Berlin-based artist and curator Manuel Rossner’s work explores the fluid transitions of analog and digital reality. At the German premiere of ULTRAMARIN, which we at VRHAM! are presenting as an umbrella brand, he will be showing his SURPRISINGLY SERIES. We talked to him about challenges and the potential of digital, NFTs and new possibilities in the art world.
VRHAM!: Your art form moves between the worlds of traditional and digital art. In an interview with Tilman Baumgärtl, you said: “My art begins where architects leave off. What are the biggest challenges in trying to link analog with virtual reality?
MANUEL ROSSNER: Often, the two worlds function in opposite ways. For example, in the digital world, the term “expensive” means that a process consumes a lot of computing capacity, while in the case of a building, it costs a lot of money to build. In addition, the network culture is completely different. It’s always a challenge to create a digital experience. It starts with basic interactions: How do I move through space?
You are one of the first artists to explore the vast possibilities that NFTs offer. What distinguishes your personal work as an NFT artist?
I see my NFTs as part of a world that I create and continue to develop. For me, fundamental questions are important: What actually is a digital object? And how does it relate to a physical object? For example, my SURPRISINGLY SERIES consists of 100 digital works that I create in virtual reality. I draw in the air and the computer gives volume to my movement. 25 of these digital objects are precisely produced in the physical world by a CNC-mill.
For people who are not yet fully aware of the connection between art and NFTs, how would you describe this art form and what possibilities do you see in it?
The analog art world has opened up to the digital only to a very limited extent for decades. Without physical objects, there has hardly been any. But the great potential of the digital lies precisely in its independence from the physical. Now artists can not only exploit these possibilities, but also let visitors or collectors participate in their work in a new way.
At VRHAM! you present your work “Surprisingly” – What can visitors expect?
In the SURPRISINGLY SERIES, I’m interested in looking at my digital work from many angles: Visitors can see the original work with their smartphone in augmented reality. In addition, there are three videos to watch that show the different materialities: Bouncy, Dripping and Cracking. There is also a physical work to see.