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From Omega to Alpha

By Rhizome

The more one observes seemingly complex systems, the more one sees simple, repeated patterns of behavior. You don't have to be a systems theorist to note that election cycles, human development, and even the cooling and warming of the planet seem to be programmed on a loop. The big question is how or when to intervene in these cycles--what impact can or should an artist, or any of us, have on the future and its divergence from the present? This is the bigger question that might be said to foreground the current exhibition at Kunstraum Innsbruck. Collaboratively presented by Galerie im Regierungsviertel and Autocenter Berlin, "The End Was Yesterday--Part II" describes itself as post-apocalyptic, presenting the work of 19 artists whose projects deal with the transition from the end of the world to a place of regenesis. The suffix, "Part II" seems to refer not only to this moment of being after the main event, but also to the idea that this is simply a sequel, which could presumably be one of many recitations of a perpetual narrative. If this sounds dystopian, then you're in the spirit. Artists Tjorg Douglas Beers, Christian Jankowski, Annika Larsson, Roth Stauffenberg, Costa Vece, and others delve into tropes of the grotesque, abject, horrific, and futile in this show heavy on film/video, sound, and sculptural work. Freud argued that all dreams are efforts at wish-fulfillment, even our nightmares, which simply show us our wishes in reverse in a representational strategy that is often more successful than "good dreams" at evading preconscious censorship. Freud's thesis on nightmares could be applied to this exhibition, where the dark images cast set the dream of real change into light relief. - Marisa Olson

Image: Kirstine Roepstorff, Dead Star, (2004-2006)

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