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March 12 2013

Jon Kessler: The Web / Swiss Institute Contemporary Art New York

In this video, we attend the opening of mixed-media artist Jon Kessler’s current solo exhibition at the Swiss Institute Contemporary Art in New York. Titled The Web, the show is a large-scale immersive and interactive installation the visitor can participate in by downloading a special iPhone app (Jon Kessler’s The Web). The video provides you with a walk through the exhibition on the opening night and statements by Siebe Tettero (Director, Métamatic Research Initiative Amsterdam) and Gianni Jetzer (Director, Swiss Institute Contemporary Art New York) who talk about the concept of the exhibition. The show runs until April 28, 2013.

Jon Kessler’s The Web is a commission by the Metamatic Research Initative. The installation will travel to Museum Tinguely where it will be part of the exhibition Metamatic Reloaded. New art projects in dialogue with Tinguely’s drawing machines that runs from October 2013 to January 2014. The show will also feature works by Marina Abramovic and Thomas Hirschhorn.

Jon Kessler: The Web. Opening reception and interview with Siebe Tettero (Director, Métamatic Research Institute Amsterdam) and Gianni Jetzer (Director, Swiss Institute Contemporary Art New York), March 4, 2013.

For more videos on Jon Kessler’s work, click here!

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.
> On YouTube:

Press Release:

The Web is an immersive installation that addresses the significance of the Internet and mobile devices in our lives while simultaneously examining the role of the viewer. The idea for the piece came to Jon Kessler on a New York subway ride when he realized that at least half of the riders were speaking on their cell phones, sending text messages, playing video games, or otherwise immersing themselves in their networked mobile devices.

The Web offers both an accessible and impermeable user experience, the title referencing a closed-circuit network accessed by viewers. Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are invited to download an iPhone app that feeds their images in real time onto surrounding monitors. Simultaneously pictured and reframed in Kessler’s sculpture Infinite Regress, spectators render themselves as nodes within a feedback network, the space a physical support for their virtual daydreams. Kessler’s creation broadcasts collected data, targeting viewers with images of themselves, their experience, and ultimately enticing input and generating output.

Much like the Internet itself, The Web acts as both a sentient organism and an environmental space: it facilitates the internal circuit between viewer, camera, and monitor, while simultaneously doubling as a sprawling architectural structure. While The Web conceptually foregrounds the role of networked technologies and our dependence on them, it is in many ways a tribute to direct experience. The viewer of The Web is repositioned among fellow viewers, with the feeling of sensory dislocation condensed into one geographic location—the exhibition space—and recast as a form of shared collective immersion.

Jon Kessler’s work explores the connection between bodily movement and technical apparatus, often deploying mechanisms and video to facilitate this relationship. He has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Phoenix Kulturstiftung; Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, Germany; the Louisiana Museum of Moderne Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark; and most recently, the Fisher Landau Center for Art, New York. Kessler has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship as well as honors from the Foundation of the Performing Arts; he is a professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Division of Visual Arts.

The Métamatic Research Initiative (MRI) stems from the fascination of art collectors Allard and Natascha Jakobs with the work of Jean Tinguely, and a more general interest in questions about the authorship of worksofart.

MRIstrivestodealwithissuesthatarisefromtheworkofJeanTinguely,inparticularhis Métamatic works. By initiating a variety of assignments for artists they instigate a process of artistic research resulting in contemporary works addressing these issues.

The exhibition will travel to Museum Tinguely, Basel, in October 2013.



March 03 2013

VernissageTV Classics (r3): Jon Kessler: The Blue Period / Arndt & Partner Berlin (2007)

This is a re-mastered and re-edited version of VernissageTV’s coverage of mixed media sculptor Jon Kessler’s 2007 exhibition at the gallery Arndt and Partner in Berlin. For The Blue Period at Arndt & Partner Jon Kessler created a complex installation using surveillance cameras, life size foam corn figures, and other objects and machines.

This is another segment in our series r3 that highlights the treasures of VernissageTV’s huge archive. R3 is a series of VernissageTV classics, now re-mastered, re-edited and reissued in High Definition. Click here for the complete list of videos. Click here for the original post and more information about the show. For more videos featuring Jon Kessler, click here!

