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Upcoming Events

REMINDER! – Package Ready for Pickup

8. July 2023 – 25. February 2024
Solo Show, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Osnabrück

2023 👋🏻 I am looking fwd to this solo. It will be the 30th anniversary of the Kunsthalle and 375 Jahre Westfälischer Friede 2023. The Kunsthalle is partly located in a former church. It’s quite a space to work in 😮😅 looking fwd to this! It will be a fun project. 🙂 Stay tuned! ✨

Tilt / Shift

28. April – 7. May 2023
Group Show, Darmstadt

Enigma

25. February 2023 – 25. February 2024
Group Show, Museum of Communication, Kopenhagen

Communication pervades our lives more than ever before. With the digital channels, we are constantly accessible and can publish ourselves wherever and whenever we want. But despite the many great opportunities, the tide of information may often appear confusing, polarizing or hateful, and our public conversation is challenged.

On November 19, 2022, ENIGMA will open new exhibition areas and a large children’s area, in which we look forward to welcoming everyone.

:-#

25. February – 12. March 2023
Group Show, Kunstverein Rotenburg, Rotenburg

Social Media prägt unseren Alltag und unsere Gesellschaft. Messenger-Dienste, Plattformen zum Teilen von Bildern und Videos, bis hin zu Dating Plattformen sind Teil unserer Kommunikation geworden. Auch aus den Künsten sind die Sozialen Medien nicht mehr wegzudenken. Einerseits genutzt als Website, andererseits als Ort der Selbstdarstellung, scheint das eigene Publikum nur einen Klick entfernt.

Die Ausstellung „:-#“ zeigt Arbeiten zum Thema Social Media in der Kunst und stellt die Frage was sozial an den Sozialen Netzwerken ist und inwiefern diese unser Verhalten und Gesellschaft verändern. In unterschiedlichsten Medien setzen sich Künstler*innen damit auseinander, was es bedeutet in einer digital geprägten Welt künstlerisch zu agieren.

Current Events

Behind the screens. 50 years of computer art.

22. January – 4. June 2023
Group Show, CODA Museum, Apeldoorn

Online, interactive and endless ones and zeroes in algorithms and coding; digital art, in all its forms and designs, is occupying an increasingly important place. And not only that. The growth and developments in the field of digital art also force us to think about the definition and meaning of concepts such as ‘unique’ and ‘authentic’. With more than 50 works by 29 artists, the group exhibition Behind the screens – 50 years of computer art shows the various forms of digital art and the developments from the 1970s to the present. A large part of the works of art in this exhibition come from a private collection from Apeldoorn, which includes a number of iconic works of art and gives an impression of the development of digital art.

 

Recent Events

Kunst gegen Rechts

18. November 2022 – 8. January 2023
Group Show, https://www.haeselburg.org, Mieze Südlich, Häselburg Gera

Eingeladene Künstler:innen:
Ulf Arminde, Stefan Alber, Aram Bartholi, Fehmi Baumbach, Marc Bijl,  Jessica Buhlmann/Zao, Zuzanna Czebatul, Moritz Frei, Jana Gunstheimer, Christian Henkel, Verena Issel, Zoe C. Miller, Anne Mundo, Rainer Neumeier,  Angelika Nguyen, Thomas Prochnow, Regina Schmeken, Schroeter&Berger, Kristina Schuldt, Raul Walch, Christian Werner, Ina Wudtke

Die siebte Ausstellung der Reihe KUNST GEGEN RECHTS nimmt den 30. Jahrestag der Pogrome von Rostock-Lichtenhagen als Anlass, um kritisch auf aktuelle, gesellschaftliche Konflikte einzugehen.

Deutschland ist eine postmigrantische Gesellschaft der Vielen. Immer noch wird diese Tatsache viel zu wenig zur Kenntnis genommen. Der Wiedervereinigung am 3. Oktober 1990 folgten rassistische Ausschreitungen und Mordanschläge in Rostock, Mannheim, Hoyerswerda, Mölln und Solingen bis zur Terrorserie des NSU. Es folgten Anschläge auf jüdische Friedhöfe und emanzipatorische Projekte. Eine wiedererwachte deutsche Volksgemeinschaft kroch aus den Löchern hervor.

