Primal Tourism: Walk-Through, 2016
Three-channel video installation
Jakob Kudsk Steensen mines virtual ecologies to consider the destruction of landscapes, both real and imagined, in the worlds we inhabit online and offline. Primal Tourism is a virtual reality art project, where colonialism, tourism and science fiction intertwine with one another. The core of the project is an exact virtual replica of the iconic tourist island Bora Bora in French Polynesia, developed in a scale of 1:3. The work is both a VR experience where the visitor explores the entire Island freely, or a “Walk Through” video where the visitor is taken on a journey in-between 5 key destinations: A primal eco-system with tsunami warning signs, an abandoned futuristic site for colonial remembrance, a resort worker mountain town, a submerged luxury resort and an airport taken over by invasive mosquitos and foreign palm trees. The work was developed in Unreal Engine, a program used by the computer gaming industry. This gives the work a polished and alluring look on par with big budget VR productions of today. The virtual Island is based on satellite data and travel journals, shared online on Reddit by anonymous writers as well as the logbook of Jacob Roggeveen, an explorer who ventured to the region on behalf of the East West Indian Trading company in 1722.
Steensen has had a solo exhibition at the Sleep Center, NY. He has taken part in group exhibitions at Project Space 184, Brooklyn; Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; Galeria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome; Institut Valencià d'Art Modern Valencia, Spain; Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid; Centra Negra, Spain; and Podium, Oslo, Norway. His residencies include those at BRIC; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; and Arkitektur der Aktuelle Kultur Berlin/Spain. Steensen has been awarded grants from the Danish Art Foundation, Noerrebro Lokaludvalg, and the Nordic Summer University at Fudan University, China, among others.
While exhibitions are under installation, BRIC House closes its gallery “garage” doors and uses them as screens for this video series. The series highlights contemporary video artists in either single- or three channel projections that are looped from 10am-6pm and can be enjoyed while sitting on the BRIC Stoop and cafe.
The Stoop at BRIC House is a public cultural gathering space featuring free, drop-in programming, and offering a place to sit, observe, and participate in multi-disciplinary work.