IN & OUT, 2004/2013

at Souterrain Berlin 2013
Curated by Isabel Holert and Felix Laubscher

Die Klimananlage ist das Schicksal.

Having the memory of being socially excluded or just feeling “different” from others in a room is enough to change our perception of the environment around us. Such feelings can prime individuals to sense, for example, that a room in which they’re standing is significantly colder than it is. One likely mechanism is through the autonomic nervous system. When people feel excluded, blood vessels at the periphery of the body (in the fingertips, for example) may narrow, preserving core body heat.

Art institutions are mostly considered to be power structures defining what is included or excluded from public view. Three-dimensional art of any kind is a physical fact. The physicality is its most obvious and expressive content. Where everything in the room talks to everything. There is an input/output relationship which becomes radically ambiguous. What goes in? What goes out? In a situation where the whole room becomes a body with different openings and these openings can be openings that allow for input and output. Art is essentially something that is produced. What is overestimated is the power and potential of things.

Between any urban constructions -private or public- is air. The weather is the most important factor in contemporary urban life. Weather has come to be the symbolic power that, in many ways, defines collective psychology?the collective sensibility of a city. A hurricane is considered by meteorologists as a self-assembled steam roller, running things through a cycle of cold and hot, running out of energy, and it keeps its shape long enough for us to name them?we give them names, we ran out of women’s so now we’re giving them men’s names. We give them names because they are creatures which inhabit the atmosphere. However, these are creatures that create themselves. They don’t have genes, they don’t have anything that tells them what to do. They are completely spontaneous creatures.

Weather is usually also the most important topic of public conversation. It allows us experience a city as a totality, connects a city dweller to the heavens, to fate, to the universe. In this sense, the introduction of air conditioning is the most radical manifestation of modern utopian atheism. To turn a city into a true utopian totality means to create a system of air conditioning for the whole city. In this case, the difference between private and public truly disappears. By following what technology wants, we can be more ready to capture its full gifts.

We derive income from transforming the earth into goods, but you can‘t keep on transforming the earth. The 21st century is not about accumulating material wealth like the 20th century. It‘s already eroding. Human beings, due to their openness to the world, are extremely vulnerable – from a biological level, to the juridical and social levels, to the symbolic and ritual levels. We are always trying to create and find a protective environment. The task of building convincing immune systems is so broad and so all-encompassing that there is no space left for nostalgic longings. This is an ongoing task that has to be performed and theorized with every technique that is available. There is no way back.

hot room/left
cold room/right