DIS-SOLIDARITY

March 4, 2023 – Fuhrwerkswaage Kunstraum, Cologne, Germany

DIS-SOLIDARITY

We live in the moment of cognitive capitalism in which the mental worker or cognitariat is sequestered alone in front of multiple screens, desktops and iPhones, swiping to the right and left and scrolling up and down as well as clicking a mouse. These swipes and clicks are recorded and collated to become what is referred to as Big Data. Big Data is then bought and sold to corporations, policing agencies, and governmental bodies to help track their subjects’ likes and dislikes creating, in the end, an algorithmic dividuality used to generate profit and surveillance. It also has a secondary effect of emphasizing certain patterns of choices which generate self-initiated digital feeds that reinforce attitudes and beliefs – in the end creating information silos that separate us. We are further isolated sensorially by the use of earbuds with which to listen to music and podcasts but which also disengages us from the outside world. A gaggle of politicians, well versed in the dispositifs of the new digital attention economy and social media, utilize these digital outcomes to further elaborate new forms of tribal warfare and extremism. As we all know, we are certainly in a very precarious moment. This condition is what Neidich calls dis-solidarity in contradistinction to solidarity, which has a long history of nurturing human bonds and comradery between individuals and workers as a form of emancipatory politics. According to Neidich, we are in a moment of degenerative solidarity.

The artwork DIS-SOLIDARITY uses the institutional structure of the Kunstverein to push back against this alienating condition. DIS-SOLIDARITY embraces and enhances the underlying institutional condition of the Kunstverein for supportive engagement, camaraderie and cohesion. A Kunstverein is constituted by a group of people or comrades who come together to support cultural institutions and dig deep into their own pockets to do so. This work elaborates new forms of togetherness to overcome the conditions of DIS-SOLIDARITY. It engages with their sense of companionship as a reaction against the reigning digital and algorithmic governance. Each member of the Kunstverein purchases one of the letters of the neon artwork and takes it home with them. Each letter has an individual backing and its own transformer. The process requires negotiation as it is probable that one letter or some letters will be preferred by more than one member. It requires kindness, generosity, and flexibility to agree upon the final outcome: the purchase of all letters. Each member takes one letter home and cares for it there until the time comes, to be decided by the group, to reconvene and assemble the work once again in their Kunstverein. It is this annual social engagement and form of togetherness that it generates that constitutes the real meaning of the work. —Warren Neidich, 2023


From the Society of the Spectacle to the Consciousness Industry

From the Society of the Spectacle to the Consciousness Industry

September 30 – October 10, 2022
Digital Art Festival Taipei 2022

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INTERVIEW: “Post-Truth Society and Activist Neuroaesthetics” by Hsiang-Yun Huang

We are transitioning from a knowledge and information economy to that of the neural economy. Just as the knowledge and information economies subsumed the industrial economy that predated it so too will the neural economy, referred to as neural capitalism, subsume the knowledge and information economy. This new form of capitalism is focused upon the networks of the material brain, using it as a source of data. Through new immanent technologies, like Neuralink and Optogenetics, it will act to normalize our perceptual-cognitive faculties through a process of called neural subsumption. As such all our thoughts conscious and unconscious will provide data for Big Data and what Shoshone Zuboff refers to the Big Other. As she states in “Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospects of an Information Civilization, “False consciousness is no longer produced by the hidden facts of class and their relation to production, but rather by the hidden facts of commoditized behavior modification.” With this transformation will come a complex rearrangement of techniques of power of which neural surveillance is one. This is where Neidich’s beautiful yet critical, suspended neon light sculpture takes off. His speculative sculpture uses flashing words, which appear and disappear to create linked phrases all connected in a three-dimensional lattice of relations which are at the heart of what he calls the consciousness industry. One notices that the sculpture is historically traced in a vertical direction from bottom to top with years directly following the Second World War at the bottom and our present-day situation at the top. The spectacle as a tool of alienation, as was first described by the artist Guy Debord in his book The Society of the Spectacle, was the source of despotism in that period of time, especially in the ways that it organized visuality and created perceptual-cognitive normativity. One might say that it constituted a high form of modernist governmentalization which still depended upon the senses and the distribution of sensibility. In our new chapter of civilization, the idealist suppositions it depended upon had been substituted by a more direct interaction with the material brain and its partner the pseudo brain elaborated in deep learning neural networks. These deep learning neural networks provide an artificial connectome, or totality of all the brain’s connections, which rivals the simulacrum or the pseudo-world, Debord wrote about. As such the Society of the Spectacle has become less important in suppressing agency and social media and googling have become more important. This is what Byung-Chul Han has called Psychopower in which cognitariats happily give up their freedom. Neidich’s understands that this psychopolitics will transition in the coming years to a neural politics or neuropower as the result of direct action upon the brain and mind by a omnipotent Consciousness Industry using the new apparatuses of brain computer interfaces and Optogenetics just to name a couple. But this work is not simply an explanation of these immanent conditions but a reaction against them. He disperses words such as REDISTRIBUTION OF THE SENSIBLE, BRAIN WITHOUT ORGANS, VARIATION, COGNITIVE ACTIVISM, AYAHUASCA in flashing green neon inside the interior of the networks as saboteurs to the subsuming rationality of the Conscious Industry.


The Brain Without Organs: An Aporia of Care

"The Strange Afterlife of Einstein’s Brain," 2022. Installation view at Museum of Neon Art, Glendale, CA.

The Brain Without Organs: An Aporia of Care

April 16 – September 25, 2022
Museum of Neon Art (MONA)
Glendale, CA (US)

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Press
> “Warren Neidich: The Brain Without Organs: An Aporia of Care” in The Brooklyn Rail by Anuradha Vikram
> “MONA presents Warren Neidich’s ‘Brain Without Organs’” in Pasadena Weekly by Luke Netzley

The Museum of Neon Art presents the world premiere of The Brain Without Organs: The Aporia of Care, an exhibition of two large neon installations and a series of blacklight activated paintings by artist Warren Neidich. The exhibition uses light and immersive installations to consider philosophical and conceptual questions around information, capitalism, and the evolution of the brain.

