September 2006

Armed citizen

Armed citizen

Presented in the exhibition as an upgrade of almost 100 images, the internet project Armed Citizen shows a series of 17 small arms. No information is given on their origins. Who owns them? Are they being used as criminal evidence? Are they perhaps murder weapons? Who does the ›armed citizen‹ of the title refer to — the police? Or a citizens’ defence group that has taken up arms? Is there some allusion to the liberal firearms laws in the United States, to bloody incidents like the amok shootings that took place in Columbine High School, Colorado, in 1999, or in the Gutenberg Gymnasium in Erfurt in 2002? Armed Citizen is difficult to pin down. But it is safe to assert that it deals with an indeterminate feeling of fear and menace, and, by association, with the growing longing for security in a world felt to be increasingly less safe. The exhibition deliberately groups Armed Citizen in a kind of »security zone« together with Heath Bunting’s CCTV and Rachel Baker and Heath Bunting’s CCTV Sabotag — further irational works pointing to the essential futility of technology — or weapons based protective measures. (Inke Arns)

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Language (property)

Language (property)

Daniel García Andújar – the Spanish media artist better known by his company name Technologies To The People — almost ten years ago created with Language (property) a work addressing the increasing privatization and commodification of language. A plain HTML page presents a list of sentences that have become registered trademarks and thus the property of their corporate owners. Examples include »Where do you want to go today?™« (Microsoft), »A better return on information ™« (SAP), »Moving at the speed of business™« (UPS), »What you never thought possible™« (Motorola). By giving his project the title Remember, language is not free™, Andújar anticipated the disputes surrounding ›intellectual property‹ in the following years (and increasingly evident in the second half of the 1990s with the ruthless scramble for domain names in the World Wide Web). While on the website the individual sentences are linked to the copyright notices of the relevant companies, a large-format, almost ›immersive‹, wall Presented has been chosen for the exhibition.(Inke Arns)

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