Der rechte Populismus, der die Kultureinrichtungen als Akteure einer gesellschaftlichen demokratischen Vision angreift, steht der Kunst der Vielen feindselig gegenüber. Die Neue Rechte hat die Kulturpolitik als Kampffeld entdeckt, um ihre völkischen Vorstellungen umzusetzen. Rechte Gruppierungen und Parteien stören Veranstaltungen, verhindern Ausstellungen, greifen in Theater-Spielpläne ein, polemisieren gegen die Freiheit der Kunst, gegen Dekoloniale Erinnerungsprojekte und arbeiten an einer Renationalisierung der Kultur. Es wird einFeldzug gegen zeitgenössische, „undeutsche“ Kunst geführt, die als „neumodische Extravaganzen“ und „exzentrische Randgruppenkunst“ bezeichnet wird, wie aktuell gegen den Kunstverein in Zwickau.

Seit dem Ausbruch der Pandemie, stehen viele Dinge auf dem Prüfstand. Es zeigte sich, wer ein solidarisches Miteinander praktiziert und wer als Pandemiegewinnler oder Coronaleugner die Krise für eigene Interessen nutzt. Bei den sogenannten Querdenken-Demonstrationen kommt es zu einer fatalen Zusammenarbeit verschiedener Akteure. Rechte Gruppierungen und Parteien gewinnen immer mehr an Einfluss. Antisemitismus ist in der neuen Bewegung stark vertreten, wie auch eine Verharmlosung der Shoa und der Gleichsetzung der NS-Zeit mit der aktuellen Situation.

Playmode

26. October 2022 – 16. January 2023
Group Show, CCBB – Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Sao Paulo

Since very early on, artists have understood the power of transformation of play, integrating it into their works with distinct purposes -evasion of reality, social construction and transformation, subversion or criticism of the very mechanisms of play and games. The exhibition Playmode proposes a reflection on these aspects and on the period of ludification that contemporary societies are going through, bringing together the work of several artists who adopt the theme and explore new ways of seeing, participating in, and transforming the world, using play in a critical manner.

with:

Aram Bartholl, Bill Viola + Game Innovation Lab, Bobware, Brad Downey, Brent Watanabe, Coletivo Beya Xinã Bena + Guilherme Meneses, David OReilly, Filipe Vilas-Boas, Harum Farocki, Isamu Noguchi, Jaime Lauriano, Joseph DeLappe, Laura Lima + Marcius Galan, Lucas Pope, Mary Flanagan, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Milton Manetas, Molleindustria, Nelson Leirner, Pippin Barr, Priscila Fernandes, Raquel Fukuda + Ricardo Barreto, Samuel Bianchini, Shimabuku, Tale of Tales (Auriea Harvey e Michaël Samyn) e The Pixel Hunt.

Curators: Filipe Pais and Patrícia Gouveia.

 

Safe Mode: Amplified Realities

8. October 2022 – 8. November 2022
Group Show, TILT Platform, The Project Gallery, MISC, BHD Hub Athens, Athens

The current mutated “epidemiological” societies within which we exist reveal that any previous indication we had about the term “safety” is now in limbo. TILT Platform has started exploring and developing the concept “Safe Mode” likening it to the indication safe mode appearing on our computers and smart devices, when they stop functioning properly after a major technical crisis. The process of safe mode emerges as the only possible solution. Comparing this state of technological malfunction to the processes of contemporary life, psychology and human behaviour, the term safe mode acquires an anthropological character.

