Gaia Radić

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

17/01 — 10/03/2024

By creating immersive environments, visual artist Gaia Radić explores the relationships between virtual, mental and physical spaces. In the ambient spatial installation The Hanging "Gardens" of Babylon, she reflects on the connections between the legend of the Tower of Babel and its gardens, the specificities of virtual worlds and the contemporary use of technology to step out of physical corporeal states.

The story of the building of the Tower of Babel, through which man tried to get closer to heaven, is understood by the artist as an allegory of the eternal human desire for dematerialisation and is linked to today's attempts to bring physical presence into virtual worlds through technology. The characteristics of virtual worlds can also be found in the motif of the Gardens of Babylon and the Tower of Babel itself, since despite the number of depictions, their location, appearance, dating or even existence cannot be determined with certainty and thus they appear only on an ephemeral level, as an illusion in our perception. 

Gaia Radić's exploration of the relationship between physical reality, materiality and virtuality continues in the exhibition itself. The visitor first encounters an analogue mapping of the basement space, and after descending the stairs, enters a digital version of the Babylonian hanging garden with different visual interpellations of the tower and a spatial video simulation that transforms the two-dimensional urban plans of Babylon into fictional three-dimensional stairs that are supposed to lead to the top of the tower. The artist completely transforms the space into her interpretation of the Garden of Babylon, creating a new setting with a simulation of the sound of the natural environment and geometric interweavings of roots and branches of cables between which grow images of supposed fruit from the hanging gardens of Babylon.

By emphasising the dichotomy of real space and virtual worlds, Gaia Radić explores different ways of creating illusions at a time when it is always harder to draw lines between reality and simulation. The oasis of a lush digital garden and its analogue mapping are thus not a speculation of the future or a recreation of a mythological story, but a poetic contemplation on the eternal human desire to transcend mortality and the use of technology to achieve the unattainable.

Gaia Radić (2001) graduated in Sculpture from the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka, and is currently enrolled at the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana and Video, Animation and New Media department at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. So far she has exhibited in five solo and more than thirty group exhibitions in Croatia and Slovenia, including Karas Gallery in Zagreb, 63rd Poreč Annale, and Kortil Gallery in Rijeka. She has collaborated with the Centre for Innovative Media (CIM APURI), UR Institute from Dubrovnik, the organisation siva/zona from Korcula and the Metamedij association from Pula. She is the winner of the second Erste Prize for the 36th Youth Salon in Zagreb and was also a finalist of the Golden Watermelon 6.0 Award for young artists. She is the youngest member of the Association of Croatian Artists of Istria. In addition to numerous exhibitions, she has also held several educational workshops and lectures on virtual space and 3D modelling.

The exhibition series Enter here reveals the hidden spaces of RAVNIKAR in new ways. By using speculative methods, worldbuilding, storytelling or new technologies, artists imagine different worlds and create fictional scenarios as a unique response to current social, environmental, technological and political situations. The project space is thus transformed into ambient spatial interventions and immersive multi-media installations, and in the form of an unusual portal opens up different ways into virtual, fictional, unknown or yet unexplored worlds.

Lara Mejač, curator

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