Egregores & Grimoires by Jon Rafman (Until December 31)
Jon Rafman (1981) is a Montreal and Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker. He is known for his multi-media practice encompassing video, animation, photography, sculpture, and installation. Rafman explores subjects of fantasy, world-building, online subcultures, and virtual worlds. Taking inspiration from the web's darker fringes, he explores the influence of the internet and its effects on our human psyche in the dual sense of community and alienation it exacerbates.
In this opportunity, Jon Rafman takes over the Schinkel Pavillon's Klause with Egregores & Grimoires presenting four visual works from 2021 and 2022. The exhibition title derives from the language of Magick by Aleister Crowley, where a Grimoire is a spell-book, and Egregore is an Occult concept representing a non-physical entity arriving from the collective unconscious that has taken on a life of its own.
In Punctured Sky (2021), the visitor follows a former gamer on an unsettling journey through uncanny environments in search of an old computer game that has seemingly disappeared from history without a trace. The film resembles a so called Creepypasta, a horror-related legend, modified, copied, and pasted across the web with vague or anonymous origins. Punctured Sky touches on questions of interpersonal relationships, the twists and turns of one's memory, and the dynamic psychology of the isolated, atomized individual.
Rafman's 2021 video-triptych Egregore, until now primarily shared over social media, shows a collection of carefully curated found photographs that the artist has animated. The ‘cursed’ images merge and transform in cacophonous permutations. With Egregore, Rafman gives form to chaos, excavating the collective unconscious of the web and its users, as well as the ubiquitous human desire to search for meaning. Egregore exemplifies a methodology of world-building. Meta-narratives and lore develop and morph out of Rafman's vast archive of internet detritus.
The film Minor Daemon Vol. I (2022) tells the story of the intersecting lives and fortunes of two young men – Billy and Minor Daemon – set in a surreal virtual dystopia, a distorted carnival mirror of our world. Billy (a pampered prep school boy) and Minor Daemon (abandoned at birth and raised in a child labor camp) share an extraordinary gift for virtual reality gaming. We follow their Dantean journey through incarceration where their shared talent could secure their freedom.