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Cataloge for Medium Religion Exhibition



  • RELIGIONFaith. Geopolitics. Art


    57 Boris Groys, Peter Weibel Introduction

    922 Boris GroysReligion as Medium

    227 Participating Artists / List of Works

    1415 Exhibition Plan

    2327 Documentary Installations

    4528 Symposium Information

    Cover Boris Groys: Medium Religion [Religion as Medium], 2006video lecture (colour, sound), 25 min, loop, courtesy Boris Groys, production ZKM | Center for Art andMedia Karlsruhe, 2006, commissioned by Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

  • This booklet is published on the occasion of the exhibition Medium Religion at the The Model Satellite, Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo, Ireland23 May 2009 16 August 2009

    Curatorial Team: ZKM

    CuratorsBoris Groys, Peter Weibel

    Project ManagementAnne Duper, Antonia Marten

    Curatorial Team: The Model

    Director/CuratorSeamus Kealy

    Assistant CuratorEmer McGarry

    Development ManagerAoife Flynn

    Education TeamMarie Louise Blaney and Linda Hayden

    Technical SupervisorMichael McLoughlin

    Model TeamAnne Bucknell, Jean Dunleavy, Maura Keegan, Denise Rushe, Evelyn Gallagher, David Leonard,Edna Lynch and Richard Diegnan

    Graphic DesignOriginal Design: Holger JostSligo Design Edit: Martin Corr

    AcknowledgmentsThis exhibition is a production of ZKM/Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe,Germany. Curators:Boris Groys, Peter Weibel. Presented by The Model Arts and Niland Gallery it is made possiblethough funding from The Arts Council of Ireland, Sligo Borough Council and Sligo County Council,and supported by the Goethe Institut Irland.

  • 5Participating Artists / List of Works

    Adel Abdessemed

    Oreet Ashery

    Peter Bogers

    Christoph Bchel

    Paul Chan

    Susana Pilar DelahanteMatienzo

    VALIE EXPORT,Ingrid and Oswald Wiener

    Omer Fast

    Barbad Golshiri

    Boris Groys



    Alexander Kosolapov

    Rabih Mrou

    Sang-Kyoon Noh

    Nira Pereg

    Anri Sala

    Gnter Saree

    Wael Shawky

    Jalal Toufic

    Vadim Zakharov

    Genevive Zondervan

  • 6Adel Abdessemed

    God is Design2005video animation made from 3,050 drawings(b/w, sound)4:44 min, loopcourtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York; Christine Knig Galerie, Wien/Vienna

    Oreet Ashery

    Dancing with Men2003video (colour, sound)3 min, loopcourtesy Oreet Ashery

    Peter Bogers

    The Secret of the Most High2003video installation (colour, sound)10 min, loopcourtesy Netherlands Media Art Institute, Amsterdam

    With kind support of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Berlin

  • 7Todays religious move ments operatepredominantly with images that canbe spread across the entire world in aflash by means of contemporary mass

    media. The electronic picture media video and television havebecome the chosen media for religious propaganda as they arecapable of being produced and distributed especially fast. Thereturn of religions that people are currently talking about doesnot necessarily mean that more people have become religiousnowadays. In stead, religions have moved from the private sphe-re of personal belief out into the public sphere of visual commu-nication. In this, religions function, for one, as machines for therepe tition and mass medial distri bution of mechanically produ-ced images.

    For another, the role model for this repetition is found in therepeatability of religious rituals, which is the foundation for theemergence of all subsequent medial reproduction technologies.The original media used by religions were scriptures and books,assigned the same task of distributing belief. Text served, addi-tionally, to canonize belief. Without writing there is no church;without scrolls, no belief. Thus, right from the start, through thedemand for repeatability embodied by the ritual, religion was notonly bound to media, but was itself a medium: religion as medi-um complements media as religion.

