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LET'S TALK ABOUT IMAGES 2.1.0 #EXERCISE NO. 4: BJARNE BARE

Bjarne Bare presents #Exercise no. 4 of Let's Talk about Images 2.1.0

Time: 4 May - 10 May
Location: Fotogalleriet's Instagram

To tackle the current moment of crisis, Fotogalleriet has asked reputable and young artists to guide us through their thinking processes, generating an alternative space for critical thinking and advocating new forms of freedom and togetherness.

For the fourth week of the programme, we have invited artist, curator and writer Bjarne Bare, who will present a new body of work, consisting of seven images, accompanied by a reflective essay, that can be read below.

Much like the ongoing crisis in cross-cultural communication, so is the current pandemic exposing our lack of trust and building on the same principle: inadequate global solidarity. Yuk Hui in his recent poignant analysis wrote, “since the Enlightenment, and after the decline of monotheism, the latter was replaced by a mono-technologism (or techno-theism), which has culminated today in transhumanism”.[i]I have thought about this recently during lock-down, revisiting old movies, and contrasting the nitty-gritty aesthetic of ‘80s sci-fi dystopia with today’s futurist movies picturing artificially intelligent, ultra clean cityscapes of an envisioned neoliberal future, free of germs.

While the climate is recovering, even heading for the better during the pandemic[ii], we should reflect on the fact that what is commonly called “the Invisible Enemy” is not actually invisible at all––the enemy is nature itself––and she is fighting back. As Slavoj Žižek proclaims, “Maybe, this is the most disturbing thing we can learn from the ongoing viral epidemic: when nature is attacking us with viruses, it is in a way sending our own message back to us. The message is: what you did to me, I am now doing to you”[iii].

If we are to follow the spread of Covid-19 as a pattern, one thing is clear: its pace has been greatly multiplied by the effects of globalism, giving the right-wing neoliberals another string to their bow in the arguments for stricter border control[iv], models for surveillance and oversight of information flow[v]. We soon realise that the pattern is very similar to the First World[vi]order of movement through airports, business travel and holidays[vii]. After all, the spread in Europe commenced in a ski resort[viii], the viral genome later erupting in New York[ix]–– and its story is still unfolding. (A bat soup might not be innocent, but neither are our lifestyles).

As we self pity during our brief stay-at-home periods of isolation, we should try to focus on the next wave of pandemic which is already in its wake. Reports from India reveal massive food shortages[x]due to impromptu lock-down measures, infections are on the rise in non-urban areas across the globe, and there are warnings of famine[xi]. How will the pandemic affect the “developing world”? It is dire to imagine its consequences in countries where social distancing is a luxury, hospitals are ill-equipped[xii]and modern infrastructure is non-existent. Back to Yuk Hui’s theory of mono-technologies: we have made our own bed throughout the past decades, and now we must lie in it. As every country and state globally strives towards developing the same technologies, we have created an interdependent supply chain, all elements focusing on demands for the same products and limited resources[xiii]. A dog chasing its tail. Since we are all now obsessively focusing on “reopening the economy”, let’s take a minute to think about how and where the resource materials in the objects we surround ourselves with and communicate through are sourced and mined. What will this supply chain look like through this year and the next? How do those “front line workers” appear? This will not only affect your smartphone, but the food on your table[xiv]as well other crucial commodities.

We are not facing an invisible enemy; it is the very Nature that created us and made life possible which is now telling us something. As Yuk Hui states, “Competition based on mono-technology is devastating the earth’s resources for the sake of competition and profit, and also prevents any player from taking different paths and directions”[xv]. Rather than further accelerating the impasse, perhaps now more than ever is a good time to listen––and to picture a new path.


Text by Bjarne Bare


[i]Yuk Hui, One Hundred Years of Crisis, e-fluc Journal April 2020, accessed April 16 2020 https://www.e-flux.com/journal/108/326411/one-hund...

[ii]Climate crisis: in coronavirus lockdown, nature bounces back – but for how long? - The Guardian, Accessed April 16 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/09/clim...

