The treacherous look through the glasses
If one takes the concept of augmented reality literally, it can describe all forms of art: Finally, every picture and every sculpture, every literary or musical work and, above all, every staging is conceived and suitable as an extension of reality. However, thanks to its progressive development, the term has expanded and concretized itself: With special glasses, which can mix virtual images into actual appearances, a new level of what can be shown and narrated is created. "The Betrayal of Images" is based on this technology - a performative journey that will lead through the Dessau Masters' Houses, the Georg Kolbe Museum in Berlin and the Saxony-Anhalt State Representation in Brussels on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus. NICO AND THE NAVIGATORS thus present their most recent work at three important locations of Classical Modernism: While the Bauhaus masters Georg Muche and Oskar Schlemmer once researched the future of design and representation in the double dwelling house, icons of sculpture ... also in association with designs by Walter Gropius or Ludwig Mies van der Rohe ... were created in Georg Kolbe's studio, built in 1928/29 and designed by the Swiss Ernst Rentsch and the Bauhaus student Paul Linder ... also in association with designs by Walter Gropius or Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Finally, the Brussels representation of Saxony-Anhalt was designed in 1969 by the Bauhaus student Franz Ehrlich as a GDR embassy and formally refers to the historical Hochschule für Gestaltung.
With the help of Magic Leap glasses, which currently represent the best available version of Augmented or Mixed Reality, "The Betrayal of Images" will question the reliability of the visible and the manipulation of perception. In times of fake news and antisocial networks, the gaze through the glasses should allow a changed perception of apparently secure insights; the expanded reality contradicts the mere appearance. There is a good reason why this game is based on the secular celebration of the Bauhaus: after all, after the rather esoteric and craft-oriented beginnings in Weimar, the slogan "art and technology - a new unity" was proclaimed at the latest with the move to Dessau. And if one looks at the numerous photographic experiments of the Bauhäusler, one finds the double exposure and the overlapping of different motifs as a recurring element ... proof of the enormous interest in the most modern methods of optical representation, as they are currently developing in augmented reality.
In terms of content, "The Betrayal of Images" will cover a broad spectrum: The biographies of the former house builders and owners alone (as well as the fates of the other Bauhaus masters and students) illustrate the greatness and limits of Classical Modernism - from Schlemmer's initial fame and later ostracism to Muche's inner emigration and Kolbe's ambivalent role in National Socialism to Franz Ehrlich, who, as a concentration camp prisoner in Buchenwald, had to design the cynical gate inscription "Jedem das Seine" ("To each his own") ... this also bears witness to the typography inspired by the Bauhaus. In addition to these biographical distortions, in the light of which a "betrayal of images" can also be understood ideologically, the aesthetic approaches and contents that are today directly linked to the Bauhaus and beyond with the art of the 1920s and 1930s must also be discussed anew - questions about reduction in formal language, about the relationship between "ornament and crime" that Adolf Loos claimed back in 1908, about the relationship between figure and sound in space, about synaesthetic perception and the human being as the measure of all things and norms ...
NICO AND THE NAVIGATORS, who are able to realize their production "The Betrayal of Images" as Artists in Residence of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, are once again working with performers in the border area between language and movement, in which the historical role models also labored - as well as for the first time with a technology that is largely unexplored in such a theatrical context. A special role in Dessau and Berlin will also be played by the outdoor areas of the theatres, which resemble each other in a surprising way: Like the Bauhäusler, Georg Kolbe also chose a pine protection as a building site for his "Sensburg", which, despite its brick construction, reveals astonishing architectural parallels to the Dessau settlement. The fact that the individual scenes still have to be adapted on site makes each station the setting for its own premiere. This is also a challenge and a special attraction of "The Betrayal of Images", which is shown in several performances per day due to the immense technical and logistical effort of a relatively small number of spectators.
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