© Artists, Aram Art Museum & Diskurs Berlin
SHOW ME YOUR SELFIE
Aram Art Museum, Korea 아람미술관
17.07 - 6.10.2019
Candice Breitz 캔디스 브라이츠
Yeondoo Jung 정연두
David Krippendorff 데이비드 크리펜도르프
Hyungkoo Lee 이형구 (only in Korea)
Warren Neidich 워렌 네이디치
Nina E. Schönefeld 니나 E. 숀네펠드
Young-jun Tak 탁영준
Li Zhenhua 리전화
Friday 19 July 4 pm
Moderator Alex Taek-Gwang Lee 이택광
Hee Young Kim 김희영
Warren Neidich 워렌 네이디치
Won Jung Shin 신원정
Marcus Steinweg 마쿠스 슈타인벡
Li Zhenhua 리전화
SHOW ME YOUR SELFIE
Jung Me Chai
What if we ourselves are aliens? The Latin word ‘alienus’ means belonging to another, and here ‘another’ is defined as someone or something else that is set in a state of uncertainty. In the act of producing a self-portrait, most prolifically nowadays through the medium of a selfie, we transfer ourselves onto another subject that does not exist in physical reality. We become trapped in a space of our virtual reality and its social networks that are based on self-generated delusion and fantasy. We are becoming alien to ourselves.
Taking selfies embodies the principles of self-copulation with mobile devices in order to reconstruct an illusionary projection of the self into a new space. This kind of identity is now more than alive without ever being quite alive. Everyone has a past, a present, and a future, but not in the world of Instagram and other social media. Time vanishes in the era of digital immortality. Smartphones and other devices store all our biometric and behavioral data without any conception of the passage of time. Therefore, Google, Kindle, Amazon, etc. know more about you than you do. The perception of our identities often moves beyond who we really are today under the guise of a digital-immortal-being. How do we want to present ourselves and preserve ourselves. Yet there is no unique configuration of the self in the virtual social network realm, but only the phantom of the subject. In this context, a subject can only mime existence, while in reality, it is a being that has been detached from its body and exists in a new, not-quite-real, yet hyper-real space.
The project SHOW ME YOUR SELFIE uses philosophical frameworks to investigate the subjectivities of identity and aims to uncover the unreality of digital environments and the conceptions of self that they create.
From metaphysical thinking about the self to concrete: black or white, middle or working class, speaks Xhosa or English, man or woman. Candice Bretiz collaborates with 10 fellow artists in the video work PROFILE. Each artist begins with the sentence „My name is Candice Breitz“, taking on her identity. The work then delves into the race, family background, age and sexual orientation of the participating artists which are all totally different. These differences manifest in an individual’s intentions and identity politics. These manifestations are not straight forward and require sensitivity. Bretiz disturbs any fixed notion of subjectivity, so much so that you may not immediately recognize what you are. PROFILE was commissioned by the South African Pavilion on the occasion of the 57th edition of Venice Biennale.
Most of the industrial countries have encountered the problem of illegal immigration and have encountered fears that immigrants will harm their well-fare and come up with racial and mono-cultural ideology. Far East Asia, which has achieved rapid economic growth, seems to be no exception to this change. Ms. Moon was smuggled into Hong Kong at the age of 23 in 1958 and since then she has been working as a skilled worker in a textile factory and has been doing embroidery in written Chines character for almost 60 years. In the double-channel video piece, young women at the age of 23, as old as Ms. Moon was when she migrated, and as small as the old lady, Ms. Moon now, talk about their lives in the form of dialog. It does not seem that they share a specific resemblance in their lives. But as the dialog goes on, A GIRL IN TALL SHOES shows homogeneity and heterogeneity are connected: by division, by sharing the present, the space and avoiding the simple interpretation of diaspora and individual narrative.
The line by the Egyptian poet Abu Tammam „Neither you are you, nor home is home“ is perhaps the key to the short film Nothing Escapes My Eyes. The heroine of the film takes off her clothes and makeup in a theatre dressing room. Her watery eyes indicate the process of loss and transformation of identity. The film refers to Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida, which is regarded as a symbol of struggles with loyalty versus love, set in the old kingdom of Egypt. Nothing Escapes My Eyes not only evokes loyalty and conflict, it also questions the loss of cultural identity and transformation of time and space.
