Jennifer Steinkamp, professor of design media arts in the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, will be featured in two exhibitions opening this month in Seoul, South Korea, and Austin, Texas.
Her work “Souls” featuring three large-scale immersive video installations will be exhibited at the Lehmann Maupin gallery in Seoul from Sept. 3 through Oct. 31. “Souls” offers a sanctuary that invites a close, even microscopic look at the natural environment and exemplifies the breadth and ambition of Steinkamp’s practice.
“Eon,” another video installation by Steinkamp, will be unveiled in Austin on Sept. 10 at Landmarks, the public arts program at the University of Texas. Extending the artist’s interest in biology, “Eon” takes its inspiration from the concept of symbiosis. Recognized by scientists as a key component of evolution, symbiosis explains the mutual cooperation of unlike organisms as critical to the survival of diverse species. In Steinkamp’s installation, biomorphic shapes undulate across the screen, punctuating an aqueous backdrop with bursts of pink, yellow and multicolored fragments.
In light of COVID 19, Landmarks will host a virtual opening for the project on Sept. 10 at 2:30 p.m., with a livestreamed Q&A with Steinkamp, Landmarks director Andrée Bober, UT College of Natural Sciences Dean Paul Goldbart and Rudolf Frieling. Register for the virtual event here.
Toegeher, these works highlight the important historical position Steinkamp holds as a leader in digital animation and as one of the first to experiment with constructing imagery — including color, texture, and movement — by wholly digital means. By simulating natural movement in cycles that are at once familiar-seeming yet entirely unique, Steinkamp conjures the uncanny impression of artificial life that is both rooted in past modes of representation while looking, with optimism, towards the future.
A pioneer in the field of 3-D animation, Steinkamp works exclusively in digital media, using cutting-edge technology to render organic and abstract forms in motion that give deeper insight into the often unseen complexities of the natural environment. By manipulating existing computer code, primarily using 3-D animation software, Steinkamp transforms architectural spaces with light, dematerializing walls and filling the constructed environment with hyperreal and, simultaneously, clearly artificial mimicry of organic forms. Steinkamp’s colorful moving images disorient and lull the viewer into a sense of calm — a world both familiar and foreign, real and virtual.