Hannah Neckel

Artist Interview

Hannah Neckel, also known online as voidgirl79, is a new media artist from Vienna, based on the internet. Always being fascinated by the internet and growing up online, her work is presented both online and under the form of installations, Neckel is interested in how technology shapes emotion and influences the circulation of feelings. She explores the interpersonal relationship between us, our phones and thus our online lives, blending IRL and URL. Claiming that the perception of reality happens through emotions, Neckel argues that there is no distinction anymore between separate online and offline worlds as the emotions felt are the same in both spaces and merges these two further through the aesthetic experience created by the installations.

Hello Hannah, hope you are well in this uncertain time. We are grateful that we still get to share your work and ideas to our viewers through the internet. Can you start with telling us a bit about yourself and your background?

hiiiii πŸ’•thank u so much for having me and thanks for everything to the internet πŸ’–

So, since my childhood I was obsessed with phones, the internet and everything about it.

My first mobile phone started my fascination with new technology. I basically grew up online, exploring everything the internet has to offer. Being online is a crucial part of my life which is why it is intrinsically linked to my work.

The online world is one we experience through the aesthetic. It is an accumulation of found footage and newly created stuff, that's what is reflected in my work.
My practice always revolved around the internet, in the beginning I was working a lot with social media and female self representation online, which is still a big part of me and my work, but currently I expanded on those themes and tried to evolve to a more broader view of the internet.

Post-internet art is still a fairly new genre. It often isn't seen as valid in the art world which made me question my own validity in the fine art context at the beginning. A huge turning point for me was the berlin biennale 2016 where some of my favourite artists exhibited (cecile b evans, amalia ulmann,...). Β they showcased a lot of super contemporary fresh new art, which was so inspiring & empowering and made me more confident in my own art. Seeing other post internet artists keeps inspiring me and i'm thankful for all of them for thinking in new ways and creating new future-fit art.

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You describe your work as post virtual art, what are your thoughts behind it?

IRL and URL and increasingly merging together, two worlds that used to be separated completely are both growing and evolving towards each other, adding new levels of reality to each until they will meet in a symbiosis.

With the term, I want to highlight this progress and hopefully highlight the positive aspects of this world we are now entering.

The virtual is no longer a separate space it has overflown into our reality like a glass that is too full, spilling and invading us like a waterfall, a river, a force of nature.

So now we live in a post virtual world; reality, virtuality it is all the same now, a layered world, all merged together in abstraction.

post modern -> post internet -> post virtual

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We love how you transform digital work into physical installations, it blurs the line of what is virtual and and what is reality. How do you approach your work in a different medium? What does material choice mean to you?

The medium is a reflection of my life and experiences as a woman online. Most of my sculptural work is based on experimental processes, where I work a lot with found footage both IRL and URL. I try to find materials that reflect the online wavy aesthetic (led lights, shiny plastics) to create a relation between 3d renderings and real life. I take my time to really study the materials and their characteristics to decide how I can form them according to my aesthetic vision. I'm also strongly influenced by my surroundings/bubble. My footage is sourced from my neighborhood where I go to local stores to get materials for my installations or PNGs, videos I find online which I reuse for my work. Picking the right objects for my installations is a very passionate process for me. When I did my last exhibition in London I showed post virtual garden and went on my hunt for materials in different districts in London which had a big impact on the installation.

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Can you tell us more about your work "Post virtual garden"?

*~post virtual garden~* is a project I've been working on for quite a long time. I first conceptualized it as a 3D rendering culminating my theoretical research into an aesthetic concept first before starting to work on it as an installation. The installation quite literally resembles a garden, which is used as a space to aesthetically and physically merge URL and IRL closer together.

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A garden is a space we tend to, we enjoy to be in, that can be molded, cultivated and transformed into whatever we desire. Similar to that we curate our online lives and what we see on there everyday. Like a flower that grows by watering it, the kind of content you pay attention to will appear more for you. Your post virtual world is like a garden growing and evolving to your liking and needs our attention.

Mark Fisher recently proclaimed the future as being cancelled, as we seem to be not able to envision a future for ourselves anymore, but In this installation I am trying to create a kind of new vision of the future, a visual approach trying to counterpose the current hopelessness for our future.

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Online everything is hypercurated and aestheticized, a sensory overload of aesthetic which in this installation I am trying to merge with our physical world to bring these two closer together creating my post virtual vision. These signifiers serve to install emotion in the onlooker, since they have all been loaded with emotional potential from nostalgia to happiness and melancholia. What Ì am interested in is the emotions internet aesthetic is stirring up in people-

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People are invited to spend time in the installation, enjoy the mood, engage and explore the space with many hidden easter eggs/ details you can find in it.

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I see the internet as a space that empowers people to be themselves and gives them the space to express and connect. This sentiment is extremely important to me, so I hope that in my installations I can create a space like this IRL where people feel welcomed and free.

