Joscha Steffens graduated from Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (HGB) in Leipzig and completed the post graduate program of Kunsthochschule für Medien (KHM) in Cologne. He was Artist in Residence at Rijksakademie van beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and appointed AIR Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in the Research Group of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS/KNAW).
His artistic research deals with contemporary forms of gaming communities performing within nearly perfect simulations. Reaching from hidden war-gaming events in Russian forests to publicly held online-gaming competitions at the Olympic Stadium of Seoul. Particularly intrigued and driven by those forms of gaming that require the player to immerse themselves completely in the skin of their avatar and transcend the limits of play.
Selected solo and group exhibitions, commissioned projects and artist talks include: Künstlerforum, Bonn. DE (2022); Heidelberger Kunstverein, Heidelberg, DE (2014 & 2022); Kunsthalle Erfurt, DE (2021); Van Nelle Fabriek, Rotterdam, NL (2021); NIAS Conference, Amsterdam, NL (2021); CenSAMM, Bedford, UK (2020); Folkwang Museum, Essen, DE (2020); PORT25, Mannheim, DE (2020); Photomuseum Braunschweig, DE (2020); De Pont Museum, Tilburg, NL (2020); Haus am Kleistpark. Berlin, DE (2020); 1st Bangkok Art Biennale, Bangkok, TH (2018); Huis Marseille, Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam, NL (2018); Ung5, Cologne, DE (2018); Act for Democracy! - The European International, De Balie, Amsterdam, NL (2018); European Central Bank, Frankfurt a.M, DE (2018); Goethe Institut, Amsterdam, NL (2018); Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, CH (2018); ART Berlin, Berlin, DE (2017); B3 Biennial for the moving Image, Frankfurt a.M., DE (2017); Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf, DE (2017); HSG, Sankt Gallen, CH (2017); DZ Bank Kunstsammlung, Frankfurt a. M., DE (2014 & 2016); Westwerk, Leipzig, DE (2016); UNSEEN, Amsterdam, NL (2016); Goethe Institut, Bangalore, IN (2016); EYE Film Instituut, Amsterdam, NL (2016); NAK, Aschaffenburg, DE (2015); Philara Collection, Düsseldorf, DE (2015); Fabrica Braco de Prata, Lisbon, PT (2014); F/Stop Fotofestival, Leipzig, DE (2014).
Joscha Steffens' work across photography, video installations, games and film was awarded amongst other with Wüstenrot Foundation Award for Documentary Photography (2017), Großer Kunstpreis Köln (2016), Mannheimer Kunstpreis of Heinrich-Vetter-Foundation (2020) and has been supported amongst other by German National Academic Foundation, Royal Academy of Arts and Science, Mondriaan Fonds, VG-Bildkunst, Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst, Stimulerings Foundation, Filmfonds NL, Stiftung Kunstfonds, Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.
Works in public and private collections include: Fotografische Sammlung Folkwang Museum Essen, DZ Bank Art Collection, Art Collection of the European Central Bank, Huis Marseille - Museum voor Fotografie, Collectie Rijksakademie van beeldende Kunsten, Elise Mathilde Foundation, Art Collection City of Heidelberg.
Joscha Steffens –
NEXUSVALLEY.IO waits for you and invites you to play with it. Your role is the one of an agent, a researcher who is following and surveying a generation of young gamers.
7PM a Chinese Counter Strike clan travelled to Spain and for the first time ever competed with US and EU based athletes at the all female tournament Showdown that took place in Valencia.
Young professional gamers are on their return from a trip. They return from a big collective high inside a specific virtual space, where they are moving as auratic avatars.
Whereas all other competitive e-sports only feature male teams the brutal Ego-Shooter “Counter Strike : Globale Offensive” offers stages and money to young women.
Games are turned into portraits; a fake battlefield becomes a game of rules and commands, a timeless island houses a Nazi time machine.
Imagine Kurt Cobain on the island of the Phaeacians -- this will give you a first impression of the therapy station in Hannover where game-addicted youth are prevented from giving in to their purported bliss.
Monsters, cuddle some strange beings, witches or knights and druids are controlled and manoeuvred through digital battles by home users and by professional gamers.
Hectic movements, clicks, more similar to shivering than to an actual touch. These touches with fingertip are not only controlling the avatar but together represent the only real physical contact to a digital world and its virtual slaughter.
Recreational warriors face down the ultimate "otherness", while references to real theatres of war are interwoven with fantasies in a completely arbitrary manner.
On the boarder of society and legality a group trains close combat situations common for civil war scenarios in rural Russian landscapes and forests.
Two uniformed males are fighting. They are fighting with words. The moment it turns out that one of them is loosing, he escapes.