BMW and Frieze have had a long-standing partnership focused on art and its many ways of manifesting. BMW Open Work launched last night at Frieze London 2017 with a new multi-platform commission by New York-based artist Olivia Erlanger. Entitled “Body Electric, Erlanger’s immersive work unfolds across physical spaces at the fair, as well as digital platforms. It also conjures fictional tales inspired by science-fiction, economic flows and integrated design.

BMW Open Work annually invites an artist to develop a visionary project that creates an immersive experience for the viewer. Drawing inspiration from BMW design, engineering and technology, the commissioned artists will consider current and future technologies as tools for innovation and artistic experimentation. Premiering annually at Frieze London, each artwork will have the potential to unfold across physical spaces, such as the fair’s BMW Lounge and Courtesy Car Service, as well as digital platforms.

Bringing together digital and sculptural elements, the artwork is triggered by viewers moving between spaces and devices. Part of Erlanger’s immersive installation occupies the BMW Lounge at Frieze London. Three motion-sensitive benches – the oldest industrial element placed in public contexts – acts as an audio device, inviting audiences to sit and listen to real and fictional testimonies about an ecological event. A thick mist of fog and blue light creates an immersive atmosphere of limited visibility, constantly changing in response to oil price variations.

The second part of “Body Electric can be experienced in the BMW Courtesy Car Service, where a selection of videos visually extends the fictional testimonies. In addition, a new website is the project’s final landing platform. Drawing inspiration from current and future technologies, “Body Electric speculates on the changing relationship between humans and their environment, as an increasingly unpredictable natural world mediates and distorts our bodily experience.

“As humans begin a mutative synthesis with our machines, ‘Body Electric considers the changing relationship that we have to the environment, as our embodied experience of the ‘natural’ becomes increasingly mediated and distorted by objects of our own design“Erlanger said of her creative approach. Attilia Fattori Franchini. BMW Open Work curator said: “BMW Open Work offers artists the opportunity to engage with audiences in new and unexpected ways. The possibility of launching BMW Open Work with such a talented artist as Olivia Erlanger, whose project will observe the effect of technology on humans and nature, is absolutely thrilling.”

“This is a great development of our partnership with BMW, and of BMW’s long-standing commitment to and engagement with contemporary art. I am very happy we are able to launch this new initiative together that offers a unique opportunity to an artist and I look forward to seeing Olivia Erlanger’s project at Frieze London in October”, said Victoria Siddall, Director, Frieze Fairs.