Art & Culture: Artist Reza Hasni presents six interactive virtual worlds in ‘Centre for Altered Togetherness’

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SINGAPORE — Newly launched art programming consultancy MAMA MAGNET presents a participative online exhibition featuring the technicolor art of Reza Hasni. Visitors are invited on a free-roaming journey through six illustrated virtual worlds, set in the current time of expanding cyberspace. Titled, “Centre for Altered Togetherness” (C-A-T), the experience is for users worldwide to interact with each other, while deepening understandings of the dynamic relationship between the virtual and physical world. The exhibition is online on www.c-a-t.world for both mobile and desktop users until Dec. 31, 2020.

C-A-T is Reza Hasni’s second solo exhibition and supported by National Arts Council Singapore. The experience is developed in collaboration with interactive designer Tiong Hong Siah (founder, Screensavers), sound designer Tengo La Firma and curator Tulika Ahuja (founder, MAMA MAGNET). A series of ten new archival art prints by Reza Hasni are available in limited edition, themed on the various worlds the artist conceptualised for the show.

Reza and interactive studio Screensavers developed the entire online exhibition remotely. Reza first created drawings and animations, which were then rendered individually for the web and programmed for visitor interaction by Screensavers. “The experience is participatory, where visitors can see and interact with other visitors. For us, it isn’t just about showcasing static artworks.” comments Tiong Hong Siah, founder of Screensavers, on the process.

Reza sees infinite possibilities with the Internet as a canvas. “We are not limited by the constraints of the physical world — such as geography or gravity.” The online exhibition creates a hyperreality which combines elements of the natural and the virtual. Within this hyperreality are six unique worlds, each featuring its own arresting visual grammar and cryptic symbols, cultivated over Reza’s 17-year art practice. His practice has consisted primarily of illustration and motion graphics. This is his first time creating interactive digital landscapes.

The six worlds in C-A-T invite the viewer to observe the dualities that lie within our physical-virtual hybrid worlds. For instance, Motherearth presents a delicate balance between man and nature through a maze, Fantasy juxtaposes looking ahead at the future with a pull of the past, while Soul Searching is a puzzle world for the viewer to solve, themed on the symbiotic mind and body.

The concept of duality is most explicitly examined in Yin Yang, for which Hasni collaborated with Bali-based artist, Degeha. The visual landscape creates a ping-pong of energies that are both masculine and feminine, bold and vulnerable and inner and outer.

The artists collaborated remotely, both on state-mandated lockdown: Reza in Singapore and Degeha in Bali. As such, the artwork was built over an extended period of 4 weeks, with each artist adding a new layer in response to the other. Commenting on the process, Reza said, “We often find ourselves in the same situation, but perceiving and experiencing different things.” The exhibition title is a nod to the idea that while individuals may face a social experience together, they have different encounters, informed by their personal context. The exhibition will act as a centre for visitors to connect with this idea of altered togetherness.

MAMA MAGNET will release two unique prints in limited edition by Reza Hasni and Degeha as part of the Yin Yang series. These will be part of a collection of ten prints that Reza Hasni has developed for his second solo exhibition. The archival prints can be purchased via the exhibition web store from Aug. 7, 2020 and can be shipped to collectors worldwide.

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