19 September - 24 October 2015, 2015
Opening: 18 September 2015 7-10pm
Eloise Bonneviot, Emily Jones, Paul Kneale, Yuri Pattison & Andrew Norman Wilson

„There looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable.“ — Julia Kristeva, Powers of the Horrors: An essay on Abjection, 1980

Kristeva’s idea of the abject unfolds the psychic origins and mechanisms of revulsion and disgust. Abjection emerges in confrontations with death’s materiality, violence, and our bodies’ vulnerability in the face of lifeless corpse, decay, open wounds, excrements, bodily fluids like puss, and even skin on the surface of warm milk. It is the radically excluded, disturbs laws and order, and drives me towards the „border of my condition as a living being.“

Abjects poses the emergence of a new kind of abject lurking underneath contemporary experiences mediated by technology, marked by seeming disembodiment, pre-designed and standardized pathways, an erosion of material differences in optoelectronic channels, and accelerated inscription into duration without breaks.

The works gathered create and reflect abjections by occupying the disparity between a sense of limitless electronic connectedness and infinite reproducibility and the enduring constraints of embodiment and physical finitude—disturbing and rupturing a new organization of the material and immaterial, the visible and the opaque, and the sensible and the insensible produced by digital economy in the information age.


Yuri Pattison, productivity table and dust, scraper, fan .1-5, 2015

Irish artist Yuri Pattison’s productivity table (2015), a modular desk showing the artist’s video outsourced views (2012-13) on a prototype Google computer initiates ABJECTS in the entrance space. The video gives visibility to the obscured labor and people of digital economy—represented in harsh exploitation by the online market place Amazon Mechanical Turk. The artist posted an add on AMT asking the globally dispersed micro jobbers, enabling infinite productivity outside any labor laws, to send him footage of their surroundings, forming the material of the video. dust, scraper, fan .1-5 (2015) is composed of five rectangular acrylic boxes borrowing their shapes from servers and laptops, mounted on the floor and walls of the gallery and stands in prolific dialogue with the Turkers. These transparent bodies are furnished with cooling fans, sucking in air and dust, circulating it through their insides in which a variety of materials, such as the books Machines Who Think by Pamela McCorduck, AI: The Tumultuous History of the Search for Artificial Intelligence by Daniel Crevier, and pages from The Complete Amazon Echo User Guide by Nathaniel Hill & Amazon Echo User Guide, or PDLC switchable privacy film are placed. In reference to the biting tension between the complete visibility of bodies in where transparency of control and the invisibility of the labor and exploitation of their time, affect, and productive forces by the very system in digital economy, this circulatory system of dirt or data conflates the human and machinic, making palpable the “artificial artificial intelligence” in increasing cognitive and perceptual adaptation to this regime of transparency and opacity.

Emily Jones, DMMIraq, 2015

The wooden sculptural assemblage by British artist Emily Jones poses like cenotaphs, or memorials of a demonstrating gathering that might have happened, happening at present or is meant to be happening in the future. The triangle is taller than every human who stands in front of it and reads instructional language: Radiate, Sever, Trust, Roam, Secrete, Withdraw, Dredge, Gauge, Grieve, Multiply, Lacerate. The words each form a triad between themselves, ones body and another body. A square structure on a pole, with the yellow poster saying „they were shouting and singing at the top of their lungs“ reports from a moment of collective catharsis or release, caused by terror or joy. A loudly yellow painted, big wooden square on the floor reads „THE USE OF FORCE MAY BE NECESSARY TO PROTECT LIFE.“ Poetry imbued with violence, the gaps of missing bodies are uncomfortably filled in by the addressed viewer in this sculptural pieces implicating the body and affect in a zone of uncertainty responding to conditions of digital communication as dynamic interplay of words and symbols as data via human/technology interfaces that operate in a disembodied environment. The presence of those with whom one communicates is always uncertain, the Other equated by an apparatus of control, the bodily increasingly conflating with the demands of the machinic.

Andrew Norman Wilson, Global Mosquito City Proposal and Insect Repellant, 2015

This rotten tech-ruin composed of computer pieces, stripped down to its bones and furnished with amber-resembling resin and water basins made of cement is a life-death-machine created by American artist Andrew Norman Wilson. It is a proposition for a globally spread device, and first and foremost to Bill and Melinda Gates to contribute their blood to malaria mosquito larvae that could potentially be nurtured in this computer-habitat to erase all human beings around the world. A letter directed to the founders of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation researching in the realms of life enhancement through technology is laid out in the gallery. The—imagined and possible—mosquito here represents a horrific anxiety: death, vulnerability, uncertainty lurking underneath growing desires to exceed the burdens of material life. This utopian sci-fi scenario is rooted in real socio-technological developments: biotechnology, Google Genomics and 23andMe aiming to harvest data from all humans with access to the internet, and plans to put nanoparticles in the human bloodstream for early disease detection, speak to fantastic dream of immortality and control over life and death. This erupting feeling of threat is reinforced by copper euro coins swimming in hydrochloric acid in a plastic bag pointing to bodily decay in the flows of finanzialisation.

Paul Kneale, Aphasia Tags and Performative Empathy, 2015

These wall filling, seemingly abstract images drawing hardly recognisable figurative forms of pastel rosa and harsh black colours are made by using the scan function of cheap scanners from any department store leaving the lid open and nothing on the bed. The scanner produces an image of the surface of the glass, the space, daylight and darkness, neon lights, and floating particles. In the final works the files are used to embed the image into the surface of an archival canvas at a large scale. The images are painted layers of time, light, and resolution—rendering visible the formerly invisible. Whereas the scanner represents a transition of the physical into the seeming abstract and digital, the ostensive immaterial finds material and form in Kneale’s scanner-paintings by agency of the machine. Capturing the numerical, and the boundaries or limits of what we can label as a thing (time, and also light and space in a given place and moment) these works complicate the boundaries between the sensible and insensible, the mechanic and intentional, the abstract and “naturalistic.”

Eloise Bonneviot, Thinking Like A Mountain—Limited, 2015

A multi-player video game is installed to be played in the polyurethane fabric environment of the tent hosting energy food bars and a penetrating artificial forest smell streaming out of a scent sprayer. Thinking Like a Mountain—Limited (2015) is playable in the gallery and downloadable on the internet and circulated as sculptural DVD edition in the gallery. A wooden shelf at the wall next to the tent contains 658 numbered DVD cases that create a mosaic-like representation of the logo of the game—an abstracted face mask—in their totality. The game itself draws the player into an experience of aimless fragmented and non-linear narration of accidents and seemingly arbitrary objects connoted to trekking, that are inhabiting several levels. In an oscillation between being in and falling out of seamless connectivity into embodied experience Bonneviot initiates loss of control and ruptures accelerated efforts to approximate human and computational thinking and behaviour such as through deep-learning program—an environment where, human brain and cognition are trained to mould according to computational capacities, when humans neuro-psychic apparati are increasingly made compatible with mechanic forms of interaction and computers.

Curated by Franziska Sophie Wildförster
Co-organized with Import Projects

Realized with the kind support of Baierl & Demmelhuber Pähl & Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.