    The exhibition Medium Religion aims at demonstrating thismedial aspect of religion using current examples of religiousvideo propaganda and the work of contemporary artists. Thehorizons of religion have expanded enormously through thedevelopment of electronic media. The uncomplicated recordingof the message (e.g., the video message), the rapid distribution,and huge, nearly global scope (e.g., television, Internet), offereda technological base for religions reentry into public awareness.Since the mass media constitute public awareness and religionmakes use of mass media (e.g., the broadcast of the Papal massfrom Rome), it is only logical that it, too, will shift more intopublic awareness. The result is the reevaluation of minority

    Boris Groys, Peter Weibel


  • 8Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo

    Anexin oculta[Hidden Annexation]20086 photographs (inkjet print)70 100cmcourtesy Susana PilarDelahante Matienzoproduced in cooperation with ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

    Paul Chan

    1st Light2005digital video projection (colour, no sound)14 min, loopcourtesy of Greene Naftali, New Yorkphoto: Jean Vong

    Christoph Bchel

    Tomorrows Pioneers (Farfour)2007video (colour, sound)10:59 min, loopcourtesy the artist and Hauser & WirthZrich London

  • 9faiths and their messages. Shown will be, among other things,suicide confessions from religiously inspired terrorists, religiouspropaganda TV series, and documentaries on new religioussects and faith communities. The artistic works that are shownalong with this documentary material come mainly from thesame cultural circles as the corresponding religious movements.The relationship of most of the artists to religious rituals, images,and texts from their own culture is neither affirmative nor critical,but instead, blasphemous. They place religious symbolism in anunconventional context in order to provoke a different mode ofperception. This enables a critical analysis of the respective reli-gious iconography as well as its transfer to a cultural modernity.

    Death is thematized in the exhibition as religions most primaland basic topicand, indeed, death as the result of political,artistic, or private martyrdom, much in the way it plays a centralrole in the political awareness of secular moder nity. Throughexamples, the exhibition shows how the iconography of thesecivil religions is ritualized and artistically represented and how itworks.

    The exhibition Medium Religion thus provides comprehensiveinsight into the medial reproduction and significance of religion,in particular, its manifestations in geopolitical hotspots, such asthe Middle East, Asia, Russia, the U.S., and South America.Many exhibits are being shown for the first time in Germany andhave been specially researched or newly produced for the exhibi-tion.

  • 10

    Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo

    El escandalo de lo Real[The Scandal of the Real]20062007heterologous artificial insemination 2 photographs (inkjet print),20 30cm 2 copies of medical documentscourtesy Susana PilarDelahante Matienzoproduced in cooperation with ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

    VALIE EXPORT, Ingridand Oswald Wiener

    Das Unsagbare Sagen1992video (colour, sound)45 min, extract of 12:50 minScript: Oswald WienerDirection and Design: VALIE EXPORT, Ingridand Oswald WienerCamera: VALIE EXPORTand Ingrid WienerSound: Oswald WienerEditor: Heinrich MisProduction: P.R.E.TV on behalf of:ORF /Kunststcke

  • 11

    In our present post-Enlightenment cul-ture, religion is generally understoodto mean a collection of certain opin-

    ions. Correspondingly, religion is usually discussed in the contextof a demand for a freedom of opinion guaranteed by law. Reli-gion is tolerated as an opinion so long as it remains tolerant anddoes not question the freedom of other opinions that is to say,as long as it makes no exclusive, fundamentalist claim to its owntruth. Thus religion seems to be in a quite comfortable situation.It is no longer, as it was in the dark times of the radical Enlighten-ment, criticized, ironized, or even combated in the name of sci-entific truth. Rather, scientific truth itself has since acquired thestatus of mere opinion. At least since Nietzsche, and especiallythanks to Michel Foucault, we now know that the claim to scien-tific truth is dictated primarily by the will to power, and it must,therefore, be deconstructed and deterred. Scientific opinions cir-culate in the same media and in the same way as religious opin-ions. Opinions in both cases come to us as news that is dissemi-nated by the mass media. Sometimes we read about a newapparition of the Mother of God; sometimes we read that theEarth is getting warmer. Neither piece of information can be test-ed directly by those who hear it. The experts always disagree insuch cases. Hence either bit of news can be believed or not.

    Consequently our culture today knows no truths, be they ofreligious or scientific nature, but only opinions, whose dignity is,however, inviolable, because it is protected by law. The variousopinions are either shared or rejected by autonomous citizens.Thus the value of an opinion can be measured precisely by deter-mining how many people share it. The market of opinions is con-stantly being studied, and the results of this research tell uswhich opinions belong to the mainstream and which are margin-al. This data offers a reliable basis for each individuals decisionhow he or she wishes to draw up the budget of his or her opin-ions. Those who wish to be compatible with the mainstream willadopt opinions that are either already part of the mainstream orhave a chance to become so in the near future. Those who pre-fer to be thought of as representatives of a minority can seek out

    Boris Groys