HEK Net Works

HEK Net Work Iocose
IOCOSE, Moving Tasks Forward, 2020

In March 2020, HEK launched the HEK Net Works project series, inviting artists to create net-based projects specifically for HEK's digital channels. They are to occupy the digital space in a way that corresponds to their artistic practice.

The series began on a weekly basis during the Covid 19-caused initial lockdown in March 2020 and has continued with a monthly feature since the summer of 2020.

The pandemic-related closure of museums worldwide weakened the already precarious situation of artists who lack a regular income. With this initiative, HEK supported the work of artists who create network-based projects. In the meantime, the series has established itself as an integral part of HeK's online activities.


Ed Fornieles

Associations 12#, 08.06.2021

HEK Net Work Fornieles
Ed Fornieles, Associations 12#, 2021

Ed Fornieles’ recent project Associations is a personal look at the cultural environment we inhabit. The artist has collected pictures from the internet, ordering them in series of images through an associative process based on similarities in form and content: from the image of a hand to that of a family leading to a house and finally to the globe of the world.

Elsewhere the association of a couple holding hands leads to a passionate kiss, the globe to a dinosaur and the open palm of a hand to the superhero Tony Stark interpreted by Robert Downey Jr. Through creating chains of associations Fornieles maps out his own predilections, tastes and biases as well as the boundaries of a wider space of cultural possibilities. As in his previous works, the artist exemplifies here his ongoing investigation with how identity is formed, replicated and sustained through the ongoing myriad of pressures that make up daily life. Ed Fornieles’ Associations 12# was featured on the Instagram feed of HEK from 08.06. till 07.07.2021.

Ed Fornieles is an artist working in London. He has exhibited at The Serpentine Gallery, Chisenhale Gallery, Martin Gropius Bau, amongst various other institutions and galleries.

Martina Menegon

It feels like home, 11.05.2021

HEK Net Work Menegon
Martina Menegon, It feels like home, 2021

In It feels like home, Martina Menegon negotiates perception and forms of her own body. Menegon's roughly 3D-scanned bedroom is presented in orthogonal view and cyclically fills with extremely low-poly 3D-scanned virtual clones of herself, each in perspective view.

This very personal and intimate space is now accessible online to everyone, and its inhabitants, despite their virtual nature, become perceptible when the user's cursor touches and interacts with them. Every hour or page refresh, the gravity of the virtual room can change randomly, causing a shift in the perception of the space. Sound by Alexander Martinz. The work was visible here from 11.05. to 08.06.2021.

Statement by the artist:
It feels like home is an online intervention that uses the synthetic space of the browser as a stage to unfold an interactive, performative and generative virtual sculpture. Experimenting with the notion of digital sculpture, It feels like home reflects on the site-specificity within the virtual as well as the offline spaces, while it goes through hourly and algorithmic transformations, becoming a performative process that continuously produces unexpected and unpredictable results that depends on each visitor’s offline time-zone. Especially after more than one year of pandemic, locked inside and constantly online, the notions of time, home and personal space feel in constant change and contradiction, helplessly transient.”

Martina Menegon is an artist working with interactive and augmented reality. In her work, Menegon creates intimate and complex assemblages of physical and virtual elements that explore the contemporary self and its synthetic physicality. She experiments with the uncanny and grotesque, the self and the body, and the dialogue between physical and virtual reality to create disorienting experiences that become perceptual despite their virtual nature. During the lockdown, she has created several works, for example for the virtual platform Mozilla Hubs, where she continues to develop her research on Virtual Reality and 3D images.

She (*1988) currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria. She is a University Assistant and Lecturer at the department of Transmedia Art at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where she teaches “Digital Design and Virtuality”. She is also teaching multimedia tools for interactive arts at the IUAV University in Venice (MA Digital Exhibit, BA Multimedia Arts) together with Klaus Obermaier and Stefano D’Alessio. She is currently Head of Extended Reality and Curator at the “Area for Virtual Art” a platform for immersive experiences and get-togethers founded by sound:frame and Pausanio. She is also part of the curatorial team of the new media art festival of Vienna CIVA Festival.

Dirk Koy: Raum, 13.04.2021

Raum, 13.04.2021

HEK Net Work Koy
Dirk Koy, Raum, 2021

Dirk Koy creates surprising audio-visual works in which the viewer's perception is often challenged. His work Raum is a moving, 360°, digital and analogue drawing, created during the lockdown. During this time in which movement options were severely limited, nearby natural space, digital space, and one's imagination offered the opportunity to leave home to experience other places.

