cv  statement  contact   fb   vimeo  notes



EXERCISES FOR THE DIGITAL AGE


2021 (in progress) 


Dear…

I hope you’re well.

Do you sometimes draw while being on the phone? I’m talking about these mindless drawings on the edge of the sheet on your desk – these shapes, lines and doodles that emerge half consciously. For the project “Exercises for the Digital Age”, I would like to transfer this activity to a shared digital realm with you while talking about the relationship between you and your digital self. Hope you are up for it!

For more than a year the pandemic has been affecting our lives. In my case, it led to more screen time –  which is exhausting, but also led to wonderful conversations with peers where thoughts, words and expressions crossed time zones from CEST to BST. While lying on the couch, sitting at the kitchen table or walking in the streets, we can circulate among our virtual communities. As we are no longer merely confined to our physical bodies, we can slip in and out of our online lives. At the same time addiction algorithms of Las Vegas’ slot machines are transferred into digital technologies in order to create sticky screens and to collect eye-ball-hours. I’m interested in how you would describe how your digital self bleeds into your physical self (and vice versa), and learn more about what you personally do to not be at the mercy of digital media, but to proactively maneuver through it – virtually, physically or mentally




drawing/conversation with Raùl Hott

From time to time I found myself moving from the screen to the floor and following exercise instructions displayed on the screen. Curious where this behaviour came from, I started to look at the history of exercising. I learned that exercising–as we think of it today– was invented in the 1960’s in the US. With the growing standard of living in the 1950s, but also with the spread of television, more and more people have become couch potatoes. In the middle of the Cold War, president-elect, John F. Kennedy was above all worried that he would not find enough fit soldiers in case of war. He created public programs to anchor body exercises in the lives of the American population. Jogging, fitness aerobics or the Muscle Beach Weightlifters gained popularity within a very short time supported by a growing commercialisation of these activities. If this kind of exercising emerged with the spread of television, with this project I want to collectively investigate what practices we need to develop in a time of the internet, digital media and AI.

The project proposes a collective effort – in the form of one-on-one online conversations (with mouse/ trackpad/pen drawings as a conversational tool) – to connect the informal knowledge of 25 artists, thinkers and practitioners that may lie at the backside of their practices. During our call we will discuss personal and collective strategies, habits and rituals that help us to stay healthy and proactively use digital technologies. We draw out and design exercises for the digital age that will be presented offline in the form of workshops and online in the form of a video channel and an artist ebook. These exercises could range from physical to mental, digital to analog, affirmative to critical, practical to utopic. They could challenge the instrumentalization of affect, cure overstimulation or protect our desires from being hijacked. They could break habits we don’t need, implement new ones or just be a fragment of your practice that we believe is worth repeating.
No one gets rich, however for this one-on-one online conversation (2 hours) I would be able to offer you a 100 € fee (financed by the German Federal Government for Culture and Media). Ideally we would have this conversation sometimes between June and December 2021, but please feel free to suggest a time that suits you.

You seem to be busy and our suggestion might come at the wrong time, but since I’m sure that drawing, talking and associating with you would be fun and interesting, I would be happy to have you involved.

Myself, curators Ashlee Conery and Tomke Braun will be collaborating on manifestations of this research over the next year. We know how busy you must be but would all be delighted to have your reflection/habits and practices included in this memory of the last 13 months.

Best regards,
Gabriel


***

Participants:
OMSK Social Club, Rory Pilgrim, Mattin, Jin-me Yoon, Ayumi Goto, Peter Morin, Roberto Fassone, Jan Hofer, Niccolò Moronato, Raùl Hott, Dorothea Rust, Thanh Nguyen, Phung Nam, Kim Trang, Claire Nichols, Stéphanie Cadoret.

Upcoming: Jol Thoms, Delphine Pouillé, Sarah Friend and others


drawing/conversation with OMSK Social Club


drawing/conversation with Jin-me Yoon, Ayumi Goto & Peter Morin


© Gabriel Hensche 2021