Warren Neidich’s works exist at the border zones of art, science and social justice. Over the past two decades, Neidich has applied neurological and aesthetic approaches to understanding humans’ evolving relationship with information technology. He has engaged these issues from the role of curator, writer, and artist. In 1996 he co-founded Artbrain.org and Journal of Neuroaesthetics. Now 26 years and many exhibitions, symposia, and anthologies later, Neidich’s works continue to question the evolving networks of control, surveillance, and information under capitalism and globalism and how they are redefining and reshaping systems of the brain. MONA Executive Director Corrie Siegel states, “Neon is a technology invented at the turn of the 20th century as a tool of commerce and advertising. The bright shine of electrified noble gas still connects on a deep level with viewers both as material of commerce as well as an aesthetic tool, capturing attention, as well as eliciting wonder. Neidich uses neon light as a throughline in this exhibition to apply Marxist concepts about labor, production, and attention, as well as conjure the possibility of art as a source of awareness and emancipation from the attention economy.”

The title of the exhibition, The Brain Without Organs, is inspired by a concept of “body without organs.” This originated in the writings of Antonin Artaud and was expanded by philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. These thinkers advocated for an understanding of the body as something that is more than the sum of its parts, it is an unbounded entity full of potential which is able to affect and be affected by its surroundings. The Brain Without Organs explores how the brain is both located in the skull as well as an expansive socio-political entity, developing along with machine learning, big data, and social media.

The hanging sculpture “Brain Without Organs” is composed of constellations of levitating branches glowing in white neon tubing. These marks represent sulci (the grooves) and gyri (the folds) on the outer layer of the brain. The sulci and gyri enable the brain to contain more surface area and they also serve as mapping devices for scientists who delineate areas of the brain. Neidich uses a Situationist method of détournement to create an alternative arrangement free from the constraints of an overall plan. In this case, as presented at MONA, Neidich is calling for the brain to become a Chthulucene or Ecocene Brain rather than one which is modeled on the values of the Anthropocene. His hope is to produce technologically friendly ecological machines and systems which will produce new forms of what the Norwegian ecologist Arne Naess referred to as the ecological self, bound to the tenants of deep ecology. In deep ecology humans are bound to nature not dissociated from it. Instead of considering humans superior to other life forms understands them to be equal. Humans are therefore linked to the biosphere and connected to biodiversity.

“The Strange Afterlife of Einstein’s Brain,” is a wall mounted sculpture of branching white and red neon shapes that represent the folds in a section of Einstein’s cerebral cortex. The neon elements are simultaneously gestural, indexical, and abstract. Some studies of Einstein’s brain have found several anomalies that distinguish it from typical human brains. In the work these unique folds are delineated by red neon tubing. By highlighting the neurodivergence of one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century the work brings forth the suggestion that neurodiversity is a generator of possibility, rather than limitations.

A small room filled with black light contains paintings that illustrate the brain both anatomically and abstractly. The folds of the brain branch into emojis, text, and symbolism, bringing to mind the social and political nature of cognitive capitalism in which material labor has been replaced by immaterial labor. The fluorescent marks are reminiscent of diagrams, psychedelic paintings, and text threads, mimicking the expansive use of symbolism in attention economies, but also estranging them from their original context.

In destabilizing symbols for the brain, information, and communication Neidich creates space to consider the way our brains are being rewired by our social conditions. As social and political systems are rapidly changing due to neural networks like the internet, Neidich believes it is possible to expand the expectations and constraints society has applied to the mind through artistic navigation. Neidich’s subtitle for the exhibition, An Aporia of Care, refers to the philosophical concept for a state of puzzlement or doubt. For Neidich aporia serves as a metaphor with which to understand the notion of care during a time when the world is increasingly interconnected. “Art as a form of mental hacking can provide an escape from this imminent disaster – if only we have the consciousness and courage to do so!” states Warren Neidich.


A Proposition for an Alt-Parthenon Marbles Recoded: The Phantom as Other

Warren Neidich. A Proposition for an Alt-Parthenon Marbles Recoded: The Phantom as Other, 2021.

A Proposition for an Alt-Parthenon Marbles Recoded: The Phantom as Other

May 18 – August 21, 2021
Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V.
Berlin, Germany

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In this diagram of a complex assemblage of AIs the psychic energy generated by the phantom limbs is the dominant input through the input layer which sculpts the efficiencies of the connections and synapses of the ANN. But in this case this input is modulated by another source of input from the combined choices made by individuals interacting with the entity through the use of VR-Brain Computer Headsets as well as Eye Tracking Software. Their attention to the various components of the entity also produces data that sculpts the ANN and is responsible for its changing patterns. You notice that some of the words and stringy like structures are black and others are becoming intense in time. That the organization of the Virtual sculpture is constantly changing. The structure is an emerging and generative structure created by the  combined psychic data emanating from the subjects interacting and making choices about what to pay attention to and  the immersive environment and the psychic energy of the phantoms. In the end the subjects are on the one hand looking at the self-reflexive entity they are together producing and the artwork makes visible and opaque the usually invisible and transparent quality of mindedness.


Artists Are Essential Workers / Art Is An Essential Service

Artists Are Essential Workers / Art Is An Essential Service

09.08.2020 – 29.09.2020
Guild Hall Museum
158 Main Street
East Hampton, NY 11937

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30.08.2020
The Garden of Friends
Leiber Collection
East Hampton, NY

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25.09.2020 – 27.09.2020
3day Weekend
The Fireplace Project
East Hampton, NY

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Warren Neidich’s new text based sculptural installation recently installed at Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton, New York, entitled, Artists Are Essential Workers / Art Is An Essential Service is a poetic enunciation and reaction to and resulting from the imminent catastrophe of the spirit in our moment of the Covid epidemic. Neidich’s first act was that of transporting a 76 inch by 126 inch solar powered electronic highway bulletin board, used by municipalities for messaging passerby’s, from the highway to the Guild Hall Parking Lot where its size and context produces an uncanny presence. As such the source of Neidich’s announcement is obscure. Is this message something ordained by the powers in control or the result of another voice outside its dominion? By installing his work in the museum parking lot Neidich continues a trend he inaugurated in in his now famous Drive-By-Art exhibition of annexing formerly unused spaces for cultural provocation. His provocative message Artists Are Essential Workers, Art Is An Essential Service is a shout out to the artist community and museum culture at large, whose importance is always precarious but whose very existence has been put in jeopardy during the pandemic. Neidich is reaffirming the importance of cultural production in  this moment of nihilism. Neidich’s piece is about asking a question: Can we imagine the healed human body without the healed human Spirit? Is it enough?  

