East Contemporary

Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien: transmediale 2024 “this is perfect, perfect, perfect”

Berlin, January 31 – April 14, 2024, https://transmediale.de, https://kunstraumkreuzberg.de

The exhibition accompanying transmediale 2024. I don’t want to write about all the artworks, but overall it was definitely worthy to see. Within the context of transmediale, the exhibition most closely embodied this years theme dealing with the “horror of content”, i.e. the fading boundaries between the user as a consumer of digital content and the user as digital content. There was a lot of questioning going on. Of course some of the works resorted to a questioning by replication, which is a kind of very simple questioning, which is, however very common in the art world, at least since pop art.

My favorite one was Laura Lulika’s “Auto-Haunt”, which addressed the collapsing healthcare system and the failed promise of AI to save it even before it was fully introduced. The over-administration and automation of the healthcare sector makes even the remaining human actors (physicians, nurses) behave like emotionless robots. Patients become mere objects onto which treatments are applied in order to charge them to the health insurance company. A multi-sensory and multi-media installation, nevertheless still very rooted in material. It almost felt like a setting for a voodoo ceremony.

Following are a couple of shots of almost all the artworks in the show. Most of the artworks had one separate space reserved for them, except Bartholl’s friendly reminder greeting visitors in the entrance to the show. It was reminding of the energy consumption caused by online activity… ? I think that is was the description said. I did not scan the code.

Aram Bartholl “Friendly reminder”

3D scans of “frozen” people, camera riding through them. The dialogues in the soundtrack were reconstructed from twitter messages people posted as a reaction to the fire of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

Alice Brygo “Le mal des ardents”

A car windshield pierced by three arrows and a video of… not that sure. Something about violence?

Luke van Gelderen “Hardcore fencing”

Documentation of a performance… protesters with empty “green screen” banners. Referencing the practice of “astroturfing”, i.e. hiring random people to stage a fake protest.

Installation and video looked aesthetically great, but the inside screening room was too small and too crowded. (There was a big double bed in the room). The theatrical staging and weirdness of action reminded me of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster.

Fake documentary of a fake airline. Comfortable bean bags and not too long video. Sightly funny too. Kind of joke on how to be a successful marketing expert.

Sungsil Ryu “Big King Airlines New Engine Fundraising Drive”

A life-sized “guru” walking along the edge of the room (a projection), giving out life-improvement advice. Very good production. I felt really addressed. “Hey you, average person.” 🙂

Ndaye Kouagou “The Guru”

I had some context to the following work from Tafeche’s lecture-performance (together with Alex Quicho) on Thursday. There were some interesting elements to the installation, like the carpet or the posters, but center piece computer… it felt a bit old school. It was one of those works that proclaim to criticize by more or less replicating. Replicating a kawaii gamer set up in the gallery… hm. Maybe it was also slightly disappointing because it simply replicated the point I already heard in the lecture-performance.

One of the standard “new media art” setups these days. Different sizes of screens, partially covered up by 2D shapes cut out from Dibond and covered by color print. The content was something about the stereotypical role assigned to women in movies. A critique by replication, hm…

Maria Guta & Lauren Huret “Heads for business and bodies for sin”

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