BERLIN 2022 /

Anna Ehrenstein with 4DHD


Coffee Ground Imaginaries (2022)


AR experience accessed through QR codes printed on banners and stickers ● Duration: 30’’ each video, 1-hour walk ● Commissioned by Screen City Biennial ● Locations: Archenhold Observatory (garden), Colonial Village Karpfenteich (Treptower Park, geolocation: 52.485604, 13.469498), facade of the Akademie der Künste (Pariser Platz 4), Weapons Company Offices (Pariser Platz 6a) ● Image credits: Anna Enrenstein with 4DHD, Coffee Ground Imaginaries (2022). Photo by Daniela Arriado. Courtesy the artist.

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Tasseography is a divination and fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in coffee cups. It is a traditional method found in a cultural complex that ranges from the Balkans to Bengal which attempts to scry the present and future of an individual human being. Patterns and images that form inside the cup within the thick mocha grounds after drinking the beverage are used to predict a subject's state of mind. In a time where algorithmic engineering is creating patterns to predict and materialize global futures, Ehrenstein and 4DHD use the technique of coffee cup fortune telling to create an alternative viscous AR experience. Based on a 2018 performance by Ehrenstein, she has repurposed, 4DHD and Ehrenstein have repurposed Ehrenstein’s older digital avatar into a receptor of cosmic intelligence from virtual coffee grounds. A psychogeographic stroll takes the participants on a drift through Berlin, and next year also Oslo's urban soul along with three banners and stickers activating three different AR pieces.

The banners activate the AR and create a landscape with animations of a sage emerging from the coffee grounds, and offering short readings. Instead of focussing on a singular fortune-telling narrative, the psychic reads communal, planetary object-subject entanglements in the coffee grains. The sage sees alternative, collective human potentiality and bridges gaps between Sufi mysticism and techno-animism. The episodes have a possible linear reading, but also function in a non-linear, singular, or circular way. The short readings given by Ehrenstein's avatar delve around entanglements between transcending consciousness through mystic Sufism and artificial general intelligence. They visually reveal oily hyperobjects and weave together semantics for contemporary psychic, cultural, and economic relationships with ineffable, emerging properties. The readings are a conversational collaboration between Ehrenstein’s research on Sufism and posthumanism and both Bastos and Magnusson’s practice focusing on counter discourses to dominant narratives in platform capitalism through the spectrum of digital art in augmented reality.

Anna Ehrenstein

Anna Ehrenstein lives between Berlin and Tirana and works in various mediums in artistic or curatorial production, examining how technology and digital-material culture reshape power relations and investigating forms of knowledge and their construction. How are phenomena like generalization, exotification, or patronizing perspectives embodied and how do they become corporeal qualities in analog or virtual geographies? Photography, text, video, installation, performance, and sculpture are created through work in the community and throughout process-based, long and short-term artistic research and mediation. How are we as a society produced by the media and through lens-based realities? How do photographic legacies meander through virtual and physical realities? Documentary conversations are the basis for speculation and theoretical inquiry is met by pop culture in late capitalist drag.

Anna Ehrenstein has studied photography and media art in Germany and attended curatorial courses in Valletta (Malta) and Lagos (Nigeria). In 2022 she received the INITIAL scholarship, in 2021 the Research Scholarship of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, in 2020 the C/O Berlin Talent Award, and in 2019 a DAAD scholarship to complete a research semester in Bogota (Colombia.) Recently, she has exhibited at the Ural Biennale in Yekaterinburg, KOW Berlin, the C/O Berlin Foundation, the Lagos Biennale, the Landesmuseum Linz and the Kunstraum Kreuzberg, among others.


Cibelle Cavalli Bastos (they/them, b. 1978 in Sao Paulo, BR) and Coco Magnusson (they/them, b. 1984 in Gothenburg, SE) have worked together since 2018 under Discount Store Contemporary and as 4DHD since 2021. They live and work in Berlin, Germany.

Under 4DHD, Bastos and Magnusson work together as creative technologists in interplatform practice across digital media, intertwining workflows to accomplish complex audio-visual Augmented Reality experiences and Virtual Reality environments for their own art practices, peer collaborations, and commissions. 

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