By Nicolas Mavrikakis
Campus für Demokratie, Berlin Biennale für zeitgenössische Kunst
11.06.2022 — 18.09.2022
The idea is aptly striking. The section of the 12th Berlin Biennale addressing issues about surveillance – its title is Still Present! – and dealing with its weighty heritages from modernity was set in the gigantic former headquarters of the Stasi. In this building that once housed the Ministry of State Security (in reality, the East German secret police), seven thousand employees spied on, monitored, and imprisoned citizens, including more than eleven thousand in the 1950s. Although the times have changed, this site, now called the Campus for Democracy, with its oppressive ambience, was still totally anxiety-provoking.
Surveilling (still and always) to punish (more and more quickly). One of the major works in this section, which involved seven artistic interventions, was certainly A Place Which Is Ripe (2020), a video installation by Omer Fast. Placed in a closet, three smartphones, used here as viewing screens but also evoking the possibility of secret surveillance, even of children, confronted us with a duality inherent to many technologies, old and new, as both instruments allowing a better grasp of reality and potential tools for control…
[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 122 – NIGHT ROUNDS ]
[ Complete article, in digital version, available here: Omer Fast, Zach Blas, Susan Schuppli — Nicolas Mavrikakis ]