Istvan Virag

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Istvan Virag (b. 1982, Hungary) is based in Oslo and works interdisciplinary, investigating the social and economic aspects of industrial and technological development, globalisation and mobility – and the impact of these on society and the personal sphere of human life. His artistic research revolves around alternative economic theories (e.g. ecological economy, post-growth). In recent years he has been developing projects that aim to visualise friction between the established and new paradigms of global governance, and explore alternatives to the dominant neoliberal perspective of the homo economicus.

Istvan Virag is presented in a co-production collaboration with Henie Onstad Art Center at Høvikodden and curator Susanne Østby Sæther.

Pixel Pitch vol.1, 2019 (documentation) from Istvan Virag on Vimeo.

Pixel Pitch vol. 4 (2023) presented at Coast Contemporary is the latest addition to the research-based video series Pixel Pitch, that comments specifically on the current state of the energy economy and investigates possible trajectories for global economic development beyond fossil fuels. Through a montage of documentary and digitally rendered video clips, this piece is a meditative visual examination of the oil industry and of alternative energy futures. The video interlaces image sequences pertaining to the abstract mechanics of energy production, such as industrial landscapes and extraction infrastructure, with clips of organic motifs related to the ecosystems and species that are affected by fossil-fuel extraction, for instance planktons and humans.

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Pixel Pitch vol. 4 (2023) explores associative relations between the dark-colored, viscous oil—fueling capital flows—and the energy of the hundreds of millions of years of sun-powered, compressed life that comprise it. Pixel Pitch vol. 4 (2023) is currently displayed as part of the exhibition New Visions – Henie Onstad Triennial for Photography and New Media (Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo).

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Pixel Pitch, vol. 2 (2020) is the latest of the series. It features images related to mankinds increasing energy needs and the universal law of nature: entropy. The video interlaces image sequences pertaining to the abstract mechanics of industrial scale energy production, with clips of human scale motifs related to consumption.

Virag studied photography at Bilder Nordic School of Photography, Norway; holds a BFA from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Norway; an MSc in Economics from University of Pecs, Hungary; and a BSc in Economics from Budapest Business School, Hungary. He has presented solo exhibitions at Oslo Negative (2021); Podium, Oslo; White Box Gallery, Oslo National Academy of the Arts; and the School of Visual Arts, New York. Virag’s work has also been displayed at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (New Visions – The Henie Onstad Triennial for Photography and New Media); Greenlightdistrict 2021, Skiens Kunstforening; Oslo Negative (2022); Studio 17, Stavanger; Kunsthall Oslo (in collaboration with the artist group Infopsin); and Statens 131. Kunstutstilling at Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo.