Shotgun Reviews

Vic at Insitu Berlin

Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Carla Fernández reviews the group show Vic at Insitu Berlin.

Aurora Sander. Trust no one, 2015; Mixed media, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the Artist and insitu Berlin. Photo: Markus Georg

Aurora Sander. Trust no one, 2015; Mixed media, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the Artist and insitu Berlin. Photo: Markus Georg

The group show Vic at Insitu Berlin presents a fictional persona whose effect on viewers oscillates between seduction and repulsion—a hedonist, narcissistic character of internet culture. Artists Britta Thie, Christian Falsnaes, and the collective Aurora Sander construct Vic’s ego out of metadata and self-referential information, asserting a ritualized self united through the repetition of data and virtual, not actual, relations with the world.

The first room contains motivational YouTube videos, books, and films focused on self-enhancement and manipulation. Stammtisch (2015), an installation by the collective duo Aurora Sander (Bror Sander Berg Størseth and Ellinor Aurora Aasgaard), contains anthropomorphized sculptures and props: traces of toast and a beer glass posed over a table with traces of blue and pink paint. The effect is an absurd situation of absence. In Christian Falsnaes’ video work Influence (2012), the artist performs the seduction of a group and the group’s subsequent compulsive dementia.

The dreamlike atmosphere of the back room includes Bretta Thie’s video work Having a Coke with U (2014), which offers a quasi-sadistic symphony of impersonation as her sultry voice recites Frank O’Hara’s 1958 poem of similar title. Thie’s other video work, Transatlantics (2015), builds up a narrative about a “generational syndrome” that results from the shift from analog to digital technologies, suggesting that this condition is generated from the desire for depth in artifice.

Aurora Sander’s installation Trust No One (2015) presents a “wishing-well” fountain in a commercial mall setting, sustained by a hand that is embellished with a plastic flower arrangement. Its colorful and sharp appearance invites the spectator to touch the piece and by extension their own desires. In a text accompanying the piece, the artists humorously portray a wishful character who is seduced by the fluidity of fantasy, a negotiation between fiction and faith.

Vic offers a humorous perspective of the situation of the self that also embodies a nostalgic feeling of loss. The show suggests the internet is not just mediator but the whole omnipresent power that reins over contemporary life, recalling Hito Steyerl’s statement that “The all-out internet condition is not an interface but an environment.”[1] Identity becomes a faceless screen where only surface exists. Where is the character of Vic to find a form to this chaos? The show’s answer is frustration and anxiety, with only counterproductive symptoms of Vic’s loss.

Vic is on view at Insitu Berlin through October 2, 2016.

Carla Fernández is an independent curator and collaborator at Marso Gallery based in Mexico City.

[1] Hito Steyerl. “Too Much World, Is the Internet Dead?” E-flux journal (2013), accessed August 2015, http://www.e-flux.com/journal/too-much-world-is-the-internet-dead/

 

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