Participating Artists
Nikos Arvanitis (GR), Aram Bartholl (DE), Browser Based (Zsolt Mesterhazy & Alex Zakkas) (NLD / GR), Sofia Caesar (BR), Paolo Cirio (IT), Manja Ebert (DE), Adrianos Efthymiadis (GR) & Iria Vrettou (GR), For Cancel (Makis Faros, Zoi Pirini, Takis Zerdevas) (GR), Elisa Giardina Papa (IT), Basim Magdy (EGY), Theophanis Melas (GR), Simon Menner (DE), Yorgos Papafigos (GR), Michalis Zacharias (GR), Apostolos Zerdevas (GR)

Curated by
Foteini Vergidou in collaboration with TILT Platform (Makis Faros, Zoi Pirini, Apostolos Zerdevas, Takis Zerdevas)

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Bridging Differences

1. – 30. October 2022
Group Show, T3 Photo Festival Tokyo, Tokio

T3 PHOTO FESTIVAL TOKYO is a photo festival that develops three pillars: (1) photo exhibitions, (2) talks and events, and (3) student projects, with the vision of becoming “an Asian hub for nurturing the next generation of photography culture. After holding its predecessor “Tokyo International Photography Festival” in Jonanjima, Ota-ku, Tokyo in 2015, the first festival was held in Ueno Park in 2017 as Tokyo’s first outdoor international photography festival. From 2020, the Tokyo International Photography Festival will be held as an urban outdoor photography festival using public open spaces in Tokyo Station and the east side area (Yaesu, Nihonbashi, Kyobashi). The festival will take the margins of the city as a medium to challenge new interpretations of urban space and the possibilities of photography by exhibiting works by photographers and developing events that will generate new human interaction.

 

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Blog

Daten am ort (Bits on location) 2001 – Video Tour

November 16, 2020

‘Daten am Ort’ (Bits on location) is a research project and website I made in 2001. How could Internet and data affect communication based on space? With this project I also graduated in architecture at the art school UdK Berlin back then. The whole website is programmed in flash which will be discontinued on all the big browsers for ever at the end of 2020. Therefore I recorded this short video tour of this website.

You are also invited to visit this website itself – http://datenamort.de – it will certainly stay online but it might be more difficult to access the flash content in the future.

Full website, no voice over, with all links and clicks, complete screen capture here.

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Swan Presence

October 23, 2020

A swan obsessed with Obsolete Presence. Picture by Simon Fischer: CC BY 2.0

Seasons of Mediaarts, ZKM Karlsruhe 2020

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“The Pool” – Documentation

October 20, 2020

This is a physical and metaphorical pool.

19. & 20.9.2020

THE POOL
Heybeliada – İstanbul

Curated by Ece Cangüden & Marian Luft

View documentation –> http://thepool.space/the-days-are-just-packed

with/ Accel Arcana, Adrian Altman, Albin Looström, Alessandro Nucci, Alexandra Koumantaki, Ana Castillo, Anastasia Bay, Andrew Rutherdale, Anna Slama & Marek Delong, Anna Walther, Aram Bartholl, Arthur Golyakov, Ben Sang, Berkin Gülten, Bernhard Holaschke, Bob Bickell-Knight, Bora Akıncıtürk, Buğra Erol, Botond Keresztesi, Cem Örgen, Christian Bär, Christian Kölbl, Christian Schellenberger, Clemens Reinecke, Daniel Peder Askeland, Don Elektro, Felix Amerbacher, Felix Thiele, Filippo de Marchi, Florian Birk, František Hanousek, George Jacotey, Naomi Gilon, Hanna Stiegeler, Hugo Laporte, Iain Ball, İlayda Tunca, Ivan Pérard, Jakub Hajek, Jakub Hošek, Jean-Damien Charmoille, Jennifer İpekel, NDRAP Development / Jens Ivar Kjetså, Jeronim Horvat, Jirka Pfahl, Joachim Coucke, Johanna Blank, Johanna Invrea, Julie Maurin, Julien Saudubray, Julius Heinemann, Julius Pristauz, Justin Ortiz, Kaan Ülgener, Karoline Schneider, Katya Quel Elizarova, Kerim Zapsu, Kid Xanthrax, Kıvılcım Güngörün, Korto Bojovic Amar, KOTZ, Leon Leube, Lucia Leuci, Maya Hottarek, Mert Diner, Undergroundflower, Merve İşeri, Michala Paludan, Michèle Pagel, Miguel Martin, Mikkel Carl, Naomi Gilon, Neckar Doll, Nicolas Pelzer, Nik Timková, Omsk Social Club, Oya Kalkavan, Özgür Can Taşcı, Paul Barsch, Paul Bowler, Peggy Pehl, Pınar Marul, Salvador Marino, Sarah Ancelle Schönfeld, Sascha Mikloweit, Selver Yıldırım, Seyhan Musa, Şiir, Sirmon SR, Sophia Oppel, Ștefan Tănase, Steffen Zillig, Stine Deja, Süper Normal, Szilvia Bolla, Thea Mantwill, Tissue Hunter, Ute Richter, Vanya Venmer, Vilte Fuller, Vitaly Bezpalov, Vojtěch Hlaváček, Yein Lee, Zeynep Birced

