Ausstellungsansicht WHITEOUT © NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Foto Katja Illner


Virtual reality exhibition

July 19 – November 10 2019

How can a performance be transferred into virtual reality, and what happens when a person encounters performers there? WHITEOUT is the world's first virtual reality group exhibition on contemporary performance art. The collective New Scenario have curated an exhibition with artists Maria Hassabi, Christian Falsnaes, and Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi for the digital extension of the NRW-Forum that allows a unique and immersive experience with performance art in virtual space.


Maria Hassabi
Christian Falsnaes
Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi

WHITEOUT unites three positions from contemporary performance art. Using VR glasses, visitors are immersed into an infinite white space in the virtual extension of the NRW-Forum, where they can move freely and interactively and experience the performances. In contrast to previous projects by New Scenario that deliberately avoided the White Cube, WHITEOUT takes the White Cube in its most extreme form as a White Void—an infinite white emptiness—as its starting point and setting.

The extremely neutralized and focused virtual presentation dissolves familiar spatial perceptions. The unbounded action and presentation area of the white space creates an intimate encounter with the works, and raises the question of whether virtual reality could even intensify the physical-spatial moment of performance art. Special video recordings of the physical performances were produced for the exhibition and inserted into a white 3D virtual environment.

Please note:

Some of the performances contain explicit content, which we do not recommend for children and young people under the age of 16.

The New York-based artist, choreographer, and documenta 14 participant Maria Hassabi addresses the relationships between dance and sculpture, subject and object, and body and image in her work. The performance STAGED? (2016) is the first part of a performative diptych, followed by the performance STAGING. In STAGED?, the audience surrounds four performers who intertwine with each other and become entangled, forming an amorphous, sculptural mass. In the endless white of the digital exhibition setting, the questions about bodies and images become even more acute and particularly challenge visitors to take time to appreciate the intensive experience.

The Berlin-based Danish artist Christian Falsnaes usually addresses visitors directly in his performances and turns them into performers themselves. In his work, he deals with rituals and group mentalities, as well as his own role as an artist. For WHITEOUT he developed his new performance STUDIO; this time, there can be no physical encounter between him, the performers, and the visitors in this virtual environment. Instead, the visitors become voyeurs of the scene in which the performance was recorded. Instead of receiving instructions and being involved themselves, as is usual in his performances, the visitors observe how the artist interacts with the performers and become witnesses of the staging process itself.

“[sHe/it...] is my bio-political pronoun but simply call me [sHit]; if you can not deal with your own confusions,” says Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi [crazinisT artisT], performance artist from Ghana. With performances, experimental videos, and installations, [sHe/it] addresses political injustice, gender prejudice, sexism, religious extremism, and feelings of vulnerability. For WHITEOUT, the existential performance wouNded-wouNd, whichpushes physical limits, was reenacted in a sterile exhibition setting. In wouNded-wouNd Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi explores [sHe/it]’s own emptiness, mortality, failures, vulnerability, and inferiority in search of healing and purification in a repeated ritual.

New Scenario is a curatorial artistic project by artists Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig that conceives online exhibitions with international artists in spectacular narrative settings beyond the White Cube and most recently caused a sensation at the ninth Berlin Biennale with BODYHOLES, an exhibition in the orifices of the human body. As the eighth exhibition project, WHITEOUT focuses on contemporary performance and is an attempt to translate the intense physical experience of performance art into a virtual form of presentation.

WHITEOUT is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the MARTA project, a joint project between Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences HSD, Tennagels, Lavalabs, and NRW-Forum Düsseldorf.


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