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Viral Self-Portraits

on-line exhibition

Concept

Zdenka Badovinac

Curators selectors

Afiaty Riksa, Zdenka Badovinac, Ekaterina Degot, Tandazani Dhlakama, Galit Eilat, Charles Esche, iLiana Fokianaki, Boris Groys, Hou Hanru, Vít Havránek, Koyo Kouoh, Pablo Lafuente, Tammy Langtry, Maria Lind, Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Bojana Piškur, Tjaša Pogačar, Igor Španjol, Mabel Tapia, Christine Tohme, Abhijan Toto, Jelena Vesić, Raluca Voinea, WHW

Artists

Julian Togar AbrahamMounira Al SolhMaria Thereza AlvesNika AutorGaain BaahcBabi BadalovDjordje BalmazovićDenilson BaniwaJože BaršiMarko BatistaRichard BellMona BenyaminOlivia BothaSergey BratkovTony ChakarOlga ChernyshevaVirginia Chihotanora chipaumire and Ari MarcopoulosClaudiu CobilanschiEduard ConstantinAnna DaucikovaDržavljanska akcija [Civic Action]Jimmie DurhamGermano DusháGoran ĐorđevićLenka ĐorojevićAli EyalVadim FishkinJule FlierlAndreas Maria FohrJošt FrankoQuinsy GarioNoa GinigerIgor GrubićJusuf HadžifejzovićNika HamMichal HeimanThomas HirschhornMaja HodoščekIštvan Išt HuzjanSiniša IlićIRWINIman IssaSanja IvekovićJanez Janša & Janez Janša & Janez JanšaAdmire KamudzengereMahmoud KhaledJure KastelicOlivia Hyunsin Kim/ddanddarakimKladnik&NeonStaš KleindienstMeiro KoizumiJiří KovandaNina KoželjAndreja KulunčićMatts LeiderstamCristiano LenhardtAnna López LunaMikhail MaksimovTuan MamiAgrippina R. ManhattanDalibor MartinisOlivia MihaltianuAlbina MokhryakovaNaeem MohaiemenTanja MuravskajaEkaterina MuromtsevaSarah NaqviToos NijssenOctoraAhmet ÖğütDimitry OrlačErnesto OrozaPavel OtdelnovPrabhakar PachputeIza PavlinaVesna Pavlović & Vladimir Jerić VlidiYan Pei-MingJuan Pérez AgirregoikoaDan PerjovschiBorut PeterlinRaluca PopaTabita RezaireSallisa RosaMaría RuidoJeffrey ShawSimona & Ramona (aka Claude & Dersch)Buhlebezwe SiwaniMaja SmrekarSociété RéalisteJonas StaalAyesha SultanaAndrej ŠkufcaIgor ŠtromajerMilica TomićIsola TongIsaac Chong WaiOtty WidasariLin YilinMadalina ZahariaDion ZeqiriArseny Zhilyaev

Online Exhibition Editor
Ida Hiršenfelder

We started thinking about the Viral Self-Portraits online exhibition at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when we were still self-isolating at home. We first contacted 23 curators across the globe to invite five artists each to do self-portraits, according to the invitation below. 100 international artists responded.

Rather than literal images of artists’ faces, what we had in mind with self-portraits was all the forces currently (co)shaping our subjectivities. Forces of a reality that is today full of unknowns due to the pandemic: without a way to prognosticate the kind of future that lies ahead we tend to imagine it on a range between two extremes: the possibility of outrageously authoritarian regimes and the prospect of a society of more equitable division of wealth. This is our first time of truly facing the transience of all existence, ourselves included, of facing our own death, which we had been pushing to the back of our minds for so long. Our increasingly fast-paced life has now come to a halt, at least for a while, hopefully long enough to allow for collective reflection.

INVITATION TO ARTISTS

We’re home again, now truly isolated for the first time. We’re seeing our kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms with new eyes, and we’re fully aware of the smell of our apartments and houses for the first time, of their comforts and beauty or else the peeling plaster and drafty windows. Some dream interpreters say that when we dream about our homes we’re really dreaming about ourselves, as though our homes were as unique as we are. You are what your home is. But it’s not that simple.

Every time of exception, such as this corona time, is an opportunity to take another, different look at the chairs and tables and the not-so-innocent appliances and devices. And at ourselves too.

Žižek once wrote that viruses are like Xerox machines, using us to photocopy themselves. Now we’re staying at home, in isolation, to protect ourselves from these photocopiers invisible to the naked eye. Is there an original virus, or are all viruses merely copies, or merely photocopiers, carriers? We also think about ourselves that way. It’s interesting what a handy metaphor the virus has become, a metaphor that has infected the virus with our notions.

Feeling safe from “viruses” at home is, of course, an illusion; it’s equally illusory to think that we ourselves cannot infect anyone, either their body or their spirit. Our home has become this photocopier of other bodies, spirits, and places. We’d be hard put to find a home not equipped with some modern machine for reproduction, such as a smartphone, a computer, or a TV set. The epidemic has become a metaphor for our life in general, for our subjectivity, which is both a carrier of infection and its object.

We’re living in an epidemic of information, true and false, and increasingly under the pressure of the politics of emergency measures without a predictable outcome. We’ve also caught the bug of fear, fear of what we’ll live on in the future, fear of whether we’ll ever dare touch anyone again, fear of everyone and everything being potentially our enemy. But as panic grows, so do our concern and care for others. We have become creative and we’ve recovered our sense of humor. Working from home, we’ve adapted our tasks and contents to the technology, becoming more and more inventive as we find ourselves virtually reduced to online communication. The coronavirus epidemic is bound to take a lot, but it will also yield a lot, in the sense that we’re bound to produce a great deal of new content – the question, however, remains who will make a profit from this content. Maurizio Lazzarato talks about the production of subjectivity as the standardization of the social, affective, and communal aspects of contemporary humans. Our ways of socializing, feeling, communicating are the raw materials of the contemporary production methods. The more special and creative we are in our actions and emotions, the more value we produce, and the more someone else profits from that. Thus also our particularity is increasingly given back to us as someone else’s particularity.

Everything we’ll produce at home during this corona time will soon “add extra value to” tourism, fashion, the manipulation of machines and vehicles, subsequently transforming us as well. In the end, every crisis generates profit for someone. The future is either corona capitalism as the next stage of cognitive capitalism or else a corona rebellion against this standardization – and this is where art can play a major role.

Andreas Maria Fohr

Andreas Maria Fohr est né en Allemagne et vit actuellement à Paris. Après des études à l’Ésad Strasbourg et à la Kunstakademie de Düsseldorf, il a été boursier de l’Institut des hautes études en arts plastiques à Paris en 1995. Il a cofondé en 1994 le groupe bureau d’études [Bonaccini/Fohr/Fourt] au sein duquel il collabore jusqu’en 2001.
De 2001 à 2011 il a enseigné la vidéo et les pratiques documentaires expérimentales à l’Esa Cambrai et il a publié en 2011, en collaboration avec Catherine Chevalier, Une anthologie de la revue d’art allemande, in Texte zur Kunst, 1990-1998", paru aux éditions Les Presses du Réel.
Ses traveaux filmiques s'articulent souvent en rapport à d’autres formes comme la peinture, l'objet ou la performance.

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