The Verbier Art Summit is pleased to welcome a diverse group of keynote speakers, selected by museum director Daniel Birnbaum of Moderna Museet Stockholm, to stimulate meaningful dialogue on the topic of Art in the Digital Age. Each speaker brings a unique perspective to the 2018 Summit.
Daniel Birnbaum is the director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm. From 2000 to 2010 he was the Rector of Städelschule in Frankfurt and Director of its kunsthalle Portikus. He is contributing editor of Artforum in New York and has curated a number of large exhibitions, including Airs de Paris at Centre Pompidou in Paris (in co-operation with Christine Macel) in 2007. Birnbaum was the director of the 2009 Venice Biennale. He is the author of numerous books on art and philosophy and is the co-editor (with Isabelle Graw) of the Insitut für Kunstkritik series published by Sternberg Press. He recently joined the board of directors of Nobel Media, the organization that manages all the events surrounding the Nobel prizes.
Artist Olafur Eliasson (IS/DK), born in 1967, works in a wide range of media, including installation, painting, sculpture, photography, and film. Since 1997, his solo shows have appeared in major museums around the world. Eliasson’s projects in public spaces include The New York City Waterfalls in 2008, and Ice Watch, shown in Copenhagen in 2014 and Paris in 2015. As part of his practice, he engages with arts education, policy-making, and the issues of sustainability and climate justice. He has been active in the digital realm for many years and has recently begun to explore the potential of virtual reality.
Established in 1995, his studio today numbers over one hundred craftsmen, architects, archivists, researchers, administrators, and cooks. In 2014, Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann founded Studio Other Spaces, an office for art and architecture focusing on interdisciplinary and experimental building projects and works in public space. Together with engineer Frederik Ottesen, Eliasson founded the social business Little Sun in 2012. This global project produces and distributes the Little Sun solar lamp for use in off-grid communities and spreads awareness about the need to expand access to clean, sustainable energy to all.
Since 1991 Coupland has written thirteen novels published in most languages. He has written and performed for England’s Royal Shakespeare Company and is a columnist for The Financial Times of London. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, e-flux, DIS and Vice. In 2000 Coupland amplified his visual art production and has recently had two separate museum retrospectives, Everything is Anything is Anywhere is Everywhere at the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Royal Ontario Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and Bit Rot at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, and Villa Stücke in Munich in the fall of 2017. In 2015 and 2016 Coupland was artist in residence in the Paris Google Cultural Institute. Coupland is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Officer of the Order of British Columbia, a Chevlier de l'Order des Arts et des Lettres and receiver of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.
Anicka Yi is an artist whose practice relates to synthetic biology, bio engineering, extinction, and bio fiction. Her work examines concepts of "the biopolitics" of the senses" or how assumptions and anxieties related to gender, race, and class shape physical perception. Anicka Yi lives and works in New York City. Recent institutional solo exhibitions of her work include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Fridericianum, Kassel; Kunsthalle Basel; List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Kitchen, New York; and The Cleveland Museum of Art. In 2016, she was awarded the Hugo Boss Prize. Yi has screened her film, The Flavor Genome, at the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the International Film Festival of Rotterdam, 2017. She is represented by 47 Canal, New York.
Ed Atkins is an artist who makes videos, writes and draws, developing a complex and deeply figured discourse around definition, wherein the impossibilities for sufficient representations of the physical, specifically corporeal, world — from computer generated imagery to bathetic poetry — are hysterically rehearsed. Solo presentations include Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; MMK Frankfurt; DHC/ART, Montréal (all 2017); Castello di Rivoli, Turin; The Kitchen, New York (both 2016); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015) and The Serpentine Gallery, London (2014). An anthology of his texts, “A Primer for Cadavers”, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2016, and an extensive artist’s monograph from Skira came out this past Autumn. Atkins lives and works in Berlin.
Pamela Rosenkranz’s work addresses the shifting philosophical and scientific meanings of the ‘natural’ and the ‘human’ during the time of the Anthropocene (the geological epoch marked by the impact of human activities on the ecosystem). Rosenkranz deploys a palette of patented icons—polyethylene water bottles, soft drinks, Ralph Lauren latex paint, JPEGs of International Klein Blue, Ilford photo paper, and ASICS sneakers—augmented by flesh-toned silicone and acrylic paint. By challenging the distinction between the natural and the artificial, Rosenkranz addresses the evolutionary and material dynamics underlying perception, art, and culture.