In the swimming pool of the lost paradise that keeps its former glory alive by the wildness of weeds. We take you in from the lower entrance of the land, which is covered with iron bars. You climb up the ivy tunnel wrapped in rusty iron construction and reach into the realm of that anything and everything is true if you simply believe it to be true!
THE POOL sustains the future, where the dirty, deadly and almost lost one will be reproduced as a magnificent source of life.

THE DAYS ARE JUST PACKED

The physical manifestation of our online beings
As a fluid leaking out of the digital purgatory
We are spreading momentary existences
Ruins from today‘s prophecies
Just as stone tablets
Mutating in reverse

Dear post-social primates
You are the territory
Even if you are far
You can be close

Creations from a Polluted Lagoon: The Pool’s debut show on Heybeliada / Review by Matt Hanson on Exhibist.
https://exhibist.com/creations-from-a-polluted-lagoon-the-pools-debut-show-on-heybeliada/

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Obsolete Presence on Shutterstock

October 2, 2020

I m very pleased to announce that my work Obsolete Presence, currently on view at ZKM Karlsruhe has finally made it to the stock photo website Shutterstock. This is in particular interesting because I’ve been working with watermarked stock photo since a few years now. The circle has finally closed. :))

All pics tagged with Bartholl on Shutterstock here.

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Technology Off Screen

October 1, 2020


Aleksandra Domanovic talking about an original robot arm from Yugoslavia of the 70’s.

Vienna Contemporary

Sunday, 27 September 2020, 1:30-2:30 pm

ArtTech Talk: Technology Off Screen

Artists are increasingly using new techniques and materials that address our relationship to a technological world. Artist Aleksandra Domanovic emerged with work that directly addressed a screen context with her collaborative project vvork.com before establishing a largely sculptural practice that incorporates 3D printing and ideas around the use of technology and biological innovations. Aram Bartholl is a Berlin-based conceptual artist whose work unpicks the digital and the physical in inventive ways.

Speakers:
Aleksandra Domanovic, artist
Aram Bartholl, artist
Moderated by Francesca Gavin, art theorist, curator and writer

 

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Ist für dich – Monopol Bild des Tages

September 30, 2020

–>> https://www.monopol-magazin.de/aram-bartholl-karlsruhe-schlossgartensee

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EC(centri)City—Die exzentrische Stadt

September 30, 2020

Mitschnitt aus der Podiumsdiskussion am 10 SEP 2020 mit Regine Keller, Aram Bartholl, Ludwig Engel und Peter Haimerl in der Akademie der Künste.

