Johann Arens uses installation and video to survey the documentary properties of public interiors and their inherent social textures. By deliberately placing artworks atypically he redirects attention to places in the peripheral vision. At P/////AKT he is presenting a new film project, resulting from a shared research with Dr. Alejandro Granados (Research Associate in Biomechanical Engineering at UCL London), along with furniture and educational material from the medical training centre at Amsterdam’s UMC hospital.

Johann Arens: Findings on Palpation
Extended Matter IV
24 June - 22 July, 2018
P/////AKT, Amsterdam


The film installation debates the relevance of tactility and contact-based simulation tools and the implications for the plasticity of sculpture as well as human anatomy. The point of departure is the simple observation that both, medical training practice and experientially driven art are conditioned by a shared frustration; the limitation of touch. The film features two haptic simulation systems; one constructed to allow medics in
training to gain experience in patient examination and palpation, the other connecting an historical sculpture to a virtual environment with changed surface resistivity parameters. The increasing relevance of touch-based interfaces for our social environment calls for a critical engagement. The exhibition gauges the significance of computed simulation for cultural artefacts and the intimacy of the audience. What can a heightened awareness of tactility and palpation offer to the principles of contemporary medicine and personalised experience of sculpture?

Johann Arens (b. 1981, Aachen, Germany) uses installation and video to survey the documentary properties of public interiors and their inherent social textures. By deliberately placing artworks atypically he redirects attention to places in the peripheral vision. His sculptures are found embedded in standardised work environments, educational frameworks, community centres, neighbourhood businesses and digital inclusion charities. These site-related interventions are enquiries into the multiple ways novel technologies device our communal life and
shape civil behaviour. 

The exhibition is realised in collaboration with Amsterdam UMC and generously supported by Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Mondriaan Funds and Ammodo. The film project was also supported by SPACE Art+Technology Residency Program, Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science, Imperial College London, EPSRC London Deanery and Health Education North West London.

Extended Matter
Much like the previous years, Extended Matter is a series of connected solo exhibitions with additional output in the form of texts and events. It loosely deals with renegotiating or reconciling the boundaries between different domains and the possibilities of creating an alternative, morphed or in between reality, conceived by (slow) production processes, transformation, tactility and materiality. Extended Matter features solo exhibitions by Wouter Venema, Rein Dufait, Janina Frye, Johann Arens, Laura Kaminskaitė & Antanas Gerlikas and Sarah Pichlkostner.


Photo: Charlott Markus, courtesy of P/////AKT Amsterdam.