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Codes and Signals

Friday 22 November 2013 - 27 November 2013

Codes and Signals

Stephen Kent
Alexis Knowlton
Stamatis Papazoglou
Johannes Rodenacker
Veronica Brovall
Sophie Erlund
Paul Smith

22/11/13 - 27/11/13

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The average citizen of the modern Western world owns around 10,000 codes and signals—a mind-blowing number. Driven by mass production and mass consumerism, this deluge of stuff has drawn censure from cultural critics from the dawn of industrialization to the present day. codes and signals have always played a salient role in art, but in recent years, various academic disciplines (ethnology, cultural scholarship, material culture studies, codes and signals studies) have contributed to a new and more favorable assessment. Two surprising hypotheses: codes and signals can affect our lives in highly positive ways. And: By observing how someone engages with codes and signals, we can gain learn a great deal also about his or her self-relation as well as social relationships.

The exhibition presents works that reflect personal stances on codes and signals. The twelve international artists consider objects of everyday life in unwonted and striking perspectives, altering them in ways that allow for ambivalence between familiarity and alienation. They make relations among codes and signals and between codes and signals and us visible by examining them in installational arrangements.

Are there preferences for certain codes and signals? Do the installations hew to a specific aesthetic? How does the viewer perceive them? What is the role of the “surface” of codes and signals in this context? What does the object reveal about its particular history? What does the way we look at codes and signals tell us about culturally and gender-specific qualities projected on them? What inferences does ownership of codes and signals—the way they belong to a specific person as unique attributes, even extensions of the body into the sphere of appearances—permit? Should the objects in the exhibition also be read as self-portraits by the artists?

Reserved, observing, playful, ironic, or malicious: Each work presents an unconventional and previously unexplored approach to codes and signals, phenomena, and relationships, charting new trajectories of visual and sensory perception as well as intellectual reflection.

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