Curators: Petra Roettig and Stephanie Bunk
Artists: Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Sophie Calle, Edmund Clark & Crofton Black, Thomas Demand, Bogomir Ecker, Harun Farocki, Jenny Holzer, Sven Johne, Annette Kelm, Mårten Lange, Richard Mosse, Trevor Paglen, Peter Piller, Barbara Probst, Thomas Ruff
Control has many facets: It comprises surveillance by others or surveillance by oneself. And yet it also implies the possibility of losing or even defying control. With most types of control, photography or other picture-producing media assume a key function: Photographs are part of a surveillance system and, in that sense, used as a tool to exercise power and to rule. But who has the power to control others? The government? Money? Or do we control each other? Nowadays social platforms, facial recognition scanners or algorithms decide what or who is socially accepted or excluded. By observing others without their knowledge, we constantly seesaw between being witnesses and accomplices, actors and voyeurs.
Artists focus on the problematic relationship between the camera and control by purposely manipulating their technical means to make the unseeable seeable. With their highly specialised cameras, they expose surveillance strategies and control mechanisms that are normally deployed in covert operations and in deliberate secrecy. The exhibition’s various artistic approaches reveal the aesthetics of surveillance which simultaneously lure and shock us. They show to what extent our sense of sight depends on technologies, ideologies and political strategies.
What happens when pictures are “read” by computers and no longer by human beings and when reality is only perceived through photographs? What contemporary pictures actually capture the diverse ways in which power exerts control? What breaking points and possibilities for change can they visualise? As part of the 7th Triennial of Photography Breaking Point, the exhibition searches for answers to these pertinent questions with its 15 individual photographic and cinematic approaches.
Exhibited project: Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition (a special commission for a/political)
Photographs by Kay Riechers