Meta.Morf 2018 – A Beautiful Accident

JAKOB KUDSK STEENSEN (DK) – RAKE Visningsrom / March 23 – May 6 / Curators: Charlotte Rostad, Trygve Ohren


Imperceptible; a word describing the phenomena of not being able to perceive or imagine something of existence, or hypothetically. An affair refers to sexual relationships outside of marriage, but also to wider conditions and events going on at scales beyond the individual. The solo exhibition Imperceptible Affairs by artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen develop intimate relationships and love stories between individuals and the environment at microbial and global scales.

Aquaphobia is a full-scale replica of Louis Valentino Jr. Park and Pier in Redhook, Brooklyn, an area greatly compromised by climate change with hurricanes and rising sea levels. The virtual landscape combines red-clay materials with pre-urban plant species in Brooklyn and futuristic settings. While journeying through the landscape, mud, water, subterranean infrastructures, roots and plants intertwine with one another to form a symbiotic landscape the person visiting the virtual simulation of AQUAPHOBIA experiences.

While travelling through the landscape, an alien morphing aquatic entity follows you around and emit scuba diving sounds and recites a poem, which tell a breakup story between the landscape and its virtual visitor.
Ultimately, AQUAPHOBIA uses VR to mixes past and future geological periods, and the work personifies a landscape through a breakup story.

Direction, concept, production, art and sound by Jakob Kudsk Steensen
Text by Jakob Kudsk Steensen, narrated by Rindon Johnson

Developed with support from NYC Mayors Office of Cultural Affairs and The Danish Arts Foundation

Summary of the Aquaphobia narration:

“After the breakup you compartmentalized our relationship beyond exhibitionist plastic glass, you stored images of us on a remote subterranean server. But I broke free. My microscopic wet materials spread like a virus, infiltrating the digital storage units you used to access us from. The wires are warm with me. We reset the power structure of our relationship. I gain control.

Direct your eyes downwards, further, towards your feet. You have sunken, about an inch into the mud. Wiggle your toes. Most of you is water. Feel the water in the mud, leaching through the permeable barrier of your shoes, towards your thin porous skin, sink further, my liquid enters the inner workings of your body’s system.

I don’t understand why you insist on digging in our mutual past. We were many things but we never mutually exclusive. The items you threw out the window in anger of my promiscuous practices will continue to descend slowly, into my red clay mud. You think you are not of me but you are of me. On this peninsula always present, beneath the concrete you paved. You were never in charge.

The reality of my physical past, looks and configuration were always present, even though you attempted to hide them through what you call a cultivation processes. My cat tails, red clay, steam and humid were always, looming beneath your nose when we coexisted. Ours is a particular circumstance. Me, but submitting to you, was only an imagination, a virtual reality and fantasy of yours. We are not equals.

Learning the math behind my rhythmic behavior make you dance in excitement. Hop in. Head first. Learn the cadence of my movements, animate them, score them. Through the rhythm of my waves, we can learn to move in tandem. Together. Apart. Close your eyes and feel the mass of my droplets slide across body hair, over eyelids. Learn to swim.”


Jakob Kudsk Steensen is a Danish artist and art director based in New York, specialized in VR and interactive media installations. Through his practice, Steensen is concerned with how imagination, technology and ecology intertwine by developing futuristic virtual simulations of existing real-world landscapes. His work is at the forefront of real-time rendered virtual environments, and he develops projects through collaborations with science, technology and natural science divisions. His art has recently been exhibited at Carnegie Museum of Art, The Moving Image Fair, NYC, MAXXI, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, and as an art director, Steensen’s work has been shown at Sundance and TriBeCa film festival. His work has been featured on Artnet, The Art Newspaper, Hyperallergic, Spike Art Quaterly, ARTREPORT, Politiken, Information, Worm, NEO2 and TSOEG. He has received awards from the Danish Arts Foundation, The Augustinus Foundation, and Lumen Arts Price. He has been artist in residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, AADK, Centra Negra, MASS MoCA, BRIC and Mana Contemporary.

Jakob Kudsk Steensen is currently a 2017-2018 member of NEW INC, a technology and culture incubator by The NEW MUSEUM, in NYC.