In this work, a space is created that leads users to the intersection between reality and virtuality. Sound and movement create an immersive experience in an environment that feels moving and organic, but in its form can only exist in digital space. Raum could be experienced online on HEK's Vimeo page as well as on our social media from 13.04.2021 to 11.05.2021.

Statement by the artist: "Pencil drawing, photography, digital texture and movement merge into one big whole. Everything seems to be set in motion. The viewer becomes part of the action and decides which point of view he/she wants to take. The individual media layers begin to correspond with each other and allow the viewer to dive into an uncontrolled, porous world. Below and above dissolve, individual image layers break open, seemingly subterranean things come to the surface: unpredictable, erratic, with long pauses, then continuous again. The familiar becomes strange, the strange becomes familiar."

Dirk Koy is a Swiss artist and lecturer at HGK FHNW Basel for time-based media. Originally trained as a graphic designer, Koy works primarily with audio-visual media. In his award-winning works, he experiments with everyday images and environments, using both analogue and digital techniques.

Ted Davis

GLITCH.ext, 09.03.2021

HEK Net Work Davis
Ted Davis, GLITCH.ext, 2021

Ted Davis' GLITCH.ext enables visitors to glitch HEK's virtual façade and the website hek.ch. Images, texts, and every HTML element forming the website's structure could be glitched by the visitor with the click of a mouse. If one continued to move the mouse over the chosen element, it is possible to influence the outcome of the glitch. Building on the artist's recent p5.glitch (2020) – a byte-level glitching library within p5.js – a companion browser extension for Chrome also allows users to keep glitching the rest of the web. GLITCH.ext was visible from 09.03.2021 to 13.04.2021 on thewebsite hek.ch.

The Chrome extension GLITCH.ext can be installed from the Web Store or manually from GitHub.

Statement by the artist:
"As culture transitioned from physical to virtual during the past Covid-19 year, GLITCH.ext pays homage to glitch in both the analogue and digital domain: Firstly, to HEK's own glitch façade, H3333333K (2015) by !Mediengruppe Bitnik, an architecturally implemented JPEG-glitch. Secondly, glitching websites incites Glitch Browser (2005) by Dimitre Lima (DMTR), Ant Scott (BEFLIX) and Iman Moradi, which JPEG-glitched all images of a given website via proxy server. During my master studies here in Basel (2007-2009), resulting in a thesis focused on glitching the JPEG file format, Precise Mishandling of the Digital Image Structure, virtual exchange with the artists behind Glitch Browser and local video-sniffing workshops by !Mediengruppe Bitnik helped shape my developing practice. They joined a growing exposure to notions of revealing the invisible, exploiting digital media below the surface, and networked art. Starting with TEXT2IMAGE and HEADer_REMIX (2009), throughout the past 10+ years, glitch continues to find its way into my work, with its endless stream of surprising images and unique artefacts to discover."

Ted Davis is a media artist, designer and educator originally from the United States and based in Basel, Switzerland. Since 2010 he teaches interaction design within the Visual Communication Institute at the Basel School of Design HGK FHNW. His work and teachings explore the volatility of digital media through glitch and reactivating older ‘new media’ through newer programming means. His open-source projects (basil.js, XYscope, P5LIVE) enable designers to program within Adobe InDesign, render vector graphics on vector displays, and collaboratively create live coded visuals.

Rosa Menkman

The BLOB of Im/Possible Images, 09.02.2021

HEK Net Work Menkmann
Rosa Menkman, The BLOB of Im/Possible Images, 2021, courtesy of the artist

The BLOB of Im/Possible Images by Rosa Menkman features some special and liminal images that the artist collected from her ongoing research. During her Art@CERN residency, Menkman researched impossible images, by asking scientists to imagine 'impossible' images of any object or phenomenon that they think are important. As a result of this exploration, Menkman created a low poly rendition of the unquantifiable blob of possible and impossible images that are very hard or simply impossible to resolve, due to constraints in the affordances of our image processing technologies.

