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
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.
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.
Nam June Paik
Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion
Dries de Poorter
Jeroen Van Loon
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
“Die Zukunft ist eckig: Der “Cybertruck” von Tesla (oben) und Aram Bartholls Installation/Performance “WannaCry (Weeping Angels)” 2017 im Hyperpavilion in den Arsenale der Venedig-Biennale.” 24.11.2019
Curated by Philippe Riss
Produced by Fabulous Pictures
Opening: May 11, 2017, 12:00-3:00 pm
Exhitbtion dates: May 12 – Ocotber 30, 2017
Torsten Oetken & Christian Buchmayr
The German government is working on a new law to empower immigration offices in extraordinary ways. Asylum seekers without a passport who make their applications in Germany will be required to hand over all of their data. Immigration centers are being equipped with new forensic hardware and software to make complete copies of smart phones and other devices. Forcing immigrants to show their social media profiles is a strikingly efficient way to obtain proof of identity. A Facebook profile is seen as much harder to fake or lose than a passport. When the meta data on your Instagram pictures shows you’ve spent years in Libya, it may be hard to argue that you are actually a citizen of Syria. The difference is that asylum applications from Libya are not accepted. It is supposed to be a “safe country.”
The very basics of human rights and privacy rights don’t apply here any more. We now live in a world in which your social media profile is becoming more important than a passport. What will happen if you don’t have a Facebook account at all, or not even a smart phone?
What asylum seekers will soon have to endure in Germany is already, in a softer form, being implemented for everyone traveling to the Unites States and other countries. The border search exception empowers customs and border protection agents to search any electronic device. Increasingly, customs officers are asking travelers to show their social media profiles, passwords and to unlock their phones. In the future this process could be, very plausibly, automated at the entry-points and borders of many countries.
Social media is the perfect tool for commercial data mining and user tracking for marketing companies. And it also perfectly serves a governmental total control scenario, which is not some far-off, futuristic idea but a reality that is unfolding right now.
WannaCry (Weeping Angels) at Hyperpavilion, Venice
The installation/performance WannaCry (Weeping Angels) plays out on an 8×14 meter carpet printed with logos of more than 3000 internet marketing and user tracking companies. On the carpet, a mirror-covered, disguised, anti-riot police tank is parked. Specially-equipped security guards holding mirrored shields patrol the exhibition space and ask the visitors for their smart phone and social media profile.
“Is your phone ok? Does you Facebook still work? This is just a security measure for your safety. We had some attacks around here and just want to make sure your device is ok. … All good, thank you. Please don’t turn it off! This will help us to track any suspicious activities.”
With conversations like this, the guards cover up the fact that they are actually checking visitors’ phones (in the sense of the performance only; no data is collected). Barcodes are stuck on visitors’ phones, which are then scanned by the special unit officer. Visitors are left unsettled and wondering whether the encounter was real or part of the installation. In the context of the heavily patrolled Venice Biennale and the presence of actual armed soldiers in the Giardini, this performance works very well. The guards are present every weekend for the whole show until the end of October, 2017.
This new installation/performance produced for the Hyperpavilion Venice was inaugurated on May 11th 2017 just one day before the break out of the ransomeware virus WannaCry which led to widespread computer failures across the world. Such an uncanny correlation left me little choice but to rename the piece (formerly: Weeping Angels) with the name of the virus.
WannaCry (Weeping Angels) evokes a dark age that we are on the cusp of entering: ever-increasing surveillance, terror attack fear and cyber-war panic on a daily basis. While we chill on our fluffy carpet at home thousands of companies retrieve and process our personal data. Increasingly military-like police control the cities while government intelligence collects massive amounts of data unnoticed every day. Is it 1984 yet?