Galerie ZK / Berlin, Germany 2011
FONTAINE / ANONYMOUS ART IN THE HIVE MIND / December 20, 2011 / February 11, 2012
Collaboration with Galerie ZK (Berlin, Germany) & La Petite Mort Gallery (Ottawa, Canada)
The images presented here are testaments to that specific moment of selection on the part of the real space and cyber space collector. Like the assiduous 19th collector of the anomalous, the exotic, the antique, the disturbing; these traces of the corporeal (found printed portraits and snapshots) and the intangible (chance encounters with digital images) are removed from their originating contexts to present new and disturbing narratives through their adjacency in the 21st century fetishistic cabinet des curiosités.
As beholders, we cannot reconstruct their intrinsic logic (a traumatized body, a presentation of improbable props) and so map our own readings onto them. Our electronic engagement with these dismembered moments creates indelible hallucinations far apart from the intentions of their original creator, and reveals more about our own preoccupations with the uncanny, the iconic, the strange, and the partially remembered. – Guy Berube, Director La Petite Mort Gallery
Just a few years ago, the art market was symbolically annihilated by Damien Hirst. With all the brilliance of a Goldman-Sachs scheme, Hirst got the market in such a stir over his diamond skull For the Love of God that he was able to use this very market frenzy as his private auction, allegedly selling the icon of wealth as fatal bad taste for 50 million pounds directly to an ‘unknown consortium’, bypassing the art market entirely. As a performance, every aspect contains meaning that wants unfolding, and leads to questions of gestalt: pixie, daemon, trickster, joker – all of them are emblems of our time.
Since then, the death of the art market has been debated in the press. The fact that Occupy Wall Street quickly took on Sotheby’s as a secondary target is another indication. Simultaneously, an explosion of creativity has erupted in the digital realm. If you are connected to critically aware people in the social networks, you will have noticed this – ranging from cartoons, recaptionings and collages to original works, primarily photo-based intermedia, video, many text-based works of brilliance, all of them shared over digital networks to inspire further the revelatory big bang that is blossoming in the hive mind.
Perhaps the death of the art market has freed art.
Perhaps art is now truly becoming what you and I have known it as: anticipatory.
At some stages of what we call civilization, this accelerating game of technical superiority and dominance, there are unforeseen dimensions to the new opportunities provided by developing platforms. Some are more significant than others, and like the printing press, the internet with it’s open-ended connectivity and seepage of suppressed information has set a reformation(1) in motion.
The explosion of revelatory visual communication that inspires this show derives in part from the blogosphere – the websites and independent news sources that have facilitated open discussions and the free exchange of information. Thanks to the fact that in the relative anonymity of the net millions have rediscovered the value of freely discussing the most vital topics, the deadly and dehumanizing influences of our industrial culture are finally being more widely recognized for what they are. Political correctness, a group dynamic that excludes dissenting perspectives, has not proved nearly as effective at stifling debate online as off. This alone is liberating, and the anonymous works pouring forth contain much exuberant and profound intelligence. The digital realm has not only distracted us from the world, it has also become a mirror in which our world is reflected and discussed; a contentious simulacrum, distorted by filter bubbles, smeared by the media, attacked by senators, but still proliferating, reverberating with the thrill of unfolding potential, and home to rhizomatic lifeforms like the hacker group Anonymous, who have contributed much to the year 2011. A phenomenon such as Anonymous resists categorization by its very nature, so one can only address partial aspects of it. In one such aspect, it is a contemporary Bocca della Verita, a mouthpiece for a kind of world conscience. In times of great prejudice, truth needs a mask. The open souce protest group acts as a non-hierarchical organic filter. A transmission such as The Bankers are the Problem could come from anyone anywhere, but would only reach a wider audience if pushed through enough individual members’ YouTube channels into the conversations taking place in the social networks.
The fountain of profound creative communication that has been pouring forth in recent years and particularly richly since September 2011 contrasts strikingly with what is referred to as the ‘flood of images’ in our society. This flood we are deluged by daily is pure commerce, and creative though marketing and propaganda certainly are, they exist to manipulate rather than communicate. As this is increasingly perceived, tensions rise in our world. For as much as those who have felt the opression feel liberated, people who are clinging with white kuckles to what they were taught may be terrified and angry. Most of us when insecure are easy to manipulate as groups. The insights driving what has already been called a thought revolution, and the images and text art that are shared freely in this streaming discourse, stand out from the sanitized patter of our technoworld like zits on a beauty queen. Moritz Gaede, Director Galerie ZK, Berlin