展覽資訊

展覽回顧

2012-11-19—2012-11-25

VIENNA ART WEEK “Predicting Memories”

Longlive
Opening: 2012-11-19 - 00:00:00
Venue:
Address:
Website: viennaartweek.com/2012/en/predicting-memories/

It’s almost a given in the year 2012: dealing with the relationship between memories and future predictions. Today we know that the prophesied doomsday on December 21, 2012, was a misinterpretation of the ancient Maya calendar, but still the countdown seems to continue. Are we moving towards the end of history or is this the start of a new decade? And to what degree do end-of-the-world scenarios act as a symbolic summary of our current, crisis-ridden era?

In light of this comprehensive set of issues, the exhibition “Predicting Memories” is a call for that moment of freedom through which our consciousness is confronted with the issue of memory production. An international group exhibition for VIENNA ART WEEK, “Predicting Memories” focuses on a cross-section of the concept of memory and the “anticipation of memory constructs” in contemporary art.

Participating artists in the exhibition show an explosive, at times ironizing visual language in their break with current, realpolitikal events. Around the world, dictators, nationalist rhretoric, religious fundamentalism, the omnipotence of global players and the commercialization of mainstream media increase the risk of restrictions to the freedoms of speech and opinion – and the history productions they are associated with.

Master plans imposed on urban structures cause naturally-evolved memory spaces to disappear, or prevent them from being established in the first place. Artists around the world are reacting to these processes and the impending loss of individual and collective epics by making them an integral part of their aesthetic work. This – as various works show – leads to a constant re-figuration of memory, not least in light of the observation that the historical experience of past trauma exceeds the scope of representation. The manipulative momentum of ideology-laden historical perceptions and their dubiousness is subject to analysis. The identity-political proof of authenticity put up for discussion urgently raises the (banal-sounding) questions: Where do we come from, and where are we going?

The dramatic knowledge gain that characterizes our information and internet age will not protect us from forgetting and being forgotten. Cultural theorist Ernst von Alphen describes the danger of a slow erasure of the great memories of our time as a transition to a society of collective amnesia. The latest wave of digital technology – smart phones and tablets – promotes the same process by which our capacity for remembering becomes inversely proportional to the storage capacity of the memory sticks on our devices. These days, memory performance is measured in gigabytes rather than IQ, as Google, Yahoo, etc. replace the human brain. Advancing forgetfulness has become a popular topic in art, as has the associated neural dysfunction reflected in statistics showing the growing prevalence of dimensia.

Art assumes a counter-position, rouses memories of a cultural practice developed long ago. Since Plato, we know that all culture is based on memory. The densifying complexity and memory capacity of art constitutes an answer to all that is fugitive. For the cultural and artistic practices of today, it is imperative to presuppose possible futures and to speculate on making a number of critical philosophies, theories and practices – which, for now, are too abstract for our society – a reality. To preserve a spark of optimism in the current sociopolitical climate, it is important to create areas that allow us to overcome any doom and gloom – a universe of competence where we can exist as sovereign individuals.

Text by Robert Punkenhofer
and Ursula Maria Probst


Robert Punkenhofer navigates the boundaries between art, architecture, design and international business. He is responsible for more than 100 exhibitions on three continents, including the first solo exhibitions of artists such as Santiago Sierra, as well as Mur Island in Graz with Vito Acconci and Austria’s contribution to the World Expo in Aichi in 2005, Zaragoza in 2008 and Shanghai in 2010. Punkenhofer is a visiting professor at New York University and a member of the International Advisory Council of the
Prince­ton University / PLAS. More info at: www.art-idea.com

Ursula Maria Probst lives and works in Vienna as an art historian, university lecturer, art critic, curator and artist. She studied art history at the the University of Vienna and did scholarly and artistic work on and with Louise Bourgeois in New York. She is co-initator of the performance collective Female Obsession.

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