Press Release, September 2019
FSC BATTLE #6 - G.ON.E.
by Joseph Flynn (AU) VS Anna Bak (DK)
Curated by FSC / Jens Ivar Kjetså (NO)
The bodies of Hu/man extend into the voids of future collapses, where we are lost to the echoes of pollution, hunger, food genetics and industrial post-revolutions cries of consume. We go out and return to the basic, the rural, the real and stick our hands into the ground.
Joseph Flynn (living in Australia) will together with Anna Bak (Denmark) engage in the 6th Art BATTLE in Future Suburban Contemporary. At FSC they will plan, collaborate, fight and execute an experiment, a social/art exchange and create the final show together with FSC.
Joseph and Anna sharing the same field of interest in the post apocalyptic prepper/survivalist structures of contemporary living. They work both within this investigation and interacting with the materials and its strange worlds of survival in the heavy times of now. Back to the basic, into the weird, lives of micro collectives opens up, just two clicks away. A world where we are all connected and in safe distance to avoid contact. They both converts this into their own artistic language of the contemporary art. Out in the suburban villa area of Brønshøj they will work closely and exchange their thoughts and skills to, in the end, become one voice. A play of pre planned works becoming part of the context, where the space and its surroundings might echoing into the finalisation, and exchanges of common ground. Here new ideas and plans will create a new base for their works to interact and to become something third. Since they both share some of the same base of interests, but living on two sides of the planet, FSC wanted to create the path and place for them to get into IRL (In Real Life) engagement.
The title G.ON.E. refers to variable acronyms; Go ON Evolution, Glorification ON Emergency, and GONE as an action, a disappearance and refusal of the current situation.
The Aesthetics of Survivalism
Text by Niels Henriksen
Survivalism, also called prepping, anticipates disaster and post-disaster scenarios with a particular focus on collecting tools and developing procedures that will secure survival in the absence of physical and organizational infrastructure. Survivalism as a 20th century phenomenon is historically specific to the experience of uncertainty as it has developed through the century. The beginning of survivalism has been dated to the crash of the New York Stock Exchange in 1929.
Since, various survivalisms have been formulated in response to the more or less concrete threats of nuclear annihilation, overpopulation and socio-economic breakdown, ecological disaster, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and biblical apocalypse. In other words, survivalism is the attempt to predict an unforeseeable future in order to determine in advance which tools, machines and codes of conduct will most efficiently accommodate basic human needs after the breakdown of civilization. Survivalism can thus be seen as a science fiction, a dark futurism or a speculative ecology of things. The intended future applicability of survivalist projects most often go untested as either disaster does not happen, or disaster strikes, but not in the form that the survivalist had envisioned and prepared for. More interesting and complex is the utility of survivalist preparation in the present, which will often serve the psychological function of installing a sense of control over events that are essentially beyond control. In that sense survivalism more likely reflects traumatic past experience than plausibly realistic prediction of the future.
The relationship of survivalism to the future is double edged. Whereas survivalism finds its justification in fear of disaster, it is often covertly motivated by a desire to escape the ambiguities specific to modern day urban life. In that way, survivalism is – once more paradoxically – related to the pastoral. Ideas of the pastoral arose in early modern Europe at a time when population numbers were rising and conditions surrounding land ownership and use were becoming increasingly complex, excluding all but the privileged. By contrast to the hostile environment envisioned by the survivalist, the pastoral describes a benign nature, accommodating the needs and desires of humans. Although both kinds of nature hold emancipatory potential.
As ethics and aesthetics, that is as a rule of conduct and principle of design, survivalism is the opposite of utopianism. Whereas utopianism denotes the deliberate proposition of an unrealistic scenario with the aim of criticizing reality by pointing out the impossibility of the alternative, survivalism is defined its claim to be the art of the possible. Survivalism a fetishization of the pragmatic driven by an unacknowledged desire to restore the harmony of an imagined past. Sharing the objective of a change for the better (even if the former does not believe it and the latter will not admit it), utopians and survivalists tend to be attracted to the same scenarios: secluded, spacious, and unregulated landscapes, such as deserts or forests. Even the structures that they erect and inhabit these places are at times close to identical.
Survivalism, as the preparation for, or rehearsal of survival, by contrast, transforms generic objects and procedures into symbols of an imagined world and a desired identity. Joseph Beuys was saved by the felt and fat that became the signature materials of his art, but not in the way he claimed he was. According to his self-invented myth, he was taken in by the Tartars after crashing his fighter plane in the Crimea during World War II and wrapped in felt and fat. The story was – of course – a fabrication serving the purpose of “saving” Beuys from being German and a soldier in Hitler’s army (in his telling of the story, he even had a shaman exclaiming: “you are not one of them, you are one of us”). However, while the felt and fat represents the Beuys identified by the Tartars as one of their own, at the same time it indirectly signifies what he is trying to escape, that is: the industrialized destruction of fellow human beings in the German camps, where hair was turned into felt. What looks like an escape is actually a return, and in the case of Beuys thus an articulation of something unspeakable.
Joseph Flynn (b. 1989)
Joseph Flynn considers his artwork with the advent of technology and how the mechanisms of society deal with it. We are all sharing and loving images and text on social media platforms, but not commonly IRL. This begs the question: what happens next? After the environmental disaster, financial crisis, nuclear meltdown and social dysfunction, where will we find ourselves?
Interpreting Internet culture, on demand solutions to problem solving and our own expectations of how we might be able to deal with crisis, in a complicated world filled with environmental and political difficulties. Automatic responses such as self preservation of one’s own are twisted into binges of online shopping sprees for survival equipment, that may or may not be able to help in problematic situations.
Anna Bak (b. 1985)
Through her work as a visual artist, Anna Bak explores the conflicting or ambivalent encounters between man and nature. Her works often contain comments to socio-cultural paradoxes. She examines the way people observe and relate to nature and geographical placement at an existential level; in particular post-industrial melancholy and melancholy associated with the loss of harmony with nature or ‘original’ culture.
Anna Bak has investigated the myths and paradoxes spun by the encounter between the artist and isolation in the wilderness, and the destinies associated with that encounter. In previous works she has explored how both botanists and amateur scientists were ridiculed or ostracised during their own lifetime, as well as investigated the political – and potentially lethal – sides of escaping into nature to prepare for doomsday in ‘prepper’ culture, or the iconic example of the Unabomber sending letter bombs to the heart of civilisation from his self-imposed exile deep in the woods.
Opening: Sunday 22nd of September, 14-18 | Facebook event
(open on request from 23rd of September - 12th of October).