The exhibition is an attempt to represent ‘a democratic, transparent and conscious present’ rather than through a nostalgic lens of an artists’ pre-success being one of naive, less formed or mature practice. Focusing on “the important period of transitioning from being an aspiring artist to fitting into the forces of the art market and its systems,” the show will bring together a number of disciplines and media, as well as an accompanying online interview series with the artists.
A series of exhibitions, performances and workshops intervened in the public plaza of Mehringplatz, as well as in neighboring shops. The title takes its reference from a work by Raqs Media Collective as a term to express both “feelings of joy as well as insecurity.”**
The press release for the show begins with a quote by Rezaire, “The Internet is exploitative, exclusionary, classist, patriarchal, racist, homophobic, transphobic, fatphobic, coercive and manipulative. We need to
decolonise and heal our technologies. Healing is resistance.” The installation, which explores a ‘digital healing activism’, is framed within the realities of online violence, but seeks to decolonise technology and envision a way to re-connect with our bodies.
The French born Guyanese/Danish and Johannesburg-based artist is a self-described “intersectional preacher” and “health practitioner” who explores health, technology, sexuality and spirituality through the lens of decolonization, working to dismantle the “pervasive matrix” of white supremacy and its effect on identity.**
The title alludes to the identity of the flâneur, a term coined by Baudelaire that refererd to “a roving soul in search of a body” and situates “a spotlight on the privileged white body that Baudelaire’s ‘roving soul’ has historically inhabited. Here, the panel asks: what can the Internet do for the black flâneur?”
Using found footage, mash-ups, datamoshing and other re-used methods, the exhibition includes a selection of video art and experimental film, installations and documentary essays that question the materiality of the image within proliferation.
The BRONDE. It’s not blonde. It’s not brunette. It’s somewhere (really pretty) in between group exhibition was on in Milan on the ground floor of a beauty Salon called Orea Malià,running February 11 to March 3, 2016. Curated by UTTER Collective, the show featured works by Ann Hirsch, Molly Soda and Tabita Rezaire. It is the first project supported by Fiori; a soon to be launched platform that seeks to create occasions of dialogue and confrontation between art, research and activism.
Analysing the social and political implications that new technologies have on gender, representation and mass culture, the exhibition guided the viewer through a journey by sharing common aesthetics and sensitivities.
Using Tablets and TV screens, the group of young artists reflected on the possibilities of equal representation of minorities and marginalised groups and interrogated the way digital infrastructures alter the organisation and perception of human relationships.**
Last Friday, on March 4, aqnb editor Jean Kay, and Video in Common (ViC) founder Caroline Heron visited Berlin’s Import Projects to present a screening and short discussion with the title, ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’ —inspired by the William Gibson interview quote from an article in The Economist.
As harbinger to an ongoing collaboration with Import, we shared some of the inspiration behind our ongoing video editorial partnership, available to view at the ViC YouTube account, with a selection of films that also address the theme.
At a time when it is becoming increasingly apparent that the global and democratising potential of the internet has been and continues to be restricted by surveillance, commercialisation and imperial neglect, the aim of the ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’ screening was to explore its implications on art and artists on a political and economic, social and personal level. Where Rezaire advocates for challenging the visual aesthetics of exploitative structures and narratives of a western-centric internet via projects like WikiAfrica in her ‘AFRO CYBER RESISTANCE’ video essay, Schmoetzer presents the insipid effects of branding and corporatisation on mediated experience in ‘Preliminary Material for 2022’. And while Al Qadiri questions the construction of narrative fictions throughout history up to the newly established “heritage of oil” in the Gulf and its alliances with a largely English-based web and economic culture, Warwick explores an imaged reality through Google Maps renderings of the Californian landscape that teems with a history that’s couched in “dotcom neoliberalism”.
The conversation to follow touched on some of these themes, as well as the multi-dimensional nature of so-called ‘internet culture’ and the necessity for open discourse and communication across platforms —online, offline, and beyond.
Below are the full videos and excerpts of the films screened in their running order:
London-based Lithuanian artist Ulijona Odišarija presents a half-hour mix of music across media distribution platforms to produce an unsettling mash-up of mainstream popular culture, tourist videos and self-made social media celebrities to express a fragmented worldview through the ‘eyes’ of the web host.
Monira Al Qadiri: ‘Portraits of the End of the World’ (2015). [7:46min].
Amsterdam-via-Japan-and-Beirut-based Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri explores history as construction in a contemporary milieu of global capital and linguistic imperialism. In an age of networked communication, driven by the internet, the role of the English language and corporate branding becomes central to economic development and rapid cultural change in regions like the Gulf.
Johannesburg-based, French-Guyanese-Danish artist Tabita Rezaire explores the social, cultural and political context of online and networked art hegemony as one replicating ongoing colonial interests and othering of African narratives. Using Wiki Africa as a starting point, she presents an argument for a critical awareness of the world wide web as one controlled by exploitative western concerns and a need for digital resistance.
Steven Warwick: ‘A Postcard from LA‘ (2015). [7:23 min].
In this part anecdote, part observation video piece, Berlin-based British artist Steven Warwick (aka Heatsick) relays his experience of Los Angeles and its surrounds while on residency at German-US exchange programme Villa Aurora in 2015. Here he takes the viewer on a tour of the Californian region via Google Maps and muses on the self-actualisation narratives and neoliberal ideology that dominate its Silicon Valley tech culture.
Maximilian Schmoetzer, ‘Preliminary Material for 2022’ (2015). [9:17min].
Berlin-based German artist Maximilian Schmoetzer presents the dominant narrative of capitalism and corporate culture through a visually striking video where the empty absurdity of branded content, advertising taglines and entertainment tropes threaten to engulf human experience and potentially destroy its very existence.
J.G. Biberkopf performance at Sonic Acts 2016. [2:00 min, excerpt]. Courtesy Sonic Acts, Amsterdam.
Vilnius-based Lithuanian artist J.G. Biberkopf interrogates the images and technologies of the so-called Anthropocene era through live A/V performance. His work defines the mediated human experience through conceptual interpretations of speculative ecologies, hyperformalism and new materialism in a world of online information.
Hannah Black, ‘Fall of Communism’ (2014). 5:23 min. ‘All My Love All My Love’ (2015). 6:34 min.
Berlin-based British artist-writer Hannah Black explores what Rhizome describes as “the conditioning of bodies, or the condition of being bodied”. Her two video works tell of the tension between the interior and exterior self through text and moving image, where theory and autobiography, intimacy and commodity, desire and identity become conflated.