Some of these images may have otherwise never found the way to our eyes, they may remain impossible or only exist in the hypothetical nooks of the BLOB, that functions as an archive of Im/Possible images. The work also comes with an open call for impossible images: with a form accessible from inside the BLOB, Menkman invites new submission to the archive. The BLOB of Im/Possible Images was visible from 09.02.2021 to 09.02.2021: newart.city/show/menkman-blob-of-im-possibilities

Rosa Menkman engages with the outcome of accidents in digital and analogue media. Her work takes common visual elements of digital images, such as glitches, distortions and colour errors, which are reframed and staged in various formats, including installations, video works, and online projects. The video work The Collapse of PAL (2010) uses various glitches along with audio track as narrative devices to tell the story of the now obsolete PAL signal. The artist also deals with the history of the processing and archiving of digital image data in various works such as DCT:SYPHONING (2015-2017). Under the title Glitch Moment(um) she published a book in 2011 that discusses the aesthetic and cultural relevance of glitch art, and established it as a genre.

Statement by the artist:
"My work focuses on noise artifacts that result from accidents in both analogue and digital media (such as glitch and encoding and feedback artifacts). I think the resulting artifacts of these accidents can facilitate an important insight into the otherwise obscure alchemy of standardization via resolutions. The standardization of resolutions is a process that generally imposes efficiency, order and functionality on our technologies. It does not just involve the creation of protocols and solutions, but also entails the obfuscation of compromises and the black-boxing of alternative possibilities, which are as a result in danger of staying forever unseen or even forgotten. Through this research, which is both practice based and theoretical, I try to uncover these anti-utopic, lost and unseen or simply 'too good to be implemented' resolutions, to find new ways to understand, use and perceive through and with our technologies."

Marc Lee

Bobi Wine vs Museveni, 12.01.2021

HEK Net Work Lee
Marc Lee, Bobi Wine vs Museveni, 2021

Conceived for the HEK Net Works series, the work Bobi Wine vs Museveni is a variation of Marc Lee’s former work Political Campaigns. What counts today are Likes and Retweets, who wanders across the screen as stars (Museveni) and hearts (Wine), fighting for victory. Whatever the end of the presidential election, it will be historic. Bobi Wine vs Museveni was visible from 12.01.2021 to 09.02.2021 here with these settings.

The online work Bobi Wine vs Museveni filters out the latest Twitter and YouTube messages containing the terms "Bobi Wine" and "Yoweri Museveni" and weaves them into a wild TV news programme (24/7). A net-based TV show that confronts us with opinions that do not always reflect variants of our own opinion. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known under his stage name Bobi Wine is a star for the youth in Uganda. He raps, does politics and, as the most promising presidential candidate, is a threat to Uganda's long-term president Yoweri Museveni. The election took place on 14 January 2021. Bobi Wine grew up in the digital revolution, has access to political activist strategies and creative expression. He uses the internet as a virtual public space where his followers come together, share their lives and ideas, open to comment and debate. There are several Ugandans within Uganda. With platforms like Twitter and YouTube we can take a look at what the real Uganda looks like and what it thinks. What do people in Uganda really say? What ideas do they project? What kind of discourse is taking place on these platforms around the presidential elections? Can the interplay of artistic and political activist strategies lead to democracy in Uganda? What does this mean for the future of the country?

The Swiss artist Marc Lee creates network-oriented interactive art works. In his projects he experiments with the data and methods of information and communication technologies to critically examine their cultural, social and political ramifications.

Gysin & Vanetti

24 times, 08.12.2020

HEK Net Work Gysin Vanetti
Gysin & Vanetti, 24 times (from the Clock series), 2020

The work 24 times, created for the HEK Net Works series, is part of the Clock series and consists of 24 variations around the clock theme. Each of these 24 clocks displays the time of day in real-time, but with different and unusual formats. The results are rhythmic compositions of numbers, letters, and signs, such as the sum of all the numbers that make up the hours, minutes, and seconds of a given moment, or the appearance of a cuckoo every half hour.

24 times (from the Clock series) was visible from 08.12.2020 to 12.01.2021 here: https://24times.gysin-vanetti.com

Tip: open the site on your mobile phone, choose one of the 24 clocks, and add it to your Home screen to get your personalised watch!

Set in a tradition that ranges from concrete art to kinetic and programmatic art, the artists Andreas Gysin and Sidi Vanetti develop projects that often make use of recuperated mechanical systems. The work Zürich HB Flap (2016) is a spectacular example of this. Gysin & Vanetti obtained the monumental mechanical signage panel of Zurich's main station comprising 452 split-flaps elements – and replaced in 2015 by a digital panel – to reprogram it in order to create a kinetic installation. Their transformations, which the artists call 'found geometries', often take on a playful and sometimes absurd character. For example, they created a video mapping projection for the façade of a baroque church in Locarno (S.Antonio, 2007), choreographed a series of moving headlights (Fari, 2014-16), or programmed a sand drawing machine to produce geometric compositions (Sabbia, 2017).


