The Valley

2023 | 2:3 HD projection and 16:9 HD monitor, with Roger Fenton photograph
dual channel installation, stereo, loop | 00:17:00
The video shows various ambivalent, uneventful and deserted landscapes. A subliminal surveillance or threat emanates from the video images. The shots are filmed from a subjective camera or from a god-like drone perspective. All these camera perspectives are taken from computer games. Shortly before the attack on Ukraine, in February 2022, the Russian Ministry of War released footage purporting to show troop movements, but which was striking in its artificiality and was shown on German television, although it was clearly dubious. Were these images staged or even completely artificial? Does this perhaps create the “uncanny valley” effect known from computer-generated images?
A computer game developer first raves about the sophistication with which anyone can create a perfect landscape, only to praise its realistic destruction as the pinnacle of creation. A “specialist” shows abysmal places on the fringes of society in a computer game. An artificial intelligence was supposed to comment on the video. But things turned out differently. At first, the AI gives wise and oracular advice. Then it completely takes over large parts of the text, praising technological progress, explaining art, and finally preaching destruction.

Exhibition view from »Re: Feb.24/UKR«, Westwerk, Hamburg, 2023