The Lust Gallery, Vienna, Austria
6.3.2015 - 6.27.2015
Zsófia Keresztes, Angus McCullough, Alexandra Hackett, Andreas Ervik, Stephanie Syjuco, Michele Gabriele, Pau Sampera, Peter Moosgaard, Bernhard Garnicnig
Text from the show:
"Local tribes of Vanuatu built giant airplanes and control towers from wooden branches, carved headphones and radios from bamboo and then awaited the messianic serviceman John Frum to descend from the sky. Their rituals included the non-militant army TAU (Tanna Army USA), which marched with wooden rifles in an attempt to attract cargo airplanes with divine freight to the island. 'Rituals', devices and infrastructures of US soldiers were copied by these tribes, hoping that would help a continued steam of supplies dropped onto their lands, without knowing they were simply part of a temporary network of military bases to supply soldiers.
Supercargo is to be considered poetic freight. By imitating art and consumer goods a higher form of cargo is summoned - be it wealth, success or art itself. The fake, the Shanzhai performed by a single consumer introduces a new form of value in the global choreography of goods. The ritualistic use of global material, be it archaic or franchised brands, opens a new way of looking at our post-digital era: a new materialism. It reveals works of art and our technological tools as fluid economic forms of creation.
Use What is Dominant in a Culture to Change it Quickly - Jenny Holzer"
In thinking about cargo, supercargo, cargo cults, dreams of cargo and cargo rituals, I think about sources and peripheries. To be close to a source is to know the essence of a thing: a material, water, a story, a culture, etc. and to be on the periphery would therefore refer to unfamiliarity or even ignorance. We live in a large capitalist state, spanning the globe, barely tied to geography or deep culture. And every state requires an outsider - it would be inconceivable without one. "Primitive" is an outsider to "New".
What excites me about this show is that it recognizes this relationship, specifically the creation of new "sources" (in this case an aesthetic that speaks to the deeper issues outlined above) by outsiders and members of the global state. We are not a band of island people mimicking US Army troops in hopes of sacred freight, but we are, to a different degree, disenfranchised consumers.