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Katharina and Olivier are Idiots

In 2023, Katharina Kawalle and I were invited to Cluj, Romania, by Alina Andrei, who runs the gallery space "White cuib" in the heart of the city. The gallery consists of a relatively small room in a highly frequented location. Alina allowed us to paint all the walls and even the floor of the gallery, a rare opportunity I couldn't pass up. I had the idea to cover the space from ceiling to floor with conjugated phrases defining and exposing today's homo digitalis. Given the rapidly evolving possibilities of the WWW, I wanted to work in both English and Romanian. I left the Romanian translation unchecked, as I was interested in the inaccuracies of translation, capturing snapshots of the ever-evolving WWW. The four sentences we used were: 1. "I am a digital proletarian." (Sunt un proletar digital.) 2. "I register to have unlimited access to nothing." 3. "I increase the dose to achieve the same effect." (Am crescut doza pentru a obține același efect.) 4. "It makes me buy things I don’t need." Before leaving Vienna, I hand-cut the conjugated phrases. These conjugations address all persons and create a mantra-like reading reminiscent of school. Together with Katharina, we worked on the entire space, dissolving its constituents. Many regular visitors to the gallery commented at the opening that the space appeared huge in this way. Additionally, I interviewed Maria, a middle-aged lady who is the caretaker of the neighboring university. I wanted to create a video interview that was half true and half fake. In the untrue part of the interview, she refers to the sentences of the room installation and speaks poorly of us, saying we only have time for her when we need something and otherwise are preoccupied with our social channels and phones. In the real part, she believed she was being asked for a classic interview, but was confronted with surprising questions. I asked her which planet she is from and what the meaning of life is for her. I wanted to know what she is addicted to. Her answer appealed to me, as she talked about how she could constantly buy second-hand clothes and therefore takes detours to avoid passing by the shops, like a metaphor for addiction to digital devices. During this time, Katharina produced a music video that initially seems like an ode to the internet but humorously exposes the depths of the internet (Internet is legally collecting data. Internet gets advertising to the author). For the video, she intentionally used reduced 3D applications to emphasize the DIY and trash aesthetic. At the opening, we performed "NEXT" together. The visual aspect of Reel watching is dissolved, as the viewer receives the Reels exclusively as oral descriptions. For this, we filmed with our phones the mouth and eye areas of the performing person while they watched masses of Reels for over 10 minutes and spontaneously described what they saw. During the live performance, we held the phones with the film sequences in front of the respective facial areas. The sound was played through Bluetooth speakers. You hear and see us, even though we don't speak. This created a virtual liveliness, imposed on silent actors.

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