Critics’ Picks

Mark Lewis, Children's Games, Heygate Estate, 2002. Installation view.

Berlin

Aus aktuellem Anlass

JOHANN KÖNIG
Dessauer Str. 6-7
November 20–December 31, 2004

Wars, economic crises, bombings, catastrophes, political scandals—they follow each other faster than we can process them, while the events behind the headlines barely have time to register on our radar screens. “Aus aktuellem Anlass”—a not-really-translatable term for breaking news on German television that means, more or less, “From current cause”—takes a stab at winning this race against time with a group of works that mimic the format and strategies of the media. Each picks up on a specific topic that, even if no longer front-page news, hasn’t lost its relevance. Natascha Sadr Haghighian offers a staged, documentary-style video in which two young activists reflect on “the so-called energy crisis” of 1973—a conversation that gives way to a reflection on activism, the vagaries of memory, and the staging of media pseudo-events. Ines Schaber’s Culture Is Our Business, 2003/04, considers the commercialization of photojournalism through the lens of Willy Römer’s iconic (and much-licensed) 1919 photo series “Straßenkämpfe in Berlin” (Street Fights in Berlin), while Ulrike Kuschel reproduces newspaper photographs of workers removing the traces of 1st of May demonstrations (2. Mai 2002). Yael Bartana’s stills of harmless-looking Israeli surveillance zeppelins and Tue Greenfort's collaged meditations on counter-surveillance expose the mechanisms of high-tech espionage; Mark Lewis’s video Children’s Games, Heygate Estate, 2002, silently tracks paths through would-be utopias, and Jonathan Horowitz’s Official Portrait of George W. Bush Available for Free from the White House Hung Upside Down, 2001, needs no further explanation.