19 01 06
return impossible – there is only transformation
remember me ? I am the sponge within this website – a Cyborg sponge.
It is an
awfully normal Tuesday of the year when I turn towards "How society and
politics get in the picture". The exhibition hall of the Generali
Foundation is empty, except the woman at the entrance, a man who is looking
after the computers and the works which are shown. I am the only visitor. It' s
always strange to be all alone in "holy halls".
The fish in the aquarium which are part of <labour/free time> from Maria Eichhorn are a next moving mirror. The artist asked the workers of a former branch of the Generali in Berlin to give some objects of their daily life to an exhibition. This way the fish get into an art collection. Coming closer to the fish pool I recognize the animals swimming right on to me. Probably hunger is the motivation for that behaviour. They are searching for some food and
I am hungry too ( don' t be afraid: I did not eat them !).
Before the visit I had a talk with a friend about a video done by Martha Rosler and so I am curiously searching for it, finally find it, but the tape does not run. I am too lazy to complain, go back some steps and look at the collages of the artist. She mixed up together cuttings of living room catalogues with newspaper cuttings of war pictures. The photos shown are the end product of this process. The war which is normally seen on TV, in the distance, is brought right into private homes ( back to the roots ? ): soldiers are no longer fighting abstractly in high technical war machines to bring democracy to an invisible/unknown country but are very concretely fighting on the sitting room carpet of a normal living room.
Right in front on the floor there is another living art work: in a more or less quadratic piece of earth which has the extent of a standard little garden <baby' s tears> are growing ( in German this plant is called <Bubikopf> - so the whole point of the art work functions in English, to American circumstances ). This usury practising plant – it covers the ground very fast – overspreads the whole square except the middle of it: in the sign of a plane there is a lack of growing, of life – the earth remains naked and bare.
Adrian Piper has set up to boxes in which you can sit in as a single person. One is painted black – the other one white. I remember the video which was running in one of them ( I do not remember which box it was ): while a black voice is singing about freedom and de-escalation you see a few minutes of a live sequence of TV news in which a few white police men brutally beat up one black man who is lying on a street. A car is passing, slowing down and driving on again. The tape is running endlessly. Next to the visitors seat the artist put a box of paper handkerchiefs, so if you want to cry or you have to cry things are prepared for your needs. The work reminds me of Judith Butler' s book "precarious life – the politics of mourning and violence" - and also of a policeman in Vienna, a few days ago during a demonstration against detention. He was acting like an animal or an uneducated boy when he stamped his foot on the public floor to perform his authority in front of some activists.
I also want to mention a former work of Adrian Piper which I like very much. Sometimes I carry it with me, most times I forget the little protection thing, the material reminder that there exists a virtual "feminist union". My calling card No. 1 – reactive Guerilla performance for dinners and cocktail parties. It says on it: "Dear friend! I am not here because I want to smile at anybody or to be the smiling object of anybody. I am here alone, because I want to be here ALONE. This card is not part of a extensive flirt. Thank you that you follow my wish."
Apropos "smile": A few days ago I talked to some young girls who where sitting right next to me in the tram. First they did not want to believe me that I am able to perform miracles ( through smiling ). Maybe it turned out well. One of them was very annoyed about the Harry Potter movie – this one which is said to be technically revolutionary. She told me that her older sister suns herself in knowing the film because she is in the right age to see it. I tried to give her some consolation and told her that she did not miss very much. The movie is mainly a reproduction of stupid stereotype ideas about boys and girls: The boy as the hero, fighting dragons– the girl as the caring one. Under the table - like Louise Bourgeois would say. But that' s another show.
So let' s
go on and leave "society and politics" ( or rather a view on it which
is confined to a fragmentary selection of the shown works ) and look to some
more performing arts.