Speculative Cultures: A virtual reality exhibition

The tools of the digital age offer new possibilities for cultures to exist, evolve, and consolidate. Virtual Reality allows artists to speculate about new manifestations of cultural expressions within the conditions of the digital realm. Independent of physical surroundings, new spaces spring into existence.

Neo Kingdom by Erin Ko and Jamie Martinez


Six installations by seven artists who engage with their personal experiences, memories, and cultural heritage in order to reflect on today's social co-existence. Through their works, the artists shape their hopes and desires into virtual environments representing imagined cultures. Their speculative virtual worlds create different perspectives on established narrative and traditions, as well as images and symbols. The show is part of the exhibition series Critical Approaches to Virtual Reality Art which was developed by Erandy Vergara and Tina Sauerlaender at the invitation of the Goethe-Instiut and Studio XX in Montreal. The show is curated by Vergara, Sauerlaender, and Peggy Schoenegge.


The Speculative Cultures Artists:

Morehshin Allahyari is an artist born in Tehran, Iran and is currently living and working in New York City. Allahyari's series, She Who Sees the Unknown, re-appropriates goddesses, female jinn-—supernatural or monstrous creatures in Arabian mythology—and figures of the Middle East from ancient illustrations and mythical stories.

Scott Benesiinaabandan, is a Canadian born artist working in Montreal and has created a VR installation called Blueberry Pie Under Martian Sky. The installation takes users on a journey seven generations into the future.

Matias Brunacci, is an Argentinian born artist who lives and works in Berlin, Germany. His work Virtualshamanism,
takes users on a shamanistic experience in six different worlds. Each world has a particular focus and draws attention to a specific aspect of spiritual existence.

Yu Hong, is an artist born in Xi'an China and lives and works in Beijing, China. Her work, She’s Already Gone, places users into four moments in the life of a female Chinese protagonist. Following progressions of time that run in opposite directions, users travel with the character from birth to old age while historical time moves backward to the earliest period of Chinese history.

Francois Knoetze, is is an artist born in Capetown, South Africa, where he continues to live and work. His Virtual Frontiers, is a series of six short VR films shot in multiple locations in Grahamstown, (recently renamed Makhanda), South Africa.

Erin Ko and Jamie Martinez. Ko was born in Boston and works in New York City, and Martinez was born in Columbia, and also works in New York. Together they created Neo Kingdom, inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The Neo Kingdom explores mortality and death in the digital age. A training for a challenging journey to the afterlife awaits users.


February 7, 2019-April 14th 2019 Opening Reception is Thursday, February 7, 6:00-8:00 p.m.


The Sheila Johnson Design Center, 2 West 13th St, Ground Floor
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery


Members of the media should RSVP with David Koeppel at [email protected] or 212.229.5667 x 3794

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Media Contact:

David Koeppel
The New School
212.229.5667 x 3794
[email protected]

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