Moving Tasks Forward, 10.11.2020

HEK Net Work Iocose
IOCOSE, Moving Tasks Forward, 2020

The work Moving Tasks Forward, realized by the Italian artist group IOCOSE for the HEK Net Works series, is one of a series of works that focus on the idea of moving the world forward, often ironically playing with the double meaning of the concept of moving forward. Moving Tasks Forward was available from 10.11 to 8.12.2020 here for the web-based Trello application.

Founded in 2006 by four artists (Matteo Cremonesi, Filippo Cuttica, Davide Prati, Paolo Ruffino), IOCOSE investigates how the narratives surrounding the future of society and technology leave traces on the present. Using a variety of media, they take a special look at media culture and digital communities. They have created fictions that critically comment on existing phenomena, such as videogame-induced pathologies (Game Arthritis, 2011), the collective creation of conspiracy theories (A Crowded Apocalypse, 2012) or online services to sell personalised protests (Instant Protest, 2017).

Statement by the artists:
"Moving Tasks Forward is a script that can solve the long list of tasks that flood our daily to do lists. Online to do lists are a common tool to organize any kind of work activity in a given time frame. Usually, a list with the name ’To Do’ containing tasks still to be done is placed on the left side of the screen. When the user completes a task, they move it forward, on the right side of the screen, usually under a reassuringly named column such as ’Done’, ’Erledigt’, ’Fatto’. The Moving Tasks Forward script automates and streamlines this process. Once launched in the browser, the script moves the tasks forward automatically at regular intervals, whether they have actually been done or not. The result is a twofold positive effect: the drastic reduction in stress generated by unfinished tasks, coupled with a priceless sense of satisfaction at having done our part, helping to move the whole world forward, one task at a time. With Moving Tasks Forward IOCOSE continue undaunted the movement of the world forward, one object at a time.

Michael Mandiberg

Virtual Background, 13.10.2020

HEK Net Work Mandiberg
Michael Mandiberg, "Sleep mode panel, 11:00 AM — 12:00 PM, June 28, 2020”, oil on canvas, 15.25 x 27.95 cm, 2020

During the lockdown, American artist Michael Mandiberg painted the background of his call partners during video calls and translated this virtual scenery into something haptic. For the HEK Net Works series, Mandiberg provided some of these images as virtual backgrounds that could be downloaded to your own computer. The Virtual Backgrounds from Mandiberg could be downloaded from 13.10. to 10.11.2020 and used as a virtual background for online video calls.

Michael Mandiberg is an interdisciplinary artist who reflects on the socio-political dimensions of information technology, while exploring its poetic expressions. For example he has developed a software that converts all prices on any webpage into their equivalent value in barrels of oil, and thus drew attention to an ongoing ecological crisis (Oil Standard, 2005). He was the co-founder of the Art+Feminism (2013-ongoing) initiative, which aims to promote the presence of women in the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. Mandiberg also wrote software that transforms the entire online encyclopedia into 7,473 volumes of 700 pages between 2009 and 2016, underlining the incongruity of such an operation (Print Wikipedia, 2009-16). His recent work, Postmodern Times (2016–18), consists of short films commissioned to the online crowdsourcing platform Fiverr.com, for the creation of a film that takes up the theme of Charlie Chaplin's famous film, Modern Times, to propose a current portrait of work in the digital age. Lately, Mandiberg painted the background of the friends they had video calls with during the lockdown.

Statement by the artist:
"As New York paused for COVID-19, my human contact and communication ceased. Like many information workers, I found myself on hours of daily video calls. A rotation of familiar faces, sitting across from me in unfamiliar rooms punctuated my work-day. I’ve visited makeshift office spaces, the kitchens of co-workers, and the childhood bedrooms of my students, observing the ways in which people choose to frame their environment for a call, or completely neglect to. In response, I have begun a series of paintings that capture and collect these interactions. Each painting corresponds to one of the video calls I have made while in quarantine, and depicts the room of the person on my call. Sized at 6” x 11” each painting reflecting the Zoom call’s 9:16 proportions. If possible, I have tried to complete each painting in the time-span of the video call from which it was sourced. Still, when the demands of my call keep me from painting, I let myself complete the paintings after the fact. I paint these rooms without the person sitting before the camera. In doing so, this series serves as a record of interactions marked by absence. An absence mediated low quality lenses, compression algorithms, and choppy connections that skew off-white colors into light-pinks, yellows, and cool blues. This painting practice has helped me cope with the cognitive exhaustion from all the video calls, and the anxiety of self-isolation while the sirens howled through the streets around me. I know that isolation is a privilege, but for me it is a necessary one, as I am immunocompromised. Painting these canvasses has been an attempt to log memory, as much as it is also a practice of self-care and preservation. Time has shifted in the absence of regular routine, and I have lost track of what day it is. These paintings help me keep track of digital experiences that are more likely to slip away and be forgotten. They are memory, and memorials.”

