Installation view, Galerie KUB, 2022
Foto: Ludwig Ander-Donath
WE MUST BE MISTAKEN
Performative 4-channel video installation
We Must Be Mistaken is a performative 4-channel video installation about echo chambers/filter bubbles in online spheres. The audience is moving between two echo chambers indicated by a separating wall/projection surface. The work depicts growing rifts between different patterns of desire.
While some yearn for equality and make their anger about patriarchal structures heard, others share cynical internet memes in defense of “free speech” and their idea of masculinity. A conflict develops across the boundaries of both echo chambers, without the characters encountering each other directly. The audience can move back and forth between the two filter bubbles and gain intimate insights into the respective emotional worlds and atmospheres, condensed to the point of absurdity. The viewers become flexible observers of the increasingly evident crisis of heteronormative desire. They have to constantly position themselves anew in relation to the conflicting narratives, and decide which sphere they want to pay attention to. While getting a glimpse into both echo chambers, they cannot perceive everything that happens inside them.
The conceptual starting point is the research project of the artist Johanna Maj Schmidt, who is writing her PhD about the question of how the Heroic is represented in far-right meme culture as part of the graduate school “Rightwing Populism – Authoritarian Developments, Far-Right Discourses, Democratic Responses”. The video work puts her observations about the self-representations of so-called meme warriors into a larger social context and translates them into a process-oriented, artistic form. In We Must Be Mistaken, Johanna Maj Schmidt brings her own performative works from the past as well as her current research into a constellation with texts by writer friends, who have been invited to perform them in the film. For example, the role of a feminist scholar is embodied by the US-American internet researcher Dr. Catherine Tebaldi, who studies “Tradwives”, i.e. right-wing conservative vloggers. While she initially appears as an expert talking about her research, she shows herself more vulnerable at the end and delivers a very personal monologue about her unfulfilled longing for closeness/intimacy. The other performers were also conceptually cast and bring their own experience with the subject matter into the process of developing the, partly exaggerated characters.
I realised We Must Be Mistaken in collaboration with Charlotte Ruppert, with whom I have been writing and directing, with Jan-Luca Ott, with whom I did the production and installation, and many other artist and writer friends & acquaintances from Leipzig, NYC & London.