The Wrong is a decentralized biennial exhibition, the largest of its kind, dedicated to contemporary digital art and culture. Now in its third edition, simply titled (biennale), The Wrong features a tremendous number of curated exhibitions, projects, and events—both online (in “pavilions”) and off (in “embassies”).
Because of the sheer magnitude of content, tackling the biennial can be an overwhelming prospect, even for the initiated. For this week’s Wednesday Web Art column, we’re easing you into the world of The Wrong, sharing some of our favorite work from the 2017 edition. But as you’ll quickly learn, with such an extensive exhibition at your fingertips—1,400 artists across 70 pavilions and nearly 30 embassies—it’s hard to stop here. Consider these works as launching points for charting your own path into the seemingly endless corners of The Wrong.
Artist: Aleksandra Kovačević & Jelena Nikolić
This strangely calming, perpetually rotating marble slab carved with inspirational messages is the perfect way to start your Wrong adventure. It can be a challenging, emotional journey, but as the artists of this piece state: “‘Life is full of problems, and the only way to improve our chances of overcoming most of these problems is to optimize how we think about them.”
Pavilion: Prosthetic, Curated by Darko Vukic
This pavilion is inspired by the quote from political theorist Hannah Arendt: “Our life is prosthetic. We assume that through these variety of processes we can realize our desires which themselves are becoming prosthetic. We also assume other life through this prosthetization of our current endeavors.”
Artist: Karin Ferrari
Artwork: Hyperconnected (The Whole Picture)
Ferrari’s work is an exploration of the explosion of conspiracy culture in the internet age. The fact that this video is specifically about the ‘truth’ behind the symbolism of the internet means the it functions brilliantly on multiple levels of paranoia and digital creation.
Pavilion: Postinternet.art, Curated by Juha van Ingen & Jarkko Räsänen
The contributing artists were only given the name of the pavilion as inspiration for their work, leading to an eclectic mix of art dedicated to this ubiquitous term.
Artist: Lara Joy Evans
The primal woman—part neural network, part Neanderthal, part mud, according to DNA panel results—joyfully connects with internet life. Evans’ work, comprising “photographs altered by AI and neural network,” is a welcome moment of pure human vitality among the digital hive-mind.
Pavilion: Light Lite Coin, curated by Coleman Mummery
Described by the curator as, “self help for collective paranoia,” the artworks in this pavilion are all programs. “There are bio-social implications to running these programs on yourself and sharing them with others.”
Artist: Morgan Beringer
Artwork: Abstraction 47
An endlessly morphing, mysterious and beautiful vision that evokes something between an unfathomable alien storm and a haunted impressionist watercolor.
Pavilion: Normal, curated by Ilavenil Jayapalan
This enigmatic pavilion interrogates what constitutes “Normality.”
Artist: Elizaveta Perebatova
Perebatova suggests that “we have worked out ways of interacting with the world and have stopped notice the moment of interaction [sic]. We are automatic and enslaved by our habits.” Her witty and enchanting video presents cryptic illustrations of banal design objects, with instructions to “listen to reality, to look at it as if we are doing it for the first time.”
Pavilion: Diapavilion, Curated by Protey Temen
The artists in this pavilion are students of fine arts and contemporary illustration at HSE Art and Design School in Moscow, Russia. Most of works they have created are surreal and inventive pastiches of social and scientific instructional films.
Artwork & Pavilion: Various Artists, Mutant Club, Curated by Enrique Salmoiraghi
One of the few pavilions where the collected contributions of the artists seamlessly form a single piece of art. They have provided the dancers and decorations for the titular intergalactic u.f.o. nightclub. This just might be the most universal, engaging, and downright entertaining pavilions in the whole biennale.
Artworks & Pavilion: Gis Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe, Curated by Jeroen Bouweriks
This is one of the most successful pavilions shaped by a singular concept. The idea itself basically overwhelms the contributions of the artists, making it the curator’s work more than anything else. Bouweriks asked a long list of artists, theorists, curators, gallerists, and designers” in iPhone chats to Google Manet’s painting Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe and then send him the “original” as an attached image. This prompt inspired reactions ranging from delight to confusion, with most contributors following his instructions exactly. Some deviate from the plan a little and send work adapted from or inspired by the famous painting, like this response (above) from the brilliant Renee Cox.
Artist: Peter Rahul
Artwork: Phase 2
A hypnotic abstract exploration of vintage computer graphics and CRT technology, this piece finds the right balance between warm nostalgia and an alternative future in a parallel universe where analogue conquered digital.
Pavilion: GFX Free Error, Curated by Haydi Roket
Named after the error warning given to a malfunctioning video card, this pavilion features works that question the effects of broken technology on our perception of reality. The curator asks: “Do we merely create new realities from these faults? If it's the sole truth, then what happens to those broken realities around us?”
Artists: Signe Pierce & Alli Coates
Artwork: American Reflexxx
A modern masterpiece of documentary art: the reaction these artists got for simply being “different” among those who consider themselves “normal” is truly horrifying. The film presents a perfect representation the soul-crushing culture of trolling and bullying that is now synonymous with being online. The subject was highlighted and compounded by the fact that the abuse continued when the video was posted online. Pierce says, “It did feel similar to the mob scene all over again, only yes, people had the opportunity to bash me anonymously.”
Pavilion: Safe, curated by Christopher Clary
This pavilion explores the concept of being “safe” and “safe spaces” in network culture. The artists have each contributed work that “questions the validity of safety through expressions of intersectional trauma—personal, familial, collective, and systemic.”
Artist: Josefin Jonsson
Artwork: Falling Stars
According to her Instagram, Jonsson creates “pastel original artworks with dream layers and soft pink internet feelings.” This descriptor barely prepares you for this unsettling slice of futuristic, new-age hypnotherapy.
Pavilion: Pink, Pink Moon, Curated by Fabio Paris
An all-women pavilion that is also one of the biennial’s most compelling and subversive. The artists have made work that presents “the pink as nexus of contemporary aesthetics and not as a feminist reading.”
Artist: Mani Nilchiani
A clever, minimalist, motion-activated interactive piece that questions the value and meaning of familiar symbols of modern life. It’s also a lot of fun to play with!
Pavilion: Forever Fornever, Curated by Chris Romero
This pavilion looks at the disappearing line between our digital personas and our physical bodies. The artworks “portray the present, a hyper-technological world, and hypothesize the future—a dream caught between utopia and nightmare.”
We run an online magazine, so of course, we're interested in what's happening with art on the web. We invited online gallerist, founder, and curator of Digital Sweat Gallery, Christian Petersen, to write a bi-monthly column for us. Every other Wednesday he selects a Web Artist of the Week.