The group exhibition Hybrid Layers explores the diverse aspects of what can be described as “the digital condition.” The digital becomes the picklock, the a priori, that unlocks the specific cosmos, the cultural and conceptual scenarios revealed by the individual artworks. The exhibition focuses on a generation of artists, who were confronted with the growing presence and impact of the digital sphere; it presents new perspectives on digital technology, the internet, and social networks, and explores both the virtual and the physical appearance of an artistic practice that is profoundly influenced by the digital.
Today, to focus on artworks that deal with the wider issues of technology and the digital means entering a highly complex field that cannot be subsumed under any specific category or genre. Recognizing the multiple perspectives made manifest by technology, Hybrid Layers investigates the different strands of a narrative, which is intrinsically open and multifaceted, emancipating the discourse on technology from any restrictive categorization. The installations featured in the exhibition appear as multilayered projects in which the complexity of our surroundings emerges, be it the material consistency of our environments and artificial settings or the immateriality of the digital sphere, thus revealing the kaleidoscopic facets of the functions, contradictions, and phenomena, that affect us and characterize all areas of our lives. Once the category has been exploded the field becomes a hybrid nest of multiple, layered possibilities.
Since its foundation, ZKM | Karlsruhe has focused on current developments in media art, describing the influence of contemporary technology on society and art production by means of a variety of exhibitions. While infrastructural and dystopian aspects of digital transformation were the topic of the ZKM´s exhibition program in recent years, the subject of Hybrid Layers is the real-life influences of media on a generation of artists born predominantly in the 1980s. The works on display in the exhibition reflect on contemporary social, technological, and aesthetic debates and on how extensively the digital has influenced all areas of our everyday life, our perceptions, and our production of knowledge.
The exhibition is curated by Giulia Bini, Sabiha Keyif, Daria Mille, and Philipp Ziegler.
Sophia Al Maria, Auto Italia South East, Riccardo Benassi, Enrico Boccioletti, Blunt x Skensved, Aleksandra Domanovi?, Ed Fornieles, Glass Bead, Guan Xiao, Yngve Holen & Aedrhlsomrs Othryutupt Lauecehrofn, Rachel de Joode, Delia Jürgens, Daniel Keller, La Plage, Lawrence Lek, Metaphysics (involved artists: Rubén Grilo, Anna K.E., Florian Meisenberg, Eddie Peake, Jack Strange and Anne de Vries; produced by: Philip Hausmeier), Katja Novitskova, Yuri Pattison, Tabita Rezaire, Unknown Fields, Anne de Vries, Yu Honglei