Pipilotti Rist’s Pixel Forest

"Where Viewers Are Meant to Deactivate"

Occupying three main floors of the New Museum in New York City, a presentation of “Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest” is its most comprehensive for the artist yet. @pipilottierist explores the representation of the female body and transforming architectural spaces to dreamlike enviornments enhanced with the senses all around. 

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Her work include stuff from the 80’s which replete with funky graphics and glitchy effects (where users can catch via quirky hood-like cube-shaped viewing stations protruding from the wall), to her video environments that are spectacularly absorptive. When a lot of museums talk about “activating the viewer” through interactive work, @pipilottierist does the opposite, where viewers are meant to deactivate.

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Rist taps into the viewers’ deep sense of curiosity, pervading one’s physical and psychological experiences. Viewers are brought to the unexpected, all-consuming encounters with texture, form, and function of the living and breathing universe around us... And in doing so, @pipilottierist brings sounds from the forests, oceans, down to a person’s heartbeat – resembling a white noise machine that aims to transport viewers to a hypnagogic state. 

Where naked bodies were shown as fragments fading in and out of shimmering environments, Worry Will Vanish Horizon takes viewers inside the body, transposed with nature imagery. As the camera wheels in so close around parts like lips, limbs, nipples and any orifices, it becomes almost indecipherable. Transposed with images of fruits, plants, and various natural elements, the video portrays as if lovemaking was truly cosmic. 

Worry Will Vanish Horizon

Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine that you arrive at the “happily ever after,” where the villain is defeated and true love found. 

Extend the plot for another 500 pages or so, and wouldn’t the result be banal? Perhaps the depressing conslusion is that happiness is desirable so long as it is in doubt... And so, @pipilottierist solves this dilemma by rewinding the tape, to show a perspective that is Edenic.

“I’m not afraid of the idea that art can heal,” she says. With imagery that is womb-like, Rist stages a world before a clear line between the self and environment is established. Mesmerizing viewers by enveloping them in a sensual, vibrantly-colored kalaeidoscopic projections, it is no wonder @pipilottierist is internationally renowned as a pioneer of video-art and multimedia installations. In New York? Be sure to drop by before Jan 22! 

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