«Floating Exhibition»

About the TWIN ZONE by Markus Selg

by Thomas Oberender

Gallery spaces are generally neutral in their appearance and create a zone of calm around their exhibits. Galerie Guido W. Baudach in Berlin is also such a white cube, but in Markus Selg’s exhibition TWIN ZONE, the ban mile around the works dissolves, as does the closed box of the exhibition space itself. A series of pairs of works are shown, in which the physical manifestation of the works is simultaneously juxtaposed with their virtual appearance. The gallery itself also doubles and appears in a virtual 3D version designed by Selg in addition to the real space. Using an augmented reality experience app, the exhibition space near Potsdamer Strasse in Berlin is thus connected to an artificial topography. Visitors enter a place that unexpectedly becomes an exhibit itself.

TWIN ZONE is the rare case of an exhibition of an exhibition. In fact, this only happens exceptional cases, for example in reconstructions of historical exhibitions, because the gallery or museum usually sees itself as a kind of display that shows everything possible, but keeps itself out of the picture. Exhibitions are constantly reorganised and replayed, but the aura of the basic space is usually discreet. It withdraws, keeps the «outside» away and directs the focus onto the exhibited works and their audience. It’s a bit like a theatre, only there the box is black and people look at it from the outside instead of walking around in it.

At first glance, TWIN ZONE looks like a traditional exhibition of large-format computer prints and sculptures. However, thanks to the augmented reality app that Markus Selg developed for this project, the virtual twins of these sculptures and paintings as well as earlier works that are not physically present, such as 1999’s Teerhof, can also be experienced in the gallery. They appear unexpectedly on the audience’s smartphone displays and float gently through the room or appear as additional exhibits on the walls.

The presence of digital artworks in galleries or urban spaces is nothing unusual today, but the concept of the TWIN ZONE exhibition sets a different accent. It brings tangible works of art into a direct relationship with their virtual derivatives and creates a porous space that connects the two levels of reality. As a visitor to the gallery, you can choose which path of manifestation of a work you would like to follow.

The AR app TWIN ZONE appears on the exhibition’s list of works as an independent piece, and it is not only the work that gives the exhibition its title, but also the most succinct formulation of the concept. These rooms are about the fraternal relationship between virtual and real objects. They do not originate from opposing spheres, but rather the exhibition creates and shows a space for their relational coexistence. At the same time, the artist’s approach goes one step further in that the physical objects in the exhibition ultimately also appear as emanations of generic structures, as products of codes and their mutation and assemblage. Selg’s floor sculptures and wall paintings show plant and biomorphic textures, play with the patterns of crystals and geological formations, man-made ornaments and signs, graffiti and the grids of circuit diagrams. These biomorphic and technoid textures cover the tangible works in the exhibition as well as the virtual objects.