Upcoming

Link in bio

26. October 2019 – 31. January 2020
Group Show, MdbK, Leipzig

The Supermarket of Images

16. October 2019 – 13. February 2020
Group Show, Je de Paume, Paris

Vienna Biennale 2019

28. May 2019 – 27. May 2020
Group Show, MAK Design Labors, Vienna

Modell und Ruine

25. May – 9. June 2019
Group Show, Werkleitz Festival, Dessau

On the occasion of the Bauhaus anniversary, the Werkleitz Festival 2019 will take place from May 25th to June 9th in Dessau-Roßlau. In the title model stands as a model for a future to be created and ruin as a testimony of a mostly idealized past. The aim of the festival is to locate the Bauhaus in a broader historical context. Thirteen artists are invited to this project, who dedicate themselves in Dessau from the current perspective to the poles of power model and ruin.

Workshop: True Depth

18. April 2019
Workshop, HeK, Basel

Panel Discussion

17. April 2019
Talk, HeK, Basel

BYOD

12. April 2019
Talk, Drugo More, Rijeka, Croatia

If birds in a truck fly, does the truck get lighter?

11. – 30. April 2019
Group Show, Drugo More, Rijeka, Croatia

Biennale d’art contemporain de Strasbourg

13. December 2018 – 31. March 2019
Group Show, Hotel des Postes, Strasbourg, France

Blog

Digital Vasari: Interview

March 15, 2019

An interview I gave during my visit at ‘Laboratoria Arte Alameda‘ in Mexico city last summer 2018.

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Berlingegen13

March 13, 2019

Spontaneous demonstration in front of the EU parliament during Strasbourg visit on March 2nd 2019.
Support & photo: Mathieu Tremblin

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‘Touch Me’ article – Dominique Moulon

March 11, 2019

An excerpt of the article “Touch Me” about the Biennale de Strasbourg by Dominique Moulon

http://artinthedigitalage.net/blog/2019/02/17/touch-me/

[…]


Aram Bartholl, Are you human?, 2017.

Mais qui pourrait aujourd’hui se passer des services des GAFA ? Quand ce sont des machines qui, régulièrement, nous demandent de prouver que nous n’en sommes pas. Avec cette série Are you human?, Aram Bartholl n’a de cesse de détourner les codes de l’esthétique dominante : c’est-à-dire celle du numérique. Celui-ci s’est d’abord intéressé aux Captchasque l’on doit décrypter sous peine de se voir refuser quelques accès avant de se focaliser sur les systèmes de grilles où il nous faut sélectionner toutes les images de ponts ou de panneaux de signalisation entre autres véhicules. Les tirages grand format de l’artiste berlinois n’offrent toutefois que des vues de paysages où l’on devine parfois des frontières. L’idée étant de nous inciter à reconsidérer les tâches que nous effectuons en cette ère mondialisée. Car souvent, sans même le savoir, nous renseignons des entreprises mieux que ne le feraient des robots. Que les machines ne soient pas encore si intelligentes que cela pourrait être de nature rassurante. Et effectuer très régulièrement de petits travaux sans salaire aucun devrait nous irriter. A moins que l’on ne considère ces travaux comme d’intérêt général.


Bartholl, Point of view, 2015.

Il est admis que les smartphones que Aram Bartholl représente dans son installation sculpturale Point of view, en seulement une dizaine d’années, ont changé notre rapport à l’image. Ce n’est plus le boîtier qui est reflex, mais la photographie elle-même que l’on pratique par réflexe. Puisque l’on documente tout, de ce que l’on adore à ce que l’on déteste, sans omettre les images d’autrui que l’on commente sans retenue aucune sur les réseaux. Le Selfiesymbolisant merveilleusement bien ce désir immodéré que nous avons d’être dans l’image. Au risque parfois de créer des situations incongrues quand, par exemple, tous les fans d’une foule tournent le dos à leur icône pour être au plus près d’elle dans l’image capturée. Il est intéressant de remarquer ici que ce sont essentiellement des jeunes ordinaires qui ont initié cette tendance ô combien narcissique du Selfieavant que les célébrités du monde entier ne les copient. Citons les propos de Charles Baudelaire qui, déjà en 1859, soit vingt ans seulement après l’invention de la photographie, s’exprimait ainsi : « À partir de ce moment, la société immonde se rua, comme un seul Narcisse, pour contempler sa triviale image sur le métal».

