Virtual Leonardo’s Submarine is Hito Steyerl’s third solo project with Andrew Kreps Gallery and the first virtual exhibition organized by the gallery. This project is organized in collaboration with Esther Schipper, Berlin.
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Originally conceived in 2019 as a video environment for the 58th Venice Biennale, Leonardo’s Submarine has been completely reworked as a Virtual Reality (VR) experience. Upon entering the virtual space—via the means of a VR headset or by web browser version—viewers will find themselves floating under water, surrounded by fish, seaweed, and coral. The artist’s avatar, outfitted in full PEOPLE gear, swims alongside.
The VR experience offered by Virtual Leonardo’s Submarine echoes Steyerl’s concept of a Bubble Vision which she developed during her 2018 lecture at the Yale School of Art. VR experiences place the viewer at the center of an environment while also disembodying them: “The viewer is absolutely central, but at the same time, he or she is missing from the scene. (…) Is this ‘bubble vision’—this 360-degree vision—a training scheme to adapt humans to a world from which they are increasingly missing because they have been replaced by invisible systems or automation or robot?” asks Steyerl.