Jan Vormann

'Monuments Expanded: FSB'
Digital: Minecraft / NFT

In February 2022, a headline read, "Russian Teenager Gets Five Years in Prison in Minecraft 'Terrorism'."
Investigators in Russia confiscated a 16-year-old's phone and found chats that "proved" he had planned to add the FSB building to the popular Minecraft game and destroy it there.

Consequently, a court in Siberia sentenced the 16-year-old boy to five years in prison in what they called "a high-profile terrorism case."

At the time, Jan Vormann and Brad Downey were wrapping up a long-term project in Minecraft, playing around in the game for more than a year.

The idea that a government had turned a teenage gamer into a political prisoner (for thought-crime) and declared him a terrorist seemed like extreme mental gymnastics.

In response to this story, Jan Vormann and Brad Downey simply carried out the teenager's plans, hoping to show how silly the whole action would look, especially in childish blocky Minecraft aesthetics.

But just before releasing the videos and gifs, the war in Ukraine broke out and the childish gesture took on heavier layers of meaning. These silly images Jan Vormann and Brad Downey created (meant as a humorous protest in support of an unjust sentence) transformed into something different in the face of actual Ukrainian cities being devastated.

Weeks into the war, Jan Vormann and Brad Downey decided to rework and consolidate the content into an NFT with extra data allowing the buyer to reinstall the sculpture in their Minecraft world.

After the work was sold, Jan Vormann and Brad Downey contacted the lawyer of the 16-year-old on Telegram. Part of the money was donated to the 16-year-old boy's mother, and the other part was donated to Metalab, an organization in Ivano Frankivsk, Ukraine, that is building apartments for struggling families relocating from war-torn regions.

read more

6.000 Euro inkl. Tax

Buy / Reserve

Sending your request will get in direct contact with the artist to reserve or buy this artwork.

    The data is transmitted encrypted to our server located in Germany. Personal data will only be used by the organizer or the artist handle your request. For more information, please refer to our Privacy / Datenschutzerklärung.

    About the artist

    A founding member of the T10 Studios in Berlin (DE) and ,COMA in Valdivia (CL), Jan Vormann is an artist, researcher and lecturer, who lives and works in Valdivia (CL) and Berlin (DE). He studied Visual Arts at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee, Germany, as well as Monumental Arts at the Stieglitz Academy of Fine Arts in St.Petersburg, Russia. Vormann has lectured New Media / Interaction Design (IXD) at BTK University in the New Media / IXD Department in Berlin and at Universidad Austral in Valdivia (CL) and has given numerous workshops and talks at institutions including the Parsons School of Design in Paris, the ARCAM Amsterdam Institute for Architecture and the Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein, Halle. In addition to his digital works in collaboration with the Total Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul (KOR) and interventions in public spaces around the world, Vormann has presented his work at international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale of Art (2011) and Architecture (2018), the Ars Electronica in Linz (2010), the Nuits Blanches in Paris (2014), and the Humboldt Forum / Altes Museum, Berlin (2009). Vormann’s projects have been featured in global media outlets such as Le Monde, The New York Times Mag, Deutsche Welle and Financial Times Deutschland.