PS: Opening on Monday, March 4, 2013: Jon Kessler’s show The Web at Swiss Institute, New York. The exhibition is a commission by the Métamatic Research Initiative, Amsterdam, and will travel to Museum Tinguely in October 2013.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.
> On YouTube:



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December 17 2012

Jon Kessler: The Future Was Perfect / Interview at Salon 94, Art Basel Miami Beach 2012

Mixed media sculptor Jon Kessler takes us on a tour of his solo presentation at Salon 94′s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2012. The exhibition is titled The Future Was Perfect and showcases Jon Kesssler’s latest kinetic artworks.

Jon Kessler is best known for his kinetic sculptures that combine old analog mechanisms with digital technology such as surveillance cameras. VernissageTV is currently working on a re-master / re-edit of the short documentary of his 2007 show Blue Period at Arndt & Partner in Berlin, which is scheduled to be published in early 2013.

For more videos featuring Jon Kessler visit our archive.

Jon Kessler: The Future Was Perfect / Interview at Salon 94, Art Basel Miami Beach 2012. Miami Beach, December 5, 2012.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.
> On YouTube:



August 16 2010

Robot Dreams at Museum Tinguely, Basel

Robot Dreams is an exhibition that the Museum Tinguely in Basel organized in cooperation with Kunsthaus Graz. The title Robot Dreams is borrowed from a short story of the same name by Isaac Asimov. The show brings together works that explore the broad topic of Robots and its association with various topics.

Among the artworks on display is a replica of Maschinenmensch Maria that director Fritz Lang used in his film Metropolis (1917); Nam June Paik’s Andy Warhol Robot (1994); Stelarc’s Third Hand (1980); Jon Kessler’s Kessler’s Circus (2009), Kirsty Boyle’s Tree Ceremony (2010). Other participating artists are Paul van Hoeydonck, Tom Sachs, R&Sie(n) with Stephan Henrich, Jakob Scheid, Jessica Field, Niki Passath, Yan Duyvendak, Thomas Baumann, Ed and Nancy Kienholz, and Walter Pichler.

The exhibition runs until September 12, 2010. Robot Dreams at Kunsthaus Graz opens October 8, 2010.

Robot Dreams at Museum Tinguely in Basel / Switzerland.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.


August 06 2010

Jon Kessler: Kessler’s Circus (2009) / Museum Tinguely, Basel

One of the artworks on display in the current exhibition “Robot Dreams” at Museum Tinguely in Basel is American artist Jon Kessler’s piece “Kessler’s Circus”. Jon Kessler is best known for his kinetic sculptures that combine old analog mechanisms with digital technology such as surveillance cameras.

“Kessler’s Circus” was first shown in 2009 at Deitch Projects in New York. “Kessler’s Circus places the viewer inside the American war machine. An army tent pitched inside the gallery houses mechanical sculptures and barracks stacked with video monitors. The work depicts the American military-industrial complex as macabre circus, traveling from country to country, importing nothing and exporting atrocities under the veil of democracy. Rather than simply presenting a mediated spectacle, Kessler indicts the audience in the violence.
Surrounded by handmade mechanisms and surveillance cameras, the viewer becomes part of the machine. There is an induced sense of vertigo and surge of paranoia, as the viewer’s own faces appear in the video feed. Entering Kessler’s Circus, one is immersed in an undefined state, conflating machine and spectacle with entertainment and horror.
Kessler’s Circus updates and politicizes the experience of Calder’s Circus. Following the tradition of performative mechanized sculpture, Kessler creates a playful format for his exploration of our modern war experience. The mischievous nature of Kessler’s hand belies a dark violence that is at once captivating and frightening. The business of death as mediated spectacle exposes anxieties and complacencies concerning surveillance, propaganda, and our ravenous consumption of celebrity.” (Excerpt from the press release (PDF)).

For more videos featuring Jon Kessler’s work visit our archive.

A video walkthrough of the exhibition “Robot Dreams” is coming soon.

Jon Kessler: Kessler’s Circus (2009) / Special Exhibition “Robot Dreams” at Museum Tinguely, Basel. August 4, 2010.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.


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