Christina Strassfield, Museum Director/Chief Curator noted “Guild Hall was delighted to be the first stop on the tour of this important piece which brings attention to the important role Art and Artists play in our society. The sculpture helped inaugurate our John Drew Backyard Theater’s opening weekend. It will next be viewed at the Leiber Museum and we hope that it can travel to several other locations on the East End and perhaps return to Guild Hall for a final viewing.”

COLLECT X Warren Neidich: Artists Are Essential Workers (Mask)

Warren Neidich and Collect Interior have joined forces to support creatives during the COVID-19 crisis by launching a limited edition of wearable cotton masks inspired by Neidich’s art installation “Artists Are Essential Workers / Art is An Essential Service” (2020). The masks will be available to purchase exclusively through Guild Hall and Warren Neidich Studio. 50% of the proceeds from this collaboration will benefit Guild Hall in East Hampton. 

Press

Warren Neidich on ‘the Emancipatory Capacity of Art’ in The East Hampton Star by Mark Segal

Bring on the Night in Whitehot Magazine by James Salomon

Artists Are Essential Workers in Sag Harbor Express

Artists Are Essential Workers in The Southampton Press

Artists Are Essential Workers/Art Is An Essential Service for the occasion of a special reading at The Fireplace Project by Warren Neidich

My first act was to transport a 76 x 126 inch solar powered electronic highway bulletin board (used by municipalities for messaging passerbys) from its normal resting place alongside freeways and roads to the Guild Hall Museum parking lot where its size and context produced an uncanny presence. Situating an artwork in a parking space reestablished a trend I had already initiated in my now infamous Drive-By-Art exhibition in which formerly unused quasi-public spaces were annexed for cultural provocation. The artwork then circulated throughout South Fork travelling to the Leiber Museum as part of the exhibition, Garden of Friends, to finally rest at The Fireplace Project. At each site, the work reacted to a specific set of contingencies embodied by the sense of place it occupied. At Guild Hall, as I mentioned, it colonized an alternative space beyond the hermetically sealed white cube normally used to display artworks. At the Leiber Collection, it joined a group of friends already exhibiting there, many of whom I had met through the Drive-By-Art project. In its final presentation at The Fireplace Project situated alongside Spring Fireplace Road directed towards oncoming traffic, it finally made it to a situation where it’s dual identity as both artwork and highway apparatus was allowed to express itself. Here it fulfills its historic purpose by engaging the simulated history and nostalgia of the Springs, most notably the Pollock-Krasner House just down the road, as the birthplace of Abstract Expression. However, Andy Warhol lived in Montauk, as did Peter Beard. Dennis Oppenheim raised hell here and, of course, we can’t forget the late, great Keith Sonnier, or the contemporary artists who call this their home; Eric Fischl, April Gornik, Mary Heilmann, and all the artists in this show.

In this rarefied cultural context the message board becomes a readymade platform with which to enunciate messages both troubling and significant. Can one say that “artists are essential workers” and “art is an essential service” especially during this global pandemic? Essential worker and essential service are terms usually reserved for the brave medical personnel on the front lines of the therapeutic panopticon established to battle disease at the medical frontier. At odds with this role, the artist’s position in society is as an outlier, bad boy/girl, anarchist, and recently entrepreneur. This pathos haunts deep pockets and makes the spectator uneasy. No doubt this also has something to with the recent denigration of the artist and artwork as a place of power and importance at the hands of the neoliberal art market, where cultural meaning and value have been subsumed by market value.

I am a romantic and this very romantic notion of an artist reaches back to the beginning of Modernism (and Romanticism before that). Artworks maintained an aura and provoked in the spectator a sense of wonder, soothed the aching soul and challenged crystallized dogma through its radical and enigmatic presentation. That is the rub from which this work establishes its pithy phraseology and creates a platform for the resuscitation of a bygone artistic purpose. I want to find new breaths and rhythms in the respirations of new forms of enunciation that my poetic verse launches in this moment of nihilism. For me, art is life and without it life is not worth living; a fortress against the agony of this interminable bungling of the Covid pandemic at the hands of an unruly narcissism and neoliberal fanatic federalism.

My piece is about asking a question. Can we imagine the healed human body without the healed human spirit? Is it enough? What will the post-pandemic art world and art system look like? Maybe it’s time to renegotiate the status of art as a commodity fetish, its primary raison d’etre, and rather understand the role of the artist and his or her production as a means with which to heal and generate social justice. With half of museums on the edge of bankruptcy and an equal number of galleries on the edge of collapse, the artist as a producer of alternative states of consciousness and solidarity is more crucial than ever.


Specters of the Acephalous (2020)

Specters of the Acephalous (2020)

Something Between Us at KAI10 | Arthena Foundation
Exhibition: March 6 to August 2, 2020
Curators: Ludwig Seyfarth and Harriet Zilch


Noise and the Possibility of a Future

Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello (Venice Conservatory of Music)

Noise and the Possibility of a Future

NOVEMBER 21, 2019
AplusA Gallery

NOVEMBER 22, 2019
Venice Conservatory of Music

NOVEMBER 23, 2019
Zuecca Project Space

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A three-day event of performances, lectures and screenings

Zuecca Projects is happy to announce “Noise and the Possibility of a Future”, a four-day happening consisting of lectures, sound works, workshops and performances taking place at different locations in Venice, and focused on the cultural and political potentialities of noise.

Initiated in collaboration with Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto MarcelloAplusA Gallery and bruno, “Noise and the Possibility of a Future” celebrates and accompanies Warren Neidich´s solo exhibition “Rumor to Delusion” which is currently on view at the Zuecca Project Space as part of the La Biennale di Venezia.

Noise is prevalent in our postindustrial society, whether it be the cacophony of the factory, the war machine that inspired such Futurists as Luigi Russolo, the dissonance of the public space, or the loud music blaring over a loudspeaker in a mall. Noise gets a bad rap as something considered offensive and that needs to be controlled or mitigated. However, noise has another side more positive and emancipatory. These events stake a claim for noise as a liberating mode of production.

Noise and the Possibility of a Future

November 21-23, 2019
Venice Conservatory of Music
Venice, Italy

Untuning Three Black Steinway Pianos at Three Times During the Day

Video, 22:24
In “Untuning,” three piano tuners were asked to untune the same Steinway piano at the three times during the day to what they considered maximum entropy.

