PIL 2.0: Russia. be blinded by an inner light – Press Release
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this has never been truer observing the virtual landscape of the Internet. Visual culture is in abundance through every one of our social exchanges. Through this hefty exchange new signifiers are added to appropriated content, which in turn is re-appropriated and distributed anew with further additions to its contextualisation. Most pertinent to this phenomenon is that of the ‘meme,’ which can only be describe as a digital image worth a thousand number of variable meanings – limited only by the imagination of the Internet populous who creates and uses them. They have come to signify a variety of different social exchanges from animated visualizations typography cannot account for, to images emphasising the political as an ironic gesture. Within this visual economy a key feature has been the relatively free exchange of memes, allowing for them to integrate into our linguistic thought process. Yet, in a globalised society it is easy to forget that various countries view open communication as a fundamental threat to their government’s authority. In April of 2015 social media communities went into an uproar, the news... “Putin bans memes!” (bbc.co.uk, 2015). While an obvious over statement in part by the media, it is a common story. One which talks of virtual restriction as synonymous to cultural restriction.
PILproject (PIL) sets out to delve into the political value of its growing meme collection following on from the previous incarnation in 2015, hosted at the Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design. Through the acquisition process one particular meme caught the team’s attention, The Putin Rides meme, which pushed them to investigate the politics of Russia and the Internet further, and how the implementation of the countries recent Internet content law had effected artists operating on the net. Traveling to Russia and contacting several local artist groups and galleries in the Moscow area, the PIL team conducted interviews with these parties to attain a first-hand account of this new Internet legislation and its implications on the artistic practice.
What will manifest for this next chapter of PILproject is an exhibition with two invited artists from Russia reacting to PIL’s meme collection both online and offline. In this sense Rostan Tavasiev and Ksenia Pilsova will create works that will inhabit both the PILproject webpage and Centrespace, VRC. Each artist will be initiating a different key performative element of Internet meme culture from their localities perspective, with Tavasiev’s efforts culminating in an interactive social media performance, hosted via Facebook. Further to this a special issue of the digital magazine “Shit-posting” will be distributed both online and in hard copy in Centrespace, as referential aid to the visual culture of memes. The exhibition and event surrounding it will serve to present the research findings undertaken while in Russia and will examine the effects of control and surveillance, and the dystopia of Internet freedom.
Reference: ‘Russia’s (non)war on memes?’ bbc.co.uk [Online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-32302645 [last accessed: 12/09/16].
Notes to Editor:
Social media performance (Rostan Tavaseiv):
Performance dates’: 3rd October – 29th October.
To join the performance, go to Facebook.com and friend request Hidden Personally (don’t worry he won’t bite!) for regular updates:
Exhibition hosted by Centrespace, Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts, 152 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DY.
Virtual exhibition hosted on: http://pilproject.net
Exhibition dates’: 19th October – 29th October.
Private view: 18th October 6pm to 9pm (open to all).
Ksenia Pilsova (Russia, 1990)
Ksenia Plisova is a Russian artist, born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. She studied fashion and design in the Siberian Federal University and the Omsk State University of Service, and as well graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Art Moscow in 2013. She works with found images and utilizes this process as a tool to produce installations, collages, and objects, which criticize socio-political issues and the notion of a Post-Internet reality. She is currently based in Moscow.
Rostan Tavasiev (Russia, 1976)
Rostan Tavasiev graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow in 2002, and has had solo exhibitions with The Pechersky Gallery, 2015 (Moscow, Russia), CCA in Grozny, 2014 (Grozny, Russia), The National Museum RNO-Alania, 2013 (Vladikavkaz, Russia), and MAMM, 2013 (Moscow, Russia). Tavasiev has also participated in the following group exhibitions, ‘Innovation’, ZUM, 2014 (Moscow, Russia), ‘GOSZAKAZ’, Winzavod, 2013 (Moscow, Russia), and ‘Dreams for those who are awake’, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2013 (Moscow, Russia). He currently lives and works in Moscow.
PIL Project Team:
In terms of the team and its capabilities, all three members are professionals within the arts, and individually have worked with institutions such as the Whitechapel Gallery (London), Waterside Contemporary and Hangar.org. We have associations with local artistic communities such as Five Years (London) and NEoN Digital Arts Festival (Dundee).
Alejandro Ball (Peru, 1983)
Juan Crespo (Spain, 1987)
Enrique Tutor Torres (Spain, 1987)