Ruth Baettig
Basel / Lucerne

Ruth Baettig has trained as an artist, and studied in Geneva, Cologne and Paris. Working with video, photography and performance, she won several art prizes and did artist residencies in Rotterdam, Beirut, Yerevan and Berlin. Since 2004 she is also active in the cinema sector: Expert of film education for children and teenagers, she works as cinema and art curator, and also as film editor, video-journalist and production manager.

In 2016 together with Giuseppe Di Salvatore, she launched an independent online platform dedicated to moving images as an art form, "", of which she is the production and communication manager. Her artistic work is often focused on interventions and interactions in the public space. Interested in site-specific creation and in a confrontation with different media, she has also developed longstanding themes through her works, like “Auch ich in Arkadien/Berlin” or “Mi sono perso/I’m lost”. Ruth likes lake swimming and trekking, but not without apero time.
Daydreaming, or dreaming with eyes wide open, has always fascinated me. It is often related to cinema, also because it is a territory where imagination and memory meet, intertwine, even melt together. Can we imagine our memories? Can we remember our imagination? These are borderline situations, which I like to experience – placet experiri.
My fascination for this territory has guided me for my first encounter with the XR technology. I discovered new possibilities but also new questions: How can we work with the topic of memory in the digital or even extended world? What are memories there? Are they abstractions of the past? Do they become mythical? Is there a specific longing in our digital and extended perception? Do our imagination fall into the abyss? How do our dreams turn into nightmares?

More than using the technology in order to convey a specific meaning or message, in my work Placet experiri I will expose my own experience in discovering the new medium. The daydreaming thread and questioning have thus been the best way to explore the perceptual vertigo I’ve experienced myself in working for the first time with XR/VR. Creative process and learning process conflated and produced new images. Of these images I want to stress the limits, or the borders that open towards new imaginary dimensions.

For this reason the sound track has finally become the leading element of Placet experiri, the element that can shape these imaginary dimensions and expresses the feeling that they create. The sounds tell my story in the space-time dis-continuum of my exploratory journey.

The artistic process that has leaded to Placet experiri benefited from the collective exchange organised by the Digital AiR project (ed. organised by CCI Fabrika). Not only the Fabrika space itself – starting point and common ground of our artistic works – but the dramatic inaccessibility that connotates it now has been a strong inspiration for me. If the real memories of this space in Moscow recall the aching story of the present times, the uncontrolled jumps to new imaginary dimensions in Placet experiri will also work as a cry of freedom and self-determination.

Ruth Baettig

* In his Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain), Thomas Mann makes the Italian resident of the sanatorium, Settembrini, use the motto «Placet experiri», which will play a significant role in the novel. It is a quotation by the poet Francesco Petrarca, who concluded a note describing certain transplants of vine stocks done without respecting traditional norms through the expression «sed placet experiri»: «but it is worth to try». Everything that is new and that we are about to face makes this motto ours.

Placet experiri by Ruth Baettig