No Need to Hunt — We Just Wait for the Roadkill //  in conversation with Paul Barsch [ENG]

[not yet in English] Während man die Welt täglich routiniert nach Verwertbarem durchforstet und durch endlose Content-Streams gespült wird, lässt es sich gut stolpern über No need to Hunt. Wer sich hier allerdings Kontemplationshilfe oder bürgerliche Rückzugsfantasien verspricht, sieht sich in der Ausstellung einem anderen Szenario gegenüber: Sie ist Teil der Infrastruktur der Möglichkeiten eines alltäglich verfügbaren Konsumangebots, in dem wirklich alles zur Ressource werden kann – Macbooks, Wasser, Twitterfeeds, Klopapier, Trends – you name it. Ready-made, recycelt und rekontextualisiert im Universum der Hyperproduktivität.

Kapitalismus ist schön. Vorausgesetzt, man kennt seine Hotspots, akzeptiert seine Launen. – Und übt sich in Gelassenheit. Kunst wird unter zunehmend unkontrollierbaren Bedingungen des post-whatever unausweichlich Teil eines spekulativen Unternehmens. We just wait for the Roadkill ist dabei eine Überlebensstrategie, die sich genüsslich am fortschreitenden Kontrollverlust nährt.

Im S T O R E versammelt, findet sich eine Landschaft aufgelesener, harmlos gewordener Drohgebärden: eine auf dem Boden liegende, samtene Decke mit Quasten, wie achtlos dort hingeworfen, darauf Aufnäher mit der Aufschrift „Destroy everything“, getrocknete Aubergine-Blätter, auf dem Boden verteilt, die mit #CaptiveCEOsToBeReturnedToTheWild betitelt sind, ein verschweißtes Macbook, gewohnheitsmäßig angeschlossen an eine Ladestation, ein Jagdmesser wie aus einer Fantasy-Welt, das aus der Öffnung einer schwerfällig wirkenden, wuchernden Plastik, die in ihrer Größe alles andere überragt, hervorsticht. Eine Lache schmutzigen Tauwassers, bahnt sich bedachtsam seinen Weg durch diese Szenerie des Scheinprotests. – Jagd ist Sache der anderen. Hier heißt das Spiel infinite feeds in a Roadkill Café.

Da so manch kritische Kunst längst in Innovations- und Selbstverbesserungsbeschwörungen aufgegangen ist, wendet sie sich nun anderem zu, so der Philosoph und Literaturwissenschaftler Armen Avanessian: „Die etablierten künstlerischen Formen von Reflexion und Kritik greifen nicht mehr, weil der Kapitalismus selbst ein ästhetischer, innovativer und kritischer ist.“ Anonymus-Masken und Che Guevara-T-Shirts? Verkaufsschlager. Die Idee des Künstlers oder des Revolutionärs als Regelbrecher, als Vertreter des Unkonventionellen, stets umgeben von einer Note Selbstmystifizierung, dient längst als standardisiertes Formblatt erfolgreichen Unternehmertums und effektiven Managements. Just fill in the blank spaces. Im Ausstellungsraum aber träumt man nicht von Vollzeitbeschäftigung. Oder vom immer Neuen. Hanno Rauterberg stellt daher fest: „die Kunst darf sich befreit fühlen. Sie muss nicht länger dem alten Fetisch der Innovation dienen, sie darf unbeschwert aufspielen. Darf wiederholen und zurückholen, was lange verdrängt und vergessen schien. Darf sich alte Techniken neu erschließen, sich komplexe Sujets zurückerobern.“

Es bleibt dem Betrachter überlassen, wie er die Einzelpositionen im S T O R E zusammenflickt, die den Protest zähmen und sich in ihrer unbekümmerten Haltung auf den ersten Blick nicht so recht in Erwartungen an Kunst über Sinn- und Wertschöpfung einfügen wollen. Im Gegenteil: Sie gefallen sich in der Verunsicherung des Publikums und warten besonnen dessen Reaktionen ab.

Dorota Gaweda and Egle Kulbokaite in NO NEED TO HUNT at S T O R E organized by Paul Barsch
Dorota Gaweda and Egle Kulbokaite in NO NEED TO HUNT at S T O R E organized by Paul Barsch
Michele Gabriele in NO NEED TO HUNT at S T O R E organized by Paul Barsch
Michele Gabriele in NO NEED TO HUNT at S T O R E organized by Paul Barsch
Camilla Steinum in NO NEED TO HUNT at S T O R E organized by Paul Barsch
Camilla Steinum in NO NEED TO HUNT at S T O R E organized by Paul Barsch

Anlass dieser Unterhaltung mit Paul Barsch war eine Ausstellung die er unter dem Titel „No Need to Hunt – We Just Wait For The Roadkill“ vom 26.09.2015 – 10.10.2015 im Galerieprojekt S T O R E contemporary in Dresden (Sachsen) organisiert hatte. In der Ausstellung waren Alexander Endrullat, Burkhard Beschow, Camilla Steinum, Dorota Gaweda, Egle Kulbokaite, Jake Kent, Kai Hügel, Michele Gabriele und Paul Barsch (Text) vertreten.

Where did the idea for the exhibition come from?

I had the idea for the exhibition during a car journey. I noticed that there were lots of birds of prey perched on the fences along the highway, staring at the road. Why weren’t they flying? Why were they sitting in the street? The decisive image was a hawk sitting on a solar panel by the side of the road. A powerful image. I started thinking about it. It became clear to me that the birds were waiting for animals to be hit by cars. Easy prey, so to speak. They ate the animals that were hit. I managed to watch it happening.

