Exhibition: Is This Intimacy?

ClientC'A Curators' Agenda

Is This Intimacy? is a collective exploration of the shifting boundaries and ambiguities of intimacy in our hypermediated present. The exhibition emerges from the exchanges, desires and experiences of a group of millennial artists and curators from across the globe. Is This Intimacy? borrows its title from a meme that circulated heavily online in 2018, whose original image features the protagonist of a 1990s Japanese anime TV series, The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird, an android who mistakes a butterfly for a pigeon, asking himself ‘Is this a pigeon?’ Transformed into a viral meme that turned the original question into a thousand others, (‘Is this a therapist?’ / ‘Is this a cure to my lifelong depression?’/ ‘Is this hell?’ ‘Is this my life?’ / ‘Is this a hacker?’) the image and its transformations illustrate a viral, current state of emotional confusion globally.

How will future art historians treat our digital relations? Probably similar to letters and soap boxes of eras bygone. A subtle reference to the seminal 1956 exhibition This Is Tomorrow, which marked the heyday of late Western capitalism through its relationship to pop culture, Is this Intimacy? is an exercise in translation of some of its key methods, concerns and consequences into the era of global hypercommunication. 

Understanding translation as “the ultimate intimate act”, as Gayatri Spivak states in The Politics of Translation, the exhibition explores the impact of technology on emotional life today. Where Pop Art talked about TV soap operas, cheap furniture, canned soup and the techno-suburban housewife, the showcased artists address our relationship to an ambivalent affective and political environment. Old ideas and new prosthetic technologies, social networks and data clouds coexist, radically blurring previous distinctions of private vs public space. If the meaning of intimacy is ‘to understand oneself, deeply’, as Giovanni Frazzetto recently wrote, how can we become intimate with ourselves in this context? How do we seek, produce, avoid, negotiate and sustain intimacy in an environment dominated by endless flows of data, affective capital and ‘successful’, public images of intimacy?

Produced by BLOCKFREI in the framework of the 5th edition of Curators’ Agenda in collaboration with the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and Krinzinger Projekte.

Alfredo Ledesma Quintana, Anna Lerchbaumer, Anne-Clara Stahl, Bernadette Anzengruber, Darja Shatalova, Eva Rybářová, Laura Stoll, Maximiliane Leni Armann, Mona Radziabari, Paula Flores, Veronika Abigail Beringer. 

Anna Mikaela Ekstrand, Carlota Mir, Chiarina ChenKatrina Longo, Lina Romanukha, Valeria Schiller.

Opening: Thursday, 24 October, 7– 10pm

Schottenfeldgasse 45
1070 Wien

On view: 25 October  — 2 November 2019
Guided tour and artist talk: 26 October, 12 – 2pm
Working hours: Wed – Fri: 3 – 7pm / Sat: 11 – 2pm