One of the Hindu goddesses, Kali, is known as „a goddess for a force of time“ and also is regarded as a Dark Goddess. David Krippendorff’s KALI is perhaps not a Goddess but she is dark, violent and destructive. However, her destructive energy is difficult to define. In fact, her bitter disposition has been linked to injustice and oppression. KALI is also inspired by Nina Simone’s rendition of „Pirate Jenny“, about a lowly maid dreaming of revenge, originally from „The Threepenny Opera“ by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. In the piece, the monolog of Kali is a rewritten version of the song.
The concept of three-dimensional space has three axes which are usually labeled x, y, and z. When you have coordinates for x, y, and z you can locate a point in three-dimensional space which is known as a dimension. This is the starting point for forming lines, planes, and objects. Hyungkoo Lee´s X reminds me of something decomposed and uncertain in a three-dimensional structure. Lee’s X explores objects in this space, how we as subjects act and interact in this three-dimensional world and asking questions about existential reality.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is a spy agency to monitor Americans and foreigners residing in the United States and living abroad. It is nothing new that NSA routinely monitors the phone calls of world leaders and politicians. Nowadays programs are able to collect, track and analyze data related to the lives of any of us, such as individual activities, locations, and messages. Not only does Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc. collect information on us, which can be easily hacked by the NSA, but we readily supply them with our personal details. The Big Data, which has become a symbol of efficiency and public confidence in recent years, is being used to provide information without any objection. The problem is that Big Data platforms do not know much about providing information for anyone, managing data and adjusting the amount of information they are issuing. It has created an illusion that it can predict the modern society in quantitative terms but does not know how the data its collecting is being used to change that course. Warren Neidich The Search Drive: A Hackography takes a critical stance towards data collection and surveillance, looking at it in the context of the brain and neuropsychology.
Human impact on the environment is found to be broader than had been expected. The burning of fossil fuels, the accumulation of plastic and deforestation have triggered climate change, soil erosion, and air pollution. It is not only environmental activists trying to create change; artists are addressing the environmental issues to generate awareness. Nina E. Schönefeld has consistently addressed environmental issues, structural changes in society, and perceptual changes in the power structure. In her science fiction film trilogy, Dark Waters, Snow Fox, and L.E.O.P.A.R.T, the viewer is caught up in a new epoch of the earth. In her films, people suddenly disappeared under mysterious circumstances, often those frustrated by the totalitarian system. The planet Earth is confronted with the biggest environmental problems such as radioactive fallout from nuclear bomb tests and the sea is full of poisonous jellyfish. Nina E. Schönefeld questions „Is this the world we want to live in?“ in this three-part series, and the question itself implies the answer and that it is not too late for ideas to change the world.
The nickel-plated „UNTITLED (A SCATTERED PAST)” by Young-jun Tak may remind us of Untitled (Placebo) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, where candies wrapped in silver cellophane were placed on the museum floor for the visitors to take. Both Tak´s and Gonzalez-Torres’s Untitled are made up of shiny uniform pieces. Tak´s consists of 1242 pieces of metal fragments of a Hyundai car, but cannot be taken away or consumed. The vehicle frame of a former Hyundai car has been transformed into the hard and shiny remains that reflect like mirrors the space and time of now. The social desire and consensus of economic growth of Hyundai have been obliterated amidst the reality of being fragmentized and distorted.
Unknown Body seems to show the possibility of being and at the same time its deformation, via the constructed form and time-based media. The blue woodwork structure of Unknown Body has been built in the shape of a L which is the first letter of the artist’s name, Li Zhenhua. In the video a sexless adult wears a mask and moves around in a high ceiling space as if it is a dancer that it seems, does not know how to move. Sometimes it hides, sometimes it looks for something, all the while seemingly disconnected from the world. One side of the L structure is full of white eggs in transparent plastic boxes. In German, "eggs" are a symbol for testicles that produce and store sperm. The viewer encounters the “notion of the very beginning(eggs)” and from there, their eyes and mind start abstracting to a being that it is not known.
In cooperation with Aram Art Gallery, The Goyang Cultural Foundation, Korea