Susanne Pfeffer took on the role as new director of the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) in Frankfurt am Main from 1 January 2018. The curator of Anne Imhof’s Golden Lion–winning project at the German Pavilion of the 2017 Venice Biennale, and contributor to Artforum, Pfeffer became head of Kassel’s Fridericianum in 2013. At the Fridericianum she explored posthuman futures with shows such as “Speculations on Anonymous Materials” (2013) and its sequels, “Nature After Nature” (2014) and “Inhuman” (2015). Susanne was artistic director at the Künstlerhaus Bremen from 2004-2006 and chief curator of the KW Insitute of Contemporary Art in Berlin from 2007-2012.
Lars Bang Larsen
Lars Jakob Bang Larsen is adjunct curator of international art at Moderna Museet. He is a guest professor in art theory, at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, visiting lecturer at the program in art, culture and technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, and professeur invité and tutor at Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design, Geneva. Lars is a post doc fellow at the Institute of Art and Cultural History, University of Copenhagen, from where he also holds his PhD on psychedelic concepts in neo-avantgarde art. Lars organised several exhibitions, and was co-curator with Jochen Volz of the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo 2016: Incerteza Viva (Live Uncertainty). He wrote several publications and is a contributor to various art magazines (including Artforum).
Michelle Kuo is an independent scholar and curator, and the former Editor in Chief of Artforum from 2010-2017. She helmed the 50th anniversary issue of the magazine, focusing on art and media, as well as numerous other special issues on topics ranging from fabrication to identity politics; is the author of essays on the work of Robert Rauschenberg, Le Corbusier, and Jeff Koons, among others; has lectured widely, at institutions including the Centre Pompidou and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing; contributes to publications such as October and The Art Bulletin; and delivered the 2012 International Association of Art Critics’ Distinguished Lecture. Kuo is also a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University in History of Art and Architecture, and defended her dissertation on the group Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) in December 2017.
Paul F.M.J. Verschure is Catalan Institute of Advanced Studies (ICREA) Research Professor, Director of the neuro-engineering program at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalunya and the Barcelona Institute of Science and technology where he runs the Synthetic Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS) Laboratory (specs-lab.com). He is an associate professor in Computation and Artificial Intelligence at the University Pompeu Fabra. He is founder/CEO of Eodyne Systems S.L. (Eodyne.com), which is commercializing novel science grounded neurorehabilitation and cultural heritage technologies. Paul is founder/Chairman of the Future Memory Foundation (futurememoryfoundation.org) which aims at supporting the development of new tools and paradigms for the conservation, presentation, and education of the history of the Holocaust and Nazi crimes. Complementary to his science, Paul has developed and deployed over 35 art installations and performances (http://specs-lab.com/
Dado Valentic is a Chief Creative Technologist at Acute Art, world’s leading platform for VR Art production and distribution. Faced with the task of overcoming the technical limitations of current VR, Dado has developed an entirely new approach to working in VR based on his experience as a researcher in the area of perception and optical illusion. He is working closely with some of the world’s leading contemporary artist and transforming their vision into interactive VR Artworks.
Dado is an award-winning colourist and colour scientist with a long-standing contribution in the field of innovation of digital imaging. He has been working on some of the best-known Feature Film and TV productions including Sherlock Holmes, Exodus, Game of Thrones, Marco Polo, Total Recall and more. He was one of the inventors of Colour Managed Workflow that has today become a standard for the most high-end feature and episodic TV productions and continues to be one of the most innovative creative technologists.
Karen Archey is Curator of Contemporary Art, Time-based Media at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. She was previously based in Berlin and New York, where she worked as an independent curator, art critic, and editor of e-flux conversations. Archey was a 2015 Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant recipient for short-form writing. With a focus on feminist practices, art and technology, her writing is regularly featured in magazines such as frieze and ArtReview, and anthologies published by institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, MIT Press and New Museum. Archey recently co-curated the survey exhibition Art Post-Internet at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing (2014) and edited the publication Art Post-Internet: INFORMATION/DATA. A regular public speaker, Archey has recently spoken at Renaissance Society at University of Chicago, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Museum of Modern Art New York, MoMA PS1, and elsewhere. In 2018 at the Stedelijk, Archey will organize the museum’s performance program, as well as solo exhibitions of artists Stefan Tcherepnin, Catherine Christer Hennix, and the Dutch design duo Metahaven. She will curate the large-scale biannual municipal art acquisitions for the city of Amsterdam, themed around the notion “Freedom of Movement.” Archey is currently leading the museum’s initiative to form a research center centered around the collection, preservation and presentation of time-based media artwork.