“A Hyperaesthetic Case Study: Jennifer Steinkamp” presented by Lunenfeld


Presentation Title:

  • A Hyperaesthetic Case Study: Jennifer Steinkamp



  • Poster Statement


    Emerging digital cultures have to this point been more conducive to systemic analysis than to the close reading of individual art works. We must delineate objects, spaces, and sites worthy of consideration In their own right, rather than simply as manifestations or harbingers of things to come.
    Jennifer Sternkamp’s site-specific projections – explorations of color, environment, and the conditions of spectatorship – open up spaces mental and geographic for the contemplation of the future present. Her work, which I categorize as ‘light In space,’ constitutes a remarkable project for an hyperaesthetic analysis.


    I propose to do a close study of the work of three artists — Jennifer Steinkamp (Los Angeles), Christian Möller (Frankfurt), and Rebeca Bollinger (San Francisco)– to determine how new media forms have shifted our apperceptive faculties, especially as they relate to the play of light in space. Steinkamps lush imagescapes immerse viewers in shimmering fields of color and form. Her site-specific projections are predicated upon a finely focused production process, which involves 3-D modeling of the exhibition space, the rendering of animations on high-end hardware, the melding of image and sound, and finally the transformation of inert white walls into extruded, pulsating abstractions. If Steinkamp reacts to architecture with site-specific installations, then architect Christian Möller actively shapes the spaces in which imagery will be deployed. In building hybrids of hardscapes and imagescapes, M?ller constantly return to the question of the body — as it exists in both real and virtual spaces. Where Steinkamp deploys light in physical spaces and M?ller creates physical spaces to house light, Rebeca Bollinger virtualizes both light and space. In “Dorothy’s Room” (1995), Bollinger has created a CD-ROM which explores the use of three dimensional software (here, “Quicktime VR”) to reflect and estrange architectural space and the very process of vision. Here, the flatness of interior light and the conventions of the cinema are deployed to investigate the very impact of the apparatus of new media forms on our apperception at the close of the millennium. This presentation applies the critical techniques I outlined at ISEA in 1993 in my paper “HyperAesthetics: Art, Speed, and Interpretation.” The discourse around art has concentrated on the concrete object: painting, sculpture, and architecture. The advent of the computer, however, has destabilized these systems — blurring categories and boundaries beyond even postmodern models. A dynamic object demands constant recalibration in focus, a shifting between three temporalities. Hyperaesthetics demands theorization in real time — which is what I will be offering here.

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