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Full Screen Is A Group Show Dedicated To Digital Art You Can Wear On Your Wrist

What time is it? Time for browser art and mashups, that's what.

The wearable work by Vincent Broquaire. All images courtesy of XPO Gallery. 

Rectangles are out--retinas are in. According to German artist and futurist Aram Bartholl, there comes a day when screens will disappear and be replaced with laser lights projected onto retinas. Opening this Thursday, Bartholl curates Full Screen, a show at the XPO Gallery in Paris, which celebrates our evolution off of the screen.

Until April 3, you can catch twelve internationally-lauded artists drawing from the medium of the wrist wearable, from Ai Weiwei to URL art bandit Constant Dullaart, abstract webmaster Rafaël Rozendaal, and hacker aesthetician Evan Roth, among others.

A still from Addie Wagenknecht's titillating wearable. 

Each watch produced for the exhibition contains an artwork on its screen, encouraging viewers to wear art on their wrists. Toying with the hype of wearable devices, it’s a flashback to those retro calculator watches from the '80s, this time with LED screens. Here, Bartholl plays the role of pundit, asking the world how long will this new-retro will last.

I had to ask; Bartholl spoke to us from Paris about Power Rangers, blinged-out jewelry, and why famous artists need to use the Internet in more ways than they currently do.

A still from Jennifer Chan's piece

The Creator’s Project: How have you seen the screen develop over time?

Aram Bartholl: To me, it comes down to the curatorial formats I’ve been working with over the years. Shows in internet cafes... The underlying question is, in what ways we can represent digital art? Today, there are all kinds of ways. Net art used to be on the Internet. Back in the 1990s, the artists saw it with a different approach: ‘We don’t need the institution any more, we have our computers.’ Stuff moved off of the Internet and now there are different formats, more than screen-based art in galleries. Still, I think it’s very important to experiment with different ways of putting, in a white cube, screen-based works. It’s funny; how and what screens to use? Is it a projection? The art canon have not adapted to this part of this new branch; Google Glass is coming and it’s no longer about the rectangle anymore.

Footage taken of Constant Dullaart's Sleeping Sunset

So is this show your way of preserving the screen?

That’s what I like about the show; it’s so new but it’s so old. We walked around the city with these watches, which are super new and sexy but feel very old at the same time. It’s like saying goodbye to the screen. Same for the LED screen.

Petra Cortright's Bugging Out

How long do you think it will take before screens disappear?

It’s the same thing with TV: it will still go on but the form will change. There will be screens where you don’t have the rectangle anymore. It’s hard to tell, and it’s going to take quite a while, but the next paradigm shift is going to happen soon.

From the wearable by Oliver Laric

Which watch did you use?

Samsung's Galaxy Gear which came out last year. From the ones on the market now, it’s kind of high end.

There are so many out there and there’s hype about it. It’s also about wearing art on your body, showing art off by wearing this big blingy watch-- that’s what I like about this. You can’t just wear the watch as a watch anymore.

A still from the work by Paul Souviron

What can we expect to see in this show?

Petra Cortright is showing her latest webcam video, Bugging Out, which is playing with eye-tracking software. Evan Roth is showing a countdown for Notorious B.I.G. He does countdown videos which show the time it takes before the works of artists are in the public domain-- a wait seventy years after their deaths. Only then can you remix Bigge Smalls legally, without copyright complications. There are insane laws around the era of remix culture-- the watch is a countdown, and it is still 53 years away. There is also Constant Dullaart's Sleeping Sunset, a browser that fades to black and comes back, similar to his Sleeping Internet piece. Rafael Rozendaal is showing one of his website pieces, Everything Always Everywhere, a very calm animation that is very colourful. Meanwhile, Paul Sauvignon is showing symbols presented in a sequence of seconds; 360 images in six minutes. You look at the watch and you can’t tell the time.

Evan Roth's Biggie countdown

What did Ai Weiwei create for the exhibition?

What I noticed over the past years is that he is busy on the Internet. Yes, Ai Weiwei uses his Twitter account, but he understands the reach and power you have online. There are few really famous artists who really use the Internet. He has done a bunch of DIY web projects, 'How to Spray a Surveillance Camera...' I felt really connected to these things, I asked him to be in the show and he said yes. He is showing the You Tube music video of his detention. We have the music, the lyrics and the video.

A still from "Dumbass," Ai Weiwei's detainment music video. 

Will screen-based art ever die?

It’s still kind of retro to talk about it; I think there will always be screen-based art. There has always been video and film and other stuff before it in the background of the Internet and the networks and the commentary behind it. It’s always important to find formats to present this also, in a bigger context of the art world and the media.  

Rozendaal's Everything Always Everywhere, shown playing on the Samsung Galaxy Gear.

Why is it that tech wearables are always tied to the wrist?

There are glasses, jewelry... I saw a Kickstarter for a ring. The ideas have been around already for the wrist. It’s very Power Rangers-like. You can make a phone call on your wrist. It’s kind of ridiculous.

The new work by Raquel Meyers

Full Screen runs from March 14 to April 3, 2014 at XPO Gallery in Paris, France.

All images courtesy of XPO Gallery Paris

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