ASAKUSA is delighted to announce the opening of a group exhibition "3Drifts", curated in collaboration with Federica Buzzi, Asakusa's resident curator 2017.
The exhibition "3Drifts" presents three interactive works realised with video game software by artists Serafín Álvarez, Lawrence Lek and the game development studio The Chinese Room. Using virtual space as a stage for social, political and ethical critique, these works explore narrative potentials of speculative architectures and landscapes.
Investigating the relationship between utopia and science fiction, literary critic Fredric Jameson describes the social and political enclave as the imaginary space where utopian thoughts can be elaborated and experimented. Gaming space is one such enclave in which to perceive the contradictions of the real and to imagine alternative scenarios. As Jameson puts it: "Ontologies of the present demand archeologies of the future, not forecasts of the past".
From a bleak stranded island, to a barren luxury estate and an infinite maze of sci-fi corridors, the selected works invite an endless drift in spaces devoid of human presence. These presentations of digital realms encourage reflection on real and fictional worlds, at a time when the hierarchy and difference between them seem on the verge of breaking down.
The opening event will take place on the evening of Sunday 9 July.
17:00 – 20:00, Sunday 9 July 2017
Asakusa Art Space
1-6-16 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo
Serafín Álvarez's (1985, León, Spain) work focuses on popular media depictions of subjective experiences mediated by technological and scientific developments. His most recent projects develop heterogeneous approaches to various aspects of science fiction, especially how concepts associated with otherness and the journey into the unknown are represented in contemporary audiovisual media such as cinema and video games. He has shown his work in CA2M (Móstoles), CAC (Vilnius), Junefirst Gallery (Berlin), MACBA (Barcelona), MUSAC (León), La Panera (Lleida) and Trafó (Budapest) amongst others.
Lawrence Lek (1982, Frankfurt, Germany) is a London-based artist working with computer gaming technology: he creates speculative worlds and site-specific simulations using gaming software, video, installation and performance. Often based on real places, his digital environments reflect the impact of the virtual on our perception of reality. His work has been featured in recent exhibitions at Tramway, as part of Glasgow International 2016; Seoul Museum of Art, as part of Seoul Mediacity Biennial 2016, KW Institut, Berlin, Germany; Cubitt Gallery, London; Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge and the Delfina Foundation, London. He is recipient of the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2016, the Tenderflix/Tenderpixel Artist Video Award and the 2015 Dazed Emerging Artist Award.
Originally released in 2012, Dear Esther by the Brighton based game development studio The Chinese Room has quickly gained critical acclaim for abandoning traditional gameplay in favour of atmosphere and rich storytelling, proving videogames are capable of the same musical, narrative and artistic expression as film, literature and classical music. In October 2016, Dear Esther was performed with live orchestra and electronics at the Milton Court Concert Hall at the Barbican Centre.
Federica Buzzi is a curator and writer, her current research integrates architecture with contemporary art to interrupt mono-disciplinary discourse and advance the understanding of these fields towards their relationship with general culture. Trained in architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan, she continued her studies with the Curating Contemporary Art MA at the Royal College of Art where she graduated in 2016. Her areas of interest encompass urbanism, spatial theory and gender studies. In 2017, Buzzi was invited to stay in Tokyo as a resident curator at Asakusa.
Asakusa is a 40-square-meter exhibition venue
for contemporary art programmes committed to advancing curatorial collaborations and practices. Since it's inauguration in October 2015, the gallery has worked with Mikhail Karikis, Yoshua Okon, Thomas Hirschhorn, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Yoko Ono, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, amongst others. Asakusa held the archival exhibition "1923" tracing the footsteps of early Japanese avant-garde in the 1920s, with a particular focus on the influence of Dada in Tokyo, which paved way to the Proletariat Art in the 1930s.
Location: ASAKUSA, 1-6-16 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo
For press info and images: Koichiro Osaka / email@example.com
Image 1: Lawrence Lek, Unreal Estate (The Royal Academy is Yours) (2015), still from video.
Image 2: Serafín Álvarez, Maze Walkthrough (2014), still from real time 3D game.
Image 3: The Chinese Room, Dear Esther (2012), still from video game.