Keiken is an artist collective co-founded in 2015 by Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori and Isabel Ramos, based between London and Berlin. Keiken (the Japanese word for ‘experience’) create speculative worlds through filmmaking, gaming, installation, Extended Reality (XR), blockchain and performance, exploring the nature of consciousness and how societal introjection governs the way we feel, think and perceive.
For Helsinki Biennial 2023, Keiken extended their project Morphogenic Angels with a new multimodal installation Ángel Yōkai Atā (2023) which acts as a portal to access a speculative world beyond direct experience.
Inspired by a visit to a magical spirit house in Thailand, the portal provides three different encounters: a sound work, a house made for angels and spirits on the Isthmus connecting Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari islands, as well as an online interactive experience. One version was also available in the gallery space at Cultural Centre Stoa.
Angel Arcade is a mobile online game that is made in collaboration with creative coders Obso1337. The work is an extension of Keiken’s on-going worldbuilding project Morphogenic Angels, which takes place 1000 years from now. This future exists in a radically different time and space that defies and transcends our current political, societal, financial, and subjective reality. In this world, people (now called “Angels”) have gained post-human capabilities through the organic reengineering of their cells, which allows them to tap into non-human consciousness and merge with different species.
The online game uses a combination of touch interactions and device motion players, which allows the player to move through a 3D landscape while collecting cells that enable them to alter their cellular and genetic code as a Morphogenic angel.
Ángel Yōkai Atā translates as ‘ángel’ in Spanish/English, ‘spirit’ in Japanese and ‘house’ in Teneek, the language of the Huasteca people of Mexico. This angel spirit house is a home for spirits from Keiken’s speculative future.
In this future, humans organically reengineer their cells with the cells of other beings, plants and extraterrestrials to explore and connect with a beyond-human consciousness. They thus become angels. The angels value, and their house honours, all kinds of consciousness; ancestral, bodily, extraterrestrial and the cosmos, animal, nature, and cellular.
The idea of this protopian overarching world – a world which is striving to be better but not perfect – exists in a radically different time and space. It is post-capitalist, post work, post mass oppression, and introduces a space to imagine and dream how we could exist defying all that we know.
We invite visitors encountering Ángel Yōkai Atā to just be; listen to their body and if they like they can repeat this mantra:
A spirit is not just a spiritual thing, it is everything and to be a student of the invisible is the practice of compassion. Omoiyari.
The work is co-commissioned with KANAL – Centre Pompidou Brussels, supported by Saastamoinen Foundation.
Keiken’s recent exhibitions have been staged at venues including ARKO Art Center, Seoul (KR); Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf (DE); Onassis, Athens (GR); Photographers Gallery, London (UK) (2022); 2nd Thailand Biennale, Korat (TH); House of Electronic Arts HEK, Basel (CH); Francisco Carolinum, Linz (AU); 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice (IT); Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo (JP) (2021); FACT, Liverpool (UK); HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (DE); Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (DE); transmediale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt HKW, Berlin (DE) (2020); Institute of Contemporary Arts ICA, London (UK); Jerwood Arts, London (UK) (2019).
Keiken are winners of the inaugural Chanel Next Prize and they recently began a residency at Somerset House, London.
Ángel Yōkai Atā
site-specific installation (architectural sculptural installation and sound, online mobile interactive experience, “Morphogenic Angels” controller game, video projection, and sound)
Keiken x Obso1337
Ángel Yōkai Atā
3D Printing specialist: Caroline Barrueco
3D printing & sculptural installation consultation/fabrication: Sam Balfus
Architectural Design: Sebastian Kite
Music and Sound Design: wavesovspace
Creative Coders and concept: Obso1337
Music and Sound Design: wavesovspace.
Film of Morphogenic Angels Game (Chapter 1):
Creative Direction: Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori and Isabel Ramos (Keiken)
Programming, Game Design & Technical Direction: Limbo Tech
Visual Effects, Concept & Game Design: Mati Bratkowski
Animation/VFX: Carlos Minozzi
Music and Sound Design: wavesovspace
Environment Creation, Concept & Design: 00 Zhang
Motion Capture Movement: Sophie Mars
Voice Actor – Yaxu: Tanya Cruz
Voice Actor – Anamt’u’ul: Claire O’Leary
Voice Actor – Yaxu Ancestor 1: Helen Cruz
Voice Actor – Yaxu Ancestor 2: Chema Cruz
Voice Actor – Narrator: Elvera Avery
Additional Visual Effects: Clifford Sage
Studio Management: Hekátē Studios (Dominic Sylvia Lauren, Vaso Papadopoulou, Aristea Rellou)
Technical Production: James Stringer
Project Production: Alexander Boyes
Prototype support thanks to C/O Berlin.
Ángel Yōkai Atā is commissioned by HAM/Helsinki Biennial 2023. Co-commissioned with KANAL – Centre Pompidou Brussels, supported by Saastamoinen Foundation
“Chapter 1” of Morphogenic Angels commissioned by HAU Hebbel Am Ufer. “Morphogenic Angels” film, commissioned by Somerset House Studios and supported by the DCMS and Arts Council through the Culture Recovery Fund.