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To be or not to be Mouchette

Seven artists, seven museums – these are the nodes of the exhibition of the same name, which will be shown in North Rhine-Westphalia from September 16 to November 11. The project by the Kultursekretariat NRW Gütersloh, curated by the Leipzig art historian Matthias Weiß, does not stop at the metaphor of the net, but presents seven international positions that deal with the Internet in the narrowest and broadest sense of the word, and use it as material and a medium.

The works of the artist Mouchette are connected by a critical examination of core contemporary themes. The role of the museum and its depot as public property, i.e. as common property, is touched upon in the work of Cornelia Sollfrank, who investigates the problematic question of “intellectual property”, the commercialization of images, and their exploitation rights in the age of the Internet at the Märkisches Museum Witten. Sascha Büttner explores production conditions for artists in his installation “Trashpavilion” at the Foundation Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, where visitors can conduct their own research. In a subtle way, Carlo Zanni links his own experiences as an artist at home in both Italy and the USA to experiences of migration and condenses them into a poetic audiovisual installation at the Kunstmuseum Ahlen.

Ilona Johanna Plattner uses interventions and performances at the Städtisches Museum Gladbeck, Schloss Wittringen, to investigate the tension between real (urban) history and the representation of her artistic alter ego, the “Mystic”, in the context of three dramatic acts, thus addressing the role of the fictional in relation to the possibilities of the Internet as well. The Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen will host 13-year-old artist Mouchette, a person who exists only on the Internet. Her examination of child suicide is based on statements by real people who use Mouchette’s website as a communication platform. Using small portions of artificial intelligence, tiny synaptic motors constitute Jens Brand’s “Notbot”, which will relate to the world at the Zentrum für Internationale Lichtkunst, Unna. This network can be perceived as a sculpture and reacts to its environment in various ways: sometimes it freezes, sometimes it forms patterns, sometimes it remembers past states.

Under global conditions, Richard Kriesche interweaves the world-dominating information systems of Google and the stock exchange in eight projections in the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl and shows, with the help of charts appropriate to the stock exchange, that computerization and capitalization merge into one. He criticizes the traditional concept of art and its excessive objecthood, which is reflected in auctions of contemporary art works for unimaginable prices. All these positions show that art with the Internet does not necessarily mean just sitting in front of screens. Net Art–one interest of the exhibition “Nodes”–expands contemporary art rather than merely serving the festival circus from transmediale to ars electronica.