Refresh: The Space in Between A Screen and A Body examines ways in which we embody virtual spaces and digital technology. This two-person exhibition at Metropolitan State University’s Gordon Parks Gallery features Karst, a virtual reality artwork by new media artist Snow Yunxue Fu, and original choreography by dancer/visual artist Lela Pierce.
This exhibition re-imagines the gallery as a digital space: a web page that is updated/refreshed with new “data” (motions, memories, layers of meaning, recordings of the virtual reality world and the performances). Karst is multi-level virtual reality visual and sound experience/artwork that creates liminal spaces in between the representational and the theatrical. Through projections, Pierce’s unique exploration of Karst is broadcast onto her body and on walls of the Gordon Parks Gallery; through motion sensors and video, her physical presence is transformed from bodily memories to a flux of data. In Refresh, Pierce’s dancing body is a breathing screen, a public platform for showcasing a world of physically inaccessible wonders that Fu recreated in VR.
Virtual reality engages an individual in a semi-passive interaction in which sight and sound is overwhelmed, and the physical body easily forgotten as such. As the virtual reality experience is typically internal and limited to those who possess the VR equipment, Refresh seeks to democratize experience by bringing the internal outwards.
The exhibit opens Monday, May 3 and runs through July 1. The exhibition is accessible online as a series of videos recording the performances and the virtual reality artwork. A virtual panel discussion with the artists, curator and tech team will be 6–7 p.m., Thursday, June 24. Access the videos and virtual panel discussion at metrostate.edu/arts/gordon-parks-gallery.
Lela Pierce is a black multiracial visual artist and dancer born and raised in rural Mnisota Makoce on Dakota and Anishinaabe land. Her main artistic practices include performance, painting, and installation work. Pierce has danced extensively with Ananya Dance Theatre, as a founding member of the company from 2004–2016, as well as with Pramila Vasudevan of Aniccha Arts and Rosy Simas Danse 2015–present. She holds a BA in studio art with honors from Macalester College and is currently pursuing an MFA from the University of Minnesota.
Snow Yunxue Fu (https://snowyunxuefu.com/home.html) is a New York-based international new media artist, curator, and assistant arts professor in the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Using topographical computer-rendered images and installations, her practice merges historical, post-photographic, philosophical, and painterly explorations into the techno sublime: an artificial, overwhelming digital simulation of the sublime beauty of nature. Currently, Fu works primarily with 3-D software to create digital experiences that capture a form of liminality that allows for agency and play.
Assistant: Junyi Min
Contributing artist: Eric Anderson
Gallery doors are currently closed to the public. The gallery is located at the university’s Saint Paul Campus on the third floor of the Library and Learning Center, 645 East Seventh Street. For more information about the exhibit, contact Zoe Cinel, Interim Gallery Director, at 651-246-2086.