Since March of 2000, in a down-to-the-last-stone fictional landscape of approximately 20 square meters that includes cable car, mountain lake and alpine hut, Monica Studer and Christoph van den Berg have operated a virtually livable hotel with nine rooms in the style of the 1960s. Each of the rooms can be booked for up to five days, which allows for free and exclusive access to the continually expanding leisure activities and hotel areas.
The plaster model (1: XY), which served as the template for the building's virtual realization, illustrates something that is essential for the work: the oscillation between the disclosure of the constructed quality of the pictorial world and the immersion into a supposedly familiar Swiss alpine landscape. Here the use of photographic models was explicitly avoided; instead, an imaginary, archetypical Swiss alpine idyll was created, which repeatedly displays its genuine artificiality as a dense pattern of polygons. Upon closer inspection, for example, every object's form, such as that of a glass, is made up of polygonally refracted curves, as the artists describe it on the hotel website.
The superimposition of medial self-reflectivity and observers' individual experience is not only intrinsic to the images but also shows itself in the two-sided nature of the art project/virtual-tourism offering, as well as in the exclusivity of the access to the hotel and alpine panorama within a medium that is open to all.
(Text: Bettina Back)
Monica Studer (*1960), Zurich, Switzerland, and Christoph van den Berg (*1962), Basel, Switzerland, live and work in Basel.
Collaborating as artists since 1991 and on Internet projects since 1996. 2003 visiting professorship for new media at the Kunsthochschule in Kassel.