Ann Hirsch

What A Cutie, 08.09.2020

HEK Net Work Hirsch
Ann Hirsch, What A Cutie, 2020

What A Cutie is a video the artist's iPhone created from a collection of photos and videos the Los Angeles based artist Ann Hirsch took of her four month old daughter, Elisheva. This gesture examines technological automation in a time of public social identity. More specifically, how large media corporations such as Apple or Facebook, steal our information but soften the blow by giving us little presents like targeted ads, email word suggestions, or pre made videos we can share with friends.

Statement of the artist:
"And anyways, we thought the iPhone did a wonderful job of grabbing the best content and putting it together in a way that really celebrates the artist's daughter and makes our hearts swell. This video is probably as good, if not better, than what Hirsch would make herself.

We're so often consumed with “surveillance,” “the blockchains,” and “online visibility” that sometimes we may not have time to appreciate the beauty of little babies. Now admittedly, we have some guilt over sharing this video (even though the artist insisted) because we think about Jeff Bezos and the Zuckerbergs and we wonder if they are going to steal these images of this poor baby and sell it to baby companies? Or to the government? Track her for the rest of her life? But then we decided not to dwell on that because the priority is having people see the artist’s baby. Also, we're only going to keep this video up for a month or so and then it'll be down so we won't be exposing Elisheva TOO much you know.

It's funny, ultimately, this art work has made us think! What is more important, for people to see the artist's baby or for people to see her art? Hmmm, we are not sure. Artist's egos are so fragile, often their sense of self worth gets caught up in their "babies;" whether that be their artworks or their actual children. It's a bit sad really that they can't separate themselves from them, but as an art institution, our job is to reinforce the artist's sense of self and let them know "You are important!"

Anyways look at this goddamn baby and tell me you're not obsessed!!! She’s special!!!!"

In her works Ann Hirsch looks at how identity is performed within popular culture and the web. She often investigates cultural shame and how it is applied to gender.

Molly Soda

Cutting My Bangs At Home!, 11.08.2020

HEK Net Work Soda
Molly Soda, Cutting My Bangs At Home!, 2020, photo: Felix Walworth

Molly Soda (alas Amalia Soto), a Puerto Rican artist currently living and working in New York, has become an internet celebrity thanks to her appearances on social media platforms. For the HEK Net Works series, she created the work Cutting My Bangs At Home!, an ironic reference to popular Internet phenomena. Cutting My Bangs At Home! was visible from 11.8 to 8.9.2020: https://vimeo.com/446837667

As an artist, she questions the process of building personal identities and their reception, playfully deconstructing the representation of women in popular culture. Her work includes the first Tween Dreams, a humorous series for teenagers in which she played each character; Me and My Bear, in which she documents her engagements with a six-foot teddy bear; and Should I Send This? a reading performance of all the messages from her Tumblr account. In 2017, she co-edited with Arvida Byström the book Pics or It Didn't Happen: Images Banned From Instagram. She has been called a cultural social media anthropologist and her work has been presented in museums and galleries around the world.

Statement by the artist: "In this video I attempt to follow various YouTube hair cutting tutorials, specifically for a style of bangs referred to as ‘curtain bangs.’ Many of these videos have been uploaded in the recent months of lockdown as most people haven't had access to a hairdresser and have a lot more time on their hands. The video acts as a personal archive as well as a time capsule of this very specific moment in time through an at-home haircut. The webcam acts as the mirror for me to cut my hair."

Joana Moll

Ultimate solvers, 07.07.2020

HEK Net Work Moll
Joana Moll, Ultimate solvers, 2020

Ultimate solvers, Joana Moll’s contribution to the HEK Net Works series, reveals the techno-utopic philosophy of international design companies through their cynical slogans. Ultimate solvers was visible from 7.7 to 14.7.2020: www.janavirgin.com/HEK/

Joana Moll is an artist who lives and works in Barcelona and Berlin. Her work analyses the repercussions of techno-capitalism on social dynamics and the very development of digital technologies. Topics such as surveillance, the lucrative exploitation of personal data and the ecological impact of digital technologies are recurrent in her work. She has created net-based installations that display in real time the CO2 production generated by the global search of google users. She has also exposed current practices of online dating sites and their dubious use of private data.

