Process as paradigm

Catalogue of the exhibition “Process as paradigm – art in development, flux and change”, Laboral, Gijón, 2010
Curators: Susanne Jaschko und Lucas Evers


Between simulation and fiction

For complex processes that are at the edge of being describable, understandable and predictable for the human mind, science has developed a useful tool: simulation. Simulation is a construction of a system and its process with the purpose to mirror or construct parts of reality. In design and science fiction literature, simulation is not confined to the imitation of reality, but extends to the construction of fictional worlds, forms and products, and in correspondence to the growing mechanisation and mediation of the world, the extent of fictionalising and simulating increases. lt can reach such a degree that the difference between reality and simulation collapses. Borges, Eco and Baudrillard have unremittingly reported on this porous border between reality and fiction. But because simulation does not share reality’s complex conditions, any simulation can only be an approach to the real: a model world, a sub-world . In a similar way, also visualisations of processes are always abstractions and interpretations of reality, as they focus on particular aspects and can only depict a selected set of dato, and can never represent large-scale processes in their entirety. A number of artworks in the exhibition could be interpreted as simulations, since they (re-)construct a complex natural process in the small format of an installation. Maybe Driessens & Verstappen’s Sandbox most prominently evokes the impression of a simulation. By looking inside the box, the visitor can observe the continuous formation of three-dimensional sand images. Because this en miniature landscape resembles so much the formation of dunes, it suggests itself easily as a simulation of this natural phenomenon. Yet the artists claim the opposite.
In a similar way, the artworks Roots by Roman Kirschner and Warden Sprites Raum#3 by Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag reference to processes in nature without necessarily intending to simulate them. What differentiales these works from exhibits in science museums? ls it the transfer of natural events into artistic processes? lt is not the representation of the world that these artworks aim at, but the creation of intensive experiences, in the form of audiovisual situations. These processual spatial installations can be interpreted as immersive worlds, as worlds within the world, thus continuously alternating between simulation and fiction.
Excerpt from the catalogue (p.83) by the curators