Sonderprogramm Surfing Systems
From June to August 1996 the arts association of Kassel presented an exhibition project titled “Surfing Systems”, with international artists who deal with systems, their way of working being systemic itself. The issue was not at all as one might think by the title internet or new media, but artistic points of view dealing with effective structures within all kinds of order systems, orientation and reference. Via transfer, manipulation, exaggeration and similar strategies these systems are systemically self-referring, so that the visual and behavioural habits of the viewer or participant get surfing. As an interdisciplinary project, Surfing Systems was asking to what extent structural analogies between artistic, theoretical and functional coherences are visible and presentable regardless of the different subjects and topics.
Beyond the exhibition at the arts association, related events and the extensive catalogue including CD and CD-ROM, the project also covered a videosection presenting five programmes of 32 video works altogether. The selection was oriented entirely on the individual video and not, as in the exhibition, on the artistic attitude of the authors. Surfing the systems according to the exhibition is also the topic of the video works: Mostly short, surprisingly brittle and profoundly funny tapes make strategic attempts on codes and readings. One can seldom be sure where the fun stops and seriousness begins, where elements are formal or contextual, whether a particular change in genre was accidental or on purpose, or whether it is really an insidious fake. The works selected for “Surfing Systems” are full of discrepancies and breakings of convention. The on systemization calibrated look of the viewer is sent on the surf board, not as a gesture of the Anything Goes, but with icecold calculus. Eight videos were selected for presentation at Cluster Images, reflecting the colourful and exciting spectrum of the Surfing Systems videosection.
Selection presented by Gerhard Wissner, Kasseler Filmladen