In Search of the Unknown

  • Location:

NIMk exhibition

February 14 2009 - April 25, 2009
opening 13 February 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

During the opening performance by foamlab and installation by Antoine Schmitt

Neïl Beloufa (FR), Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács (NL), Heman Chong (MY), Graham Ellard & Stephen Johnstone (UK), Johannes Heldén (SE), Sebastian Diaz Morales (AR/NL), Ann Lislegaard (NO), r a d i o q u a l i a (NZ), Semiconductor (UK), Mark Aerial Waller (UK)

In Search of the Unknown is situated in a strange place, at an unfamiliar time, in the midst of visions of the future that pursue the present and the nightmare of there being no future at all. In the first exhibition of 2009, at a moment when the -financial- prospects for the world are most uncertain, the search for the unknown and unimaginable and the friction between past, present and future is central. The science fiction author J.G. Ballard even writes that 'the present has annexed the future'. According to him 'we learn to live thinking that everything happens at the same time.'

This friction between the past, the present and the undreamed-of is the starting point for In Search of the Unknown. In the works shown documentary, science, fantasy and (science)fiction rub elbows or even flow into one another. Works by Neil Beloufa, Mark Aerial Waller, Johannes Heldén, Ann Lislegaard, Heman Chong and Graham Ellarde & Stephen Johnstone uncover the tension between the future and the past in the present. Sebastian Diaz Morales shows images which, as a continuum of the present, could stand as signs of the future - in reaction to Ballard's words above. Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukacs and Semiconductor take 'scientific' research into the still unknowable or inconceivable as their point of departure, and with 'Radio Astronomy' r a d i o q u a l i a lets us hear unfamiliar sounds from the cosmos.

Science fiction functions as one of the artistic instruments for the artists in the exhibition In Search of the Unknown. Science fiction in fact uses the means of the present to sketch a possible future - precisely a process which paradoxically makes that future into the present. At the same time, as a matter of course science fiction stories about the future are overtaken by time and end up in the past (as has happened with Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Extra Programme at the opening night February 13th

Hard Landing
When astronauts, after their umpteenth mission in space, re-enter the earth's ionosphere, edge their way through the endless layers of space debris and set foot on the planet, who still welcomes them? Who is there waiting for them?
Foamlab presents: Johannes Sterk and Elias Tieleman after their return to earth.
Arrival: Friday February 13th at 18:00 h.

Antoine Schmitt with light installation TIME SLIP
On the screen, a news ticker constantly displays scrolling textual news, but these news are conjugated at the future tense: "the NASDAQ will drop 4.3 points today", "A plane crash in Madrid will kill 153 people", "The Giants will crush the RedSocks 10 to 3".. Apart from the tense of the verbs, all the news are completely true…
It is as if he was projected in the past of a few hours and that someone told him the future. Or for someone who would not already know the news, it would be like if an oracle would tell her the future in advance. It is a work that introduces a crack in the flow of time. All the more because it uses graphic codes and display contexts usually attached to real news.
TIME SLIP is a programmed generative artwork based on a custom software that feeds from the official news agencies and changes the tense of selected news from past or present to future tense.

List of works:

Neïl Beloufa, Kempinski, 2007, 13'58'' min. Collection NIMk

Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Manifest Destiny, 2009, HD, 17' min.
Made possible by the Netherlands Film Fund and the Rijksakademie.

Heman Chong, Kryptonite, 2008, from the series "Surfacing", Courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Creative Space

Heman Chong, Until The End Of The World (Paused), 2009

Graham Ellard & Stephen Johnstone, Proposal, for an unmade film (set in the future), 2007, 21' min.

Johannes Heldén, The Prime Directive, 2006, internet piece (Flash), Originally published by Afsnit

Ann Lislegaard, SCIENCE FICTION\_3112 (after 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick), 2007 , 8'30'' min. loop, Courtesy Galerie Paul Andriesse

Sebastian Diaz Morales, Oracle, 2007, 11' min. , Produced by HERMÈS

r a d i o q u a l i a (Adam Hyde & Honor Harger), Radio Astronomy, 2004 - 2009
Sound Installation

Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman & Joe Gerhardt), Do You Think Science…, 2006, 12'15'' min.
Collection NIMk

Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman & Joe Gerhardt), Magnetic Movie, 2007, 4'56'' min.
Collection NIMk

Mark Aerial Waller, Superpower - Dakar Chapter, 2004, 14' min.
Courtesy of the artist and Rodeo, Istanbul


Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday and the first Sunday of the month (March 1, April 5) from 1300 - 1800. Entrance 4,50 (2,50 with discount). With Museumkaart free entrance

Thanks to BeamSystems, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and National Arts Council of Singapore.

For more information / Images: Marieke Istha, Communication

Netherlands Media Art Institute
Keizersgracht 264
1016 EV Amsterdam
The Netherlands