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9th Berlin Biennale

Curated by DIS

THE PRESENT IN DRAG As a theme, “the present” strikes a slightly desperate tone. Like a spin class instructor trying to power through a massive hangover. Exhibitions have increasingly come to resemble Ted Talks — theaters of competence. There is a pleasure principle at play, not too different from disaster films or horror movies. People clutch their tote bags a little tighter when they hear the phrases “big data,” “filter-bubble,” “post-internet” and “anthropocene” amplified through the venue speakers. Welcome to the post-contemporary. The future feels like the past: familiar, predictable, immutable—leaving the present with the uncertainties of the future. Is Donald Trump going to be president? Is wheat poisonous? Is Iraq a country? Is France a democracy? Do I like Shakira? Am I suffering from depression? Are we at war? It is the present that is unknowable, unpredictable and incomprehensible—forged by a persistent commitment to a set of fictions. There is nothing particularly realistic about the world today. A world in which investing in fiction is more profitable than betting on reality. It is this genre shift from sci-fi to fantasy that makes it inspiring, open, up for grabs, non-binary. The supergroup(s) of artists and collaborators that we have mobilized is not fatigued but energized by this uncertainty. In this climate anyone can begin to build an alternative present, reconfigure failed narratives, decipher meaning from continual flux. So we imagine the city of Berlin driven by these energies. Pariser Platz is our point of departure. An iconic tourist trap, it is the site where Michael Jackson once dangled his baby from his Adlon Hotel balcony in a private-public performance that anticipated the throngs of selfie sticks that now frame every historical site in Berlin. This square is surrounded by largely unseen networks of corporate and national power: it’s where Lockheed Martin, Allianz Stiftungsforum, DZ Bank, and BP Europa reside alongside the U.S. and French embassies. The common tools of visual and political persuasion—variously employed by state and market, left and right, art and commerce—swarm both the biennial as institution and “art” as a category of cultural production. The 9th Berlin Biennale materializes the paradoxes that make up the world in 2016: the virtual as the real, nations as brands, people as data, culture as capital, wellness as politics, happiness as GDP, and so on. The age of the customizable sneaker, political narrowcasting, algorithmic taste, and individuated diet regimes has splintered the universal into a multiplicity of differences. Just as the figure of the individual seems to loom larger than ever, her individuality has been busted up and shattered into fragments by countervalent, contradictory forces. The 9th Berlin Biennale will create a stage for this actor of the self to roleplay her own obsolescence. Our proposition is simple: Instead of holding talks on anxiety, let’s make people anxious. Rather than organizing symposia on privacy, let’s jeopardize it. Let’s give a body to the problems of the present where they occur so as to make them a matter of agency—not spectatorship. Instead of unmasking the present, this is the present in drag.

I AM A PROBLEM

Music Video - 2016 - 07:12 min I AM A PROBLEM is a music video by Will Benedict for the new album I AM A PROBLEM by Wolf Eyes out now on Third Man Records. An illegal alien is interviewed by Charlie Rose, the Eiffel Tower is a lighthouse and as usual the world is raining bodies. Will Benedict, b. 1978 in Los Angeles, US. Lives and works in Paris.

Blockchain future states

HD Video - 2016 - 03:00 min An explanatory video oultining the promise of Blockchain, the technology behind the world’s best-known alternative crypto-currency Bitcoin. This video, a collaboration between the artist and a commercial firm specialized in information clips, connects the dream of a post-national, distributed network guaranteeing trust with older ambitions of classical economic liberalism. The Blockchain-based future looks very bright and could be just around the corner. Simon Denny (b. Auckland 1982) is an artist who lives and works in Berlin. In his work he explores power, politics and aesthetics. He unpacks the organizational structures that shape our lives, be they governmental, corporate, architectural, legal or rhetorical. Questioning how changes in technology alter our experience of the world, Denny’s work is as multi-layered and complex as the reality in which we now find ourselves.  courtesy the artist and Galerie Buchholz Berlin/Cologne/New York

abduct

HD Video - 2015 - 05:45 min The actors in alphabetical order: Robin Baker Summer Bills Claire Buckingham Mahalet Dejene Aurelien Gaya Zac Porter Eva Sólveig

