“Mr. Cyberguy’s — CRYPTO WORLD”
by Julian Lietzmann
Philipp Pess (*1987, in Munich) lives and works in Vienna. He studied theater, film and media studies at the University of Vienna and photography in the class of Gabriele Rothemann at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. His work has been shown at numerous exhibitions in Austria and abroad. Coming from classical photography, Pess has long since left the established paths of his profession and has come to work with techniques from film and game design to develop his “landscapes” — a sujet he has always maintained. The green screen is just as effective a tool for him as the possibilities of modern animation and photogrammetry software. His work is expressed through photography, film and video, as well as mixed media installations.
THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS & THE DIGITAL HELL
Philipp Pess defines the (under)world made accessible by the Internet as a “digital hell” and thus refers to a scholastic conception of hell as a place where everything takes place simultaneously and entirely without filtering. It is this hell that in turn provides the humus for his “depoliticized substitute worlds”. In order to generate his environments, Pess seems to be willing to use (almost) any means, and thus he resists any limitations imposed by the etiquettes of artistic traditions. What can emerge from this, shows us Pess in his latest project “The Ether Smiles” (working title). In this work, conceived as a 30-minute film, the audience or player — one never knows exactly with Pess — moves through the various levels of a post-apocalyptic fiction: After devastating effects of the so-called “Millennium Bug” in Pess’ narrative, the elementary computer systems of vital infrastructures fail, the world threatens to fall into chaos due to wars and terror… we suspect what is about to come.
However, instead of following the logics of common doomsday narratives, Pess writes the story of an insightful world community that has learned from the mistakes of the past and now, several years after the “catastrophe,” is striving for peaceful coexistence.
Pess now contrasts this utopia with his tragic-comic protagonist. A former hitman who seeks his place in a totaly pacifist society. Driven by testosterone and trained by action movies, his readiness to fight may have been an advantage in the stasis of conflicts — against the backdrop of world peace, however, it appears ridiculous to the maximum. The identity crisis seems (also) programmed. Aesthetically, Pess references the looks of early video games, trashy advertising banners, e-scam, and the glyphs of (post-) internet art, and makes use of their seemingly naive unambiguity … “With reservations,” Pess emphasizes in our conversation. Even though some of the scenes have already been scripted and partially shot or animated, the artist reserves the right to rewrite narratives and characters at every stage of production. This is in fact another quality in Pess’ work, processes are sometimes openly depicted, affects are not negated but accepted as given and processed. This is less about celebrating chance as such, he confirms, than about proclaiming an affirmative position — trust in art.
Through the method of retro-fiction (Pess himself uses the term “alternative past”), he succeeds in expanding the discourse on topics such as identity, gender, capitalism, religion, power, art, and many more. Pess constantly avoids conformity, but certainly not humor. For portal, the artist particularly produced a spin-off entitled “Mr Cyberguy’s — CRYPTO WORLD” that he also weaves into the cosmos of the film. Collages and video files from and outside the universe of “The Ether Smiles” are now available on portal as NFTs. Also — and as a special feature — the original “Mr Cyberguy’s — CRYPTO WORLD — CYBER GLOVES” can be purchased here. We are looking in vain for the emoji crying with joy in this editor and so we can only say/write conventionally “thank you Philipp!” or rather “buy, buy!”.
To see all of Mr. Cyberguy’s NFTs and to discover our other artist vistit https://www.prtl.art/artists/philipp-pess
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