It takes place in a fully occupied, utterly crammed room in a hostel. Amid an atmosphere of increasing day-to-day racism, celebrity cultism, widespread stereotyping, postcolonial diversity challenges, and the pressures of almighty economics, five traveling culture workers of various backgrounds, all of whom live in a state of precarity; Apple’s virtual personal assistant, Siri; and several computer-game avatars enter a battle of spoken word that focuses on their experiences and dreams. They constantly switch roles and simultaneously form a sort of chorus, which contradicts the mundane reports of their daily activities. The hostel room where the scene takes place is outfitted with the obligatory bare bunkbeds but also offers diverse tools for self-improvement, such as exercise balls, stair-climbers, yoga mats, and climbing ropes. As though partaking in joint exercise, the people in the room struggle to have their voices heard and form shifting alliances. The characters’ stories are largely based on the experiences and dreams of the participating performers.
Stefan Panhans’s oeuvre investigates popular culture, with particular focus on the digitization that is impinging more and more upon all areas of life. Two subjects the artist regularly returns to are social media and the aesthetics of computer-game worlds, as well as their interaction with and repercussions on the “analogue world,” that is, their impact on our bodies, language, and behavior—in fact, upon the formation of our entire identities. As an artistic researcher, Panhans has undertaken a sort of psycho-archaeology of contemporary media. Of crucial importance in his investigations are the issues of enforced self-optimization and the flexibility required of one’s self-conception in this era of the global economy.