CYBER HUMAN LANDS Winners: Reinhold Bidner & Georg Hobmeier
Let’s meet Reinhold Bidner & Georg Hobmeier, winners of CYBER HUMAN LANDS, selected by the PhotoPhore and Microwave Festival.
VP screen5 by Georg Hobmeier
the PhotoPhore: What is your relationship with the cyber reality?
Georg Hobmeier: Coming from a background in both theatre and game design, the construction and simulation of realities have always been part of my work. It’s surprisingly similar, since it’s all about immersion and make believe, whether you sit in a chair looking at a stage or wear a VR headset. My first contact with the word cyber however was when I discovered the work of William Gibson as a teenager, respectively Neuromancer and his short stories. We are nowhere near this kind of reality right now, which is comforting in many ways, but one cannot deny, that Gibson was and still is an incredible visionary, second only to Bruce Sterling.
Ex Terrat 001 by Reinhold Bidner
the PhotoPhore: How did you first approach to art and creative world, and why?
Reinhold Bidner: Well I would remember at least 2 things that are worth mentioning:
1) My Dad had a nice collection of analogue photo cameras and lenses. So at one point I started to get interested in that and experimented in the field of (let´s call it) street photography. Already back then there was an interest in visualizing/depicting the Real/the reality in combination with abstracting it (for example macro photographs or double exposures)
2) Next to our house there originally was a grocery story, but this one closed down and changed into a music store. So I thought, well, instead of food I need to buy music equipment now and so I did and bought guitar and bass and 4-Track recorders and got involved with bands and so on. From Day1 I did not really care about learning existing material but rather creating my own worlds and exploring these instruments in my own terms with rather little knowledge/experience but passion.
I guess the result was not really good but creating something on your own gave you a certain feeling that to my mind is still the same when I create things today: a beautiful mixture of freedom, empowerment, self confidence.
If we by Reinhold Bidner
Georg Hobmeier: My journey into the arts was an awkward ellipse motion that took me from the geeky realms of D&D to dusty theaters and then back into the warm comfort of game development, though digital this time. Interestingly enough, the transition periods always involved Shakespear’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. At the end of the day, I’m a person that comes up with stories and makes them accessible with various and varying means, so not much has changed since I started out as a dungeon master.
99 ways by Reinhold Bidner and Ggeorg Hobmeier
the PhotoPhore: Why is video art your means of expression?
Reinhold Bidner: I don´t think that video art is MY means of expression, it is rather one component of quite a few. I would say I am not specialized in anything but rather enjoy switching in between various fields such as animation, motion graphics, video, photography, audio-visual and games. In University I tried to learn 3D-modelling and computer animation but after my studies I had the feeling that this was too far away from “Reality”, so instead of getting sucked into the “Uncanny Valley” I re-explored my interest in depicting the real with video and photo-cameras and collage techniques, and enjoyed the flexibility and spontaneity of that instead of usually “painful” and time-consuming 3D computer-animation approaches.
Currently I love to switch in between fields and techniques mainly depending on the story or the message I want to get across.
Totems Sound by gold extra
the PhotoPhore: What are the main themes of your work? Is your art based on a developing personal research, a specific fil rouge?
Georg Hobmeier: There are various fils rouge and they have been changing over the years, sometimes quite drastically. It started out with the technical augmentation of the body in a more benign, utopian way, which took a turn towards more sinister and dystopian tone. For some years I took these experiments and performances also more into the public space. Recently I dropped all of this and focus mainly on computer games with a political message. Games is a very exciting realm to be part of right now, few other media are that vibrant and dynamic.
Until we by Reinhold Bidner
the PhotoPhore: Tell us about your 3 favourite artists and how they inspire you
Georg Hobmeier: Giordano Bruno, not really an artist, but maybe mankind’s most secret visionary, who understood the nature of the universe based on a radical mix of observation and intuition.
Nicky Case, a young Canadian designer, who creates beautiful interactive works that explain the world of data, politics and identity in a truly unique way.
Stelarc, who pretty much threw me into the hot cauldron of body art and technology with his uncanny yet mesmerizing personality.
Causa, illustration by Georg Hobmeier
the PhotoPhore: Tell us about your future projects, your dreams
Reinhold Bidner: I don´t want to think too much about the future. My current situation looks quite nice and promising: projects that were created in the last years are definitely still worth showing, so various festivals and presentations are still coming up.
But of course I am constantly working on new things, currently quite often connected to interviews and documentary-storytelling in combination with animation or games, with a keen interest also in new technologies like AR and VR.
My dreams? An answer from an Austrian point of view: More appreciation and financial support (in Austria) to the artistic aspects of animation and games, and a better understanding that this is hard/creative and important work.
From Darkness by gold extra
Reinhold Bidner was born in Salzburg. He studied at the University for applied sciences and technologies in Salzburg, (MultiMediaArt), at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Scotland, Dundee (Animation and Electronic Media) and completed his degree within the scope of a Socrates Scholarship at K.O.P.P.-Film Berlin.
Until 2006 he was KeyResearcher at the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz in the field of TimeBasedMedia. Since 2007 he is a Freelancer in Animation, Game and Media Art, either as an Individual or as a member of the Art-Collective gold extra. Currently Reinhold lives in Vienna and Salzburg and teaches at Art University Linz in the fields of Animation, Motion Graphics and Interactive Video.
He received various prices, grants and residencies for his artistic Work, and exhibits nationally and internationally since 2001.
Path out by Georg Hobmeier
Georg Hobmeier, born and bred in the Tyrolean Alps, is a mixed media artist and game designer whose work lingers in the borderlands of political communication, performance, digital media and games. After a decade of developing art that was interfacing dance, theatre and technology, he turned his attention to the development of games and interactive storytelling. His debut work with the Austrian artist group gold extra, the mod „Frontiers“, received extensive media coverage (Zeit, Arte, …) and the Outstanding Artist Award of the Austrian ministry of culture in 2012. In 2014 he founded Causa Creations, a studio dedicated to social awareness and fundraising games. In the same year, they were awarded the prestigious German “Kreativ- & Kulturpiloten”. Currently he’s trying to create work at the intersection of gaming and theatre in collaboration with the Volkstheater Wien and works on the autobiographical game “Path Out” with the Syrian artist and refugee Abdullah Karam.
Frankenstein by gold extra
Image 1: Picture by Reinhold Bidner & Georg Hobmeier. Graphic by The PhotoPhore
More info about CYBER HUMAN LANDS: www.thephotophore.com/cyber-human-lands-the-winners