(Vienna, 24 May, 2016) Where are democratic societies heading right now? What do the notions of space and territory mean in the face of fences and arbitrary new borders becoming an issue of everyday life? Is it not a farce to pair the constant urge for a global economy without limits with the contradictory tendency of growing isolation and fearful self-protection?

The concept of this international exhibition has been developed against the backdrop of urgent political and humanitarian questions addressing the challenges of the current refugee crisis and global migration at large. The exhibition WHERE ARE WE NOW ?, which will be on display from 10 June until 3 July, 2016 at FRANZ JOSEFS KAI 3, 1010 Vienna, focuses on virulent topics of these days. Yet the project has not been conceived on the fly but is based on years of research.

Artists of divers generations from the Russian Federation, France, Sweden, the Ukraine, Mongolia or Austria are tackling questions of the status quo in multiple ways. Commissioned works produced for the exhibition are being confronted with works of already historical significance. In her space-specific installation “I want to live where I сould be free” the Russian artist Masha Poluektova reminds of the constantly growing number of casualties on the routes of migration. In an almost tragic way hinting at the present is Peter Weibel's “Europa(t)raum” of the year 1983. Weget to see Europe on the screen of a video monitor as a shape morphing to a sculpture of large blades covered in blood-like red paint in 3-dimensional space. Continuing her on-going research on cultural history and economy Gabriele Sturm's work is focusing on exotic birds as merchandise of global trade. In commission she also developed a series of photographic works of “Z?une und Schlupfl?cher” (Fences and Loopholes) along the national border around the area of Spielfeld.

The spectrum of references comprises the topic of state-building by artists as emancipatory utopian idea, on the example of “Elgaland-Vagarland” founded by the Swedish musicians Carl Michael von Hausswolff and Leif Elggren to performative works such as the action by the Mongolian artist Qin Ga. With a critical reference to Mao Zedongs “Long March” he had the map of its route tattooed unto his back to make it a permanent mark on his body. Then he walked this route himself, from which experience he produced both a video and a series of photographs. Several artists come from the areas of digital art or work with materials from the internet, like Ruth Schnell with her critical exploration of the Mexican border with the use of “Google Earth” visual feeds.

WHERE ARE WE NOW? understands the exhibition space as a place for knowledge production and critical discourse. The exhibition is confronting artistic positions with each other that have come a long way in the exploration and representation of social and geographical spaces. 

Curator: Roland Sch?ny

Participating Artists: Kader Attia (F), Hubert Blanz (AT), Ramesch Daha (AT), Leif Elggren (SE),Peter Fend (US), Qin Ga (CN), Dariusz Kowalski (POL), Carl Michael v. Hausswolff (SE), Masha Poluektova (RU), Gabriele Sturm (AT), Ruth Schnell (AT), Peter Weibel (AT), Kateryna Zavoloka und Dmytro Fedorenko (UA)