Encountering reality through subjective experience makes Jan-Timo Geschwill understand and conceptualise presence. He tells the story of a confrontation and negotiation between the individual and the collective, the individual and the institution, and the encounter and the tension between the artist and his viewer.
Against the backdrop of an experience of a diverse history, Jan-Timo Geschwill reflects critically on the conjunction between society, identity, technology and media. This leads to a process in which he continuously challenges himself to question assumptions, to unveil hidden projections and demystify universal understandings.
Jan-Timo Geschwill’s artistic research project on the edge revolves around the question: What is a self-portrait in virtual reality? To enlighten ‘the self’, he engages with an autoethnographic study. He observes his own self in the conditions of his family and reflects upon his experiences through different tools of psychoanalysis. VR is considered to be a new medium. Its core idea is to mirror the human sensory motor system through computer powered processes. It is a new canvas, a new tool in and through which a portrait, a memoir, a sculpture can be moulded. A new way to express oneself. VR can create the possibility for the spectator/participant to experience the portrait or even to become one with the portrait.
How do we relate to notions of body ownership, of the self and others, as a self, in VR? To what extent am I self-determined? Am I the marionette or the puppeteer, and how do these perspectives differ? When I think of how to express the self in a self-portrait, it is inevitable to think of the self as something dynamic. These dynamic aspects of the self can be experienced in the medium of virtual reality, with movement as the facilitator of the dynamic expression of the self. From an artistic viewpoint, these research questions are support structures for my practice. It helps me to map different perspectives and to enlighten the broader question of the self-portrait in virtual reality.
Jan Timo Geschwill is an artist living in Amsterdam with his partner and two young children. He was born in 1981 in Ahaus, West-Germany, close to the Netherlands. Being the child of musicians, he grew up in an artistic environment. In the aftermath of school and civil service he left the small town and moved to the city of Berlin. Following a short and firm intermezzo into the study of musicology and philosophy at the university he became involved in the German film landscape. Soon he moved to Hamburg and explored commercial productions from different positions in the production chain. In 2009 he moved to Amsterdam to return to his desire to study. Timo Geschwill received a B.A. in Design from the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2015.