Sturm&Drang, a physical space for digital production

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Sturm&Drang at the Osservatorio Fondazione Prada illustrates the physical space of Computer-Generated Imagery, taking visitors through Military First Person Shooter space, science fiction references, video tutorials and rendering workstations.  

 

Digital technology creates imaginary worlds, shows off non-existent spaces and objects, makes for very speedy interchanges and constant communication. It all seems ephemeral, Intangible, unreal almost. The reality, however, is different. The digital world exists, employing staff, taking up space, using up energy, requiring training to be understood and time to be a product.

From 9th September 2021 to 22nd January 2022, the Osservatorio Fondazione Prada is hosting the exhibition project Sturm&Drang curated by Luigi Alberto Cippini (Armature Globale), Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen (gta exhibitions, ETH Zurich), which explores the hidden side of Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) - the process of creating static and dynamic images by means of imaging software. The exhibition is the third chapter in a two-year collaboration between gta exhibition and the Prada Foundation.

The exhibition is geared to rendering the complex production processes and everyday implications of software modelling and digital images visible. Digital images invade spaces far beyond their tradition field of application, such as film advertising and gaming. Digital imagery is now very widely used, from ordinary social networks to spheres ranging from architecture to engineering, science, medicine, law courts and military defence.

What lies behind the creation of digital imagery? Who are the digital craftsmen? What software do they use, where do they work, how do they work and how do they stay up to speed on the tools they need? Sturm&Drang focuses on these and other questions, attempts to get to the bottom of them and uncover layers that often remain hidden, but which are all part of the productive and creative process of every single digital image or video. The exhibition doesn’t focus on the end product or linger on specific works but uses real and fictional spaces designed by Aramature Globale to illustrate what lies on the other side of the screen, discussing the economics and the production of content.  

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

Ranged over two floors, and split into four different sections, the exhibition takes the visitor on voyage of discovery through CGI programming. The first space inside the exhibition is a prototype of a Military First Person Shooter (MFPS), a space dedicated to first person armed combat, used not just in the videogame world but also to treat post-traumatic stress disorders in veterans and to train military bodies. The space contains sets that create a spatial partition against which movements are recorded, also utilised in film post-production. This then takes us into cyberspace, a homage to the science fiction novel Neuromancer (W. Gibson 1984), consisting of a series of small rooms inspired by the Cheap Hotel in Chiba, one of the book’s iconic locations. The exhibition space on the upper floor is taken up by walls and monitors dedicated to the global CGI community and culture. A series of videos and online tutorials, created by regular users, are shown post-production to illustrate the learning and teaching methods employed by the CGI community. Lastly, the final section is devoted to the simulation of architectural spaces using CGI programming. The installation uses technological optical tables and storage areas, showing the physical space in which the graphics operators work and wait for the machine to do the rendering.  

Along with a series of digital conversations available on the Prada Foundation website, Sturm&Drang uncovers a hidden universe and triggers questions on the matters to be addressed by visitors and museums on the subject of digital, and how to present it to the general public. What does lie on the other side of the screen? This question comes up throughout the exhibition and the project aims, in a simple way, if not to give a complete answer, then at least an interesting point of view from which to start.

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

Sturm&Drang

9th Sept. 2021 – 23rd Jan. 2022

OSSERVATORIO FONDAZIONE PRADA

GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUELE II

20121 MILAN

T. +39 02 5666 2611

INFO@FONDAZIONEPRADA.ORG

From 9th to 27th September, open Monday-Friday 2-8pm, Saturday-Sunday 11am-8pm

From 30th September onwards, open Thursday-Friday 2-8pm, Saturday-Sunday 11am-8pm  

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

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STURM&DRANG, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo by AFN

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14 September 2021