The Last Museum simultaneously unfolds across six continents and the virtual realm. Principally accessed through kw-berlin.de/thelastmuseum, the exhibition features all-new commissions by Nora Al-Badri, Nicole Foreshew, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Jakrawal Nilthamrong, Zohra Opoku, and Charles Stankievech that blur the line between cinema and sculpture while exploring the potential of website specificity. Curated by Nadim Samman, the show is on view until June 6, 2021.
The Last Museum’s site is a layered reality or (to borrow a term from computational engineering) a “stack.” This stack encompasses land, sculpture, code-user experience, metadata, and softer specificities. In this respect, every artwork is a vector that intersects with the website’s various layers. The artists were each commissioned to author a sculptural group to be installed at a physical site of their own choosing. The choice was only limited by a request that it be associated with communications infrastructure.
Final locations ended up highlighting both technical and more esoteric resources for connectivity. They included a notorious hackerspace in Berlin, Indigenous land in rural Australia, a popular electronics mall in downtown São Paulo, a Cosmic Ray Research Station in the Rocky Mountains, a half-built mortuary in Accra, Ghana, and burning fields in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Each sculptural intervention was videoed by the artists and the resulting clips were handed over to a coder, before being brought together by a digital way-finding protocol. The outcome, debuting as a pop-up window on the KW start page, is a website experience that unfolds as an interactive sequence of objects and places, navigable using bespoke tools. At times, these tools amount to additional (digital) artworks.
The Last Museum imagines information transmission across the historical longue durée, dramatizing points of intersection with emerging technologies, (body) politics, and the global economy. As it does so, a leitmotif of displacement, limbo, loss, and undeath plays out.
View the exhibition at kw-berlin.de/thelastmuseum.