setting where we find ourselves, overlooking Brandenburg Gate, but without the usual flow of tourists. Suddenly, the nearby sculptures of cannibalistic hybrid animals come to life and the balcony begins to crumble beneath our feet. This anxiety-inducing work might be the most effective one in the show, tapping into an imagined future where everything is similar to the present but terrifyingly other. The piece embodies the proposed premise of the Biennale, but succeeds where many other contributions merely reflect the present back to us, ironically or apathetically."