Statement by the artist:
"COVID-19 crisis has exposed a massive social, ecological, political, and economic systemic failure. Even though the causes and consequences of this crisis are highly complex and profound, we’ve been repeatedly told that it can be solved with yet another app. This technical problem-solving approach is commonly known as techno-solutionism. Techno-solutionism tends to simplify and obfuscate the several realities that trigger the particular problems that it’s trying to fix; it simply doesn’t cope with problems. Even though it’s been demonstrated that techno-solutionism doesn’t work when it comes to fixing highly complex events, such as the current global pandemic, it is once again enthusiastically embraced as the only possible answer to a critical situation. But who is defining and implementing these technological fixes?
Ultimate solvers collect a series of slogans, brand identities, and supporting graphic materials used by the main corporations that prescribe technological fixes to announce their products. Interestingly, these companies tend to use quite a precise language to define what they actually do in a very unprecise way. Nevertheless, these corporations do understand, precisely, how to benefit from the realities that their technologies will create and extract from. One can’t help but wonder what will be the long term implications of solving highly complex systemic problems with reductionist techno-solutions. The future doesn’t look bright."


Realm, 02.06.2020

HEK Net Work Exonemo
exonemo, Realm, 2020

The new work Realm by the Japanese artist duo exonemo invites users to explore a website which is displayed differently depending on whether the user runs the desktop or mobile version of the browser – allowing either touch or vision. Realm was visible from 26.5 to 2.6.2020 here: exonemo.com/realm/

exonemo was formed in 1996 and consists of Sembo Kensuke and Akaiwa Yae. They explore digital technologies in a playful and entertaining way and have created online works since the early years of the World Wide Web. More particularly, their work investigates the inconsistencies between analogue and digital tools and between physical and virtual reality. They also organize collective events, such as the Internet Yami-Ichi, a fleamarket of net-based things.

Statement by the artists: "We know that we are in between here and there, the natural and the man-made, or the future and the past. And will always see a realm there. Someone is advertising that it could be touched, but no one has ever touched it and no one knows about that."

Fatih Holland

Touchscreen, 19.05.2020

HEK Net Work Holland
Faith Holland, Touchscreen, 2020

For the HEK Net Works series, New York-based American artist Faith Holland had created a new GIF, which focused on the theme of distance due to isolation and the desire, or frustration, of the sense of touch that is replaced by virtual online encounters. The GIF was visible from 19.5 to 26.5.2020 here: http://faithholland.com/touch/touch.html

Holland’s work focuses on deconstructing images of sexual bodies in popular culture. In particular, Holland practices a feminist re-appropriation of pornographic imagery through a fetishization of technology as a performative and subversive act. Her work includes performances, videos, installations, and thematic websites. GIFs are an important part of her work, of which the Visual Orgasms series is exemplary. These are a colourful and joyful metaphorical visualization of orgasms in multiple forms, such as abundance of waterfalls and fireworks.

Statement by the artist:
"In Touchscreen, different hands reach out to touch the camera. It appears that they rub up against the screen itself, but they are simulating touching you. With these caresses, the viewer and the screen are collapsed; we are asked to identify with a flat, unfeeling piece of glass. In this new environment where touch has become dangerous, we accept this simulation more willingly, just like the simulations of parties, meetings, and classes."

Lauren Huret

Kimey’s feed, 12.05.2020

HEK Net Work Huret
Lauren Huret, Kimye’s feed, 2020

For the HEK Net Works series, the Geneva based artist Lauren Huret produce stories on Instagram for one week, directly drawing and re-using content posted by celebrities – in particular the Kardashian-West-Jenner family – who have an impressive number of followers and therefore accompany and define the daily lives of millions of people.

Huret's work examines systems of belief produced by the media, particularly social networks, over our habits and behaviours. The artist intelligently uses available technological tools. She overlays images and videos with graphic elements such as smileys, icons and texts.

Statement by the artist:
"For years, I have been fascinated by the complete creation of public, staged self-fiction, and the private sphere of celebrities, through the use of new technologies and social networks. This total iconic production, highly mediatised, is for me completely embodied in the figure of the Kardashian-West-Jenner. They produce a new economy and new media rituals, and they generate a common imaginary that seems both near and far thanks to social networks (and convey sometimes problematic values). This week, by investing the
HEK Instagram account, I decided to post stories prepared, tinkered with, recomposed, and made entirely from the material posted on Instagram by the Kardashian-West-Jenner. Like painters depicting a landscape before their eyes, I will compose these shots using only image editing applications installed on my phone and tools set up by social networks to make images. A sort of research journal, the stories created this week may be an opportunity to rethink the worship, influence and imagery developed by stars as new religious and political icons."

