‘Exercise In Hopeless Nostalgia,’ Thomas Webb’s Virtual Exhibition At König Galerie, Is A Hopeful Vision For Art’s Future.
I suppose the first thing you should know before we really get into it is that Thomas Webb is a hacker. His hackery isn’t of Hollywood’s behoodied misanthrope stock, but rather as artistic exploration—a system of meaning designed to evoke new curiosities as opposed to a set of actions taken to elicit a final outcome.
Understanding that is key to the premise behind Webb’s solo show, Exercise in Hopeless Nostalgia; the deeper you go with it, the more you realize that every aspect is the result of some kind of hacking—social, algorithmic, or otherwise. It’s the second exhibition of König Galerie’s THE ARTIST IS ONLINE programming, curated by Anika Meier and Johann König
If that sounds a bit like Matryoshka dolls, you’re not wrong, though a more apt comparison might be someone replying to a tweet with a quote tweet including the original tweet. Exercise in Hopeless Nostalgia, which features 12 of Webb’s digital artworks, is on exhibition within a simulated version of König Galerie, which is nested within the virtual space of World Wide Webb—and in fact is only one component of that larger world, which is already expanding to offer new exhibitions that include other artists. And then there’s the fact that World Wide Webb is a multiplayer game with a narrative, itself an “individual” work of art.
Even in basic description your expectations are already being hacked and subverted. Then you actually enter the world (via webb.game).