The artist Florian Meisenberg (*1980) has generated a self-portrait from personal digital data that can be viewed online at www.schirn.de
. The digital art project conceived exclusively for the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt bears the title Out of Office (I used to be 'with it' , but then they changed what 'it' was. Now what Im with isnt 'it', and whats 'it' seems weird and scary to me.) (2016). The self-portrait consists of a GPS-tracked motion and communication profile of the artist and his personal image material. All of the data are rendered graphically according to a specific algorithm. Viewers can follow Meisenberg via a timeline and track where he is, when he makes an online purchase, how often he uses Google or writes a WhatsApp message, and what pictures he takes. What develops is an intimate contemporary self-portrait of the artist.
Florian Meisenberg shows us his digital footprint. He reveals his life to us in the Internet, lets us participate in his habits, his way of communicating, and draws a picture of himself that is characterized by radicalness in terms of its form and determination in terms of its implementation. At the same time, his work reflects the ubiquity and overcoding of the human image in media society. However, it does not leave viewers behind on their own but challenges them to think about their own digital footprint and their personal handling of media, says Max Hollein, Director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.
Concurrent with the digital self-portrait, Meisenberg is presenting an installation by the same name, Out of Office (2016), in the Schirn exhibition ME in which his smartphone is streamed 1:1 onto a large screen so that visitors to the exhibition can follow Meisenbergs communication in real time. The painter, draftsman, performer, and video and installation artist has been dealing for quite some time with the decreasing contradistinction between private and public in digital space. He says goodbye to his private sphere and becomes radically transparent for both Out of Office works. Meisenberg sees it as an experiment that has something liberating yet frightening about it. He declares the modern self a user, the intimate sphere an illusion, and demonstrates that today, the artist is permanently online and permanently reachable. Meisenberg has lived and worked with the artist Anna K.E. in Brooklyn, New York, since 2010. After receiving his degree in media design, from 2004 to 2010 he studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf with Peter Doig and was his master student.
In 2015, the Schirn extended its exhibition space into the Internet for the first time. It has presented two digital art projects to date with works by Britta Thie (www.schirn.de/translantics) and Constant Dullaart (www.schirn.de/the-possibility-of-an-army). These projects demonstrate that artists from different generations make use of the instruments, phenomena, and technologies of digital society to create new, unconventional things and thus find individual answers to important questions of our day and age.