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post virtual garden, 2019 | Exhibited at anatolia schnitzel vienna

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post virtual garden, 2019 | Exhibited at begehungen chemnitz

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post virtual garden, 2020 | Live streamed to kunstverein jesteburg

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post virtual garden, 2020 | Exhibited at periscope salzburg

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post virtual garden, 2020 | Exhibited at the austrian cultural forum in london

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Where do you find inspirations? How do you transform them into art?

Inspiration comes mostly from my life online throughout the years. I accumulated a whole hard drive of found footage and my own material which always serves as the base for any new work. My process always starts by going through all my content and then creating new works with it. In an age where everything is replicated and replicable instantly I believe in the right to use content found online, like old tumblr life where you reblogged images to create your own aesthetic or used youtube clips to make your own videos (classic vaporwave). The same approach goes for my real life found footage (lol) in my installations i use a lot of ( modified) ready mades, which i come by on walks through cities checking out obscure euro shops or deep dives into weird online shops until the algorithm knows what I might be looking for and suggests me new items for my work. The algorithm is my true art collaborator, from images to music to sculptures it all gets influenced by what I get suggested thank u πŸ’•

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What is the art scene like in Vienna? How does it affect you?

In Vienna we have quite a big and diverse art scene, there are two big art universities (i’m studying at one of them) and a lot of history in art so we have people from all over the world working here in so many different directions, from painting to performances to digital stuff, you can do everything here and there’s a lot of exchange between the disciplines and a lot of people working with a broad variety of mediums both of which I really cherish

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One of my favourite recent projects in Vienna is anatolia schnitzel, a mega cool off space, a bunch of people from my uni and from Germany from different collectives initiated. they rented this old schnitzel restaurant to make it into an art space and host exhibitions, performances, readings, screenings etc there

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It was super cool and super fun working together with so many cool and dedicated people which also made it clear how much such a space is valued in Vienna, we always got lots of dms from people who wanted to participate in different ways, and unfortunately the interim use of the space is now over, the same people will be opening a new space hopefully this fall to continue the spirit of anatolia schnitzel for the art scene in Vienna πŸ₯°

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What do you look for in artists you work with?

cutie people doing sexy hot stuff online ;) ;) ;) ;) ;^)

not but fr I love working with people who see the good in the internet, who are optimistic about the future and want to use their work for making it a better place. <3

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How would you describe your relationship with your computer? What is the most important program you run on it? Why?

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β€œHannah loves her laptop and phone so much she sees it as part of her brain and body. I think when her laptop is having a problem she can literally feel the pain in her own body. She loves all the phones from her installation and values every single one of them.” –Lea (my sister)

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I love it so much. I literally see and feel it as an extension of me, my phone feels like it's part of my body. I feel lost without it, I can literally do nothing without my phone and you will never see me without it. I also noticed that I quite literally outsourced parts of my brain to my phone (yes I’m dreaming of singularity, I can't wait until I can become one with my phone and live my cyborg dream <3) same goes for my laptop as they are both synched up and linked together.

As for program I think it is instagram (at least that's what my screen time says lol)
I love life inside my bubble, this is where I get my inspiration from, where I discover and meet cool artists and people from all over the world and how I am able to share my work and basically the foundation of my career.

i'm the utah man

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How are you coping with social distancing and Coronavirus? Are you working on anything these days?

It has been quite difficult, I feel like everyone is going through stages where you can't do anything and then days when it's better again. Fortunately I was quarantining with my sister and our place is super aesthetic because I have an installation set up that I live streamed from our flat. But this makes me realize how important aesthetic, art and culture are. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has been doing live streams, online exhibitions etc for making this situation less bleak and giving artists motivation to keep working.

recording of my live stream // post virtual garden installation

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Have you seen/heard/read anything interesting lately that you would like to share?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b-uBVyyBic
i love vaporwave mixes 4 life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD-PbF3ywGo
contrapoints is my queen, she makes the most honest, educational and inspiring videos ever. I have seriously watched each of her vids a million times and this one is my favourite, as the theory discussed has a big influence on my work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCEbKfFkliI
this nicki minaj megamix got me through quarantine 10/10 recommend

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Is there anything else you would like to share with us? Any fun facts our readers can learn about you?


Party Monster is my all time favourite movie and most influential piece of media. I am extremely obsessed with it. It’s about the undergroud queer club scene in nyc in the 80s-90s. I first saw it when I was 14 (so over 10 years ago) and I know the movie by heart, watched everything about this scene, the shockumentary and read the book it is based on. This movie has way too much influence on my life basically I based most of my personality on this lol

I do it for the girls and the gays that’s it πŸ€ͺ

πŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’Œ

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For more of Hannah: hannahneckel.com Β | Β @voidgirl79

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