Tabor Robak Receives Rhizome Commission

Tunnels. Tabor Robak.

Tunnels. Tabor Robak. image via


Congratulations to Tabor Robak who has just been awarded a 2011 Rhizome Commission to develop his project “Tunnels.” The 11 commissions, funded from a pool of $30,000 and selected by a jury including Tina Kukelski, Associate Curator of the 2013 Carnegie Internationale; Candice Madey, founder and director of On Stellar Rays gallery; Domenico Quaranta, curator and writer; and Lauren Cornell, director of Rhizome, were announced yesterday. Robak, a PNCA BFA, currently lives in Brooklyn. His work has been shown widely and internationally. Stephen Slappe curated his work into the recent New Mutants show at WorkSound, and Robak had his first solo show, Quarterback, at Appendix Space last year. See Robak’s website for the kind of immersive digital environments he builds (and his recent digital prints of rocks, which I, of course, love).

Here’s a description of “Tunnels”:

Tunnels is a 3D interactive virtual environment navigable with mouse and keyboard that places the viewer in a never ending sequence of tunnels each vividly depicting a certain time, narrative, genre, or trope. Perhaps we are in the subways of New York: dirty tile, lights barely flickering, and the distant rumbling of a train. Walking on the tracks we turn into a utility door and find ourselves in the caves of Lascaux, the rocky ceiling is quietly dripping drops of water that echo through the dark cave with horses and bulls accurately depicted on the walls. We are in Jetson’s like tube in the sky overlooking a futuristic city disappearing into the clouds. We are in the flashing red hull of a submarine that is slowly filling with water through spraying cracks around bolts. The hallway of a luxury hotel. A mud filled trench. The foggy freezer of a butchers shop with hanging sides of beef on hooks. And on and on. This piece is about the emotional feeling of living in hyperreality, spending an equal amount of time in places physical, mental, and virtual and valuing them equally. It is about forgetting you are in the theater when watching a movie, staying inside on a sunny day to play Crysis 2 on the PC, reading a whole book in one night, running everyday errands, and having Wikipedia on your phone.

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