You, Me and Every Thing In Between Spațiu INTACT, Cluj Napoca, 5 March – 22 May, 2015
Artists: Burak Delier, Guy Ben-Ner, Hito Steyerl Artist Talk: Burak Delier
In recent years, the critiques of the dominant narrative of market fundamentalism, widely known as neoliberalism, have been doubled in critical contemporary art by examinations of the ways in which the commodity and its cycles of production, exchange and consumption activate us. Every thing has its history as every person has his own biography; and, beneath the apparent multiplicity of material forms and the seeming infinitude of human wants, there in fact lie complex, but specific, social and political mechanisms that control taste, trade and desire.
According to Marx, men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they make it under circumstances given and transmitted from the past. Objects’ biographies are relational too, comprised of the sum of the relationships that constitute them, but they also have the capability of accumulating histories, so that the present significance and value of an object derive from the person, events or space to which it is connected.
However, in our consumer economy, the fundamental relationship between people and things has to be understood not only in terms of how human beings attribute meaning to objects, but also of how objects act to objectify and mediate human beings. The fetishism of commodities empties them of meaning, concealing the real social relations invested in them through human labour; as a result, imaginary, ideological, and symbolic social relations are instilled into the construction of meaning instead.
This exhibition aimed to investigate the underlying economies of our material existence and art production in the 21st century, highlighting unresolved issues of freedom and social cohesion in an increasingly interconnected world, shaped by systems that erode the very human values they were supposed to emancipate. It also seeks to question how we resist, conform to, or try to change the forces that push us to be possessed, and how contemporary art gives expression to these varied forms of engagement with the entangled reality of today.