Opening: January 16, 2003, 7 p.m.
17 January through 27 April 2003
Place of exhibition: Generali Foundation, Wiedner Hauptstraße, 1040 Vienna
Works by Bureau d’études, Frontera Sur RRVT, Raqs Media Collective, Makrolab, multiplicity
In 2003, the series of experimental, guest-curated exhibitions at the Generali Foundation are continued by the Swiss artist and theoretician curator Ursula Biemann, who devised a concept based on the subject of geography and artistic practice. Geography and the Politics of Mobility takes five collective projects by international artists - most of which are presented for the first time - and uses them to examine the notion of geography, which has been undergoing a radical change for several years now. Increased mobility, global migratory movements, and new formations of work manifested in virtual global activities have led to new definitions going beyond the realm of geo-science. The circulation of people, data, and goods gives rise to new cultural, social, and virtual landscapes that materially inscribe themselves onto the terrain. In this exhibition, geography is seen as a working hypothesis that allows us to reflect on concepts of demarcation, connectivity, and transgression in society.
In the pictographic installation "World Monitoring Atlas," the artist duo Bureau d'études from Paris (Léonore Bonaccini and Xavier Fourt) visualizes the extensive network of data-gathering systems existing between individuals, transnational companies, governments, armed forces, international agencies, and citizens' groups. In contrast to the geographical map, which, based on a phenomenological concept of space, is read analogously, the Organigramm is a digital, structural representation. Such a representation seems to be more commensurate to the real, which can no longer be adequately grasped by photographic means. Bureau d'études often develops its installations in collaboration with the cultural theoretician and journalist Brian Holmes. Prior to this exhibition, they took part in the World-Information Exhibition in Amsterdam, where one of their installations was displayed.
Frontera Sur RVVT (Europe's Southern Border in Real, Remote and Virtual Time - Ursula Biemann, Regula Burri, Rogelio López Cuenca, Valeriano López Dominguez, Helena Maleno Garzon, Alex Muñoz Riera, Angela Sanders) views itself as a loose group of artists and activists. For the exhibition, they carried out a project that focuses on the area near the Spanish-Moroccan border, with its complex layers of meaning. This is a region where issues of sex, ethnic filtering, migration, and labor, as well as technological control mechanisms interact within the public sphere. Work relations on plantations, or in private households, secret boat crossings, and radar patrols - all of these various motivations for mobility lay bare a complex balance of power that reformulates the metaphorical and material constitution of borders.
Makrolab, founded by the Slovenian artist Marko Peljhan in 1994, is a nomadic, temporary research station that allows changing participants to monitor data flow from all over the world in remote locations and under isolated conditions. For this, artists and scientists develop autonomous laboratory projects that bear a relationship to each respective environment. The installation that is shown in the exhibition, documents the two-month laboratory project in the Scottish Highlands in summer 2002 based on video clips that were taken on site and audio-visual artistic works, combined with inserts of news reports in real time. In addition, a wall installation highlights the essential thematic fields and goals of Makrolab and indicates a time line of venues for the installation in Germany (Documenta X), Slovenia, Australia, and Scotland, as well as any future locations. In 2007, Makrolab will go to the Antarctic and be set up as a permanent art/science laboratory.
Operating from Milano, the multiplicity collective (Stefano Boeri, Maddalena Bregani, Francisca Insulza, Francesco Jodice, Giovanni La Varra, Armin Linke and John Palmesino) presents "Case 01 + 02," part of its ongoing project "Solid Sea," a new study of the changed conditions in the Mediterranean region. Multiplicity imagines the sea as a solid mass, examining it from several angles and using various forms of representation - maps, photographs, and videos. It explores both the streams of movement that traverse it and the identity of the individuals that inhabit it. The first case study for Solid Sea has been presented at Documenta 11; the new work, "World Odessa," concerns two ships that are anchored at the coastal city of Naples.
In its video and text installation "A/S/L"(Age/Sex/Location), Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta) uses the example of women working as teleworkers in India to illustrate gender-specific working conditions within the out-sourced online data industry, which has seen considerable expansion in recent years, especially in India. The working conditions of this new "digital proletariat" necessitate constantly switching between the online and offline worlds, between the respective cultural and economic situations. The reality of one realm is carried by the inequality of another.
Guest Curator: Ursula Biemann
Curatorial Assistance and Exhibition Co-ordination: Luisa Ziaja