Beyond Matter: Cultural Heritage on the Verge of Virtual Reality

Dr. Lívia Nolasco-Rozsas, ReMap member and Lecturer in Curation and Media Practice at UCL East, led the practice-based research project Beyond Matter (2019-23).

Iconoclash as Digital Experience © ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe; Development: Netzbewegung, Matthias Heckel; Design advisor: Schroeder Rauch
Iconoclash as Digital Experience,  ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany.

Beyond Matter was an international, collaborative research project that took cultural heritage and contemporary art to the verge of virtual reality and reflected on a condition of art production and mediation that is increasingly virtual. It put a specific emphasis on spatial aspects in art production, curating, and mediation through numerous activities and formats in order to explore a plurality of solutions and options that are emerging hand in hand with the development of computation. In this sense practice-based research within the museum context was understood as being a process in which the development and creation of museum experiences, their evaluation alongside the participation of audiences, as well as the advancement of best practices for museum professionals who are being increasingly called upon to apply digital tools.

The activities took place within the framework of Beyond Matter included the digital revival of selected past landmark exhibitions, art and archival exhibitions, conferences, artist residency programs, an online platform, and accompanying publications. In attempting to describe the virtual condition, the project probed the ways in which physical and digital space are interdependent.

Beyond Matter was led by ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, and the collaborators comprised of researchers and curators at: Aalto University, Espoo; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Ludwig Múzeum – Kortárs Művészeti Múzeum (Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art), Budapest; Tallinna Kunstihoone (Tallinn Art Hall); Tirana Art Lab – Center for Contemporary Art; and the associated partners EPFL Pavilions, Lausanne; HAWK – University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hildesheim, GIM Gesellschaft für Innovative Marktforschung mbH, Heidelberg and Bio Design Lab at the HfG Karlsruhe.

Matter. Non-Matter. Anti-Matter. Past Exhibitions as Digital Experiences 2022, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe © Photo: Esteban Gutiérrez-Jiménez
Matter. Non-Matter. Anti-Matter. Past Exhibitions as Digital Experiences (2022), ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany.

Online available outputs of the project:

The proceedings of the Hybrid Museum Experience Symposium (HyMEx) that took place at the Ludwig Museum Budapest in 2021.

The summary of the project accompanied by numerous essays and interviews that engage with project results were published in print and also online under the title Beyond Matter. Within Space. Curatorial and Art Mediation Techniques on the Verge of Virtual Reality

The online exhibitions realised throughout the project are gathered on the VIEW page of the Beyond Matter site.

The models of the past exhibition Iconoclash (2002, ZKM | Karlsruhe, curated by Peter Weibel and Bruno Latour) and Les Immatériaux (1985, Centre Pompidou, Paris, curated by Jean-François Lyotard and Thierry Chaput) are accessible here

Online part of the hybrid exhibition Spatial Affairs

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