:: vtl :: aka Dimitry Morozov

Under pressure, 05.05.2020

HEK Net Work Morozov
:: vtol :: aka Dimitry Morozov, Under pressure, 2020

For the HEK Net Works series Russian artist ::vtol:: aka Dmitry Morozov created a small machine that automatically breaks the bubbles of a bubble wrap foil so that the audience can enjoy the process and relaxation of this entertaining process during the lockdown period. The installation was running and visible via live stream from 5.5. to 12.5.2020 here: vtol.cc/filter/works/under-pressure

Morozov is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher. He focuses on contemporary media arts including sound, robotics and installation, placing special emphasis on the link between emergent systems and new kinds of technological synthesis. He has built many robotic installations, which touch on themes such as ecology, the information society and interpersonal relations.

Statement by the artist:
"In these turbulent times, everyone really lacks the usual rituals and actions that allow for a certain balance. One of many people's favourite pastimes is popping the bubble-wrap. 'Under pressure' is a mechanism that does this automatically: a useless machine whose only function is to blow bubbles in the film. The machine is installed in my workshop and through the broadcast on YouTube, anyone can watch it, destroying their stress. The idea for this machine came many years ago and at first, I conceived it as a very large-scale one. The circumstances gave a different result: on the one hand, it proved important and urgent to carry out this work at this time; on the other hand, the machine had to be produced in small dimensions and with random materials found in my workshop."

Jonas Lund

I just stare at my computer waiting for something to happen, 28.04.2020

HEK Net Work Lund
Jonas Lund, I just stare at my computer waiting for something to happen, screenshot, 2020

Intervening on the website of HEK, Swedish artist Jonas Lund produced a script for a period of seven days that reveals the presence of other users in real time. Each movement with the cursor left traces of this movements on the screen, in the form of graphics generated by an online community, reminiscent of the aesthetics of the nineties. Every website visitor could try out the digital work exclusively from 28.04. to 05.05.2020 at www.hek.ch.

Lund experiments with different formats of art production and distribution, playfully questioning the existing models related to the commercialization of art. In particular, he explored the emergence of new habits in the art world with the appearance of new digital tools. For example, he conceived the exhibition Critical Mass (2017) that evolves and changes over time, depending on an online survey that enables users to select their preferences regarding the exhibition design. He has also created 100,000 shares in the form of crypto currency tokens, allowing shareholders to have a say in his artistic career and future practice.

Statement by the artist:
"Since HEK first invited me to do something on their website two weeks ago, I've been mulling it over, finding it surprisingly difficult to find the right angle or approach. Everything is at the moment naturally surrounding Covid-19, so making work about anything else feels not too relevant, yet making work specifically about Covid-19 feels like it's too early, too much. Most of the days of the lockdown I just stare at my computer waiting for something to happen. For people who are used to working at home, it shouldn't be a big difference, but it feels completely different. I wonder if more people feel this way, if we are all connected through this moment, what if I could see you move when I move? Synchronised serendipitous movements across space. In I just stare at my computer waiting for something to happen every users trail is synchronised with all the visitors to the website and you see everyone's cursor trail. The cursor is chosen at random from the complete archive of cursors from the
RealWorld Graphics website, and is unique to one person. Revealing the loneliness and the togetherness at the same time through a serendipitous meeting at the HEK website."

Addie Wagenknecht

The perfect cat eye with your zoom date, 21.04.2020

HEK Net Work Wagenknecht
Addie Wagenknecht, The perfect cat eye with or without your Zoom date, screenshot, 2020

In her new video The perfect cat eye with or without your Zoom date for the HEK Net Works series, American artist Addie Wagenknecht (*1981) takes over the popular makeup tutorial format, common on media channels like YouTube, to instruct the viewer on her beauty routine. However, as she proceeds to apply mascara and lipstick to her face, she takes advantage of this opportunity to talk about security gaps in video communication platforms like Zoom – especially when used for intimate and erotic exchanges – and to propose alternative solutions.

Especially in this time of lockdown, when digital interaction has replaced live contact, new forms of communication are once again raising privacy issues. Exploiting the format of beauty video tutorials, Wagenknecht talks about digital privacy and data security policies, involved in platforms such as Zoom or Whatsapp.