I thought about a parallel between that and the way many artists work today, also waiting at the edge of the highway – a production highway for culture and cultural objects, the information superhighway. To live and work artistically today means sitting watchfully and waiting for something to fall out of the constant stream. This cultural ‘roadkill’ flows into people’s work, is integrated and becomes the central component. Rather than being a process where pure intuition leads artists to develop a form out of virginal tone or to create and translate a brilliant artistic message, this process takes existing forms as a starting point and integrates them, transforms, reprocesses and contextualises them.

These things – they might be ideas or specific concepts or materials – are never chosen at random, but are always things that have already experienced a certain cultural wear and tear and, or for that reason, are culturally charged. The wear and tear – in the sense of POP – is perhaps the central point. Fingers have already been rubbed raw from scrolling over these images. This so-called ‘roadkill’ – whatever sticks and doesn’t just rush past, fresh and still warm – should not be misunderstood as carrion.

What is being shown at the exhibition?

Works by young artists from a generation that work in this way, whether consciously or unconsciously. The exhibition concentrates on objects/sculptures that – to illustrate the theme – are presented standing or lying on the ground, and which deal with very idiosyncratic concepts and subjects, but can be brought together in this exhibition because of the way they were created.

What’s behind the title and its message, ‘no need to hunt, we just wait for the roadkill’?

The title represents a specific attitude to material and form. This attitude is not altogether new – no more so than waiting for roadkill is a new behaviour for birds of prey – but among many young artists it has become a self-evident (artistic) praxis. This use and integration of cultural artefacts and the combination of these with other – especially natural – materials, texts and found objects is, in contrast to earlier artistic concepts (objet trouvé, ready-made, etc.), not a conscious statement, but a self-evident, pragmatic and non-hierarchical way of working.

Where does the phrase come from and what does it mean?

The phrase came into my head as I was watching the waiting birds of prey and thinking about artistic production. My passenger had to type it into my iPhone notepad… No Need to Hunt – We Just Wait for the Roadkill. I thought the phrase was a beautiful image in the context of artistic production but also in other contexts, such as a general understanding of work. We shouldn’t forget that more and more work is being taken over by intelligent machines and machine systems, and so more and more jobs are being lost, at the same time as more and more people are being born and living longer and longer lives, more products are being produced and more money is being generated, only to collect in a few places. The concept of work, and with it artistic work, urgently needs to be redefined. This is the phrase’s intellectual context, within which the works reveal themselves carefully and shyly. The old understanding of work in its classic form is no more. The trend towards open, self-evident and non-hierarchical forms of distribution and behaviour – including when it comes to wealth – will continue to materialise.

What roles do current media conditions play? (Medium of choice is the internet)

The internet plays a central role. It is in large part the source, mediator, distributor and target of artistic production. The way images and content are treated on the internet has significantly changed the way artists work – especially those who understand the internet as a self-evident object and have grown up with it. In principle or in practice, there is no longer any difference between a beautiful branch you find and pick up while walking in the woods, and a picture of a beautiful branch you find and save on Instagram. If this branch becomes the starting point or material or inspiration for artistic production, it makes no difference where it came from; the trigger effect is the same. Current media conditions make it possible to access an ever bigger range of images and content, as well as a constantly (or exponentially) increasing range of products. It doesn’t make sense to strain to invent a new form when it already exists, a thousand times better (industrial, with Duchamp: ready-made). Art must find somewhere else to take place: in the relationship between objects and different IRL manifestations, in the white cube and as documentation on the net and in other media. Art is now image-objects seen from all sides, virtual, in the plural.

What connection does the exhibition have to Dresden?

– The exhibition only has a connection to Dresden insofar as Dresden in general represents a super-conservative, traditional concept of art, and normal (or culturally educated) residents of Dresden don’t know where to start with new artistic approaches. It is noticeable that Dresden has never produced a Joseph Beuys and that most for most people there, art stops with Die Brücke. Undoubtedly that was a remarkable and important moment in the history of art, but it lacks connection to the contemporary and anyway it is not as if Die Brücke was supported back then or recognised as such. There is still a – stubbornly resistant – idea of the genius artwork that manifests itself in an object or an image – masterfully created or wild and gestural, romantically-pathetically depicting the trials and passions of human existence, or the balanced play of pure colour and form. The exhibition shows, in heightened form as it were, that a generation of young artists is busy creating interesting art on completely different subjects. Using all available materials, of course, they are working their own way, uninfluenced by traditional notions of art, making use of the cultural highways of the prevailing achievements of arduous, brilliant art.

To what extent was Dresden a randomly chosen location for the exhibition?

Dresden is a place with the space and infrastructure to allow us to easily hold such exhibitions. The exhibition could have been held anywhere, because it is relevant everywhere. Eventually there will be further exhibitions with the same title that will illuminate the theme from other angles.

Who are the artists?

Michael Gabriele, an Italian artist, Burkhard Beschow, Alexander Endrullat, Dorota Gaweda, Michele Gabriele, Kai Hügel, Jake Kent, Eglé Kulbokaité, Camilla Steinum

 

How hard is this sort of exhibition to understand?

Actually not very hard, if you approach it without particular expectations of art and fixed notions of what art could be. There is a very marginal level at which the works reveal themselves, and of course various intellectual levels. It is less about whether an individual object is beautiful or is art, or whether you know how to approach it, and more about the interplay of objects in the context of a theme. It should certainly be understood from the beginning in a practical philosophical way.

 

[Text: Kristin Klein, Interview: Konstanze Schütze, Translation: one-hour-translation; 19.10.2015]