Cruise

Video, 10:20
“Cruise” follows the journey of the cruise boat Rhapsody of the Seas through the Canal della Giudecca in Venice Italy accompanied by the speech that Greta Thunberg gave at the UN set to death metal.

Pizzagate: From Rumor to Delusion

Video, 19:19
"Pizzagate: From Rumor to Delusion" is an experimental documentary that describes our post-truth society through the Pizzagate fake news story.


Rumor to Delusion

Rumor to Delusion

10.05.2019 – 24.11.2019
Zuecca Project Space, Giudecca 33, 30133 Venice
58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Italy

Curatorial and Production Team: Lauri Firstenberg, Antonia Alampi, Sanaz Alesafar
Design Coordinator: Chiara Figone

Press Kit

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American artist and theorist Warren Neidich will present his solo exhibition “Rumor to Delusion” at the Zuecca Project Space, to coincide with the opening of the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, in Venice, Italy. In a series of works on view, Neidich captures the entangled and psychedelic tale of the Pizzagate mythology in our post-truth moment.

Pizzagate was the fake news story that was circulated at the end of the 2016 presidential campaign which accused Hillary Clinton and her staff of running a child sex slave ring out of the basement of the Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor in Washington D.C.

Many political scientists refer to our times as the post-truth moment because of the difficulty in discerning whether news stories reflect the truth or not. Neidich asks the question as to whether and to what degree sensationalized fictive news stories command our attention and collective behavior. Do they do so more intensely than factual ones? What role does art play in finding the answers?

These constitute the core issues at play in this exhibition dominated by the Pizzagate Neon, 2017, a monumental multicolored text-based neon sculpture suspended from the ceiling of the front chamber of the exhibition space. Its composition evokes both the iCloud and the connectome, a network-based model of the brain’s dynamic connection pattern.

The artist suggests that with the advent of artificial intelligence, big data and the attention economy, we have entered a later stage of the knowledge economy, in which the brain and mind represent the new sites of the administration of sovereign power. Neidich’s work is reminiscent of the text-based neon sculptures of Bruce Nauman and Mario Merz and pays homage to the politically inflected mind maps of Joseph Beuys and Mark Lombardi.

The sculpture will be accompanied by other works such as the experimental video entitled, Pizzagate: From Rumor to Delusion, 2019, recently premiered at Transmediale Berlin, and a performative sculpture, Scoring the Tweets, 2018, first exhibited at the Priska Pasquer Gallery, Cologne, Germany. Using Internet news streams and raw footage filmed at the Comet Ping Pong, the video acts as a soundtrack in dialogue with the sculpture. It collages the tale of Edgar Welch, who incensed by the fake news story, drove up from North Carolina, automatic rifle in hand, to free the children he thought were incarcerated there, with that of the exaggerated reaction on right-wing news feeds to the discovery of Marina Abramovic’s work Spirit Cooking, 1997, in the WikiLeaks emails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. Scoring the Tweets, 2018, is a delicate sculpture consisting of four sets of graphic scores generated from one-hundred and ninety-four tweets made by Donald Trump commenting on fake news which were cut up and assembled upon scotch tape and then strung across microphone stands. During the opening days, as well as throughout the exhibition, musicians well versed in the techniques of improvisation will perform the scores.

Assembled together, these works begin to unravel the complex cultural, political and economic dynamics that define the mediated mass hysteria of American life today. During the opening of the exhibition, Neidich will also launch his book “Glossary of Cognitive Activism”, published by Archive Books. It will form the basis of soon to be announced series of performative lectures and talks taking place in the gallery as well as a multidisciplinary symposium on fake news.

With the kind support of Priska Pasquer Gallery, Cologne; Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zurich; Innovation Foundation, Los Angeles.
Sponsored by Kienbaum.

The Glossary of Cognitive Activism (for a not so distant future)

2019 Anagram/Archive Books

This glossary is meant to accompany the three-volume publication The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism Part 1, 2 and 3. It reflects the concerns contained in those volumes. It marks the beginning of a long-term process of creating a dictionary of terms with which to understand and eventually destabilize the complex ways through which a future Neural Capitalism will work in creating contemporary forms of neural subsumption.

On Cognitive Capitalism

Interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist

Rumor to Delusion

May 5 – November 24, 2019
Zuecca Project Space
La Biennale di Venezia, Italy

Scoring the Tweets

Rumor to Delusion
9.05.2019 – Opening performance
Zuecca Project Space
La Biennale di Venezia, Italy

Pizzagate: From Rumor to Delusion

Video, 19:19
"Pizzagate: From Rumor to Delusion" is an experimental documentary that describes our post-truth society through the Pizzagate fake news story.


Infinite Spectres and the Anarchy of Time Plus 1, 2016

Barbara Seiler, Zurich, 2016

[aesop_gallery id="5619" revealfx="off" overlay_revealfx="off"]


Color of Politics / The Statisticon Neon

Color of Politics + The Statisticon Neon

Color of Politics
April 28 – June 24, 2017

The Statisticon Neon
April 28 – August 19, 2017

Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V.
Linienstraße 40 – Berlin, Germany

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In this blindfolded performance Warren Neidich explains his Statisticon Neon for the German-French TV show Arte. The STATISTICON is the central node at the heart of a complex network composed of multiple streams, including algorithmically derived smart and sustainable architecture and urban design; the internet of things, the Internet of Everything (IoE); neural capitalism and neural technology; processes of valorization—which include branding and public relations—neural consumerism and neural economics, and the technologies of affect integrated into various—primarily virtual—media.

ENGLISH:

The Statisticon Neon (2017) pays homage to Joseph Beuys monumental work Das Kapital Raum 1970-1977 originally shown in the German Pavillon in Venice in 1980 and today on loan to Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie as part of Erich Marx’s Beuys-Block. Neidich mounts his diagrammatic work in multicolored neon upon a non-formal arrangement of black boards that echo the original Beuys’ installation much as a technicolor film would a black and white. His neon looks at the relationship between art and society some forty years later taking into account the role of the internet and its effect on labor and capital.

The 21st century has been called the century of the brain and recently we have transitioned from Post-fordism to cognitive capitalism where the mind and brain are the new factories of the 21st century. While the internet was still an experimental paradigm at the time of Beuys’ work we now labor for free on Facebook, Instagram and Google producing data that creates individual data profiles, later sold to corporations and security firms. Today, formal subsumption of the labor of the proletariat has transitioned to real subsumption, in which our entire life is consumed by work, and we have become cognitariats. The Neon Statisticon links this development with the recent neurologic turn in which the action of capitalism is directed to the brains neural plasticity something, which Neidich has called neuropower or Neuromacht.

