Strategies for surviving in transition

How is it possible in modern, liberal societies to deal with the increasing social and global friction that result from the pressures of consumption, monitoring, fear, and the risk of losing democratic structures? Realities and fictions have changed how we exchange and communicate around the world. What is true? What comes next? Who will survive? At what price?

Virtual visibility and the creation of actual and fictitious needs and desires will continue to shape existential necessities in the time after distancing. At a time of shrinking resources and boundless greed, social, political, economic, and ecological imbalances are merging. Acceleration, simultaneity, the limits of growth, the promise of wealth, immoderation, and the value of information are just some of countless stimuli that force us to action in times of perplexity. Dissensions or conflicts between persons and nations, because of differing ideas, wishes, and believes are omnipresent. How can this friction be transformed into a potential for respectful coexistence? Is such coexistence still conceivable or merely a romantic ideal of the humanism of the past centuries? Where can art find a role between existential threat and speculative investment?

“When little space remains for the many, when proximity provokes, when the insistence of the one displaces others, 
things then become uncomfortable.”

This is what UNGEMUETLICH has claimed since it first took place as a performance art event in Berlin in 2011. We are obviously living in uncomfortable times. For multiple reasons, life for many, especially in capitals like Seoul and Berlin has changed dramatically in a rather short period of time. UNGEMUETLICH VIII is guided by a focus on considering this steadily increasing friction, and searching for its potential for productive transition and fresh perspectives.

Socially critical positions and individual artistic strategies for existence, a broad range of works and media as well as artists in different stages in their artistic careers and the associated possibilities of production, design expression, and recognition create an interface of friction in the specific architecture of the LOOP Alternative Space.

This exhibition is designed as a staging of an overlapping, concentrated physical presence of sculpture, installation, painting, photography, and video merging with the virtual resolution of display, sound, and streaming. With its interdisciplinary character, the exhibition brings together visual art, performance, music, video art, and poetry, as well as participants with diverse cultural and artistic backgrounds. This at times leads to friction, gives rise to unavoidability, but also to potentials and respect, indeed forces people to confront their own personal boundaries.

The individual artistic positions join together to form a common exhibition body that adapts to the given circumstances. Through the performances, this will be expanded and, through transmission, disseminated without borders on digital networks. The intention of this is thus to create a further link between Berlin and Seoul, complementing the long-standing intercultural exchange between the two countries. The duration of the exhibition is to be understood as a learning process and will be accompanied by lectures, artist talks, and discussions. When appropriate, workshops will be facilitated, in line with the current global and local situation.   In its 10-year anniversary in 2021, UNGEMUETLICH (Uncomfortable) itself might be a strategy for surviving in times of fear, uncertainty, transmission, the potential of scientific developments, and the significant need for existential perspectives.

The multimedia art exhibition UNGEMUETLICH VIII is organized as an intercultural exchange between Berlin-based, international, and Korea-based artists. The previous edition of UNGEMUETLICH took place in Berlin, Germany, in 2019, the year of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, and strove to present and address multiple approaches to historical meanings, differences, and analogies between the two countries through art.

This project was planned to take place again in October 2020, the 30th anniversary of the reunification of Germany, as UNGEMUETLICH VIII at the LOOP Alternative Space in Seoul, South Korea. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its global effects, the exhibition has been postponed to November 2022. Despite these difficulties, it aspires to create exchange between the participating artists and the audience in the time after distancing.

text by Frédéric Krauke    -  English translation by Amy Klement


(in work)

컨셉: 프레데릭 크라우케 (Frédéric Krauke )
영어 번역: 에이미 클레멘트 (Amy Klement)
한국어번역: 한지애 (Jiae Han)
편집/감수: 이주하  (Juha Lee)