Index presents an exhibition of recent work by Sidsel Meineche Hansen. OVER is the joint title of the exhibition and a mobile application that is activated by a number of wall-mounted sculptures in the exhibition, titled Hollow Eyed (#1-8). The project explores automation in contemporary working conditions. Through the production of the OVER mobile application, the artist critically examines the infrastructure and ideologies behind app-based business models, exemplified by the car service Uber, which cuts the “dead mile” in an allegedly frictionless space of connectivity (literally the unpaid drive on the way to the customer, and in a wider sense the gap between client and service operator), but simultaneously waives its workers’ rights based on the imperative of the “sharing economy”. The video Maybrey Foundry, in contrast, shows an industrial site for production of silicon metal, a raw material for the digital economy most commonly used in the manufacture of microchips, where the sculptures of the exhibition were cast.
In the exhibition, the series of wall-mounted sculptures function as trigger-objects for the app, which can be downloaded (for Android) or installed in the gallery. The sculptures, shaped as distorted emoticons, activate a layer of animation through a smartphone camera. Superimposed on to the space of the exhibition, the animation narrates a short script spoken by an anonymous A.I. robot that reflects on augmentation in parallel to new forms of fascism. The logo of the Augmented Reality app visually mimics the logo of Uber’s car service and is inscribed with an anti-fascist symbol. In addition to the logo, a third piece Anti-fa (2017), also cast in silicon metal, hangs from Index’s office façade in order to physically demarcate the space. The work was made after the closure of the project space LD50 in London in February 2017 following protests against its affiliation with neo-reactionary and alt-right ideologies. The artist’s reuse of anti-fascist symbolism aims to contribute to existing oppositions to the online echo chambers of the extreme right by highlighting the cultural correlation between virtual and physical space, and to find a way to deal with the current culture wars fuelled by the rise of the extreme right.
A zine-style reader titled OVER ON UBER is included in the exhibition, which gathers articles and other relevant reading material on issues of labour, automation, sexism and racism in digital and app-based economies.
OVER continues previous works by Sidsel Meineche Hansen that examine virtual space as a continuation of capitalist reality. Hansen is an artist based in London. Her work includes woodcut prints, sculptures, CGI and VR animations which foreground the body’s industrial complex in the pharmaceutical, porn and tech-industries. Hansen studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main and Goldsmiths College, London. Recent exhibitions include OVER, Ludlow 38, New York (2017), SECOND SEX WAR at Trondheim Kunstmuseum (2016) and Gasworks, London (2016), No Right Way 2 Cum at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2016), ONE-Self at Künstlerhaus Bremen and Temporary Gallery, Cologne (2015), and INSIDER at CUBITT, London (2015). Her work has been included at Sundance Festival 2018. In November 2018 Hansen will open a solo show at Kunst-Werke, Berlin.