Exhibition

DoMeStiCaLia: The Politics Of Repression

26 Jun 2007 – 30 Jun 2007

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videographics work raises questions about the role of technologies in our domesticated relationship with the environment.

London, United Kingdom

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  • Old Street / Liverpool Street

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Domesticalia: The Politics of Repression is an exhibition that explores the subject of both external and internal repression in Western societies, and its resulting domestication of the individual.

About

Are we domesticated by a system that gives us enough to abide by but not enough to break away? Pierre Gerard, Bruce Tanner and Christopher Reinhardt´s artistic work illustrate the city environment, the routines that are part of it, and our acceptance of alienation as something innate to our condition. Dash McDonald´s performance exemplifies impeccably the meaning of obedience and conformity individuals submit themselves to nowadays. The artist, equipped with remote-controlled skates, willingly exposes his body to the total manipulation of an external agent, with the ignorance or unconsciousness of who doesn´t (want to) know about the possible consequences. 

Historically, there has been a shift in relation to the maintenance of the social discipline by ruling systems, from the use of legitimate violence in totalitarian systems to subtle strategies based on self-vigilance and internalized inhibition in our demo-liberal societies. The fundamental elements for the consolidation of such a state of repression lie mainly on the monopoly of violence and its manifestation through the media. *Christina Eberhart´s broadcasted pictures of violence from the Iraq War show how images of violence have been converted into a fundamental part of the televised spectacle, in accordance with the requirements of the hegemonic power. The identification of the Other as the violent one, the enemy, is also sustained in the idea of crime and internalised fear of crime as a form of social control. What makes the presence and authority of the police tolerable for the population, if not fear of the criminal? Blue Curry´s interests explore the impact of street crime associated to social control. In Nooshin Farhid´s video, a tower of council buildings embodies the overloud failure of a social and political system that claims justice and equal opportunities for everybody. 

In such a strict supervised environment is there still room either for the experience of real transgression or spontaneous enjoyment? What is the role to be played by the artists in our superabundant and saturated with aesthetics, societies where art increasingly tends to be used to stimulate consumption? Thurle Wright´s work shows the triumphant consumer culture over art, where commodities are just functional objects that generate a sophisticated game of identifications. Her work also evidences those less prestigious "non-places" where women are still in mayority. In a unified cultural, entertaining and working area, Chris Waite does not underestimate the meaning of the purchasing act also as a patriotic tool. Consumerism leads us to ask which is the consumer and which the product? Peter Stanley and Arlette Ess´ exploration into the process of accumulation, repetition, sameness and pattern reveal the resulting conflict between power and identity and the condition of the human being equalled to that of the commodity. Paul Eachus´ schizophrenic cosmologies echoes the familiar image of the world-wide superabundant space as much as that of the impossibility to recognize our position in the world.

We are urged to express ourselves, be creative, original, different, break the rules and even rebel but these words do not belong any longer to the politics of transgression but to that of the business and corporate control. James Brook´s work is a precise exemplification of all these virtues by introducing an assisted- ready-made skateboard and a Play Station —symbols of freedom, enjoyment and radicalism from youth culture—, into the neutralized domain of the commercial gallery. The history of modern consumer culture is the history of marketing and packaging always looking for more sophisticated methods of presentation. In their work, Marc Wilson and Steve Mepsted emphasize the tactics of spectacle and the attraction of attention of the entertainment industries, but also the vacuity and negligibility of its production´s process. In this situation, anxiety, frustration and depression are the resulting pathologies of our times. Anthony de Silva, Renée Pfister, Guillaume Krick and Stephanie Pau explore the modern individual´s pathological condition as a community member isolated and voluntary locked up, not in cells, but in his home, work or mind; cut off from the social cohesion necessary for political mobilization.  

Claudia Reyes' videographics porduction rises questions about the role of technologies in our domesticated relationship with the environment. Do we restrict our desires to what technology provides? Does technology enhance these desires? Her work seems to bring to Domesticalia the must-have utopic thinking in modern societies. Mankind evolves not by limitations of circumstance, but through the strongly wish for enhancing our future and consequently our survival.

Monica Sanchez-Argiles

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