Color of Politics

Color like money and language has become deregulated. Color is no longer tethered to form and meaning and becomes a vehicle through which emancipated feelings, political intrigues and resistance to institutional normalization processes can become realized. Warren Neidich uses color to recoup the political conditions of creating meaning – summarized in the three part neon-painting Red, White, and Blue (2007).

In the Afterimage Paintings, (2016) red neon sculptures spell the names of German emigrants Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler and Lion Feuchtwanger all of which were later blacklisted in Hollywood as communists and thus never were granted a star on Hollywood Boulevard. Neidich remedies this by activating complementary colored afterimages that are then projected upon empty painted stars mimicking those found on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the Archive of False Accusations (2016) vitrines illuminated by lavender neon light display found press clippings reporting on what has become known as The Lavender Scare – a less known facet of Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunt to root out communist sympathizers.

In a second room a large three-dimensional cloudlike sculpture is installed: Pizzagate – named after the infamous conspiracy tale culminating in sniper Edgar Welch wanting to rescue the supposed sexually abused children he believed to held in the basement of Comet Ping PongPizzagate exposes the apparatuses and patterns of flow and connectivity that generate False News and define click bait as well as understanding that in cognitive capitalism the new site of governmentalization in the new attention economy is the brain’s neural plasticity, especially that found in the frontal cortex where attention and working memory are located. It also shows that the still virulent rumor based entirely on Fake News by now reaches well into the art world. If you want to find out how that works without fault you should try out Neidich’s most recent sculpture the small experimental setup Trump Cup (2017).

DEUTSCH:

The Statisticon Neon (2017) ist eine Hommage an Joseph Beuys’ monumentales Werk Das Kapital Raum 1970-1977, das zuerst 1980 im Deutschen Pavillon in Venedig zu sehen war und sich heute als Leihgabe in der Neuen Nationalgalerie / Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin befindet. Neidich montiert sein diagrammatisches, von buntem Neonlicht gepägtes Werk auf eine zwanglose Anordnung schwarzer Tafeln, die eine Art Echo auf Beuys’ Installation sind und sich zu dieser vergleichbar einem Technicolor- zu einem Schwarzweissfilm verhalten. Das Neonlicht veranschaulicht die Beziehung zwischen Kunst und Gesellschaft rund vierzig Jahre nach Beuys’ Werk, insbesondere die Bedeutung des Internets und seine Auswirkungen auf Arbeit und Kapital.

Das 21. Jahrhundert ist als Jahrhundert des Gehirns bezeichnet worden, seid wir jüngst vom Postfordismus in den Kognitiven Kapitalismus übergegangen sind. Der Geist und das Gehirn sind die neuen Fabriken des 21.Jahrhunderts. Während das Internet zur Zeit von Beuys’ Werk noch ein begrenztes Experiment war, arbeiten wir heute unbezahlt für Facebook, Instagram und Google, indem die von uns produzierten Daten individuelle Datenproflle ergeben, die später an Unternehmen und Sicherheitsfirmen verkauft werden.

Heute hat sich die formale Subsumption der Arbeit des Proletariats in eine reale Subsumption transformiert, in der unser ganzes Leben von Arbeit konsumiert wird, und wir sind Kognitarier geworden. Das Statisticon Neon verbindet diese Entwicklung mit dem in letzter Zeit erfolgten neurologischen Turn, in dem die Aktivität des Kapitalismus die Neuroplastizität des Gehirns mit etwas verbunden wird, das Neidich neuropower oder Neuromacht genannt hat – ein Begriff, der direkt in die Ausstellung im 2. Stock weiterführt.

Color of Politics

Wie das Geld und die Sprache ist auch die Farbe dereguliert worden. Farbe ist nicht mehr mit Form und Bedeutung verknüpft und wird ein Vehikel, durch das emanzipierte Gefühle erzeugt, politische Intrigen initiiert, aber auch Widerstand gegen institutionelle Normalisierungsprozesse realisiert werden kann. Warren Neidich setzt Farbe ein, um die politischen Voraussetzungen, Bedeutung zu schaffen, wiederzugewinnen – zusammengefasst in dem dreiteiligen Neonbild Red, White, and Blue (2007).

Bei den Afterimage Paintings (2016) bilden rote Neonskulpturen die Buchstaben der Namen der deutschen Emigranten Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler und Lion Feuchtwanger, die alle später in Hollywood als Kommunisten auf der schwarzen Liste standen und denen deshalb nie einen Stern auf dem Hollywood Boulevard gewidmet wurde. Neidich berichtigt dies, indem er komplementär gefärbte Nachbilder erzeugt, die dann auf leere gemalte Sterne projiziert werden, Nachahmungen derjenigen auf dem Hollywood Walk of Fame. In dem Archive of False Accusations (2016) sind in Vitrinen von lavendelfarbenem Neonlicht beleuchtet. In ihnen liegen gefundene Zeitungsausschnitte, in denen von dem „Lavender Scare“ berichtet wird, einer weniger bekannten Facette in Joseph McCarthy’s Hexenjagd auf Sympathisanten des Kommunismus: Nicht-heterosexuelle Menschen (lesbisch, schwul, bisexuell oder transgender) verloren ihre Positionen im Regierungsapparat.

Der zweite Raum wird  von Neidichs neuester Skulptur Pizzagate beherrscht – eine große, dreidimensionale, wolkenartige Struktur, benannt nach der berüchtigten Verschwörungsgeschichte, die darin kulminiert, dass der Scharfschütze Edgar Welch die vermeintlich sexuell misshandelten Kinder retten will, von denen er glaubt, dass sie im Keller des Comet Ping Pong Pizza Restaurants gefangengehalten werden. Pizzagate stellt die Apparate und Muster der Ströme und der Anschlussmöglichkeiten heraus, die Fake News hervorbringen, die Köder definieren und auch das Verständnis, dass in der neuen Aufmerksamkeitsökonomie des Kognitiven Kapitalismus der neue Ort der Gouvernementalität die Neuroplastizität des Gehirns ist, vor allem derjenige im frontalen Cortex, wo die Aufmerksamkeit und das Arbeitsgedächnis angesiedelt sind. Es zeigt auch, dass die unablässigen ausschließlich auf Fake News basierenden Gerüchte mittlerweile weit in die Kunstwelt hineinreichen. Wer herausfinden möchte, wie einfach das funktioniert, sollte den kleinen experimentellen Aufbau in Neidichs jüngster Skulptur Trump Cup (2017) ausprobieren.


