Marina Zurkow & Sarah Rothberg Explore Oceans with VR and Software Art – – Google Alerts

View of Marina Zurkow and Sarah Rothberg’s exhibition “Wet Logic,” 2020, at bitforms gallery.
Courtesy bitforms gallery, New York. Photo Emile Askey.

Sarah Rothberg and Marina Zurkow have used virtual reality, generative video, and other multimedia formats to explore the logistic dimensions of the communications infrastructure and its impact on the natural world. Zurkow’s past projects—Dear Climate (2014–), Flight (2016), and Climoji (2017)—explore, respectively, the potential of instructive posters, digital animation, and custom emojis to make the effects of climate change legible to human perception. Rothberg’s augmented reality lab for Apple (part of the company’s [AR]T initiative organized in partnership with the New Museum last year) introduces users to new tools for probing the relationship between digital and physical environments. Yet “Wet Logic,” the artists’ collaborative exhibition at New York’s bitforms gallery, struggles to channel their experimental approaches into a cohesive message. Zurkow and Rothberg play with the technological possibilities of their respective mediums instead of offering pointed critiques.

As its title suggests, the show presents water as a central metaphor for ordering our understanding of the world. Geology’s demonstration of the accretion of layers over linear time makes everything seem impervious to change. In search of an alternative, the artists have looked to writers like Philip Steinberg and Kimberly Peters, whose 2015 essay “Wet Ontologies, Fluid Spaces” advocates reorienting the field of geography away from plane geometry’s flatness toward depth, volume, and cyclicality. Zurkow and Rothberg show how the properties of digital media help communicate these insights.

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