Toggler – Tobias Zehntner

Toggler is a new website feature allowing commissioned artists to explore, demonstrate and celebrate the potential of creativity in website design.

As websites become increasingly standardised to ensure familiarity and ease of use for online visitors, Toggler allows artists to champion the role of curiosity and creativity in exploring other possibilities for presenting content online.

Visitors are able to view our website through different lenses by toggling between styles developed by commissioned artists.

The second of our commissioned artists is Tobias Zehntner, a Swiss-Danish artist based in Belgium, whose ideas draw upon architectural space and natural sciences, yet bear the poetics of the ordinary experience from which they originate.

Aquarium (still), Tobias Zehntner, 2008

Can you tell us a bit about your practice?

I often work with the themes of light, movement, space and time. Part of my practice focuses on altering a given environment with small changes for it to be experienced in a new way. I like to make viewers pay attention to elements they might have missed in an everyday encounter of that environment. Often I ask the viewer for some time to get to that experience.

What interested you in the Toggler commission?

The opportunity of creating a CSS Stylesheet with complete artistic freedom for an existing website is very unique. A stylesheet is both limited and incredibly open in the possibilities. I was interested in applying my artistic approach to a virtual space, something I’ve never done before. It was also a chance to implement things I had thought of but could not implement on my own website for practical reasons. It was super interesting to work with code in an artistic way; to come across problems that aren’t ‘googleable’ since you apply techniques in a way they aren’t made for.

Can you explain the ideas behind your approach to Toggler?

I tried to approach the website like any other space where I create an artwork. A slight change to the environment makes the visitor look at it in a different angle. Since a website is primarily a place to get information and leave, I wanted the visitor to slow down and linger, look at the place they are in. By changing the visibility or location of elements, I want to reveal a glimpse of the site’s architecture, something that usually goes unnoticed by most visitors. With that my stylesheet ‘exhibits’ the single elements of the website. Since a user navigates a website differently on a desktop computer than on a mobile, I had to create two different approaches that worked with a mouse or finger scrolling respectively.

Toggler screen grab – Tobias Zehntner, 2019

To explore our website using Tobias’ commissioned code, select TOBIAS ZEHNTNER from the drop down Toggler menu above. Please note Toggler will not affect your visiting experience of the home page. To return to the standard website design, please select DEFAULT from the menu.