Please Let Me Die Already
Opening October 14th 17.00
Joakim Almroth (SE)
Erdal Bicili (TR)
Eva Zar (AT)
Peter Phobia (AT)
Yannick Val Gesto (BE)
Joachim Beens (NL)
Graeme Arnfield (UK)
Magnus Humle (NO)
Curated by Arash Shahali and Laurence Scherz
In this exhibition the merger between humans and social technology is explored as a means to achieve eternal life on the digital plane.
Traditionally, humans have always pictured themselves at the center of things, with technology being the Other.
Our brainchild, that both inspires us and fills us with fear and anguish.
However, in this age of hyperconnectivity, where the digital pervades almost every aspect of our lives, is it really viable to oppose the human and the technological?
Wouldn’t one rather look at humans as entities that are intricately enmeshed with technological enhancements; hybrid creatures with both biological and digital traits?
How ‘virtual’ is the reality of the online sphere, if it is experienced with the same level of intensity and sincerity as our irl-interactions?
Considering that our digital representations are integral parts of our humanity, what happens when our biological substrate is taken out of the equation?
Perhaps our physical passing no longer needs to entail the end of our existence.
Maybe digital technology is our key to eternal life, our philosopher’s stone 2.0, allowing us to roam the vast lands of cyberspace endlessly.
We all have those deceased Facebook-friends who keep popping up in our feed, haunting our online interactions with their ghostly presence, posing the question whether or not it is possible to be forgotten in this hyperconnected world?
And through this everlasting remembrance, is it possible to actually die or is our afterlife eternally secured by means of a stable wifi-connection?
The curators are interested in seeing how artists tackle these existencial themes, how they view these techno- spiritual humanoid hybrids and their defiance of death.
Heaven and the afterlife have been a popular motive throughout the history of art, and we look forward to see how this next chapter in (trans-)human evolution is interpreted by contemporary artists, both conceptually and aesthetically.
14 October – 16 October 2016
Please Let Me Die Already
Guest curated by Arash Shahali and Laurence Scherz
Eva Zar, Shy but not Shy
Staging ourselves on a daily basis on social media has become normal. We create the personalities we want to be. We curate pictures and videos of everyday moments that are not accurate to the reality of our daily routine. Every picture, every video, every caption has to be as perfect – a virtual oil painting. Our social media accounts have become our personal exhibition space—we are the artists, the curators, the technicians. We are the lights, the frames, the captions. In a time that we are told we’re never alone, we tend to believe that privacy vanishes from post to post. The intimacy of taking pictures of intimate moments disappears because we’re so focused on taking a picture for our audience and their reactions—hearts, likes, comments— that there is no space for natural, real life, raw moments.
Peter Phobia, 41 Mutual Friends
In his piece 41 Mutual Friends Peter Phobia talks about social media and its possibility
to gather information about other people online. The fact that social technology enables
you to get to know an initially unknown person has become almost natural and doesn’t get questioned a lot anymore in the 21st century. Based on personal experience, the artist explores those relations to people you ŕ e connected to in social media but not in person and poses the question how this can affect you in real life. 41 Mutual Friends is a tribute to a social media friend Phobia never met in person. A woman who committed suicide but still lives on in his social network.
Graeme Arnfield, Sitting in Darkness
Out of the darkness a sound emerges. It echoes and drones. Terrified people take to the streets in search of its source. They get their cameras out and document the sky, searching for an author. We watch on, sitting in darkness, our muscles contract and our pupils dilate.“I hope the camera picks this up.” Sitting in Darkness explores the circulation, spectatorship and undeclared politics of contemporary images.
Joakim Almroth, Ha-Life of No < Body
Almroth presents a type of bendable matrix by motoric gesture, much like a bee’s programmed spitting of dead wood, or the work of a printer, to nest and consider instinct in our technological zeitgeist. During a time where we live half lives, divided by actual (or simulated) flesh and the coded image of the like, he speculates about the yearning of Alan Turing’s quest to hack, encapsulate and render consciousness immortal while also bearing serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in mind.
Magnus Humle, Hood Ornaments
Magnus Humble created this sound piece especially for the exhibition: it will only be performed once during the opening night on Thursday 14th October. Hood Ornaments deals with questions such as death, love and personal censorship. The music that we dive in to, literally, is like a wormhole of first impressions, mixed with pop songs that are forgotten through time.
Joachim Beens, An abridged history of western ecclesiastical architecture and untitled (an ongoing series)
An abridged history of western ecclesiastical architecture is a virtual tour through original spaces of ritual – churches, cathedrals – that are now compressed and simplified for the sake of navigation. Beens has used open source software to create his 3D images as well as programmed some himself. The question is: what happens to the (architectural) history of these places once they are flattened by the virtual plane? Everything becomes hollow, immaterial, scaleless.
With his paintings, Beens tries to apply photographic textures to canvas in an immediate and accurate way. The surfaces used are iconic or cliché materials and objects – recognisable, but with little to no distracting connotations.
Yannick Val Gesto, Warrior Pose
Warrior Pose by Yannick Val Gesto (in collaboration with Leon Sadler) expands on theories of relaxation, techniques for mindfulness, and various suggestions for positivity and well being. The motto ‘Please be well and please be kind to yourself’ as endnote to the film subtly mocks viral motivational video’s that are spread on social media. The title also suggests a yoga pose, whereas the images show us glitches, found footage, and a calm sea. In between all of this facts like these are thrown at us: ‘61% admit to being addicted to the internet and their devices. 50% of people prefer to communicate digitally than in person.’ What do we do with this information? Do we stay sheeple, or do we wake up?
Erdal Bicili, Minor Rites
Minor Rites by Erdal Bicili is mostly about an undefined sense of homesickness, a longing that can not be put into words. Inspired by the Turkish poem ‘Walnut Tree’ by Nazim Hikmet, Bilic invites us to sit down with him and look – on an old TV-screen – at a mixture of documental and found footage. What we see is about identity, representations and the shock of media, but who knows, maybe also simply about ones estranged home country?