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Wu Tsang: Of Whales

, Venice Biennale 2022

VIVE Arts returns to the Biennale Arte, Venice, showcasing cutting-edge digital art to global audiences at the world’s foremost festival for contemporary art and culture. As part of this year’s main exhibition The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani, VIVE Arts presents a special project by award-winning artist and filmmaker Wu Tsang.

Wu Tsang showcases a new iteration of her multidisciplinary project inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The large-scale film and sound installation Of Whales explores the ocean as a site of cosmology in Melville’s great American novel and is staged on a 16-meter LED screen, positioned above the water inside the historic structure of the Giaggiandre, two covered canopies in the Arsenale complex, which date back to the 16th century. This new site-specific artwork offers a poetic reinterpretation of the whale’s story ‘from below’ the surface of the ocean.

The artwork reflects on some of the key themes of the main exhibition, particularly how the use of technology can challenge the concepts of an anthropocentric world. Tsang utilized the world-building potential of virtual reality, collaborating with the French Studio Albyon. The use of Unity game engine technologies enables the artwork to play continuously, echoing a day-to-night cycle and the deep dive of a sperm whale, offering visitors a new experience each time they encounter it. The installation will be adapted into a VR artwork to be premiered at Art Basel on 16 June 2022.

Wu Tsang is renowned for her works, which cross genres and disciplines, from narrative and documentary films to live performance and video installations. Tsang is a MacArthur 'Genius' Fellow, and her projects have been presented at museums, biennials, and film festivals internationally.

Image credit: Installation view, Wu Tsang: Of Whales, Venice Biennale 2022 Photo: Stefano Cozzi

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