Launching on International Workers’ Day on May 1, anonymously populated “artist-magnet”/collective HARD-CORE‘s Asahi 4.0 announces itself as a “cloaked initiative” and “curatorial robot” with the celebration of labour at its centre. Rising on rumour and drawing on networks, it’s a project that sounds like a beer brand and follows a bare Apple Store aesthetic, but could mean any number of industries, ideas, art practices of which this long list of Wikipedia entries, named after a Japanese word for ‘morning sun'(朝日, 旭, or あさひ), could potentially point to.
“We try to treat HARD-CORE as an individual character that rather controls us,” the collective once told aqnb about their Close Your Eyes exhibition at Ruimte Caesar in Middleburg last year. With Asahi 4.0 they’re seemingly taking that idea to the next level, where, as well as control the artists that created it, HARD-CORE intends to also control the world.
That’s at least an online art one, as the project is dispersed across some of the most influential social media platforms of the day. There, the Venice Biennale is reduced to a single ‘Giardino Di Algoritmi’ on Twitter (“no more national pavilions”), encourages voting on Facebook (“Left… Right… Asahi just goes random”) and gives us a ‘Gas Sensor MQ3’ on Instagram (“What does gas have to do with exhibition making?”).
Perhaps best at explaining the thrust of the white blank box of the Asahi 4.0 countdown is the fairly detailed, though equally obtuse, press release that follows:
“No other places than those where we work have been subject to the rigorous changes over the last centuries; from steam engine (1.0) to electrical energy (2.0) to IT (3.0) to Cyber Physical Systems (4.0). This latest Industry 4.0 is currently being developed focusing on the production and incorporation of Autonomous Machines and Virtual Environments within the cycle of industrial production, ultimately leading to a Smart Factory.
Key design concepts of Industry 4.0 are Interoperability, Virtualization, Decentralization, Real-Time Capability, Service Orientation and Modularity. Confronted with this skeleton construct of the future we, at HARD-CORE, could only think of how these concepts are already applied within our ways of working. Even though we operate on a seemingly counterproductive organ called ‘art’ we find ourselves affiliate with the notion of Industry 4.0, and wonder if we could even speak of an Art 4.0.
It might seem far-fetched, yet we do see opportunity and potential for a 4.0-isation of artistic production in the sense of its shift toward a service-oriented practice, integrated with the latest available technologies. The goal is not to force anyone under a 4.0 model against their will but to think of a device on which we, as artists, can rely and experiment with. Coincidentally we have been working in the past years on a curatorial robotic device that is currently arriving at its latest successor named: Asahi 4.0.
Asahi 4.0 is still in a phase of development, but the release date is getting closer and closer.” **
Project photos, top right.