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‘Message from Our Planet’ showcases leading international digital media artists

Lee Nam Lee, “Cartoon Folding Screen II”, 2010, five-channel digital video with sound on 5 LED monitors in custom frames with custom electronics

Exhibition imagines a digital future through art

The Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison will highlight the work of 19 international artists at the forefront of digital and media art in Message from Our Planet: Digital Art from the Thoma Foundation, on view Feb. 19-June 2, 2024. The exhibition comprises a wide-ranging investigation on the artifacts of contemporary life and showcases software, video, and light-technology artworks from the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Foundation collection.

Based on the idea of the time capsule, Message From Our Planet imagines a digital future where art communicates beyond our common era through computer code and invites contemplation on how future generations will comprehend the past. Like the interstellar time capsule found on NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, the exhibition proposes that artworks may be reconstituted from their digital code by future worlds, containing a multi-vocal message by Earth’s artists.

Message from Our Planet centers around a basic human desire to be understood,” said Amy Gilman, director of the Chazen. “The exhibition challenges the viewer to question their individual legacy and consider how art can be a conduit to communicating through time.”

Message from Our Planet utilizes media technologies from vintage devices such as Eduardo Kac’s Tesão, a digital poem on a vintage Minitel; to cutting-edge digital algorithms as demonstrated by interactive video using artificial intelligence to attract flies to viewers in Laurent Mignonneau and Christa Sommerer’s People on the Fly. Additional artists in the exhibition include Brian Bress, Jim Campbell, Lia Chaia, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Hong Hao, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Claudia Hart, Jenny Holzer, Lee Nam Lee, Christian Marclay, Elias Sime, Michal Rovner, Jason Salavon, Peter Sarkisian, Penelope Umbrico, United Visual Artists, and Robert Wilson.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a free take-away publication for visitors. Designed in the style of a newspaper, the keepsake features headlines about the art and exhibition themes with color images of all artworks.

Message from Our Planet: Digital Art from the Thoma Foundation is curated by Jason Foumberg, curator of digital art at the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation.


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About the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation

The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation recognizes that education and the arts enhance individuals’ lives and communities. Education is centered in the rural Southwest, primarily focusing on scholarships. In the Arts, the Foundation makes grants, lends and exhibits their art collection. The Foundation believes strongly in leadership, innovation and equality of opportunity.