[iii]Slavoj Žižek, Monitor and Punish? Yes, Please!, The Philosophical Salon Accessed April 16 2020 http://thephilosophicalsalon.com/monitor-and-punis...

[iv]Trump says he will impose immigration ban in bid to tackle coronavirus - The Guardian, Accessed April 21 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/21/trum...

[v]China is tightening its grip on coronavirus research, accessed April 16 2020 https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01108-y...

[vi]Wikipedia; First World, accessed april 16 2020 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_World

[vii]Global travel patterns: an overview - Journal of Travel Medicine, Volume 24, Issue 4, July-August 2017, accessed April 16 2020 https://academic.oup.com/jtm/article/24/4/tax007/3748298

[viii]The Austrian ski town that spread coronavirus across the Continent, Politico, Accessed April 16 2020 https://www.politico.eu/article/the-austrian-ski-town-that-spread-coronavirus-across-the-continent/

[ix]Most New York Coronavirus Cases Came From Europe, Genomes Show - New York Times, accessed April 16 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/science/new-yor...

[x]Jayant Bhandari on Twitter, accessed April 16 2020 https://twitter.com/jayantbhandari5/status/1248499...

[xi]UN food agency chief: World could see famines of "biblical proportions" within months – BBC news, Accessed April 22 2020 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-famines-u...

[xii]2020 coronavirus pandemic in South Sudan - wikipedia.orgAccessed April 21 2020 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_pan...

[xiii]Connectography, By Parag Khanna, Penguin Random House https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/530058/connectography-by-parag-khanna/

[xiv]Coronavirus at Smithfield pork plant: The untold story of America's biggest outbreak - BBC News, Accessed April 21 2020 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52311877

[xv]Yuk Hui, One Hundred Years of Crisis, e-flux Journal April 2020, accessed April 16 2020 https://www.e-flux.com/journal/108/326411/one-hund...

Title of works:

1. The Accelerationist, 2018-20; 2. The United Nations, 2016-20; 3. ASMR, 2020; 4. Intersection, 2016-2020; 5. Duct, 2019-20; 6. Breastplate, 2019-20; 7. Elliott Wave, 2020

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Bjarne Bare (b. Poznan, 1985) lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his B.F.A. from the Academy of Fine Art Oslo (2013) and M.F.A. from UCLA, Los Angeles (2017). Bjarne is the co-founder of MELK, an artist run space in Oslo promoting new Scandinavian Photography since 2009. Through his work as an artist, gallery director and publisher, Bjarne Bare maintains a profound interest in the development and current state of the photographic image, as well a theoretical curiosity concerning modes of perception in the reading of the photograph.

His works have been shown in museums such as the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Preus Museum and Sørlandets Kunstmuseum as well as Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Palazzetto Tito, Venice; UCLA Broad Art Center, Los Angeles; Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre, Xiamen; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; and OSL contemporary, Oslo; among others. Bare has published several books, which have been included in libraries and collections such as the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); The Getty Research Institute; Sächsische Universitätsbibliothek Dresden; University of Bergen and his artworks are found in the collections such as Preus Museum, Kistefos Museum, Wienerberger Contemporary Photography Collection, and The Ekard Collection.

ABOUT LET'S TALK ABOUT IMAGES 2.1.0

Let’s Talk About Images 2.1.0 is a #stayhome programme conceived and produced by Fotogalleriet in Oslo, Norway. The programme takes place from 16 April - 7 June 2020. The participating artists are announced on Fotogalleriet’s Instagram account every Monday. Follow us on Instagram for developing programme announcements and projects.


Artistic Director of Fotogalleriet Antonio Cataldo says:

– We are not turning digital, but we are hijacking the only available platforms at our disposal at the moment to keep discussions alive. This is in line with our mission to catalyse new and cutting-edge practices within the arts, and give artists a platform and needed support, enabling them to continue their artistic practice in these daunting times. By doing so, we hope to provide an opportunity to think freely and independently, share with others different worlds and modes of being, and to continuously affect thought.

To read more about the programme please click HERE or contact us at [email protected].

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