Moscow Biennale focuses on new media

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Moscow Biennale focuses on new media

MOSCOW - New media and depictions of financial turmoil were on display at the fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, which kicked off on the weekend across the capital, giving a much-needed boost to Russia’s modern art scene. It runs until October 30.

Called “Rewriting Worlds,” many of the 64 featured artists, from 33 countries, are exhibiting for the first time at Russia’s largest art show.

“We wanted a digital piece of art to show how we are both fueled and dominated by the computer age,” said German artist Uta Kopp, who made “Remote Words” with Achim Mohne.

Specifically created for the Biennale, a Google map of Moscow five meters wide is stretched across the floor, which viewers can take aim at with a flying machine that magnifies parts of the city on an iPad and screen.

Thirty silver life-sized dogs with red digital clocks gaze forward in Indian artist T.V. Santhosh’s “Houndington” from 2007. Beneath them runs a digitalized text by a teenage boy who has suffered from radiation.

Biennale commissioner Joseph Backstein said globalization, by way of the Internet, had forced art to go more digital.

“The Garden of Error and Decay,” a large video installation by Czech artist Michael Bielicky, is reminiscent of a computer game and invites the viewer to shoot at the piece with a joystick, either eliminating or multiplying disasters spurred by the stock exchange and Twitter updates.

“It’s a metaphor showing how helpless we all are,” Bielicky told Reuters of why he chose the format. “It is a data driven narrative. Like in real life, things that happen actually take place in another sphere.”

Pieces mocking financiers are likely to strike a chord with Russians, who were hit hard by the 2008-9 global financial crisis. Dazed businessmen are stranded in a field where pigs graze out of briefcases in U.S. artist Casey McKee’s painting “Free Market Economists,” from 2008.

Much excitement surrounded a request to the Chinese government for dissident Ai Weiwei to participate, but the Biennale was turned down by Beijing. Instead, there is a 2005 video piece by China’s leading social critic.

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