Dissolution, the antonym of union, an attitude in the Western world growing in popularity as the failures of global capitalism have triggered a response of isolationist actions and policies in Europe and beyond. Brexit, the rise of the right wing parties in Germany, France, and Spain in response to those nations’ immigration crises and terrorism, and Donald Trump’s Republican candidacy for the American presidency signal a naïve attempt to withdraw from a world that was formed by colonialist practices, yet will not take responsibility for its own historical actions.
Scientific research has shown that humans’ social skills and ability to work towards a common goal is one of the primary reasons that we survive and flourish in the world, and yet the trend of Libertarian-style individualism continues to grow. It should be noted that visual artists are among the most nonconformist in society, as their practices prize unconventional thinking, yet look around in Brooklyn and one will find a multitude of artist collectives and cooperatives. Whether it is in search of sustained viability or a response to the capitalist structure of the art market, the model of individual artists working together is thriving.
Case in point: Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Scotty Enterprises. Tiger Strikes Asteroid, founded in 2009, has branched out to four U.S. cities, and Scotty Enterprises has maintained an ambitious program since 2008. Tiger Strikes Asteroid NY will host six Scotty Enterprise artists who will present work that relates to the current state of crisis in the European Union.
Annette Sonnewend’s neon piece is in a reference to „Die Hamletmaschine“ from Heiner Müller with this passage: “I was Hamlet. I was standing on the coastline, speaking with the surge. BLA BLA, behind me the ruins of Europe.” Simone Häckel’s Gespenster’s video of children wearing ghost-like bed sheets is eerily reminiscent of the images of children seen crossing the borders and shores in Greece. Charlotte Bastian’s Patchwork series depicts a collaged landscape that serves as a metaphor of urbanization and cultural development. Julia Krewani’s Crotian Kuna coin spins by itself on a table, a symbol of economic currency that loses all value once crossing into another state’s borders. The material loss in the surface of Bettina Weiß’s paintings serves as signs of fraying structures and treaties. Juliane Zelwies’s video, “Common Land, Common Fear” is about a Canadian debating club arguing immigration polices. Additionally, Juliane Zelwies will ask individual visitors to sit down at a table with her during the exhibition and engage in a discussion about the art market. Based on their experiences, interests, and how the conversation evolves, the artist and participant will engage in drawing personal maps together.
Let this exhibition then be a protest, an act of resistance to the shortsighted visions of the right, and a rebuke to the cynicism that pervades politics. We need to form a more perfect union, as it is our only way out.