“...the last thing [Merklein] wants is to be a heroine, but [she] doesn’t have a choice.” (Die Hard)
In her exhibition “DIE HARD” she tells a story about the asymmetrical power structures in which people in their social environment are reduced to only their bodies and looks. The causes lie hidden deep down in the structure of our society, with interpersonal objectification patterns often being defined and influenced by instances of power. According to French social theorist Michel Foucault, human behavior in late-capitalist society is controlled by the government on the basis of different principles and in different forms. However, Foucault’s concept of ‘government’ does not refer to the state’s ruling power, but rather to governing people in the sense of steering, controlling and leading them. In addition to these internalized exercises of power and the socially communicated expectations, the power of the media should not be underestimated. Consequently, individuals also develop a role identity through the media, an imaginary image of themselves, what they should look like and how they should act in social situations.
Mag. Jelena Grabovac / translation: Barbara Wrathall-Pohl