AKADEMIE DER KÜNSTE
EC(centri)City—Die exzentrische Stadt
10 SEP 2020
Ganztägiges Filmprogramm ab 12 Uhr, diskursives Programm ab 16 Uhr
urbainable—stadthaltig. Positionen zur europäischen Stadt im 21. Jahrhundert
5 SEP—22 NOV 2020

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SWR2 Interview – Unlock Life

August 26, 2020

 

FOSSILIEN DES SPÄTKAPITALISMUS
Aram Bartholl präsentiert weggeworfene E-Scooter als Kunstwerke

Seit einem guten Jahr sind E-Scooter auf deutschen Straßen zugelassen – seitdem überschwemmen Leihroller unsere Innenstädte. Die einen sehen in ihnen ein hippes Fortbewegungsmittel, die anderen ein Ärgernis. Für den Künstler Aram Bartholl sind sie Material. Er stellt sie als Readymades aus oder baut aus ihnen Skulpturen – zuletzt im Kunstraum Kreuzberg in Berlin. Oliver Kranz hat in dort getroffen.

Die E-Scooter, die Aram Bartholl verwendet, sind mit einer dicken Schlammschicht überzogen. Auf einigen haben sich kleine Muscheln festgesetzt. Bis vor Kurzem lagen sie in einem Berliner Kanal

AB
Man sieht die sehr gut auf dem Grund liegen, wenn man da eine Weile kuckt. Ich habe jetzt fünf Roller und zwei oder drei Räder dort rausgezogen. Das ist schon wie eine Performance für sich selber.

Aram Bartholl hat Fotos der Bergungsaktion ins Internet gestellt. Obwohl die E-Scooter höchstens ein Jahr im Wasser lagen, sehen sie wie antike Artefakte aus.

AB
Ich habe sie einfach so trocknen lassen und als Objets trouvés, als Readymade, ausgestellt in diesem Kunstraum Kreuzberg. Sie haben eine ganz andere Ausstrahlung, hinterfragen auch sehr schön diese ganze Business-Logik…

Aram Bartholl meint die Logik, nach der es sich lohnt, tausende E-Scooter in Innenstädte zu bringen, in der Hoffnung, dass sich die Menschen daran gewöhnen und sie regelmäßig nutzen.

AB
Das Geld ist quasi schon abgeschrieben, wenn diese Objekte angeschafft werden. Die kosten natürlich alle ziemlich viel Geld mit den Batterien und der ganzen Technik, aber es wird sehr sorglos auch von den Firmen damit umgegangen. Und dementsprechend auch von den Menschen in der Stadt, weil sie natürlich ein Ärgernis sind, wenn sie im Weg stehen usw. Und dementsprechend auch Ziel werden von Vandalismus.

Die E-Scooter, die vor einem Jahr noch als Vorboten einer neuen, umweltfreundlichen Mobilität galten, werden heute eher kritisch gesehen. Die Hoffnung, dass viele Menschen vom Auto auf öffentliche Verkehrsmittel umsteigen, weil sie die letzte Meile mit E-Scootern zurücklegen können, hat sich nicht erfüllt. Das ungute Gefühl, dass der knappe öffentliche Raum durch das Aufstellen all der Scooter und Leihfahrräder noch knapper wird, aber bleibt. – Aram Bartholl interessiert sich für die Gefährte auch deshalb, weil sie mit dem Internet verbunden sind. Jede Verleihfirma hat eine App…

AB
Ich beobachte schon lange das Internet und wie sich die Dinge mit dem realen Leben verquicken. … Und heute sind das natürlich alltägliche Themen, die auch in der Politik riesige Auswirkungen haben. Wir haben ja so einen durchgedrehten Präsidenten in den USA, wenn der auf Twitter irgendetwas schreibt, dann gehen die Börsenkurse rauf und runter. Also das Spiel des Digitalen hat sich voll entfaltet, kann man sagen. Die Trennung „das ist analog, das ist digital“ funktioniert nicht mehr, weil alles zusammenhängt.

