As part of AUDINT with Toby Heys (, I have a sound installation in this exhibition in Berlin in 2009. The installation entitled ‘Unsound Systems’ explores the peripheries of auditory perception. More news soon.

Art in the Name of Security

An exhibition presented by the Akademie der Künste, Berlin and ‘Künstlergruppe BBM’

24th January to 22nd March 2009
Akademie der Künste
Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin-Mitte, Tel. +49 (30) 200 57-1513,
Tue – Sun 11am – 8pm, admission: € 6, concessions € 4
Admission free every 1st Sunday of the month, admission free for under 18’s
Sponsored by the ‘Hauptstadtkulturfonds’

In 2009, the first exhibition of the year at Berlin’s Akademie der Künste will be devoted to a topical, highly political theme. EMBEDDED ART looks at the threats to unrestricted public life following the 9/11 attacks and the attacks in Madrid, Moscow and London. Security issues in the 21st century have an impact on the day-to-day life of millions of people. Since terrorism has reached major European and US cities that were once considered safe, citizens have been subject to increasing state control. To ensure comprehensive physical, political and national integrity, security has become a new ideology, the ‘mantra’ of civilised society.

For EMBEDDED ART, the curators Olaf Arndt, Moritz von Rappard, Janneke Schönenbach and Cecilia Wee of artist’s group ‘Künstlergruppe BBM’ have commissioned international artists to respond to the current situation. EMBEDDED ART will only show works realised on location or against a background of research into future security. The diverse works focus on the conflicting fields of terrorism and terror, security and control. Broadly speaking, the artists can be said to explore the subject in the following three ways: investigating the validity of ‘new threats’, the predominantly technical reactions to these threats, and their resulting impact on society. EMBEDDED ART is the working principle, ‘art in the name of security’ is the theme of the exhibition, a provocative phrase which itself is an artistic comment on one of the core questions of global development.

EMBEDDED ART also reflects the ambivalent relationship between artists and the state military machinery. So-called ‘war artists’ were dispatched to the front for the first time by the Australian government during World War I to capture the soldier’s experiences directly at the scene of events. Even as far back as 1944, ‘military science fiction’ authors collaborated with US army defence engineers to design the ‘cyber soldier’ in preparation for a Third World War. Today, the dispatch of ‘war artists’ in the ‘war on terror’ is still an established military practice. Artists in their capacity as researchers of the imaginable perhaps pave the way to a new reality, their fantasies selectively exploited for the development of new security strategies. EMBEDDED ART, conversely, introduces artists who are intent on enlightenment, not affirmation.

The exhibition venue – the Akademie building at Pariser Platz – is directly linked to the exhibition theme. The Pariser Platz, which was still a symbol for the end of the Cold War during the late 1990s, has become a security perimeter for international politics since 9/11. With its embassies, banks, a luxury hotel and architecture reminiscent of modern strongholds, it is located between the new hub of political power and the Holocaust memorial, hence the square is potentially one of the most-at-risk, most closely guarded, locations in the Federal Republic. EMBEDDED ART’s exhibition concept incorporates the Pariser Platz, thereby creating a further level in the interaction of artistic imagination and stark reality, the project’s focal point.

Ultimately, EMBEDDED ART provides – in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Raum’ (2007) and the programmes on the radical changes of 1968 and 1989, ‘Kunst und Revolte’ (2008/09) – a new contribution to a significant debate, one of the great challenges the Akademie has set itself: the campaign for public space as a democratic space.

Following on from the exhibition ‘Raum’ (2007) and the programmes on the radical changes of 1968 and 1989, ‘Kunst und Revolte’ (2008/09), EMBEDDED ART ultimately provides a unique and significant contribution to the debate and campaign for public space as a democratic right: one of the great challenges the Akademie has set itself.

The Exhibition
With more than 30 commissioned works, the exhibition not only highlights many of the pertinent issues relating to global security, it also offers fascinating insight into current trends in contemporary art practice, featuring artists from Germany, Great Britain, Japan, South Africa, Italy and Slovenia showing visual art, video art, media art, photography, music, and sound art.

