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  Chantal Michel, Während der ganzen Zeit wuchsen und wuchsen die Kinder und stellten nur die eine Frage, während die Erwachsenen ratlos und grossartig lächelnd schrumpften und schrumpften, 2003/2004. C-Print auf Alucobond, 130x130 cm
   
   
 
12 - 24 May
 
Demons
   
 
Opening: Friday, 11.05.07, 19.00
   
  With contributions by Clegg & Guttmann, Thomas Feuerstein, Chris Martinek, Chantal Michel, Philipp Quehenberger, Marcus Steinweg, Peter Szely, Rens Veltman.
Curator: Thomas Feuerstein
   
 

They are everywhere. They work in the dark. They infest our minds. They hide in each and every artefact. They operate in computer systems, they are the routine and automatisms of the everyday. They revive the fetishes of our culture and determine our lives. Demons are amongst us, talking to us through objects, processes and systems. In Greek literature and philosophy the individual’s fate is allocated by the demons. They act as providers and distributors of life energy, resources and information, they create order or chaos, they make one happy (eu-daimon) or unhappy (kako-daimon). Demons have marked western philosophy to this day, haunting the history of art in the shape of the cult of genius before emerging in physics and computer science in the 19th and 20th century. Demons no longer roam around as dark and foreign powers. They no longer function as a model for things irrational and inexplicable. They now operate as technical assistants, steering machines or, as their etymological link with democracy suggests, re-actualizing themselves by way of organisational questions concerning communities, economies or nation-states. Demons are action routines, structures, rules, laws, Program and algorithms. Taking a closer look, the division of the world into subjects and objects, into systems and environments, turns out to be a demonic disorder. The question as to who is acting, speaking or giving orders loses its discursive purity and is no longer suited to divide the world along the lines of a dualistic scheme. By referring to reciprocal obsessions, the relationships between subjects and objects merge and become stained. Since the dawn of time instructions have been producing objects and, conversely, objects- from paintbrush to canvas, from brick to factory - have enshrined actions and thinking schemes that unfold their own technical, psychological and social dynamics. Artefacts become acting elements and mingle with the autonomy of language, thought and action. The exhibition “Demons” presents works of art that have made demons their medium, acknowledging them as providers and distributors of material, informational and social resources, as purveyors of order or entropy. Though artistic recipes and rules of construction for the design, the production and the perception of works may be found in every era, it wasn’t until the 20th century that such algorithms started to outweigh the material work and, as such, were discovered by artists as an autonomous medium. The question as to who or what speaks or acts in an artwork- the artist, style, intentionality, society, material, colour, the spectator, the market etc.- cannot be resolved in respect to the single author. The work of art presents itself as a collaborative act whose network is its agent, who in turn serves as an provider and distributor of intentions and interests, as an either stabilizing or unsettling agent with regards to redundancy or innovation. Works and objects in general are gathering places where singularities merge with the mesocosm. The relationship between subject and object, or man and machine, is implemented in the melding of human and objectal attributes as actions. This is precisely where demons gather who, rather than creeping from the world of shadows into everyday life, determine the everyday, making it the very condition of our lives. When speaking of demons and objects, we therefore intend to question the anthropocentric understanding of action instead of conjuring up the reawakening of animism. This modified notion of the object, which is slowly investing the formerly separate categories of thought, speech and seemingly autonomous action, and which, in the near future, we will encounter ever more often via new technologies, intricate political constellations or artistic practices, is both the subject and the medium of the exhibition “Demons”.