Pavilion of Estonia presented If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes by Katja Novitskova at the Estonian Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (13.05 – 26.11.2017). The exhibition was curated by Kati Ilves.
If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes addressed the relationship between the domain of seeing, big data-driven industries, and ecology in times of biotic crisis.
Currently, vast aspects of human and nonhuman lives are being registered and modeled on an environmental scale. Collection and processing of data has become a tool used to map all possible surfaces, moments and spectra on Earth and beyond – from faces to biological cell walls to dust on Mars.
This is performed by human, and increasingly, robotic agents, and is directed at people, both wild and captured creatures, and nonliving processes. Seeing has become an expanding extractive industry. In the process new visual languages, commodities and life forms are being generated reflecting back to us our often violent entanglement with the world: patterns of embryonic development in mutated lab-test worms, live-streamed flows of CO2 gas across the planet, or a group of near-extinct animals passing by a tree and noticing the tracking camera.
Katja Novitskova works from new forms of imagery taken from the realm of present day visual representation. This exhibition explores this radical new articulation of the role of the image, and how constant planetary scale mediation gains an ecological dimension.
The exhibition’s title is a quote taken from a conversation in Ridley Scott’s cult sci-fi film, Blade Runner (1982), between the replicant Roy Batty and designer Hannibal Chew—who created his eyes.
The exhibition was accompanied by a book, designed by Ott Metusala, with essays by Kati Ilves, Nora Khan, Jaak Tomberg, Toke Lykkeberg and Venus Lau.
Katja Novitskova (b. 1984, Estonia) is an artist who currently lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. Her works have gained much international recognition, her recent solo exhibitions include Greene Naftali, New York (2016); Kunstverein Hamburg, Hamburg (2016) and she has recently exhibited in group exhibitions at Kiasma, Helsinki (2017), 9th Berlin biennale (2016), and MoMA, New York (2015). In her work Novitskova examines ecological and information systems, through an engagement with digital images on the web. In 2011, she published the influential artist book, Post Internet Survival Guide, and in 2016 her exhibition catalogue Dawn Mission was published with the Kunstverein in Hamburg.
Kati Ilves (b. 1984, Estonia) is a curator currently based in Amsterdam. Ilves has worked as the curator of contemporary art at the Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, which is the largest of the five branches of the Art Museum of Estonia. She has curated solo exhibitions and group shows, and put together research-based projects. Ilves holds a Master’s Degree in Art History. She is the participant in the Curatorial Programme 2016–2017 at de Appel in Amsterdam.
Artist Katja Novitskova
Curator Kati Ilves
Commissioner Maria Arusoo (CCA)
Designer Ott Metusala
Installation Tõnu Narro, Mihkel Lember
Project assistant Kaarin Kivirähk (CCA)
Project manager in Venice Tomas Ewald
Assistants to the artist Isabel da Costa, Leon Eisenbermann, Kristina Õllek
The Project was selected with an open call. Members of the selection committee: Rael Artel, Maria Arusoo, Sebastian Cichocki, Ekow Eshun, Sirje Helme, Martha Kirszenbaum, Kaido Ole, Ingrid Ruudi, Maria-Kristiina Soomre.