In his 2016 documentary “Hypernormalisation”, the British filmmaker Adam Curtis turns to Jane Fonda and the start of a “new revolution” she initiated in the mid 80’s: workout videos as a retreat to the body in the face of growing and inconsumable global complexities. The concept of reality had become something that was manipulated and handled, in an effort to manage perception. The body and self, however, could still be controlled.
The ties between power and the individual are anchored now in the psychology and affect, in the dreams and imagination of the self. The disciplinary society, up until the beginning of the 20th century, was built on enclosed environments of family, school, prison, hospital, factory to ensure productivity in space-time. It succeeded the society of sovereignty, ruling death rather than to manage, optimize, and increase life. As today it becomes increasingly hard to understand how the world is governed and presented to us, the deregulated control society has introduced a new handling of concepts of life and death, alienation and deeper reality, body and agency through individualism, competition and self-optimization.
The works by Oscar Enberg, Barbara Kapusta and Sydney Shen are gathered under the motif of what Mark Fisher proposes as the weird and the eerie: modi of fiction and experience located in fiction, film, and, suggested here, in art works. The weird and the eerie bring a charged strangeness to a place, unsettling the propriety and property lines that delimit a zone of activity or knowledge with “that which does not belong”. This outside cannot be made familiar (different to Freud’s notion of the uncanny), but to the contrary, makes it, as Fisher claims, possible to see the inside from the outside and to denaturalize relationships between bodies and their environments.
Oscar Enberg (b. 1988, Christchurch, NZ) lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions were held at Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Artspace, Auckland. Recent group exhibitions took place at Kunstverein München, S.M.A.K in Gent, Belgium, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, Centre Pompidou, Paris. Enberg recently completed the Künstlerhaus Bethanien artist-in-residence programme in Berlin. Last year he was awarded the ars viva 2018 prize. In September this year Enberg conducted a residency at Fogo Island Arts, Fogo Island.
Barbara Kapusta (b. 1983, Vienna) lives and work in Vienna. Her objects, films and text-based works have recently been shown in, among others, Gianni Manhattan, VIS, Hamburg, Ashley Berlin, Berlin, and group exhibitions at Vice Versa: Our Earth is Their Moon, Our Moon is Their Earth, KUP, Athens, 21er Haus, Kunsthalle Wien, Scriptings, Berlin, Beautiful Gallery, Chicago and mumok cinema, Vienna. Her new publication The 8 and the Fist was published 2017 by Gianni Manhattan.
Sydney Shen (b. 1989, New York) lives and works in New York. She held solo and duo exhibitions at Hotel Art Pavilion, New York City, Springsteen, Baltimore; Motel, Brooklyn, Interstate Projects in Brooklyn and has been a part of group exhibitions at venues including Aike Dellarco, Shanghai, Lock-Up International, Frankfurt; Springsteen, Baltimore; and KnowMoreGames, Brooklyn, New Galerie (Paris). Shen is the coauthor of Perfume Area, a book of prose published by Ambient Works.
Photography: Maximilian Anelli-Monti, courtesy the artists and Pina