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FABRIK: On the Circulation of Data, Goods and People, is an exhibition that rethinks consumerism. It redefines factories as an alternative venue for culture and ideas. The exhibits take inspiration from the modern age, which is dominated by the media. In today’s time, the media tends to leave impressions through the expression of ideas and display of images. The exhibition, held in Mumbai at the Max Mueller Bhavan Gallery, from 29th July to 29th August, has adopted this format to change the generic notion of how architecture is viewed.
FABRIK, an exhibition curated by Florian Ebner and Lars Willumeit can be defined as a contemporary site with a meta format. The word FABRIK is a German word which translates to factory in English. The artists recondition the original idea of a factory to make it a cultural entity. A factory is presumed to be a place where goods are manufactured and packaged. However, through this exhibition the artists hope to change this notion into as a place where a society starts to build.
The exhibits feature installations by four artists: Olaf Nicolai, Hito Steyerl, Tobias Zielony and Jasmina Metwaly/ Philip Rizk. These artists have made use of contemporary images and ideas to turn the Max Mueller Bhavan Gallery into an imaginary factory. The installations consist of images, videos and newspaper articles that do justice to the space and concept. The installation of three artists is spread across two rooms.
Olaf Nicolai’s exhibit Giro has two basic elements. The first element is a video and the second element is the usage of images. Both these visual mediums showcase the rooftop as a political sphere. He has based his installation on the rooftop of the German Pavilion, which serves as a foundation and common link among various images and videos. The wall mural contains images from multiple discourses and mediums such as photographs, film stills, video game stills, historic moments, cartoons, paintings etc., to build on the iconography of the rooftop.
Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk, contemporary Cairo-based artists document the privatisation of a public factory in Egypt using radical theatre as a means, through their exhibit: Out on the Street. The installation consists of two parts – a video, which merges real time footage with fictional performances; and additional documents such as photographs, tiles from the now abandoned workshop and telephonic recordings serving as witness to the theatrics.
Tobias Zielony uses photographs and newspapers to express the representation of refugees in European media. Through his installation, The Citizen, Zielony connects with the refugees to give a deeper understanding of their lives and stories.
Hito Steyerl’s Factory of the Sun is a video installation which utilises a computer game format to showcase political sensibility and freedom. She questions liberal concepts of present times and showcases her opinions in the form of a video game. For example: The treatment of slave labourers and their struggle is one of the concepts she highlights. She talks about political suppression and freedom of expression through the video which is designed in the format of a game. She uses motion imagery and opponents and basic gaming concepts to bring her concept to life.
The artists use the exhibition space minimalistically to present an abstract idea of culture that is structured around the elements of architecture. The works are concerned with the circulation and migration of people and images across cultures therefore merging culture and architecture to bring out a contemporary form of art.
“The reification of human relations, the factory, for example no longer discloses these relations. So there is indeed ‘something to construct’, something ‘artificial’, ‘invented’,” said Bertolt Brecht in ‘The Threepenny Lawsuit: A Sociological Experiment’. This quote represents the reality we are living in and it inspires the artists to portray this reality in the form of their installations.
FABRIK, an exhibition that is sure to leave one contemplating on the notion of space and the concept of ideation, is a must visit. For further information visit the website.
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