Tracing A Seeping Terrain

Eloïse Bonneviot Anne de Boer

02.09. - 05.11.2023




The Heidelberger Kunstverein announces the inaugural exhibition by Eloïse Bonneviot and Anne de Boer in Germany. The project is a culmination of their work to date and explores cultural responses to the accelerating ecological crisis through game mechanics.

The Berlin-based artist duo uses interactive installations and performative works to explore the relationship between humans and other living creatures, climate anxiety, and the construction of worlds. They develop analog and virtual games that stage stories in the midst of ecological collapse.

“Tracing a Seeping Terrain” is an interactive installation that forges new avenues for aesthetic and environmental engagement: The experiential and entertaining aspect of the game is presented as a possible way of facing complex issues of ecological catastrophe, where feelings of guilt and powerlessness often prevail. It has been specially conceived for the Heidelberger Kunstverein and presents an amalgamation of interactive sculptures connected with various speakers and a virtual landscape. Central to this experience is the active engagement of visitors, as their (inter-)actions directly shape the appearance of the simulated landscape and the evocative ambient sounds that envelop them.

As participants in this system, visitors assume the role of active agents within a game narrative, influencing the ecological state of the world they have entered. Equipped with RFID cards, a technology utilizing wireless radio waves to transmit data, visitors can trigger different events. As they initiate these events, the landscape undergoes a metamorphosis: The climate, geology, buildings, and ecosystems change, deteriorate, or speed up. With every interaction, the world’s ecological state is redefined, providing visitors with a thought-provoking experience that explores the balance between agency and environmental consequences.

Alongside the computer-generated fictional landscape demonstrating possible ways to imagine ecologies, the exhibition also encompasses works that draw inspiration from real-world governmental initiatives. These initiatives utilize satellite imagery and geospatial data to create maps for emergency response efforts, such as the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, developed by the European Union and the European Space Agency. They provide information on flood-prone areas, potential landslide zones, and other hazards.

In this context, De Boer and Bonneviot explore the impact of data on our relationship with ecological systems, shedding light on how these technologies communicate, enhance, and simulate natural environments. They also consider the emotions evoked by the dissemination of such data.

The visual language employed by the artists also alludes to projective psychological tests, in which images, often identified as natural motifs, are used as assessment tools. Some of the sculptures in the exhibition feature these motifs, which refer to the human ability to categorize objects based on familiar features and in comparison with memories. This cognitive ability can also be observed in animals and computational systems such as machine learning, which relies heavily on pattern recognition.

The exhibition invites you to playfully explore the interplay between our digital surroundings and the ecosystems they seek to represent, fostering the discourse at the intersection of data, technology, and ecology.

Curated by Johanna Hardt

About the artistsEloïse Bonneviot (FR, 1986) and Anne de Boer (NL, 1987) are a Berlin- based artist duo who explore interspecies relations, climate anxieties, and world-building through interactive installations and performative works. They use games to collectively imagine stories amid ecological collapse, drawing on digital culture and DIY methods. By carefully selecting materials that resonate with their surroundings, they transcend traditional exhibition formats and engage audiences in immersive experiences. Their art inspires reflection and action, providing a compelling platform to reimagine our relationship with the world.Exhibitions and gaming sessions: a. o. HEK House of Electronic Arts, Münchenstein, CH (2023) Droste Festival, Havixbeck, DE (2023) Capc Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, FR (2022) Athens Biennale 7: ECLIPSE, GR (2021) HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, DE (2021) Galerie im Körnerpark, Berlin, DE (2020) Bergen Assembly, NO (2019) U-jazdowski, Warsaw, PL (2019) Kunsthaus Langenthal, CH (2017) Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2017)Supported by Innovationsfonds Kunst des Ministeriums für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg
  • Tracing A Seeping Terrain