Bei den E-Scootern, die Aram Bartholl aus dem Kanal gezogen hat, ist die Verbindung zum Internet vermutlich gekappt – aber als Symbol funktionieren sie immer noch. „Fossilien des Spätkapitalismus“ nennt sie der Künstler. Gerade noch lagen sie als Schrott im Wasser, nun sind sie Kunst…

AB
Die werden zu sehen sein auf der Berlin Art Week in der Akademie der Künste. Und dort gibt es eine Diskussion: „Die letzte Meile“, die verschiedene Themen in der Richtung anspricht. … Es gibt auch nächste Woche eine Ausstellung in Kroatien in der Kulturhauptstadt Rijeka. Da werden auch Roller und Fahrräder zu sehen sein.

Denn als schlammbedeckte Fossilien sind die Gefährte sehr beliebt. Aram Bartholl wird noch viele Readymades aus ihnen bauen…

Oliver Kranz über Aram Bartholl, der Skulpturen aus weggeworfenen E-Scootern und Leihfahrrädern baut. Wer nach Rijeka fahren möchte – dort sind sie ab morgen zu sehen. In der Akademie der Künste in Berlin am 10. September…

SWR2 Journal am Morgen
Sendung am: 20.8.2020
Autor: Oliver Kranz

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Fossilien des Spätkapitalismus – Monopol

July 18, 2020

Aram Bartholl has salvaged rental bikes and scooters from the Spree River—and is now exhibiting them as material relics of the platform economy in Berlin

It takes a second to recognise these two-wheeled artefacts for what they really are: electric scooters and cheap rental bikes that are usually scattered around the city, their poisonous colours vying for our attention. The greenish layer of mud and algae coating them gives them the look of historical relics. Currently on view in the Journey into a Living Being exhibition at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, they could almost be objects from a fictional history, treasures recovered from Damien Hirst’s 2017 Wreck of the Unbelievable.

They have, in fact, merely been fished out of the Spree after being thrown in by people in a destructive rage. Perhaps out of frustration with the uncomfortable rickety wheels, or anger at how invasive the electric scooters have become, spreading through the city on a pretext of more environmentally friendly transportation. Artist Aram Bartholl has dredged them up again. In the brightly lit exhibition space, the bikes and scooters, now home to innumerable small crabs and worms, reveal themselves to be material outgrowths of platform capitalism dominated by web providers like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.
Calculated destruction.

The scores of scooter and bicycle suppliers in major international cities are currently faced with tough competition. Damage to the stock, which is treated with so much less care than private possessions, kicked, broken, thrown into rivers and canals, is factored into turnover calculations. The e-scooters in particular, with their resource-intensive lithium-ion batteries, lay bare the fact that sustainable, shared private transport turns out to have been an empty promise. Digital capitalism also produces huge piles of rubbish.

As a post-internet artist, Bartholl explores how the logic of the internet and the new economy is changing consumer behaviour and self-perception, and deconstructing our concept of privacy. Bicycles from companies like Nextbike, Mobike, and Lidl were featured in Bartholl’s 2017 work Your parcel has been delivered (to your neighbour). At that time, he collected them from public areas around the city, stacking them into a huge pile to create a sculpture in the private space of a gallery.

Article in german at ->

https://www.monopol-magazin.de/aram-bartholl-fossilien-des-spaetkapitalismus

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Crossing Property Lines

July 18, 2020

Prof. Agnes Förster and Martin Bangratz from Urban planing RWTH Aachen invited me to their podcast series “Whats Next“. Below their article accompanying the conversation in German. Thx!!

 https://www.planung-neu-denken.de/podcasts/crossing-property-lines/

Crossing Property Lines

The relatively soft lockdown in Germany has forced innovation on many firms and schools, revealing the country’s shortcomings in the area of digital transformation, such as broadband access. While some of Aram Bartholl’s friends in the arts and programming scene notice hardly any difference in their routines, other, less digitalized professions have been hit hard. For Mr. Bartholl himself, teaching online has turned out to be a challenge. But what struck him most was the temporary absence of urban public space as a platform for expression. It feels liberating to see large demonstrations back in the city, both for noble and questionable causes.

