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Artists' Association MUU » TEEMU KIVIKANGAS: The Garden of Forking Paths
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TEEMU KIVIKANGAS: The Garden of Forking Paths

tkivikangas-muu-1_400px8 February – 3 March 2013
MUU gallery

A complex and layered short story by the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges, El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (The Garden of Forking Paths) was published in 1941. Over time, the visionary text has come to be valued very highly. In just ten pages, Borges’ piece anticipates with uncanny precision some of the fundamental issues of digital media, such as hypertext and interactive narrativity.

The exhibition is a reinterpretation of Borges’ garden on both a concrete and a more abstract level. The core of the installation is a computer game in which the viewer wanders in a nocturnal garden. Thematically, the works in the exhibition explore interaction, choices and rules – as well as their transgression. They can also be seen as a study of the issues of free will.

The works are cast in the format of games. The success of the Finnish game industry has made the theme a favourite in the media. In the shadow of best-sellers familiar from the pages of magazines, a different game culture is growing: indie game designers are quite as ambitious with their work as artists in any field. The exhibition seeks to study the aesthetics of computer games and push the artistic envelope of interactive media.

However, games are also addressed on another level in the exhibition. They are seen as a versatile metaphor, a glue of social interaction, a system of rules, even a language, their references ranging from game theory to the language games of Wittgenstein and Horkheimer.

The key concept is Johan Huizinga’s idea of the game’s ‘magic circle’. The theme of entering and transgressing the magic circle is a recurring one in the show. You could say it begins at the door of the gallery, when the viewer enters the magic circle of the exhibition.

Teemu Kivikangas is a media artist and game designer from Helsinki who works with experimental film, photography, computer games and concept art. His work is replete with literary forebears, popular culture, documentarism and community approach.

Kivikangas has presented his short films and media installations at festivals and group exhibitions around the world (e.g. ANTI Festival, PixelACHE, ISEA and Ars Electronica). His one-man exhibitions Ruins (Gallery of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, 2009) and The Permanent Tourist (Galleria Välivuosi, 2007) focused on photography and conceptual works.

Kivikangas graduated with an MA from the Media Lab of the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2007. He has also studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and the Slade School of Fine Art in London.


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