In her artistic practice, Addie Wagenknecht deals with questions related to net culture and cyber security. Liminal Laws, her first solo exhibition in Switzerland presented at HEK in 2016, examined the effects of media technology on society, while also addressing the unequal distribution of access to information among the population. She lives and works in Innsbruck, Austria.


Ozone, 14.04.2020

HEK Net Work Keiken
Keiken, Ozone, screenshot, 2020

For the HEK Net Works series, the art collective Keiken has released Ozone, a new filter and series of short performative videos, posts, stories and live stream on HEK’s Instagram. Ozone introduces a new fictional and tongue-in-cheek digital spiritual practice called ‘Ozone Layering’ formed during the lockdown. Users must practice still or slow movements whilst their environment moves around them. The filter maps the environment onto the users’ faces, creating a personal connection. With this new work, Keiken plays on trends, rituals and language used on Instagram and in social media.

Ozone layering method.

Step 1:
Go on Instagram and find a filter (for best effect please use ‘Ozone by Keiken’, this is available on both @hek_basel and @_keiken_ .
Step 2:
Once you have found the filter, take three deep breaths and then press record. Film yourself standing still or with slow movements with the filter on (this can either be a short 15 second session or a longer one, I like to go no longer than a 5 minute livestream).

Step 3:
Post the Ozone Layering session either through stories or posts, don’t forget to post a caption to spread the Ozone Layering spiritual message and gain more followers.

Step 4:
Once lockdown is over, we will practice faster movements, the speed of these movements will be organic and dependant on whether capitalism resumes its normal speed or whether other forces will change this rhythm.

Joan Heemskerk (JODI)

GOL and NBKM, 07.04.2020

HEK Net Works Jodi
Jodi, NBKM (no body knows me), screenshot, 2020

Joan Heemskerk, part of the net pioneer collective JODI realized two works for the HEK Net Works series: GOL and NBKM. The URLs http://x20xx.com/nbkm and http://x20xx.com/gol are graphically visual settings in the unmistakable style of JODI, both of which allude to the threat of the corona virus.

GOL (Game of Life) and NBKM (no body knows me) are part of the overarching work complex x20xx (http://x20xx.com/), a series of visual scenarios relating to personal, scientific or news events, which are expanded and continued at loose intervals.

JODI (JoanHeemskerk and DirkPaesmans) were among the pioneers of Net.art in the mid-1990s. From the very beginning, they have investigated and subversively undermined the conventions, structure and protocols of the Internet in their works. They work with computer programs, computer games and video and actively intervene in the language and code of these systems. With their radical disruptions, they draw attention to the mechanisms of these systems and our use and relationships with them.

Maria Guta

Day of my Life, 31.03.2020

HeK Net Work Guta
Maria Guta, Days of my Life, 2020

Artist Maria Guta was stranded in Bucharest, Romania (her country of birth) during the first lockdown of the Covid 19 pandemic and was unable to travel back to Switzerland, where she lives in Neuchatel, for months. For the HEK Net Works series, she realized a video that shows her in the apartment in Bucharest, staging herself as a bored housewife. With the ironic refraction of her situation, Guta addressed on the one hand her experiences of growing up in the so-called Eastern Bloc, as well as the current situation of social distancing and isolation during the pandemic.

Statement by the artist: «In an age where the idea of a totalitarian, restrictive regime is mostly a somber reminder of a pre-1989 era (or material for dystopian scenarios) it’s interesting to observe how the world – starting with some of the most democratic countries – is suspending «voluntarily a couple of the most basic human rights and freedoms by imposing the first nationwide lockdowns since World War II. And, although the causes are of a very different nature today, I can’t stop myself from drawing a line between the current restrictions and those experienced by prior generations (me included, as a kid growing up in Romania in the late 80s) under totalitarian regimes.

During Ceausescu’s dictatorship but also a while after (through the harsh transitional period that followed the “89 revolution), the greatest form of escapism were Hollywood movies (in communism only available through the VHS black market). Because of my then early age and a certain naivety, I initially became fascinated with American „cheap” cinema, soap operas and later on Latin-American telenovelas, where everyday life was blending in a fantasy world and reality was basically represented as illusion. This fictional form of escapism was very “first-degree” rewarding for eyes and senses, and most comforting in times of discomfort. That’s also when I started impersonating different characters, which is a big part of my practice today.

All the best from Bucharest!»

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