What are you loo­king at?

Siegessaeule - - An English Roundup -

The n.b.k. is hol­ding a group ex­hi­bi­ti­on with the 15 re­ci­pi­ents of the Ber­lin Se­na­te’s Fi­ne Arts Scho­lar­ship. Among the par­ti­ci­pants is vi­deo ar­tist Vi­ka Kir­chen­bau­er, pre­sen­ting her 3D in­stal­la­ti­on tit­led “You Are Bo­ring!“ > Need to spice up your li­fe? “We're to­tal­ly uni­que, so being with us will not on­ly be the cra­ziest thing you've ever do­ne – it will al­so be ea­sy for you to do stuff that you couldn't even ima­gi­ne, li­ke fucking that exo­tic ass­ho­le that is ac­tual­ly a cunt, or bor­ro­wing a dick from so­meo­ne on who­se tits you can cum with it.” This is how the abo­ve fi­gu­re – or ra­ther, a ho­lo­gra­phic re­pre­sen­ta­ti­on of him – be­ckons you, the vie­wer. “I me­an, who wouldn't want to fuck a work of con­cep­tu­al art?” Fe­mi­nist film cri­tic Lau­ra Mul­vey pu­blis­hed her con­cept of the “ma­le ga­ze”, poin­ting out our cul­tu­ral pat­tern of fra­ming wo­men as ob­jects from a phal­lic, uni­la­te­ral per­spec­tive: of the di­rec­tor, of the ot­her on-screen cha­rac­ters and of the au­di­ence. That was in 1975. As the tit­le of this group show asks, whe­re are we now? In most of her work, Vi­ka Kir­chen­bau­er con­fronts the pro­ble­ma­tic is­sue of spec­ta­tor­ship. “It’s much less about a gen­de­red ga­ze than it is about a class ga­ze, a ca­pi­ta­list ga­ze and may­be a nor­ma­tive­ly strai­ght ga­ze,” she told SIE­GES­SÄU­LE. Alt­hough she of­ten uses vi­deo as her me­di­um, Kir­chen­bau­er has not ta­ken the film world as her tar­get. In this new pie­ce, she zooms out in­to lar­ger con­texts, such as the bur­geo­n­ing “ex­pe­ri­ence eco­no­my” and the re­alm of con­tem­pora­ry art. Crash cour­se in la­te ca­pi­ta­lism: Fol­lo­wing agra­ri­an eco­no­my (crops), in­dus­tri­al eco­no­my (ma­chi­nes) and ser­vice eco­no­my (ser­vice, duh), we've now ar­ri­ved at a po­int at which busi­nes­ses must pro­vi­de me­mo­r­able events to the con­su­mer. Ac­cor­ding to Pi­ne/Gil­mo­re's 1998 ma­ni­fes­to TheEx­pe­ri­en­ceE­co­no­my, em­ployees are per­for­mers and work is thea­ter. It's not­hing new that an as­pi­ring ac­tor might ha­ve a day job as a wai­ter. But now, in the ex­pe­ri­en­ti­al era, sim­ply put, wai­ters are ac­tors. And of cour­se, the art world mir­rors this eco­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment. In “You Are Bo­ring!”, Vi­ka and her com­pa­ni­ons of­fer them­sel­ves as the li­fe-si­ze so­lu­ti­on to your pro­blem. They gi­ve you ad­vice on how to “ex­pe­ri­en­ci­fy“your mun­da­ne exis­tence. When they spank or pee on each ot­her, it on­ly adds voy­eu­ris­tic allu­re. Or is it ac­tual­ly dis­com­fort? She fur­ther ex­plains: “It's about how we crea­te art in­sti­tu­ti­ons whe­re a cer­tain class of people can look at 'the ot­her' safe­ly wi­thout their ga­ze being chal­len­ged.“To her, top-down ac­cep­tan­ce works on­ly if we don’t po­se a th­re­at to the hier­ar­chy – “as long as we let them mea­su­re us with their sca­le, as long as we lea­ve it to them to le­gi­ti­mi­ze us or not. What we are try­ing to do in this work could be cal­led ‘acts of loo­king back’.“< Jo­ey Han­som

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