[…]

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Let´s talk about 01 // Aram Bartholl

February 21, 2019

InterMedia an der FH Vorarlberg, Published on Jan 7, 2019

“Wir durften mit dem Medienkünstler Aram Bartholl nach seinem open idea Vortrag an der FH Vorarlberg im Oktober 2017 ein hochinteressantes Interview über seine Arbeiten und seine Sicht der Dinge auf unsere Kommunikationswelt führen.”

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NOVO 53

February 15, 2019

Interview by Emma Cozzani
NOVO 53
Published on Feb 8, 2019
53ème numéro de NOVO, le magazine qui se prend pour une revue.
Photo: Henri Vogt

issuu.com/media.pop/docs/novo_53

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Interview – SMAC

February 4, 2019

Interview with Aram Bartholl

With a wry sense of humour and a lightness of touch, German artist Aram Bartholl subverts the symbols and functions of the internet to draw our attention to its darker side. Through his prolific output of installations and performances around the world – from the beaches of Thailand to the Strasbourg Biennale – Bartholl dissects the back end of new media, shedding light on the capitalist imperatives that have come to dominate and track our every click and tap. How can we navigate the current – and future – digital landscape without lapsing into disillusionment, or relinquishing our agency as internet users? Ahead of his upcoming show at SMAC in Berlin, where he lives and works, Bartholl shares his take on surveillance capitalism, selfie culture, and what to expect at his new exhibition [hint: there’s a disco ball.]

Interview: Anna Dorothea Ker

SMAC: Your work acknowledges the vast possibilities presented by the internet while altering us to the pitfalls of its ever more commercialised reality. What should we be most concerned about?
Aram: I would point to questions of privacy or personal data, as well as how platforms work. We need to acknowledge that Google and Facebook are purely advertising companies. There are a lot of concerns. One thing I’m thinking a lot about is how we can escape the current monopolisation of the internet. The web of the ‘90s was very vibrant and diverse. It started as a user-driven, non-commercial space. Over time, many companies and start-ups employed it to achieve their commercial goals, and today we have five or six huge companies, with whom no-one can compete. They probably need to be broken up at some point – this is likely to come from the US.

“We need to acknowledge that Google and Facebook are purely advertising companies

How would you characterise your own internet use?
Aram: I try to avoid the big players by using an Android phone without Google on it, for example, having my own NextCloud servers at home, by avoiding Dropbox, and not ordering on Amazon any more. I try to be conscious of where I leave my data. At the same time, I use Twitter and Instagram. Most of my online input comes via Twitter. I depend on it, though it frustrates me. There’s a recipe for each – on Twitter you have to be negative to attract attention, and on Instagram you have to be positive, and post beautiful pictures. It’s very convenient to use all these platforms, but to be conscious about things is more complicated. I feel as though there’s a certain sense of fatigue with social media at the moment. Many people I know feel caught in between – it’s hard to leave these platforms, but people don’t want to be on them any more.

“ I feel as though there’s a certain sense of fatigue with social media at the moment. Many people I know feel caught in between – it’s hard to leave these platforms, but people don’t want to be on them any more.

Your work often employs tools of surveillance, such as surveillance cameras, in subversion of their purpose. Can the master’s tools dismantle the master’s house in this regard?
Aram: A surveillance camera is a valuable symbol because it’s a tool everyone understands. It’s an eye, it takes a pictures, it sends that picture somewhere else. Today it’s usually algorithms that scan them to look for, say, unusual movements. But then there’s what happens in your browser – tracking with cookies, for example, which no-one really understands.

