Upcoming

“Kleine wendige Truppen”

13. – 14. February 2020
Performance, Brecht-Haus, Berlin

“Kleine wendige Truppen” Dead Drop installation and lecture at Brecht Haus Berlin. Curated by Cornelius Puschke.

The Supermarket Of Images

11. February – 7. June 2020
Group Show, Jeu de Paume, Paris

Art and economics have entertained a complex and decisive relationship since ancient times. But for over a century, what is at stake goes far beyond the mere art market: what we face now is the commodification of all that is visible.

The photographs, drawings, paintings, videos, films, digital works and multimedia installations selected for this exhibition explore the raw materials that go into creating these images, the enormous reserves and databases they accumulate in, the human (or non-human) toil involved in their creation, and the fluctuations in their value as they circulate around the world.
The exhibition offers a critical take and unexpected perspectives on the making of the great image market that structures our gaze.

We live in a world that is increasingly saturated with images. Their number is growing so exponentially – on social networks and on screens of all kinds – that the space in which we live is literally overflowing with images, as if it were no longer possible to contain them, as if there were no more gaps between them. (We could be said to be approaching the limit which, as long ago as 1929, Walter Benjamin described as “a one hundred percent image space”.) Faced with this overabundance and overproduction of images, the question of storing them, managing them, circulating them and transporting them (even electronically), their weight, the fluidity or viscosity of their exchange, fluctuations in their values – in short, the whole business of the image economy – is more pertinent now than ever before. In the book that provided the starting point for this exhibition project (Le Supermarché du visible, published by Éditions de Minuit in 2017), I suggested the word iconomie (“iconomics”) to refer to the economic dimension in the life of images.

The works and artists chosen for the exhibition cast a keen and watchful eye over these issues. On the one hand, they reflect the upheavals that currently affect economics in general, whether in terms of unprecedentedly large storage spaces, scarce raw materials, labour and its mutations towards immaterial forms of work, or in terms of value and its new manifestations, such as cryptocurrencies. At the same time, however, these artists’ works repeatedly interrogate the future of images and things visible in the age of their globalised iconomics.

In the supermarket on display here, images of the economy always involve the economics of the image. And vice versa, as if there were a recto and a verso to all of them.

Curators : Peter Szendy, Emmanuel Alloa and Marta Ponsa
Exhibition organised by the Jeu de Paume

Link in bio

16. December 2019 – 14. March 2020
Group Show, MdbK, Leipzig

The use of social media has become part of everyday life, established and young artists cannot and no longer want to do without it. They work with it. They are where their audience is. Once they were websites, now they’re social media, especially Instagram when it comes to visual arts.

After the protagonists of Net Art, the technology utopians of the early 1990s, soon realized that the Net would not undermine classical art institutions as exhibition venues, the next generation of artists who responded to the Internet took over. The buzzword Post-Internet Art quickly spread. The term was coined by the artist and theorist Marisa Olson: “I’m going to toggle back and forth between video and internet because some of the internet art that I make is on the internet, and some is after the internet.” What sounds like an attitude to life became a collective term for artists who, instead of making art in the browser, again made art for the exhibition space.

Social Media Art, on the other hand, takes up Net Art’s utopia of being able to democratize the art world. The audience can be reached directly via Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter. Young artists react to social media and their content, to new features and technologies.

The show “Link in Bio. Kunst nach den sozialen Medien” at the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig curated by Anika Meier presents over 50 works on how the production and reception of art change in the age of social media. The exhibition shows installations, photographs, sculptures, videos and paintings. The show is a follow-up to “Virtual Normality. Net Artists 2.0” (2018).

Participating artists: Thomas Albdorf, Jeremy Bailey, Viktoria Binschtok, Aram Bartholl, Arvida Byström, Nadja Buttendorf, Petra Cortright, Filip Custic, Constant Dullaart, Hannah Sophie Dunkelberg, Anna Ehrenstein, Oli Epp, Tom Galle, Adam Harvey, Lauren Huret, Andy Kassier, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Olia Lialina, Brandon Lipchik, Jonas Lund, Jillian Mayer, Florian Meisenberg, Marisa Olson, Andy Picci, Sebastian Schmieg, Leah Schrager, Kristina Schuldt, Thomas Webb, Steffen Zillig and many others.

Opening 16.12.2019, 18 o’clock

The exhibition is sponsored by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Stadstriennale: Screen It

5. October 2019 – 5. January 2020
Group Show, Stadstriennale Hasselt Genk, Hasselt, Genk

The main exhibition SCREEN IT takes place on the Corda Campus, currently one of the fast growing tech incubators in Europe. But also the former basecamp of Philips where technologic innovations as audio and videocassettes or Laservision were invented that help spreading the western visual culture over the world. The dominance of this culture, linked to the omnipresence of screens is the starting point of the exhibition. Artist as Nam June Paik or Wolf Vostell already tackled the possibilities of screens in art and culture in the ’60. Paik’s famous quote “Television tortured the intellectuals for a long time… it is about time that the intellectuals torture television” clearly presents this generation ambiguous positions towards screens. This approach can easily be transferred towards our current society filled with buzz words as big data, social media, VR or augmented reality. The exhibition thus will tackle the current status of the arts towards the cultural impact of the screen fueled culture we live in.

Sometimes as a source of inspiration, as a canvas or as starting point for debate, the current and future generation of artists is touching the limits of technology or the impact on contemporary art esthetics, news gathering, politics, social commitment and more. The generation of digital natives, born with their fingers clued on a screen, is investigating a world with or without screens, questioning virtual worlds and augmented realities in an intriguing way.
Artists (22)
Nam June Paik
Hito Steyerl
Rodney Graham
Mounir Fatmi
Wolf Vostell
Bill Viola
Cory Arcangel
Aram Bartholl
Constant Dullaart
Jonas Lund
Tabor Robak
Tabita Rezaire
Rafaël Rozendaal
Carla Gannis
Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion
Karl Philips
Dries de Poorter
Arvida Byström
Molly Soda
Jeroen Van Loon
Olga Fedorova
Tom Galle

Playmode

10. September 2019 – 28. February 2020
Group Show, Maat, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon

The exhibition Playmode offers a reflection on these aspects and on the era of gamification that contemporary societies are now experiencing, bringing together pieces by several artists, such as Brad Downey, Gabriel Orozco and Ana Vieira, who incorporate the theme while exploring new ways of seeing, participating and transforming the world, using gaming in a critical light. Picture: House of Cards #3. Brad Downey, 2007. Photo: Brad Downey

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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‘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.

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November 13, 2018

Post Snowden Nails by Nadja Buttendorf & Aram Bartholl 2016

Part of the exhibition “berlin zentrum, der netzkunst damals und heute”  at panke.gallery, workshop with Aram Bartholl:

0 likes – Curatorial practice in times of post social media.

In this workshop we will look into different models of curatorial practice around art online, net.art & art on the internet. Visitors are invited to discuss a wide range of approaches from online exhibitions, to Speed Shows to latest concepts like gallery.delivery. What is the status of art on the internet? How do artists and institutions cope with the fading presence of the web? What to do with the ever growing hell of likes with no links to the web? Let’s discuss ideas and concepts! What’s your idea for curating a show?

Date : 17 November 2018, 15:00 - 19:00
Location : panke.gallery, Berlin

Update: Incomplete linklist of curatorial projects resulting from the workshop -> https://pad.arambartholl.com/p/0likes

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