S/S 2013

Fashion Film - 2012 - 03:37 min September 7th 2012 TELFAR presents its 15th ready-to-wear collection for Spring/Summer 2013 entitled FORMALE;LIFE. S/S13’s FORMALE;LIFE collection seamlessly reshapes TELFAR’s classic summer basics to create a convertible collection of clothing which easily transitions from intimate lounge wear to formal leisure attire. By applying detachable detailing to cotton summer basics, each item uniquely functions and adapts to fit a variety of activities in daily life. To accompany the FORMALE;LIFE collection, TELFAR also introduces a new line of sterling silver jewelry and wearable accessories for the individual on the go. To present S/S13’s FORMALE;LIFE collection Artists Lizzie Fitch, Nick Rodrigues & Ryan Trecartin have again collaborated with TELFAR to create a multimedia retail experience and installation entitled SHOP-MOBILE2.0. Fitch & Rodrigues introduce new display features to the TELFAR mobile shopping structure, as Trecartin directs a video trailer documenting S/S13’s FORMALE;LIFE. TELFAR is the eponymous unisex line of fashion prodigy and international celebrity Telfar Clemens. Born in New York and raised in Liberia, his line carves a completely unique territory in the fashion landscape by defining a brand which is neither conceptual nor accessible — but both in extremis. This paradox is nowhere more evident than in TELFAR’s design philosophy of simplexity™. Simply put TELFAR is Extremely Normal™.

MAINSTREAM FLUID

TELFAR is the eponymous unisex line of fashion prodigy and international celebrity Telfar Clemens. Born in New York and raised in Liberia, his line carves a completely unique territory in the fashion landscape by defining a brand which is neither conceptual nor accessible — but both in extremis. This paradox is nowhere more evident than in TELFAR’s design philosophy of simplexity™. Simply put TELFAR is Extremely Normal™.

S/S 2016

TELFAR is the eponymous unisex line of fashion prodigy and international celebrity Telfar Clemens. Born in New York and raised in Liberia, his line carves a completely unique territory in the fashion landscape by defining a brand which is neither conceptual nor accessible — but both in extremis. This paradox is nowhere more evident than in TELFAR’s design philosophy of simplexity™. Simply put TELFAR is Extremely Normal™.

Critical Mass : Pure Immanence

HD Video - 2015 - 11:22 min The recent video ‘Critical Mass: Pure Immanence’ is inspired by the last essay by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze: ‘Life: Pure Immanence’ (1995), a text that articulates the ultimate integration between all elements and oppositions, presented within the form and limitations of dance music. It resonates with the recurring sentiment in electronic dance music that calls for unity, for altered states of consciousness and experience beyond society’s divisions. Motivational speaking has become an important element in the relatively recent genre of Electronic Dance Music, Hardstyle. It is part of a mostly Dutch phenomenon that represents the next step in dance events, creating whole environments which are, according to De Vries, celebrations of the artificial and synthetic in sound and visuals. Sources: 1 The lyrics are inspired by the last essay from Gilles Deleuze: Pure Immanence : Essays on A Life (1995) 2 The Source code of Creation by Noisecontrolers 3 Digital Nation: ‘In my House’ by Technoboy, Tuneboy & Isaac. Anne de Vries is an artist working in Berlin and Amsterdam.

New Eelam 'Liquid Citizenship' lift

HD Video - 2016 - 02:14 min New Eelam is a longterm artwork in the form of a startup. It imagines the future of citizenship in an age of technologically accelerated dislocation. Based on collective co-ownership rather than private property, it is a strategy to rewire property relations through the luxury of communalism rather than of individual ownership. This short promotional film introduces the post-capitalist venture and speculates on how a new economic system could evolve without friction out of the current one.  Christopher Kulendran Thomas was born in London in 1979 after his family left Sri Lanka’s escalating racial conflict. His work imagines a distributed alternative to the ancient Tamil homeland of Eelam which was wiped out in Sri Lanka's civil war. Exhibitions include Tate Liverpool’s historical survey ‘Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making 1789-2013’, ‘Co-Workers’ at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and ‘Bread and Roses’ at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.