Most people have a sense of what’s going on, but don’t feel like they can do anything about it. So I like to take these tools and use them in other ways – to have people re-think, question them. In my installation [“Pan, Tilt and Zoom”] last year [2018] I placed the cameras on the floor of the gallery. They were motorised, equipped with a tracking system they roll over the floor and seem helpless. People had other kinds of interactions with them, and hopefully questioned their purpose.

Does the right to privacy exist anymore? Have we eroded it through our collective obsession with self-surveillance – take selfie culture, and oversharing on social media?
Aram: There are two things at play here. Yes, a lot of people willingly share information on where they are and what they’re doing, but at the same time there’s this mass-scale surveillance – not in terms of the kind of government surveillance that [Edward] Snowden revealed, but rather commercial surveillance. When you walk around with your phone with the wifi on, it projects all the wifi connections to wherever you’re going. Even supermarkets have wifi tracking systems to see how you pass through the market or and when you return. We are already aware of this on a certain level – for example, when you go into a mattress store and get served advertising from them the next day. But it’s very hard to understand how this works. That happens on a very technical level, which seems very abstract to us. This is something we should be concerned about, as it’s a wild west out there right now. Companies can basically do whatever they want. Of course, since May [2018] there’s the [European Union] General Data Protection Regulation which is a first step towards regulation, but much more regulation still needs to occur.

“… it’s a wild west out there right now. Companies can basically do whatever they want. Of course, since May [2018] there’s the [European Union] General Data Protection Regulation which is a first step towards regulation, but much more regulation still needs to occur.

What can visitors to SMAC expect to encounter your upcoming exhibition?
Aram: “True Depth” refers to Apple’s technology for the iPhone X, which has infrared cameras implemented within the front camera. Whenever you look at the phone, there’s a infrared light dot pattern projected onto your face. Through measuring the distribution of these dots on your face, the software can build an actual 3D model of it. This is how facial recognition works. It’s convenient – you can unlock your phone just by looking at it – but its inner workings are invisible. For the show I have this disco ball, which represents disco – this fun, pop-culture, “let’s party” attitude, freedom. Then I have these two cameras. One projects infrared light onto the disco ball in a typical way, so dots of light are dispersed over the room, but the viewer can’t see them. The disco’s happening, but we can’t take part. The work is related to this phone technology, but it also relates to the commercial party that’s going on around us, tracking us, extracting information. All without any of it being visible to our eyes. Elsewhere in the gallery there will be the infrared view of the CCTV camera being streamed on a screen, so you can see the dot patter and get the view from the other side.

Then we have the webcam privacy screen. I saw it online and liked it very much as a sculpture – this round screen which attaches to the back of a chair. These screens are made for being on a webcam in front of a neutral background. They’re advertised as being good for business, with a blue or green background allowing you to look more professional – and you can also key out the colour and replace it. I’m interested in the simultaneous acts of looking at a screen and filming yourself while hiding what’s behind you. The process is similar when it comes to selfie culture. You see this often in the street – young kids taking ten or twenty just to get the right one. It’s very deliberate. It all ties in to the presentation of the self in a digital space, and how we cut out the noise and the background of our lives in the way we film ourselves.

This theme was explored in your recent work for the 2018 Thai Biennale, “Perfect Beach”. What sparked the idea for this work?
Aram: People fly to Thailand to find the perfect tropical beach, ones which are advertised all around us but also embody our collective idea of paradise. The empty beach has always been a symbol for freedom. The performance at the Biennale involved two performers carrying a big screen featuring an image of an idyllic beach across an already perfect beach. I was interested in confronting tourists with the question of why they went there. Because, of course, it’s never empty when you get there. Many people wanted to stand in front of the beach screen and take a picture – we’re so programmed to do that. I was hoping that would happen, but was amazed by how well it worked. But of course there were also people who were annoyed by it [laughs].

