Berlin-Based Simon Denny Opens Show in Hobart
New Zealand artist Simon Denny, who lives in Berlin, talks to The Art Newspaper’s Tim Stone about his latest exhibition, Mine, which has just opened at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona).
The exhibition aims to interrogate the business models of both resource extraction and data collection, and their impact on human labour through sculptures, augmented reality and a giant board game. “It’s a theme park to extraction as an exhibition,” Denny tells The Art Newspaper from his studio in the Berlin suburb of Wedding.
In conceiving the exhibition, Denny was partly inspired by the Tasmanian museum’s subterranean setting and the data the museum collects via The O, a digital visitor guide that tracks engagement across the gallery spaces. “The museum and the medium all came together to present a very particular opportunity,” Denny says. “The O is a huge part of my exhibition.”
Mine is the most technologically ambitious show to date for the 37-year-old Denny, who represented New Zealand at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 and has had major shows at MoMA PS1 in New York, the Serpentine Gallery in London and Christchurch Art Gallery.
“All of the objects in the show and all of the experiences are enhanced by the augmented reality,” he says. One of those experiences is a King Island brown thornbill – a Tasmanian bird species facing imminent extinction – that will “live” on The O throughout the exhibition. “[It is] kind of like a canary in the mine of the Anthropocene,” Denny says. The irony of today’s mining for resources that power digital devices is not lost on Denny.
“What I’m trying to do in this show is find an experience and imagery that talk to this new paradigm of [resource] extraction.”
Mine is on at Mona until 20 April 2020.
Original article by Tim Stone, The Art Newspaper, June 5, 2019.
Photo by Tim Stone.