The video artists Korpys & Löffler film a Rhineland-Palatinate-police riot squad workshop, where officers are instructed in the use of the Taser electronic control device. Painter Moritz ® portrays ‘Five Peace Monsters’, the protagonists of new technologies for political control. Photographer Christina Zück travels to Karachi, where she records the ‘psycho-geography’ of a site on the ‘axis of evil’, collaborating with the Pakistani photographer Zahid Hussein. British dubstep pioneer Steve Goodman (aka Kode 9) in collaboration with sound artist Toby Heys illustrate the physical sensations of future sonic weaponry with their installation ‘Unsound’. Peter Kennard mounts a 20-metre-wide collage on command centres – ‘War Rooms’. Musician Paul B. Davies reworks legendary ‘Popcorn’-composer Gershon Kingsley’s ‘Security-Song’.

The influence of EMBEDDED ART will also reach beyond the Akademie’s walls into Berlin’s public spaces. Posters designed by five internationally renown graphic artists will spread the word all over the city. Works by video artists will be shown on a 60-square-metre display on the façade of the Akademie building. The performance artist Richard Dedomenici stages interventions on Pariser Platz.

Exhibition Presentation
The exhibition format itself reflects the central issue of security, enabling the visitor to live the experience. Only projections of the works, transmitted from the hi-tech secure basement of the building using the latest surveillance technology, will be seen in the Akademie’s exhibition halls. The visitors can choose to visit projections of the artworks in the exhibition halls for a small entrance fee, the originals can only be viewed on a guided tour of the secure area, accompanied by security personnel.

Contributing Artists (as at 18.11.08)
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin; Alexander Krohn; Andreas Strauss; Angelika Schneider von Maydell; BBM – Beobachter der Bediener von Maschinen; Cameron Bobro; Cecilia Wee; Christina Zück & Zahid Hussein; Florian Wuest; Fons Hickmann; Georg Schmalhofer; Gunter Rambow; Hans-Werner Kroesinger; Heidi Specker; Jacques Coetzer; Jonathan Barnbrook; Jörg Möller; Jörn Buttelmann; Kalle Laar; Ken Hollings & Rathna Ramanathan; Keven McAlester; Klaus Staeck & REMOTEWORDS; Korpys / Löffler; Lars Vaupel; Lillevan & Zaji Chalem; Lutz Westermann & Peter Halasz (†); Monika Schedler; Moritz ®; Neville Brody; Oliver Kunkel; Omar Vulpinari; Paul B Davis & Gershon Kingsley; Peter Kennard & Cat Picton Phillipps; Richard DeDomenici; Sally Gutierrez; Simon Tyszko; Steve Goodman aka Kode9 & Toby Heys; Thomas Heise; Timm Ulrichs; U.R.A. / FILOART; Valentinas Klimasauskas; Vassilios Georgiadis; Yuko Shimizu; Zsolt Barat.

Ancillary Events
The exhibition will be accompanied by events, guided tours, debates and movie screenings. Each Friday, artists and guest speakers will discuss the exhibition in the temporary bar ‘Bar zur inneren Sicherheit’ on the top floor of the Akademie.

‘Verlag argo books’ will publish a comprehensive catalogue, including specially commissioned essays to accompany the exhibition.

Additional Venues
There are plans to take the exhibition to other locations including Johannesburg, London, Barcelona and Delhi.

Künstlergruppe BBM
Curators of EMBEDDED ART are Olaf Arndt, Moritz von Rappard and Janneke Schönenbach of the Künstlergruppe BBM (Beobachter der Bediener von Maschinen, Observers of Operators of Machines).
The artist’s group was established in 1989 and consists of artists as well as musicians, architects and programmers who join the core team on a project-basis. Based on the ‘source material’ machine, BBM’s work centres on the issues of technology, research and the Federal Republic of Germany’s social conditions. BBM’s exhibitions, events and performances evolve from a fine arts context and relate to public space. Books, CDs and videos accompany and complement the large-scale productions.
BBM has taken part in exhibitions such as ‘Deutschlandbilder’ (Berliner Festspiele, 1997), ‘deep storage’ (Haus der Kunst, München, 1997), ‘Zur Vorstellung des Terrors’ (Kunstwerke, Berlin, 2005) and projects like Themenpark ‘Wissen’ (Weltaustellung Expo, 2000) and ‘Demonen’ (as part of the BBM-managed ‘Kultur-2000’ project ‘Troia’, Theater der Welt, Stuttgart, 2005.)