Imagine an image which is completely incomprehensible.
Imagine a world full of such images. Imagine a government that serves the people. Now imagine the people are assholes.
Imagine the most ignorant person in the world speaking about ignorance.
Prompts of a far too real present, Narrative Devices by DIS + Babak Radboy reflects the “post-contemporary”: the future as familiar, predictable, immutable, a simulacrum of the past. It is the present that is unknowable, unpredictable and incomprehensible. In a post-Trump, post-truth, “alternative facts” reality, Narrative Devices suggests fantasy is more influential and effective than reality. Anyone can begin to build an alternative present, reconfigure failed narratives or decipher meaning from continual flux.
The four videos, each a mini “narrative device”, are the central element of a new installation by the artists. Each video marks a passage of conceptual and critical thinking: be it the relationship between the government and the governed or the producer and the consumer. A man relieves himself on a public street during the day while scrolling through today’s news. A young woman wearing a cable knit sweater texts on her phone, imagining a world where no one reads. All are rendered in a sickly corporate aesthetic reminiscent of an advertisement proclaiming unbounded opportunity.
The airport waiting lounge reflects the normalised panics, the everyday crises, of the present. As a pause in between or towards a final destination, the airport waiting lounge primarily serves as a mode of containment: maintaining in flux the visitor in place and time fraught with infinite anxiety and danger. After all, she has to be screened and approved through security, customs and immigration to be sitting in those uncomfortable leather seats. Martha Rosler’s seminal project In the Place of the Public: Airport Series (1983 - ) detailed the unease of seemingly banal airports spaces such as waiting rooms and narrow boarding bridges. Babak Radboy + DIS' approach and revise Rosler’s incisive critique, turning the installation into a metaphor for the highly controlled, paranoid 24/7 environment of the present.
Both DIS and Babak Radboy—in his role as co-president of Shanzhai Biennial—are known to reference and revise institutional aesthetics and structures. Both make apparent the otherwise invisible, and always volatile, relations underlying trade. Their works suggest that if the current end point of cultural production is the reproduction of the event as image, then, in the emancipatory logic of pirating, this image, and in turn the social formation that it stands in for, can be re-imagined.
GlassPhone courtesy of Tilman Hornig. Co-produced by Iconoclast.
Marco Roso of DIS will participate in Art Basel Hong Kong Conversations What Biennals Do | Notes on Format Friday, 24 March 2017 2-3pm with Jeebesh Bagchi (Co-Founder, Raqs Media Collective, New Delhi), Alisa Prudnikova (Commissioner and Director, Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Ekaterinburg), and Hou Hanru (Artistic Director, MAXXI, National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, and Curator, 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, Rome) moderated by Qinyi Lim, Independent Curator and Writer, Singapore.
DIS is also included in the group exhibition .com/.cn curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Peter Eleey. The exhibition is the first project jointly presented by the K11 Art Foundation and MoMA PS1 as part of an ongoing research partnership. .com/.cn showcases artistic practices in China and the West that respond to, or are affected by, our digital ecosystem. Frequently described as a “network” or a “cloud”, this system is often assumed to be universal, unencumbered by territory, language, law, or national culture. However, distinct regional internets have developed under varying forms of state control, each conditioning different social behaviours, economies, and modes of thought. These variations are particularly evident in comparing artistic responses to the available internets of China and the West, and their respective political and economic systems. K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space (G/F, Cosco Tower, 33 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong) 21 March – 30 April 2017 with an opening 20 March 2017 6 -8pm.
GCC will in addition participate in Art Basel Hong Kong Film program. Dates and times to be announced on the Art Basel website.
Art Basel Hong Kong
Convention & Exhibition Centre
1 Harbour Road
Hong Kong, China