Immortalism at Kunstverein Freiburg

Artists: Ivana Bašić, Harm van den Dorpel, Cécile B. Evans, Pakui Hardware, Lina Hermsdorf, Kitty Kraus, Oliver Laric, Dominik Sittig, Anton Vidokle, Tchelet Weisstub

Exhibition title: Immortalism

Curated by: Heinrich Dietz

Venue: Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

Date: September 15 – October 29, 2017

Photography: Marc Doradzillo, all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Kunstverein Freiburg

In 1922, under the slogan ‘immortalism and interplanetarism’ the Moscow biocosmists called for nothing less than the immediate annulment of the temporal and spatial restrictions of human life. Their demands followed the traditions of the Russian philosopher Nikolai Fedorov, who saw the overcoming of mortality, alongside expansion into outer space, as the central aim of mankind. He believed all of this to be achievable with the aid of science and technology. Under the supervision of the state, which would eventually become a museum, nature would be reshaped into a manmade artwork. In the early Soviet era, theorists, scientists and activists seized upon Fedorov’s ideas. The cosmists were united by their belief in a rational transformation of the given and seemingly predetermined, which then culminates in the elimination of death and the conquest of outer space.

The present development of artificial intelligence and biotechnology is once again fueling projects that deal with the abolition of the temporal restrictions of human life. Enterprises of this kind, which address the conquering of human limitations via technological means, form the core of current transhumanist thinking. It is therefore of no surprise that Calico–the California Life Company, a subsidiary of Alphabet Incorporated (previously Google Inc.)–has set itself the goal of extending human life. However, although the cosmists saw their most urgent demand of overcoming death as a ‘collective task’ for all mankind, many current transhumanist promises are developed under the premise of self-optimization.

The exhibition Immortalism brings together works by different contemporary artists, all of whom present different perspectives relating to visions, ideologies and technological means of defeating death. The historical background of the exhibition is formed by the utopian program of eliminating human mortality as proposed by Nikolai Fedorov and early Soviet-era Russian cosmism.

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Pakui Hardware, The large ‘pool’: On Demand, 2017. Heat-treated Plexiglas, water, Sky Blue edible pigment, UV print on PVC Pentaprint film, Mini Magic Wand Humidifiers, clay, 20 x 150 x 240 cm

Pakui Hardware, On Demand, 2017, UV prints on PVC Pentaprint film, tripods, spring clamps, silicone, ceramics. Dimensions variable

Ivana Bašić, Population of phantoms resembling me #1, 2016; Stay inside or perish, 2016

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Oliver Laric, Life Masks, 2016, Eltectroformed copper, 75 x 40 x 8 cm

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Anton Vidokle, Immortality and Resurrection For All!, 2017, HD Video, color, sound, 34:17 min

Anton Vidokle, Immortality and Resurrection For All!, 2017, HD Video, color, sound, 34:17 min

Anton Vidokle, Immortality and Resurrection For All!, 2017, HD Video, color, sound, 34:17 min

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Cécile B. Evans, Time Traveller excerpt (Dear Gloria), 2017, HD monitors, computer monitor, Raspberry Pis, plinth, Dimensions variable

Dominik Sittig, Ohne Titel, 2014, Acrylic on Textile on canvas, Ø 180 cm

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Tchelet Weisstub, I don’t believe in death, 2016, HD video

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

Immortalism, 2017, exhibition view, Kunstverein Freiburg

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