The Palinopsic Field

The Palinopsic Field

June 15 – August 14, 2016
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)
Los Angeles, CA (US)

Gallery Page

LACE presents Warren Neidich: The Palinopsic Field, an exhibition that revisits the Second Red Scare and the Lavender Scare, events following World War II in which Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee directed a witch hunt against many artists and writers suspected of having affiliations with the Communist Party, and many homosexuals who were deemed “sexually perverse.” Using painting, neon sculpture and installation, the project resurfaces this history and gives us a fresh outlook through which to view and understand this moment.

The Afterimage Paintings consists of red neon sculptures that spell out the names of blacklisted writers Dalton Trumbo, Lester Cole, Ring Lardner Jr. and Alvah Bessie that incite an afterimage in the eyes of observers. Each sculpture is paired with an unfinished painting of empty stars that mimic those found on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The neon instigates a palinopsia, or afterimage in the beholder, who can shift their gaze and allow the imaginary image to fall in the empty space of the painted star. Nine out of ten of the original Hollywood Ten do not have stars on Hollywood Boulevard, and through this experience viewers can actively right this historical wrong.

The second work, The Archive of False Accusations, includes an installation of vitrines that highlight The Lavender Scare. Newspaper and magazine clippings, sourced at a variety of LGBT archives in and around Los Angeles, such as the Southern California Library and One National Gay and Lesbian Archives, are displayed and lit by neon lavender light. Outlandish headlines like Perverts in Government, 1950 Inquiry By Senate on Perverts Asked, 1950 and Vice Squads Sex Files Sealed Pending “ Hill” Investigation, 1950 expose the role of McCarthyism as it intervened to cleanse the government of homosexual employees.

Together, these two works highlight the injustices perpetrated against those that were considered different. Today, as we find ourselves amidst an election cycle one cannot help but draw connections between these events and the trending right wing attacks on immigrants, people of color, and the LGBT community today.

Press

Warren Neidich: LACE 
in Artforum by Andy Campbell

Warren Neidich “The Palinopsic Field” Exhibition at LACE, Los Angeles
in purple ART by Hannah Bhuiya

Here’s Why the Lavender Scare Still Matters
in The Creator’s Project: Vice by Tanja M. Laden


Book Exchange: The Hollywood Blacklist

Book Exchange: The Hollywood Blacklist

January 30 – February 1, 2015
Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair 2015

“Book Exchange: Hollywood Blacklist” is a performative sculpture project whose mode of operation and purpose changes in each venue where it is displayed. For this occasion books authored and about Hollywood authors and actors suspected of being communists who were censored by the House Committee on Un-American Activities led by Joseph McCarthy were first bought off the internet and installed on the shelves of this rotating Modernist bookcase. During the fair visitors are asked to purchase a book from any vendor presenting with which to then make an exchange for one of the books found in the bookcase. It is hoped that by the end of the event all the books will have been distributed from the bookshelves to a heterogenous group of participants who will install them in bookshelves in their homes. Their act and participation refutes the essence of censorship which is to make unavailable to the general public certain forms of information. The bookshelf itself will contain the residue of the experience of the exchange as well as expressing the vast diversity of books being sold and exhibited at the fair.

Press

Los Angeles Art Book Fair 2015
in Flash Art by Noura Wedell


The Mutated Observer, part 1

The Mutated Observer, part 1

California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California, 2001
Photography, Sculpture (Apparatuses), Installation, Dimensions Variable
This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology…

The mutated observer, part 1, installation at California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California
The mutated observer, part 1, installation at California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California

This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology. The works Writing Drawing Painting, Blanquis Cosmology and Conversation Maps were installed alongside compatible historic photographs.

Hybrid Dialectics was an installation in which the devices that I have been working with in the past 6 years were exhibited in vitrines alongside with the museum’s collections of historic photographic and cinematic devices. As such they spoke to the idea that the history of photography, cinema, and new media is a history that is conjoint with the history of the development of the eye, brain, and mind, and that all together they help constitute our idea of the world with which this history is recursively related to.

The mutated observer, part 1
The mutated observer, part 1

The mutated observer, part 1

This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology. The works Writing Drawing Painting, Blanquis Cosmology and Conversation Maps were installed alongside compatible historic photographs.

Hybrid Dialectics was an installation in which the devices that I have been working with in the past 6 years were exhibited in vitrines alongside with the museum’s collections of historic photographic and cinematic devices. As such they spoke to the idea that the history of photography, cinema, and new media is a history that is conjoint with the history of the development of the eye, brain, and mind, and that all together they help constitute our idea of the world with which this history is recursively related to.

The mutated observer, part 1, 2002, detail of hybrid dialectic device
The mutated observer, part 1, 2002, detail of hybrid dialectic device

This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology. The works Writing Drawing Painting, Blanquis Cosmology and Conversation Maps were installed alongside compatible historic photographs.

Hybrid Dialectics was an installation in which the devices that I have been working with in the past 6 years were exhibited in vitrines alongside with the museum’s collections of historic photographic and cinematic devices. As such they spoke to the idea that the history of photography, cinema, and new media is a history that is conjoint with the history of the development of the eye, brain, and mind, and that all together they help constitute our idea of the world with which this history is recursively related to.

The mutated observer, part 1
The mutated observer, part 1

This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology. The works Writing Drawing Painting, Blanquis Cosmology and Conversation Maps were installed alongside compatible historic photographs.

Hybrid Dialectics was an installation in which the devices that I have been working with in the past 6 years were exhibited in vitrines alongside with the museum’s collections of historic photographic and cinematic devices. As such they spoke to the idea that the history of photography, cinema, and new media is a history that is conjoint with the history of the development of the eye, brain, and mind, and that all together they help constitute our idea of the world with which this history is recursively related to.


