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The Garden in the Machine

The artwork "The Garden in the Machine" by Jesper Just is a digital installation comprising film and sound. The piece is designed for the facade of Filmby Aarhus' building, where it is projected every day from sunset until midnight.

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    The piece is connected to a pine tree planted on the rooftop terrace in front of Filmbyen 11. Sensors on the tree continuously measure its growth, photosynthesis, water absorption, and more. These readings are translated into data, which manifest visually in a film played on the building's facade. Therefore, it is the tree that acts as the editor of the film, constituting the artwork. When the color scheme changes in the digital forest that pans across the building, it signifies that the organic tree is alive and thriving. In this manner, data from the living tree influences the digitized forest in the film.

    The artwork is an interpretation of a digital garden, focusing on the relationship between humans and nature. It offers the experience of panning across a forest in a harbor environment, where materials such as metal, glass and steel primarily dominate.

    '' In our society, we are no longer taught to distinguish between plants and trees. My point is that our general knowledge about nature is steeply declining, resulting in an increasing loss of our own existential understanding. I want to push humans out of the center we so often take for granted, especially in Western culture, and instead shed light on the role plants plays in our ecosystem.

    Jesper Just

    About the artist

    Jesper Just is a Danish video and installation artist based in New York and Copenhagen. His work often centers around gender roles and identity, utilizing video as a medium and a visual language that challenges norms and societal roles. Much like in The Garden in the Machine, architecture often plays a crucial role in his films, acting as a mediator between characters, and architecture thus becomes an integral part of the work rather than just a backdrop. Jesper Just's works frequently touch on subjects such as gender and disability studies, postcolonial landscapes, and questions of active versus passive observation in the post-digital era.

    Jesper Just. Photo by Nina Moritzen

    Jesper Just. Photo by Nina Moritzen

    Previous exhibitions by Jesper Just includes: Servitudes, MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon, Portugal (2019); Servitudes, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark (2019); Performance - Interpassivities, Corpus, Det Kongelige Teater, Copenhagen, Denmark (2017); and PERFORMA 15, New York, USA (2015).

    Jesper Just's works are part of permanent exhibitions at institutions including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea; AROS, Aarhus, Denmark; and Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark.

    Practical information

    The Garden in the Machine is installed at Filmbyen 11, 8000 Aarhus C.

    The artwork is illuminated every day. It is turned on one hour before sunset and switched off at midnight.

    It is possible to visit the rooftop terrace at Filmbyen 11, where the tree of the artwork is planted. There are stairs to the rooftop outside the building. If alternative access to the rooftop is needed, pleace contact Filmby Aarhus' secretariat at +45 8940 4873 during the secretariat's phone hours from 09.00 to 15.00.

    Sidst opdateret: 14. februar 2024