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Claudia Hart


01:18 min
Edition of 1
850,00 €excl. VAT
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ECSTACY by Claudia Hart is a series of twelve unique movies with original sound, envisioning a hybrid female avatar trying out various strategies to escape virtuality.

Claudia Hart describes the evolution of ECSTACY, a journey of creativity in the post-digital age:

"ECSTACY is the endgame of a project that I evolved over the course of 12 years, taking several forms before assuming this most evolved identity. It is a process that I often go through—the experience that art sometimes takes a score of years before finding its place in the world. I originally made a version of the piece by collaborating with 24 of my students in 2012. I made a prototype for them to respond to, sharing the skeleton of a floating avatar with them for each to interpret in their own way, using their own avatar creations. At the same time, I made many variations of mine in twenty colours with different lighting and effects. That first version was shown in an exhibition at a museum in Korea. The show was called BETTER THAN UNIVERSE, curated by Yoo Jinsang, at the Dague Media Art / ZKM collaborative space in Dague, Korea, in 2013/14.

I remade the piece in 2019, using the colourful variations that I had stored on a hard drive since 2012 but forgotten about. With them, I made a new edit and a new piece, but using the same music.

Seven years later, my former students were now grown, accomplished artists and professors, with many remaining close friends. When I retired from teaching, I showed it in Chicago at the School of the Art Institute Faculty Sabbatical Triennial, organized by Staci Boris, Director of Exhibitions there, at the School of the Art Institute Galleries, 2022. At that moment, that variant was called "Dark kNight".

Then last month, in 2024, I took the 2019 version, reinterpreting it yet again, changing colours and textures, to reformulate it into twelve short films.

The text below was written by the critic Roger Denson in 2012 about my prototype work, also shown in an exhibition called POST PICTURES at bitforms gallery in New York. Roger wrote the catalog for that show, which was also published and excerpted below. I believe that their checkered history is the meaning of these twelve NFTs, a story about creativity, regeneration, and community."

"Dark kNight" is Hart's response to Christopher Nolan's 2012 film, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, depicting the attempt of one of her avatars to break free of the simulated world behind the screen. With "Dark kNight" (spelling intentional), Hart began a personal migration out of the sanctuary cocoon of her earlier automatons. She represents the attempt of this defiant one to break free of the simulated world behind the screen and describes it as a story about creativity and regeneration.

The popular Christopher Nolan film DARK KNIGHT RISES is a film about escape from imprisonment and the powers that determine who is and isn't to be imprisoned. With the film's two highly independent, physically athletic, and defiant female characters, both of whom have escaped their own entrapments, Hart was immediately prompted to envision her own restless, racially hybrid female avatar trying out various strategies to escape virtuality. In the video, we see her hurling herself against the screen, swinging from her feet by a rope and hitting the screen full body; catapulting like a human cannonball into the screen; and, as seen here, swinging with a rope by her hands and hitting the screen with her feet—all seen at various speeds. Hart claims the mythological source for the figure, besides Nolan's Batman, is the chained Prometheus, bound by the Olympian gods for bringing fire to humankind, as well as Michaelangelo's DYING CAPTIVES, who appear to struggle in their efforts to release themselves from their prisons of stone.

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