Is this you in the video?

6. – 26. April 2018
La Chaufferie, H.E.A.R., Strasbourg, France

While Facebook apologizes to the world from high up on its mountain of data, 1.4 billion user passwords party naked on the Internet. Research has shown that the ’123456′ is used for 17% of all passwords. There is so much free WiFi in the air to catch you, it is almost impossible to get online. But there is coffee, so you stay for the deep pocket packet inspection of your traffic.

Is this you in the video? Don’t click the link I sent you!

Like the pigeons’ best friend, CCTV cams squat in every high corner of the city protecting us from the future. Will they fall off or be released from their stoical non-presence? A total of 750 info screens have been removed from the still closed / never opened BER airport in Berlin because the technology is outdated. The screens had been running for six years straight without anybody ever having looked at them.

Yes, I saw this already.

Please place all your bags on the left tray. Mirrored self-checkout in an uberficial life without cueing is on autoplay. 24 likes. Thank you for being our customer today.

Aram Bartholl, 2018

Your parcel has been delivered (to your neighbour)

20. – 29. January 2018

‘Your parcel has been delivered (to your neighbour)’ is a performance and ongoing installation that involves rental bikes being retrieved from public space and placed in the private gallery space. Rental bikes in public usually fall over at some point, or get kicked over by pranksters. Nobody cares. All rental bikes collected are laid out—their quasi-natural status—on the floor of the gallery. A PTZ (pan tilt and zoom) CCTV dome camera, typical for surveillance in public, auto-tracks and records the process. Visitors are invited to become a temporary owner of one of the bikes by renting it.

In recent years, Internet startup market logic has reached far beyond classic online markets. More and more ‘IRL’ economies are being affected by the ‘disruptive’ force of the new business model from California. With the efficiency of networked software, low-wage outsourced labor, and data delivering customers the only goal is growth. The startup doesn’t need to be profitable. In fact, one of the golden rules is not to make a profit, not to pay tax, and to be much cheaper and smarter than everyone else until competitors go bankrupt.

In the beginning, this ‘game’ was played solely within data-based information business. Google and Facebook led the way and showed us how to make money from user data while giving away products for free. Today, we are witness to slow changes in the cityscape. Streets have been crowded with delivery vans for years. Delivery businesses boomed in the wake of ever-increasing online shopping. Order anything! They’ll deliver it to your neighbour immediately. Instant rental cars, gamified Pokemon crowds, and bicycle food delivery armies followed. Very recently, Berlin’s public space has become crowded with at least 20 different brands of rental bikes. New startups, local and international. All of them have the same old idea: “Rent a bicycle where ever you are!” All of them burn a lot of VC (venture capital) money and bikes increase to possibly become the monopoly in this field.

Public space is increasingly inhabited by advertising and corporate models. The colorful bikes scattered all over the city are a very visible sign of the uberfication of private life and commercialization of public space.

Aram Bartholl, 2018


Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017

10. June – 1. October 2017
LWL, Münster, Germany

3 V
site specific installation · aluminium, acrylic glass, thermoelectric generator, electronics, LEDs, tea candles, steel chain

An otherwise closed pedestrian tunnel leading to Münster Palace is open to the public during Skulptur Projekte. Five candle-powered LED chandeliers light up the dark concrete tunnel. Each chandelier consists of ten LED tea-candle reading lamps mounted on an aluminum ring. With the help of the thermoelectric effect, the heat of the candles is converted directly into 3V electricity to power the LED lamps. The bright and cold LED light contrasts with the warm flicker of classic candlelight. Twice a day (every five hours), a guard replaces the melted candles. 3V is one of three works which were commissioned and produced by Skulptur Projekte Münster. Each of these different site-specific works incorporates thermoelectric technology.

5 V
site specific installation · campfire, wood, steel, thermoelectric generator, cables, electronics

Skulptur Projekte visitors are invited to charge their phones over a campfire at the Pumpenhaus Münster. In the tradition of stick bread making (Germany) and cooking sausages over the flames, custom-made charger sticks produce 5V electricity
with the help of the thermoelectric effect of the heat of the fire—enough to charge the average smartphone. As long as the thermo generator attached to the end of the stick is exposed to the flames, it generates power. Phones can be plugged into the sticks via a multi-plug charging cable. Visitors gather around the warmth of the fire, charge their phones, and have a chat. 5V is one of three works which were commissioned and produced by Skulptur Projekte Münster.

12 V
site specific installation · router, camping stove, thermoelectric generator, cable, electronics, software, database

A standard home router hangs parasitically right next to commercial mobile phone antennas on the Münster TV tower. Vistors are invited to connect to this router with their phones. The router serves no Internet connectinon but offers a large database of PDF tutorials on ‘How to live an offline life’. A thermo generator sitting on a small camping stove nearby provides 12-volt electricity to power the router, which is connected via a 70-meter long orange cable. While Deutsche Telekom maintains one of its three large data centers right next to the TV tower, the site-specific installation 12V is totally independent of power lines or Internet connection. Users can download and also upload files. Connections cannot be traced or monitored by third parties on the Internet. The tower, a retro-looking building for long-range TV broadcasts before the Internet, becomes a historic sculpture in itself.


