The New Angel, a digital image by Cao Fei and the latest edition of the “Safety Curtain” series, debuts in Vienna. Yearly since 1998, artists including Tauba Auerbach, Matthew Barney, and Joan Jonas have turned the Vienna State Opera house safety curtain into a temporary exhibition space—Fei shared her CGI avatar. “She silently observes the real world through the heavy layer of the stage curtain, without giving any answer,” says the Chinese artist.

Collaborating with microbiologists at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (AT), bioartists Anna Dumitriu and Alex May premiere Fermenting Futures at the 15th International Congress on Yeasts. The work explores a Pichia pastoris yeast that Dumitriu and May CRISPR-modified to capture carbon and output lactic acid for the creation of biodegradable plastic. The project aims to highlight the potential of yeast—“the workhorse of biotechnology”—and is scheduled for several major exhibitions in 2022.

“Overground Resistance” opens at MuseumsQuartier Wien’s Q21 exhibition space. Part of Oliver Ressler’s climate justice advocacy, the show includes Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, Metabolic Studio, and Rachel Schragis. While many exhibitions tackle climate change, this is the first to “focus directly” on activism, the organizers note. Participants Tools for Action’s inflatable shields (image: Red Line Barricade, COP21 protest, 2015), for example, are emblematic of the aesthetics of direct action.

Encounters Readers

Packing a lab in a suitcase and treating hormones as material, the Chinese-American artist brings punk rock energy and radical gender politics to biohacking and citizen science.

A vision of a post-anthropocentric kinship future, Superflux’s immersive installation Invocation for Hope premieres at the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), Vienna, as part of the Biennale for Change. Set to sounds by Cosmo Sheldrake, the London-based speculative design studio charts a path through a burnt forest destroyed by wildfire so that visitors may experience its restoration as they walk towards the centre. Here, a pool invites reflection, “as part of the planet, not masters of it.”

Martina Menegon’s computer simulation when you are close to me I shiver (2020) opens at the MAK, Vienna, as the forth pop-up exhibition in the museum’s CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE series. In the real-time generated virtual environment, the Italian CGI and XR artist presents an apocalyptic vision of a future where people “gather in masses on the last remaining piece of land”—a reminder of the current planetary crisis and the limited capacity of our living habitat.

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