Acceptable Differences

Acceptable Differences

January 2011
Belgrade Cultural Center, Belgrade
Curated by Maja Ciric

Catalog PDF

Lazar Trifunovic considered art to be a complex phenomenon wherein a lot of other complex phenomena fit in,1 but he pointed out that art, if it is to live with the times wherein it is created, must listen to its sounds, its problems and pains.2

If it is to be relevant in the 21st century, the gallery must simultaneously be an open network, a black box, a white cube, a temple, a laboratory and a situation. It must take on the form of a creative partnership between a curator and a producer, between an art object and the idea of art.3

In view of the fact that contemporary art is merely another niche within the framework of the overall intensive cultural production, especially within the surroundings of web 2.0, art criticism is addressed to a small number of insiders who, even when they really are interested in reading it, do not have too much time for doing so. If criticism has no market value and logic, its chances of finding its own space within the framework of cultural production lies in its being inscribed into curatorial practice.

If the purpose of practice is action itself,4 the kind of action that characterises curatorial practice is aimed at creating a context wherein worlds meet and where continual negotiation between various regimes of knowledge, between art and its public, is stimulated. The policy that I am advocating is not necessarily directed towards finding final solutions but rather towards stimulating dialogues and understandings inside the times wherein we act in combination with historical precedents, theoretical reflections and concrete processes.

Paul O’Neill speaks of the difference between a co-dependent and independent curator.5 According to him, it is not possible to be a curator without being dependent on institutions which one is in continual negotiation with. He stresses the dysfunctional aspect of this relationship, which is often unidirectional and emotionally destructive. Even though the majority of projects come into being through such cooperation, the independence of my being an agent is marked by my determination not to reproduce the system but to introduce a different perspective into institutional operations. An independent perspective is based on information and knowledge characteristic of transnational networks that I belong to, which specifically engage the methodology of curatorial practices. Pursuing this further, I try to ponder how the role of art is modifying the institutional socio-political paradigm.

Contemporary art, without utopian expectations, enables us to reread and reconsider the views of Lazar Trifunovic. My aim here was to stimulate the multiple ontologies of painting and conceptual art and to point out the outdatedness of an essentialist notion of art, reflected in the following view: art has never been so banal and so concrete as to make distinctions between certain political and economic systems – nor is it today.If social systems differ, do people differ as well? Are men/women different today merely because they live within the framework of different productive processes? Art has never counted on elements limited to the ‘national’, in the narrow sense of the term or upon specific socio-economic processes in the broader sense. Rather it has come into being as a product of the spirit, as a result of its conscience. Art has nothing in common with the outer, physical landscape and collective social relations. It only depends on the inner psychological landscape of the creator, on his/her personality.6

What we can conclude from these statements is that Trifunovic is arguing for essentialist things. As such his entire argument calls for the emancipation of the individual from his surroundings and strives for the production of an apolitical art. For art and curatorial practice based on poststructuralism, the discourse of the surroundings is essential. They are both the result of discursive production. Today, through reconstructing the cultural landscape, different formations are created. Post-structuralism is also important for Warren Neidich’s culturally inflected Becoming Brain model whereupon ideas like feminism, post-colonialism and queer theory play as important roles as science in generating knowledge and in sculpting neural networks and its counterpart contemplation.

The exhibition of Neidich is an intellectual horizon that complements the public sphere by revitalising and reinterpreting art history, activating experimentation and theoretical reflections, evaluating process, dialogue and participation. His works exhibited here, Education of the Eye (2010) and Rainbow Brushes (2008) understand art as an existentialist investment, a set of ideas, and redefine the relationship between form and the conceptual gesture, with a view to critically setting the system in motion.

Neidich’s gesture counts on power as the modifier of the neurobiological architecture, coupled to the machinic assemblage of the socio political economic cultural system at large set in motion by its surroundings and context, and uses memories in order to create a plan for future decisions and action.7 This approach enables him to shift away from a rigid and normative understanding of artistic practice, on the one hand, and from an essentialist one, on the other, and to review what Maurizio Lazzarato refers to as “noopolitics”,8 that the focus of power and the technology at its disposal is not the materiality of the body but its psychic life, especially its memory an attention.9 The self-portrait of the artist with a palette, created by Vasa Pomoricac and dating from 1932,10 as well as the overall context of the Lazar Trifunovic Award, have been repositioned, through form and performance, within the framework of a collective process of self-orientated individuals whose interests were joined in order to discover what painting and criticism presuppose today and how they can be relevant. Historical heritage is an integral part of contemporary experience, and the participation of ten contemporary artists and five experts in an experiment created new possibilities of critical engagement. Neidich has staged his historical dialectic dramaturgy at the Belgrade Cultural Center to illustrate a paradigm shift from previously known biopolitics to noo- power – information power: objects no longer change brains, It is information that changes them. Through this project, contemporary art makes it possible for us to create an awareness of differences that are conditioned by various forms of power acting in geopolitical, ideological, economic and scientific contexts. While science is finding similarities and consistencies, art is about creating difference and unleashing the pluripotentiality. One artist and one artwork has the potential to reset artistic parameters and change the history of art.

– Maja Ciric


The Mutated Observer

The Mutated Observer, part 1

The Mutated Observer, part 1

California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California, 2001
Photography, Sculpture (Apparatuses), Installation, Dimensions Variable
This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology…

The mutated observer, part 1, installation at California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California
The mutated observer, part 1, installation at California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California

This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology. The works Writing Drawing Painting, Blanquis Cosmology and Conversation Maps were installed alongside compatible historic photographs.

Hybrid Dialectics was an installation in which the devices that I have been working with in the past 6 years were exhibited in vitrines alongside with the museum’s collections of historic photographic and cinematic devices. As such they spoke to the idea that the history of photography, cinema, and new media is a history that is conjoint with the history of the development of the eye, brain, and mind, and that all together they help constitute our idea of the world with which this history is recursively related to.

The mutated observer, part 1
The mutated observer, part 1

The mutated observer, part 1

This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology. The works Writing Drawing Painting, Blanquis Cosmology and Conversation Maps were installed alongside compatible historic photographs.

Hybrid Dialectics was an installation in which the devices that I have been working with in the past 6 years were exhibited in vitrines alongside with the museum’s collections of historic photographic and cinematic devices. As such they spoke to the idea that the history of photography, cinema, and new media is a history that is conjoint with the history of the development of the eye, brain, and mind, and that all together they help constitute our idea of the world with which this history is recursively related to.

The mutated observer, part 1, 2002, detail of hybrid dialectic device
The mutated observer, part 1, 2002, detail of hybrid dialectic device

This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology. The works Writing Drawing Painting, Blanquis Cosmology and Conversation Maps were installed alongside compatible historic photographs.

