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The Screentest Series

Swiss artist Timo Ullmann (b. 1987) creates interfaces and interferences between virtual and physical spaces. In his Screentest Series he's playing with basic features, habitual practices and common metaphors of the medium.

Timo Ullmann studied Fine Art in Lucerne and at the UCM in Madrid. In 2015, he completed his master’s degree in Art in Public Spheres in Lucerne. He has exhibited and performed at various independent art spaces such as Kunstpavillon Luzern, sic!, Dock or Kunstraum Kreuzlingen; museums including the Aargauer Kunsthaus, Kunstmuseum Chur, Centre PasquArt and at festivals such as Jungkunst, Shift or One Of A Million Festival.

Timo Ullmann’s 2019 work «screenshot«, presents the viewer with a screen shot by an arrow. The shot fractures the centre, physically cracking the glass and revealing the white light behind. Dead pixels, bleeding liquid crystals and a series of coloured lines blend together with the virtual target. The archaic act of shooting an arrow breaks the mesmerizing membrane, which is at the same time separating and connecting the virtual and physical, as well as the viewers and the artworks dimension.

In the second video of his «screentest series», Timo Ullmann presents posters of picturesque landscapes from a variety of regions around the globe, which carry a wide range of emotional associations. He changes the slides manually every minute, with the hands simulating the effects normally employed by screensavers and digital slideshows. The sublime landscapes remind of desktop backgrounds and create references to romantic paintings. The 12-minute video loop begins with a paradisiacal beach scene, followed by a sunny desert, misty woods illuminated by a concealed sun, wild mountains backed by the Northern Lights, an ice cave, the stormy sea and a thunderstorm.

Playfully self-referencing the very medium that represents the work, «screenplay» is a video piece depicting a screen within a screen, within a screen. Each minute a new layer of playback is added, creating a recursive stage for the play, and forming a feedback loop reminiscent of the work of early video artists. Interacting with the feedback setup, the artist takes us on a whimsical journey into the spatial possibilities of the screen’s virtuality. Subtly theatrical, body parts manipulate and interact with the screens like puppets with a stage, in time to the ever denser rhythm of the sound composition, which is constructed from abstracted yet familiar computer sounds.Toying with the viewers’ expectations, the piece forces the medium of video into a realm of physicality, a medium which we often perceive as purely virtual, tangibly reminding us that the screen holds a deeper weight.

Timo Ullmann

Project Type:
Experimental screen based work


© Screenshot. Timo Ullmann.
© Screenshot. Timo Ullmann.
© Screensaver. Timo Ullmann.
© Screensaver. Timo Ullmann.
© Screenplay. Timo Ullmann.
© Screenplay. Timo Ullmann.