Artists: Marc Asekhame, Ilya Lipkin, Richard Sides, Gili Tal
Venue: Stadtgalerie Bern
Exhibition Title: Emotion Is an Unlimited Resource
Date: May 24 – June 29, 2019
Full gallery of images, press release, and link available after the jump.
Richard Sides, Like a pig in shit, 2019, HD-video, sound, 18:50
Images courtesy of the artists and Stadtgalerie Bern. Photos by David Aebi.
Emotion Is an Unlimited Resource functions like a Kippbild (an ambiguous image). On one hand, it is a buzzword used by international advertising agencies with their constant optimism; here, emotion is an in- exhaustible resource for boundless growth. On the other hand, it suggests a growing exhaustion when facing the notion that every emotion can be fed back into an empty circular movement of economic exploitation. From this apparent hopelessness, vanishing point lines move outwards towards smaller social units, promising individual experience and authenticity.
We tend to take photographs personally. Today, pictures look at us just as we look at them, they affect us, the viewer. Often, they want us to feel, rarely to act. Even today, after the so-called digital revolution has made it more obvious than ever that pictures have their own, often contradictory, relationship to reality. They produce realness effects, which become momentarily authenticated by their distribution – especially in social media. A camera has both the ability to objectify and to internalize at the same time. We let the personal circulate as content to achieve social self-positioning through photography. In this cycle, the personal becomes the commodity and the currency of a new reality of pictures.
Technology is inclined to attune image content to make it readable for machines; an infrastructure of hardware and software designed to capture impulses and to speculate on future impulses for marketing and surveillance purposes. Photography thus becomes part of the affect-machinery prevailing today, within which it functions as information that can be managed and supposedly self-managed.
And what is art inclined to do? Marc Asekhame, Ilya Lipkin, Richard Sides, and Gili Tal use their own or other’s photographs as source material for their work. They are united in their practice by the examination of visual stimuli incessantly produced in digital images. Their examination – which also functions like a Kippbild – is the starting point for the group exhibition Emotion Is an Unlimited Resource. It takes a critical stance towards the material and ideological abysses present in the mutual construction of image and reality, of the individual and society; but it is at the same time a critique that participates in this very reality.
Emotion, affect, feeling; ultimately, it becomes apparent that these impulses are conflicting. It is not just since psychoanalysis that we have known about a chasm in the self; a chasm in which – like the crack in a wall – life grows and imagination thrives. This also raises the question of how the impulses discussed in Emotion Is an Unlimited Resource can be manipulated and utilized. We do not want to answer it. But we do want to make new Kippbilder possible.