Hybrid Dialectics was an installation in which the devices that I have been working with in the past 6 years were exhibited in vitrines alongside with the museum’s collections of historic photographic and cinematic devices. As such they spoke to the idea that the history of photography, cinema, and new media is a history that is conjoint with the history of the development of the eye, brain, and mind, and that all together they help constitute our idea of the world with which this history is recursively related to.

The mutated observer, part 1
The mutated observer, part 1

This exhibition took place at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, as an intervention in the collection of early photographic and cinematic devices and photographs. It consisted of two parts: Postmodern Modernism and Hybrid Dialectics. Postmodern Modernism was an investigation of the early roots of modernism in photographs that concerned topics such as movement, psychic energy, the paranormal, and phrenology. The works Writing Drawing Painting, Blanquis Cosmology and Conversation Maps were installed alongside compatible historic photographs.

Hybrid Dialectics was an installation in which the devices that I have been working with in the past 6 years were exhibited in vitrines alongside with the museum’s collections of historic photographic and cinematic devices. As such they spoke to the idea that the history of photography, cinema, and new media is a history that is conjoint with the history of the development of the eye, brain, and mind, and that all together they help constitute our idea of the world with which this history is recursively related to.

The Mutated Observer, part 2


Historical In(ter)ventions

https://listart.mit.edu/exhibitions/warren-neidich-historical-interventions

 

Warren Neidich examines not only the contradictions of the American past but also the ways in which the media shape and distort our perceptions of current events. Neidich works to expose the fallacy of photography as an unbiased chronicle of history by subverting the medium itself.

 

Neidich’s installation at the List Visual Arts Center condenses work from four previous photographic series into what the artist calls “Time Pods” – groupings of photographs oriented around basic issues of American life, including family and gender roles in American history. The four earlier projects from which the “Time Pods” are culled include Recoding American History: What’s Wrong With This Picture?,a series of photographs shot in history museums, each of which includes an anachronism (i.e. a contemporary pair of sunglasses) meant to subvert the seamless image of historical authenticity;Pseudo-Event: The Politics of Appropriation, which places African-Americans in the roles of 19th-century middle class citizens, roles in which they are seldom, if ever represented; Text: Pretext, Lessons in Visual Subversion, which unveils the propagandistic representation of World War II era Japanese-American interment camps as organized by the Associated Press archive; and Contra Curtis: Early American Coverups, images of Native Americans being massacred which Neidich photographed directly from TV reruns of Hollywood “Westerns.”

These powerful photographs force us to recognize how much our perceptions of ourselves and our past are determined by convenient societal assumptions – to acknowledge just how much “story” there is in “history.” Neidich’s witty yet acerbic vignettes point up the loaded terms in which we understand the past, and by extension the present.

 

Nuclear Family, a video installation which explores our culture’s apathetic acceptance of the television medium, and Collaborative Memory, a wall-mounted sculpture incorporating aluminum cubes, photographs and scents which examines memory overlap and the relationship between visual and olfactory memory, are also on view.

 

Catalogue with essay by David Joselit with text by Warren Neidich, and introduction by Ron Platt and Anita Doutha.


American History Reinvented

Burden Gallery, Aperture Foundation, New York, 1989 (first four parts)

Photographic Resource Center in Boston 


Albumen Prints, polaroids, platinum prints, tin types
Variable Installation Dimensions

Visit americanhistoryreinvented.com for project details American History Reinvented consisted of five separate works. It was also produced as a book called American History Reinvented (Aperture, 1989).

1. Recoding American History

These albumen prints were made at historical living museums in the United States. I photographed the scene as a tourist would and in fact was surrouned by tourists at the time of the picture. In each picture I placed an object that i had brought with me like a no smoking sign or a dollar bill to create a visual diversion and an anachronism. Sometimes an airplane or tractor was better than the objects i brought so i used them. Thus there was a subversive performative aspect to the work.

2. Pseudo Event – the Politics of Appropriation

When i visited these sites i realized that none of the actors were of people of color. As if even in the disneyfied remnant of this reenacted history people of color were left out. I did some research at that time and found the historical archive also did not reflect this. As a way to correct this injustice I invited actor friends of mine to the Beth Page Historic Restoration in Long Island. With the help of the Afro American Historian Linda Day we staged imaginary scenes of life during the mid-nineteenth century substituting people of color for those of European descent which normally populate these historic images. At the same time I began to research the work of Allain Jaubert who investigated how the photographic archive was changed and manipulated to suit the needs of specific political figures like Mao Tse Tung and Joseph Stalin. Processes like photo retouching and cropping could change the very essence of an image and the story it told. I applied these techniques to my own fake archive to create a metadiscourse about the history of photographic representation.

3. News from No-Place

In this work Associated Press photographs of American Japanese who were interned in camps during World War II are juxtaposed to staged photographs of African Americans during slavery. The AP photographs are located on the right and the staged images on the left. Each image is accompanied by a text. The one on the right written by an anonymous person at AP describes what is happening or not happening and codifies it according to an overall system of organization and filing. Thus the numbers and titles. The image on the left also is accompanied by a text but is one of irony and samples African American History for its content and context. What one quickly understands is that the photographs of the Japanese internees are staged and were part of an overall condition of effacement, deceit and coverup of the real story of their incarceration as enemies of the American People. The destruction of their livelihood, family life and self-esteem is not told.

4. Contra-Curtis: Early American Coverups

A 4×5 camera was set up in front of a television set and photographs were taken during Cowboy and Indian Western Movies. I recorded images of the murder of native americans as depicted in films. I printed these as platinum prints as a way of linking these images to those made by Edward Curtis of Noble Savages at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. This work was not to denigrate the work of Curtis whose documentation of native american life is unparalleled as a historical and artistic work. Rather it was simply to uncover from the fictions of American Cinema the real story of what was taking place at the end of the 19th Century.

5. Aerial Photographs: The Battle of Chicamauga

This work was shown at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston. Civil War reenactments are a favorite past-time for many Americans. This reenactment took place outside Chattanooga Tennessee. I rented a plane and photographed the battle with a 35mm camera with a telephoto, normal and wide angle lens from the sky. After printing the pictures I hired a gentleman at the reenactment who was making tin types as souvenirs.

6. Amputation without anasthesia

At the same reenactment I photographed the scene of a fake amputation. I enlarged the images to life size and hired a painter to paint the blood red. I then lit the photographs in the gallery with red film studio lights so that the red blood appeared black.