Sometime around the turn of the millennium, Internet users began encountering characters reduced to their essential features. Today, because of their simplification, they are able to almost immediately arouse empathy in the users and help them – as guides or pathfinders – find their way around virtual worlds and interact with their content. Several years ago, the project Pictoplasma began archiving and analysing this aesthetic phenomenon. Meanwhile it has gained worldwide recognition for its online archive, publications, conferences and exhibitions. Its project “Not your Avatar” focused on the fictional inhabitants of virtual worlds. Scouring its extensive archive comprised of 20,000 figures, Pictoplasma has begun constructing genealogical family trees, for which one hundred international illustrators have created portraits of their most beloved characters for an ancestral gallery. In this way, the characters’ creators detached them from the content and contexts for which they were originally made. The project examined what they could tell us about themselves and their digital world as autonomous characters. In this way the exhibition contributed to the current discourse on digital culture and post-digitality. An audio-visual presentation was on tour through France, Spain, England and the United States. The project will also produce an interdisciplinary publication in four languages.
Artistic directors: Lars Denicke, Peter Thaler
Artists: Nina Braun, Yeka Haski (RU), Hyein Lee (HK/CA), Akinori Oishi (JP), Julia Pott (GB/US), Ryan Qincy (US), Sauerkids (NL), Ori Tor (IS), Amandine Urruty (FR), Dante Zaballa (AR) and others
audio-visual presentation/performance starting Oct. 2014: ZKM Karlsruhe; Babylon am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin; HartwareMedienKunstVerein, Dortmund; La Gaîté lyrique, Paris; Parsons The New School for Design, New York; Arnolfini, Bristol; 5 May 2015: Pakhuis De Zwijger, Amsterdam; 12 June 2015: La Casa Encendida, Madrid;