“EXIT” holds a dramatic mirror to a contemporary global concern: unprecedented numbers of migrants are leaving their home countries due to political, economic, and environmental reasons. “EXIT” was created to quantify, display, and interpret this escalating trend. The immersive installation visualizes statistics that are otherwise difficult to comprehend, showing the displacement of populations due to disasters, both natural and man-made, and the decimation of entire cultures, environments, and livelihoods. Drawing on data from over one hundred sources, “EXIT” has a direct and poignant relevance to current world events, showing that global populations are more unstable now than at any previous time in world history.
Based on an idea of French philosopher and urbanist Paul Virilio, “EXIT” was created by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with architect-artist Laura Kurgan, statistician-artist Mark Hansen, and artist-designer Ben Rubin, in collaboration with Robert Gerard Pietrusko and Stewart Smith. The work was commissioned by the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain for its 2008 exhibition, Native Land, Stop Eject, curated by Hervé Chandès, General Director; it is now part of the Fondation Cartier collection. In 2015, “EXIT” was updated for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21), and was displayed at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the evolution of its data reflects the alarming shifts in human migratory movement. The 360-degree installation immerses the viewer in a panoramic video exhibition that correlates contemporary patterns of human movement with urgent global issues of sustainability, politics, and economics. The video projection of a spinning globe “printing” animated visuals as it orbits the space produces maps, texts, and trajectories that are the product of data collected, then geo-coded, processed through a programming language, and translated visually to provide a dramatic picture of today’s global climate. “EXIT” is divided into 6 narratives, each reflecting a key trend and area of exploration, entitled “Population Shifts: Cities”; “Remittances: Sending Money Home”; “Political Refugees and Forced Migration”; “Natural Disasters”; “Rising Seas and Sinking Cities”; “Speechless and Deforestation.” The installation visualizes significant key findings under each theme, prompting countless conversations about global patterns of human movement and sustainability.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is an interdisciplinary design studio that works at the intersection of architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. Founded in 1979, the New York City-based practice established its identity through self-generated conceptual art and architecture installations before reaching international prominence with large scale cultural and civic projects such as the Blur Building at the Swiss Expo 2002, Yverdon-les-Bains; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Redevelopment, and the High Line, both in New York. In 1999, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio received the “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation (the first given in the field of architecture), which noted that the studio’s work “illustrates that architecture, when under stood as the physical manifestation of social relationships, is everywhere, not just in buildings.” Today, DS+R is led by four for the Performing Arts Redevelopment, and the High Line, both in New York. In 1999, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio received the “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation (the first given in the field of architecture), which noted that the studio’s work “illustrates that architecture, when under stood as the physical manifestation of social relationships, is everywhere, not just in buildings.” Today, DS+R is led by four paterners – Elizabeth Diller, Richard Scofidio, Charles Renfro, and Benjamin Gilmartin – who work with a staff of over 100 architects, designers, artists, and researchers.