“I’m interested in the simultaneous acts of looking at a screen and filming yourself while hiding what’s behind you. The process is similar when it comes to selfie culture.

You’re currently presenting three works at the first Strasbourg Biennale, the theme of which is “being a citizen in the digital age”. What can visitors expect to experience when viewing your art there?
Aram: One work is part of the series “Are You Human?”, which is all about captcha codes. These used to be a string of characters we had to type in to prove that we’re human, but today all this has been replaced by the Google reCAPTCHA test. It has the same function, but we have to select these images, like ‘select all the cars’ you can see in the picture. On one hand, the purpose of this is to train Google’s self-driving cars, and on the other, to prove we’re human. The installation consists of this big code on the floor with twisted characters made from steel, and the reCAPTCHA prints on the wall. I’ve swapped in pictures of European borders and spam advertising text to remix this whole idea of reCAPTCHA, while drawing attention to the issue of borders, access to space and digital services.

2018 saw a slow – and far overdue – global public awakening to the risks and dangers of social media, largely due to a series of hacks and privacy scandals. What will this lead to in 2019?
Aram: Next step would be to get out of our current situation of a monopolised internet, and to take back control over our own lives. To decide what we want to do with our data. On one hand, there are policy questions, then there’s public awareness, but there’s a lot more that needs to happen on that front. The recent [January 2019] data leak that affected German politicians and celebrities invoked a paranoid press reaction. Which is perhaps good – for people to realise that we’re vulnerable. Once your information is out there, you can’t get it back. What we’re seeing now, with the links between populism and social media, makes it very easy to feel dystopian about these questions. But let’s try and stay positive. We need smart people to sit down and craft new plans that will allow us to use technology in ways that will help us, not just make a lot of money for a few.

“What we’re seeing now, with the links between populism and social media, makes it very easy to feel dystopian about these questions. But let’s try and stay positive.

Interview: Anna Dorothea Ker
Photos: Pamina Aichhorn

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True Depth

January 15, 2019

True Depth — Aram Bartholl
Solo show at SMAC Berlin

Opening event: 24.01.2019 | 19h
Duration: 25.01 – 10.03.2019
Opening Hours: Friday – Sunday, 13h – 19h

For his upcoming solo show True Depth at SMAC Aram Bartholl creates a new set of works discussing the changing circumstances of personal space in today’s screen based, app connected world. While the smartphone introduced new ways of very intimate communication, Internet advertising companies monetize in large scale on these interactions. Traveling alone in public space became the perfect situation for personal interaction on small screens. “Don’t sit next to me on the bus. I am watching gay porn.” (quote Twitter). While out with friends the restaurant bathroom turns into a place to check the phone instead of actually going there to relieve one self. Post social spaces.
The title True Depth refers to the latest iPhone camera 3D scanning technology to improve face recognition. Invisible infrared patterns questions the personal space between eyes and screen. “Where are you?”

Security Personal Information Protection High Strength Spring Anchor Collapsible

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‘Pan, Tilt & Zoom’ and a new friend!

November 29, 2018

Thanks to the Dokfest Kassel team!

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Top25 at “Die Informale”

November 26, 2018

Top25 at

“A night at the pool”, Colmegna Spa, Oct 20
part of Die Informale,  Buenos Aires
Videoramas, Sep/Oct 2018

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Wenn aus Überwachung Kunst wird

November 25, 2018

Interview and portrait by fluter magazine:

Aram Bartholl mauert USB-Sticks ein, sammelt gestohlene Passwörter und zeigt Kameras, die hilflos sind wie Kleinkinder. Seine Kunst hinterfragt unseren Umgang mit Daten und Geräten.

Ariana Dongus und Christina zur Nedden

fluter – Magazin der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung , 23.11.2018, Daten 5 Min.