ViennaClipping the Din
curated by Daniel Baumann, Kathrin Bentele and Matthew Hanson
ARTISTS EXHIBITED: DARA BIRNBAUM, GRETCHEN BENDER, TONY COKES, CAROLYN LAZARD, BRANDA MILLER, GEORGIE NETTELL, RICHARD SIDES
THE GALLERY FESTIVAL WITH INTERNATIONAL CURATORS IN VIENNA
Clipping the Din (1)
In 1987, and according to American artist Gretchen Bender, it took no more than ten minutes for an image to become neutralised and fed into an all-consuming flow of data – a “cannibalistic river”.(2) Some 30 years later, that lag has contracted to a point of near simultaneity. Clipping the Din bridges two generations of artists who examine power as it is exercised through the mediated, neutralised and overproduced image.
In the 1980s, technological innovations in video and television enabled home editing, tape recording, projecting and local network broadcasting. Many artists – some using DIY strategies, others working in commercial production studios – were given to mimicking media to subvert dominant discourses. The appeal: watching the “détourned” image reenter the stream.
Today, the instantaneous absorption of meaning into content renders modes of détournement, mimicry, mirroring and acceleration inherently anticipated. The truant image inevitably feeds back into the very structure it criticises; racialised and gendered overproductions of representation amass to a point of nonvisibility; signification gives way to ambivalence.
The artworks in this exhibition redirect the noise of this feedback, non-visibility, and ambivalence. Some operate surreptitiously – in the guise of dominant media – others more candidly. If there is a shared methodology here, it is in they way these works isolate, suspend and re-contextualise not only images, text and sound, but the networks of value, desire, exchange and representation through which those materials perform.
Daniel Baumann, Kathrin Bentele and Matthew Hanson
(1) “Clipping”, a term derived from soundproduction, describes a type of digital distortion that occurs when signals are overdriven beyond amplification
(2) Gretchen Bender by Cindy Sherman, Bomb Magazine, January 1987