KARLSRUHE.- ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe Germany will be showing a new theme-based group exhibition: Medium Religion. Based on the much discussed return of religions the thematic show provides a comprehensive view into the medial reproduction and meaning of religion, especially in the geopolitical hot spots of the Middle East, Asia, Russia, the United States, and South America. Many works will be shown for the first time in Germany and have been specially prepared and researched for the exhibition.
Medium Religion aims to present both documentary and artistic perspectives surrounding the topic. For example, media aspects of religion will be showcased using current examples of religious video propaganda. Also presented will be works by individual artists who have confronted images from such propaganda in their works. Shown, for instance, will be suicide notes from religiously inspired terrorists, religious-propaganda television series, and documentaries about current sects and religious groups. The artistic works juxtaposing the documentaries arise for the most part from the same context as the religious movements that they thematize. They are neither affirmative nor critical with regard to the religious rituals, images, and texts of the respective cultures, but rather blasphemous. They place the religious symbolism of the respective culture in an unconventional context in order to provoke a different perception. They thereby enable both a critical analysis of the respective religious iconography as well as its crossover into modern culture.
Todays religious movements operate primarily with images capable of spreading around the world in a flash by means of mass media. Video has become the chosen media for religious propaganda as it can be produced and distributed particularly fast thanks to todays technology. The return of religions that people have been talking about recently does not necessarily mean that more people have become religious. Instead, religions have moved from the private sphere of personal belief out into the public sphere of visual communication. In this, religions function as machines for the repetition and mass medial distribution of mechanically produced images. For another, this repetition is based on the repeatability of the religious ritual, which is the basis for the emergence of all subsequent media technologies for reproduction.
The exhibition focuses on death as religions first and prime theme: on death as the result of a political, artistic, or private martyrdom, similar to the central role it plays today in the political consciousness of secular modernism. The exhibition will show in an exemplary way how the iconography of this civil religion is ritualized and presented artistically, and how this works.
Presented will be works by artists and scientists, among them Adel Abdessemed, Oreet Ashery, Maja Bajevic, Paul Chan, Omer Fast, Barbad Golshiri, IRWIN, Kajri Jain, Vitali Komar, Korpys/Löffler, Alexander Kosolapov, Rabih Mroué, Dorcas Müller, Sang-Kyoon Noh, Nira Pereg, robotlab, Dorna Safaian, Anri Sala, Michael Schuster, Wael Shawky, Joshua Simon, and Jalal Toufic.