Aram Bartholl’s work has dealt with digital space since his thesis in architectural studies in 2001. Back then he started with simple interventions – taking boxes from computer games and placing them in the city. He was looking at games such as first-person shooters, where the knowledge of a virtual space is crucial to the gameplay. And he found himself wondering: what does it mean to place objects from a digital realm into physical space? Do the spaces merge, or do they still belong to separate worlds?

This dualism of what is analogue and what is digital is so intertwined these days, that we are unable to distinguish one from the other. […] Of course, everything that happens there is real, it has an effect on our lives. Aram Bartholl 06/2020

A number of techno-social upheavals of our lifetime have influenced Bartholl’s work, as he observes the permeation of digital technology. The first disillusionment around 2000, when the dotcom bubble burst, the introduction of smartphones in 2007, the rise of global Internet corporations. Aram Bartholl has followed these trends closely and is still astonished by the dynamics of these tools which are so inscribed in our society; a tweet by the American president may cause immediate reactions in the stock market or foreign relations. The effects of technological developments are also becoming increasingly manifest in our cities. An early example were delivery services that visibly affect urban logistics and business closures. More recently, electric scooters and bicycles have turned up in cities worldwide – demanding our attention with a colorful design reminiscent of animated icons back in a web 2.0 era. They are objects that seem to bring the promise of a trendy internet startup into urban space, Silicon Valley Solutionism arriving in cities around the globe. Unsurprisingly, their promise of a shift towards sustainable mobility has yet to occur, as that would require political guidance and many other factors to align.

Urban space has always been a native ground for Bartholl’s work. To him, it is more exciting than the white cube with its preconceived notions and expectations about art. Outside, the audience is random and may start a discourse that would never happen in a controlled artistic environment. To encourage people to think critically about the relationship of private property and public space, Aram Bartholl recently took rental bikes from the street to exhibit them as sculptures in a gallery. Visitors were still free to rent the bikes and take them back outside, but the project challenged people’s notions of ownership, of public and private space. In a follow-up project, Bartholl is fishing algae-covered electric scooters out of Berlin’s channels to display at Kunstraum Kreuzberg, showing once again that their promise of sustainability doesn’t hold water.

We are currently experiencing social media and the internet profoundly as a public space for discussion – in contrast to urban space – even though these platforms are run by private firms, with all the problems this entails. Aram Bartholl 06/2020

Just as private objects start to clog up public space, the digital space we perceive as public space is in fact in the hands of private corporations. Inoffensive mottos and ludic logotypes suggest harmlessness, but these firms are ultimately listed and profit-oriented. This seems problematic considering the history of privatization of other public infrastructures. Europe is hard-pressed to develop independent digital infrastructures.

In 2010, Aram Bartholl began a project that has since turned into a global movement: Dead Drops are flash drives embedded in a wall so that only the USB connector sticks out. Not connected to the internet, they constitute a statement against censorship and about the relationship between our new, digital reality, and the brick and mortar of cities. New Dead Drops still pop up, over 2.500 are currently listed globally [link: deaddrops.com]. Sharing things digitally through concepts such as open source and creative commons has led to unprecedented levels of collective production and consumption of content. Movements such as Fridays For Future or Black Lives Matter would not have been possible without the viral effects of social networks. In another recent example, the German hacker and programming community has pushed the government to adopt an open-source approach to their COVID19 tracking app.

Data should be free, Bartholl agrees, yet he urges us to consider what could happen with our data in the future. If research institutions are using photos found online to train artificial intelligence models that may ultimately be used for military purposes, it raises questions about the merit of uploading billions of images each day. And movements such as the alt-right have been quick to adopt internet and meme culture and learned to improve their own false-flag tactics.

Aram Bartholl continues his investigation of technology and space. Given the current discussion around the removal of outmoded monuments, he tinkers with augmented reality to attach digital artefacts to sculptures. And, referencing the hashtag #natureishealing, he announces that he will be fishing for more discarded bicycles in the river Spree.

Aram Bartholl is a Berlin based concept artist who investigates the relationship between digital and physical space. Since 2019, Bartholl teaches art with a focus on digital media as a professor at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.

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