Remind Me Later

8. July – 28. September 2016
Kunstverein Arnsberg, Arnsberg, Germany

Perhaps you are reading this text on your mobile device?.

Do you have your phone under control or does it have a grip on you in its grip?

The consequences of technological developments on our social lives and relationships is a central theme in the work of Aram Bartholl.

In the current exhibition, Bartholl looks into the digital everyday live. ‘Remind me later’ is a very well known term for us instantly recognisable to us as users. As a form of reflex and self-defence against the constant stream of new automatic updates, we immediately the click tap othe ‘Remind me later’ button has become a habitual immediate reaction.

Digitalisation can undoubtedly connect us, but can also produce alienation. Meet with friends? Spend time outdoors in nature? Remind me later. Often, the mobile phone is more captivating of attention than the person sitting opposite. The limitless possibilities of communication have more to offer than real life? Really?

Aram Bartholl investigates the social side effects of digitalisation, and examines their influence on our analogue lives. In doing so, his work often incorporates outdoor space and blends perceptions of the real and the virtual. His work in Arnsberg continues in this vein, with humour and great sensitivity.

Aram Bartholl was born in Bremen in 1972 and lives in Berlin. He is guest professor at the Kunstakademie in Kassel and at UCLA in Los Angeles.


Dead Drops at Palais de Tokyo

24. June – 23. September 2015

Four Dead Drops are installed in different places of the museum. Visitors are invited to bring a laptop to connect to them.

“From the very beginning, I always encouraged people to leave their art on there. Especially for the MoMA dead drops, I made this blog post like, ‘If you want to be able to claim you had art in the MoMA, you can just go now and put something on there’.” Aram Bartholl
Dead Drops is a participative project started in 2010 by German multi-media artist Aram Bartholl. A dead drop or dead letter box is a term from the field of espionage and designates a method used to transmit information or items at a secret location. This anonymous peer to peer file-sharing network is based on USB keys cemented into a wall or other support in public space. The GPS coordinates of the site are then posted on the Dead Drops website. Each dead drop is installed empty except for a simple text file explaining the project. Users are invited to share documents, pics, digital works, films or whatever suits their fancy. A  computer with a USB port is the only thing needed to connect to the not interconnected network. After having installed and referenced the first five dead drops in New York and on the web, Bartholl’s project unexpectedly took off, spreading internationally. As of May 2015, over 1520 Dead Drops had been submitted to deaddrops.com. Aside from its crazy concept, the project tries to rematerialise the dematerialised world of computers. Following the revelations by Edward Snowden, at a time when clouds and the debate on internet censorship and privacy have become hot topics, this project is now more then ever front and center on the political stage.
Born in Germany in 1972, Bartholl focuses on interrelations between the digital world and our physical surroundings. He obtained his degree in architecture from the University of arts in Berlin, where he lives and works. His artistic work has been shown in numerous festivals and exhibitions in museums and galleries. In 2011, five Dead Drops were part of the “Talk to me” exhibition at the MoMA in New York and a new facet of the project saw the day in 2013 with the installation of a DVD Dead Drop at Museum of the Moving Image in New York as well. Palais de Tokyo is the first French institution to welcome Dead Drops.

Cited from “Somewhere between Cyber and Real: An interview with Aram Bartholl”, by Jillian Steinhauer, 2012, http://hyperallergic.com

Point Of View

20. February – 10. April 2015
Babycastles, New York

‘Point Of View’ questions the current paradigm shift of perspective. What is the role of the hand held screen framing our everyday life? How has gaming shaped the representation of our digital self?

Over the past 100 years the screen has moved constantly closer to our eyes. Most people today spend significantly more time looking at smart-phone screens than at computer screens or TVs (not to mention the cinema screen Games have been an important driving motor for the development of digital culture in the past four decades. The first person view popularized by early computer games like Doom and Duke Nukem has now entered the  real world with the growing popularity of head-mounted cameras. GoPro and Google Glass users generate a constant stream of pictures with their hands in view like a digital avatar. A whole range of digital glasses are poised to enter the market. The Oculus Rift promises the classic idea of cyberspace an immersive reality, while people in public extend their body with a selfie stick. Is the view leaving our body now? Will the picture frame finally disappear?

Let’s enjoy the last years of looking at each others screens in public transportation or over the shoulder in Let’s Play gaming videos. The point of view is changing.

Aram Bartholl 2015

Workshop on opening night: Build your own POV head band for your phone!