Spaces of Faux Intimacies: Act One

5 Feb 2021 – 21 Feb 2021

Regular hours

14:00 – 18:00
14:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 16:00
12:00 – 16:00

Save Event: Spaces of Faux Intimacies: Act One

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Spaces of Faux Intimacies: Act One is the first part of a series of interventions unfolding over a year, exploring intimacy in the wake of socially distanced capitalism, digital technologies and the pandemic. 


Participating artists: Jasmina Al-Qaisi, Marija Bozinovska Jones, Lou Drago, Farah Hazim, Jessika Khazrik, Claire Tolan

Visiting hours: Thursday – Friday from 2 to 6pm, Saturday & Sunday from 12 to 4pm and by appointment

In “The Faux Intimacy of Capitalism” an article which dates back to 2006, David Beer, Professor of Sociology at the University of York, highlights how capitalism has infiltrated the affective registers of our social life. It’s the year 2021 and the capitalist forces that we were trying to abstain from 15 years ago seem to have grown smarter and stronger as our dependency on Internet technology grows. Screened semblances of intimacy are promised to us within only a few swipes away. The user as a flâneur browses through a vast collection of online profiles to find their next better match or even their longing for a new meaningful connection. Against the backdrop of today’s neoliberal, hyper-connected society, relationships are treated more like transactions, and speed profile viewing has come to replace our desire for physical and emotional connections.

This social transformation seems to be part of a larger shift in contemporary culture; hauntingly similar to online shopping, the user is promised the fantasy of emotional abundance: by being reduced to commodity value, individuals can be seen as easily upgradeable, replaceable entities in an endless network of trade outs. At the same time, online policing and mass surveillance has rapidly taken a darker turn. It is indeed poignantly true that we voluntarily produce an overwhelming amount of highly sensitive information which in turn, and under zero cost is granted to the Internet and tech monopolies. Our most intimate disclosures are surrendered to algorithms that are subtly operating in the background, turning our profiles, preferences, demographics, and conversations into ciphers which are then being forwarded to advertisers and corporate conglomerates to “customize” and improve our next intimate experiences.

As the pandemic and the accompanying social distancing measures are driving us even further apart, and amid the already existing environmental, economic, social, and political turbulence around the world, how can we work together to produce new channels of care, social resilience, and affective solidarity? How can we refocus our attention and reappropriate the use of technology to resist the increasing individualization, commodification, and subjugation of ourselves and others in a more truthful-to-our-emotional-complexities way? And, lastly, how can we actively practice and engage in true intimacy instead of accepting a given, faux, capitalistic, intimate “pretense”, as David Beer in his closing remarks tellingly points out?

Spaces of Faux Intimacies brings together artists from various disciplines to reflect and contribute to the discussion through individually commissioned auditory works. By using the spatial layering of the facade of Centrum as a mediator of the interior and exterior space, the auditory pieces will be broadcasted in a loop. Visitors can experience the works exclusively from the exterior of the space during the aforementioned visiting hours, and also by appointment. 

In addition to in situ or passerby visits, the exhibition will also be presented online at fauxintimacies.online so that the audience can listen to the auditory pieces from anywhere in the world. 

Spaces of Faux Intimacies is curated by Katerina Gnafaki. The exhibition is part of the Vorspiel program of the CTM and transmediale festival 2021 and made possible with the generous support of Musikfonds, by means of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

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Katerina Gnafaki

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