Nxt Museum, the first new media art museum in the Netherlands, opens its doors

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Nxt Museum, the first new media art museum in the Netherlands, opens its doors
Dimensional Sampling #1 by Yuxi Cao (James). Part of the inaugural exhibition at Nxt Museum, Shifting Proximities. © Peter Tijhuis.

AMSTERDAM.- From today, visitors can immerse themselves in the futuristic world of Nxt Museum. The groundbreaking museum - which is the first in the Netherlands dedicated to New Media Art - opens its doors to the public with the inaugural exhibition ‘Shifting Proximities’.

Located in the up-and-coming North of Amsterdam, Nxt Museum presents eight large scale, multi-sensory art installations, four of which have been commissioned by and are premiering at Nxt Museum. Each of the multi-disciplinary installations has been created in collaboration with local and international artists, designers, technologists, scientists and musicians, fusing creative ideas with pioneering academic research and technological innovation.

Merel van Helsdingen, Founder and Managing Director of the museum, said: “We’re excited beyond belief to be welcoming our first visitors today after three years in-the making and some hurdles along the way. At Nxt Museum, we fuse innovative art and state-of-the-art technology to reflect on the present and look towards the future. I hope that our visitors will feel challenged, stimulated and inspired by these incredible artworks and will leave with new understandings of the world and their place within it.”

Shifting Proximities, curated by Bogomir Doringer with co-curator Jesse Damiani, examines how human experience and interaction are affected by social and technological change. Visitors are invited to engage and interact physically, emotionally and intellectually with the art — from experiencing the formation of a black hole, to learning how plants communicate with each other, and subjecting themselves to the flaws of facial recognition algorithms.

Curator Bogomir Doringer said: “We’re opening the museum in times of COVID-19, which has dramatically shifted the proximities between us and has changed life as we know it. In moments like these, we must come together and unite towards common goals. Shifting Proximities explores how technology helps us stay connected and protected, while confronting how it can be mobilised to control and exploit us. We place artists at the forefront of navigating these complex contradictions and, by relying on active audience participation, we aim to highlight the role and responsibility of us all in shaping the future.”

The works in the first exhibition are:

● Connected (2020), a new commission by audio-visual artist Roelof Knol with sound by Marc Mahfoud

● Topologies #1 (2020), a new commission by United Visual Artists (UVA)

● Habitat (2020), a new work by artist Heleen Blanken with software developer NAIVI and sound artist Stijn van Beek

● Distortions in Spacetime (2018-2020) by audiovisual pioneers Marshmallow Laser Feast

● Econtinuum (2020), a new commission by ecological artist Thijs Biersteker in collaboration with plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso

● Biometric Mirror (2018-2020) by sci-fi artist and body architect Lucy McRae and Dr Niels Wouters, an action researcher in human-computer interaction and digital ethics

● Nxt Stage presents: Dimensional Sampling (2019-2020) by artist and coder Yuxi Cao (James) with sound artist Lau Hiu Kong (Lawrence)

● Nxt Lab presents: a series of four videoworks by Algorithmic Justice League and Joy Buolamwini

Shaking up the tradition of wall texts, digital artist Benjamin Muzzin and sound designer Danny van der Lagt have been commissioned to create explanatory materials that use a combination of projections, moving-image and text to delve further into the rigorous research and collaborative creative process behind each of the art installations. The ‘transition rooms’, situated between the art installations, also offer visitors a place to relax, reflect and re-set as they move through the exhibition.

Shifting Proximities takes over the entirety of Nxt Museum’s 1,400 square metre exhibition space, including Nxt Lab – a dynamic space for education, research and development, and home to the artist residency programme – and Nxt Stage, a platform for innovative performances and audiovisual art. These two regularlyrotating spaces allow Nxt Museum to stay relevant and respond to urgent socio-political concerns.

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