This November Kaunas Artists’ House hosted the last participants of this season’s residency programme: artists Daniel Neubacher (DE) and Lukas Zerbst (DE). D. Neubacher and L. Zerbst both attended the University of the Arts Bremen in Germany, where they studied contemporary sculpture. In his varied sculptures, D. Neubacher examines questions of digitisation, identity and the social role of the artist, whereas the core of L. Zerbst’s practice is working with the space and exploring the contemporary discourse on productivity. Within the framework of the KAH residency programme the artists together with sound artist Arūnas Periokas and AuRA dance theatre dancers Julija Mintautė, Matthew Woodcock-Livingston and Mei Chen were developing “Behind Closed Doors”, an experimental, site-specific, multimedia performance, which was presented at KAH on 29 November, 2018.

At the heart of a performance experience is the performer-audience relationship: an immediate, personal, intimate exchange. Feedback that generates meaning. In post-digital, neo-liberal society, immediacy, and authentic public intimacy, represent key assets for constantly expanding our human capital and making our identity productive. This continuous, labour intense branding process of revitalising and curating the authentic self, feeding it into professional profiled accounts, has become a necessity of a constant need to evoke interpersonal interest of an audience that acts as consumer and product at the same time.

Because of the implicit immaterial nature of digital information, and because the user’s interaction with the media is estranged, or alienated, from instinctual corporeal authenticity, disembodiment and dematerialisation are generally assumed to be intrinsic consequences of digital media. New possibilities of representation, exploration and deception emerge – yet the presence of a physical body is still persistent.

“Behind closed doors” attempts to question this condition via the interplay of a series of live physical performances, experimental electronic music and Layers of live digital content. Performers thrive to connect with their audience, express themselves but will inevitable end up alone – trapped in a hall of mirrors. Like surveillance satellites orbiting around themselves.

Relating to aspects of self surveillance and monitoring the acoustic stage will be set by the architecture itself. The acoustic live ambient, will be created by networking and connecting the (Art-)Space with different sensors and probing actuators. The sound will manipulated live by filters and immediately be fed back and scattered throughout the exhibition space.

Project partner: AURA Dance Theatre

About the artists:
Daniel Neubacher is a conceptual sculptor born 1985 in Nuremberg, Germany. He finished his postgraduate-diploma program at the University of the Arts, Bremen in 2016. Neubacher’s work incorporates critical discourses evolving around media, identity, authenticity and production.
Shape-wise his rare, physical works are in an aesthetic correlation with commercial products. This is due to the fact that Neubacher is fascinated by the ascription of productivity and potential towards current technological devices. Neubacher sculptures often reflect on the circumstances of them being on display and the contextual surroundings as well on their original purpose and function. Neubacher’s relationships towards the sterile aesthetics of photographing, 3D scanning and technological computer research studios and facilities often reappear in the presentation of his pieces.

In his current artistic research Neubacher explores critical questions evolving around the means of contemporary artistic production and display, presentation and utilization of artworks as well as the artist’s identity in the era of social media and the impossibility of an imperative need of materialization in a highly mobilized, instantaneous time where innovation in display is no longer the primacy of the artist alone.

Neubacher is a fellow of the German academic foundation and has taken part in several exhibitions in Germany, Bucharest and the USA. He also taught a 3D modeling and animation seminar at the University of the Arts Bremen in 2015.

Lukas Zerbst was born in Poland, got migrated to Germany by his parents, lives nowhere today and works everywhere. He overcomes borders with his engagement in transcultural projects with Vietnam, Lithuania or Florida. In his site-specific installations he uses on-spot material, intervenes in space, enhances it with mechanical or electrical components and video. The interest in an intermediate encounter between the viewer viewer and the art work brought him to work with performance art at first.

Today he finds this moment in his work with space. Lukas sees space and its inner elements as living subjects with an urge to encounter its visitors. The breakup of the constant of physical space results in a performance of the objects. Beyond an irritation or the spectacular those manipulated objects of purpose represent human desire. Our surrounding consists of this expressive material: on one hand following a concrete purpose, on the other hand, representing human habit. The trial to free space or elements of the space from this transposition results in an autonomy of the objects. As a gesture, it simultaneously stands in the sign of technoid society. Our artificial surrounding becomes a protagonist. In that sense, Lukas’ work maybe is a hyperbole of a succeeded or failed internet of things; smart home as housing bliss or poltergeist.

With such an archaeological view on the present, he attends cross-cultural projects with artists from abroad. In a variety of exhibitions and theater pieces, he understood art as a neutral zone that has the ability to provide democratic results. As an intersection of contrary interests, a segment of a cosmopolitan entity. A longer stay in Vietnam had a big influence on Lukas. Hence he raises questions to the global art market: What language does art speak and who understands it? How ephemeral is it in the course of our hyper-producing global society? How much of a reaction is it to the circumstances in which it is created? Or is it ignorant enough to permit it?

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