Johanna Bruckner: BRITTLE STARS

23th of august – 15th of september 2019

BRITTLE STARS, the solo exhibition of the video and performance artist Johanna Bruckner (born in Vienna in 1984), deals with the social, political and socio-economic processes at play in digital networks and their exploitation on an emotional and financial level. Her dance-like sequence of movements reflects and makes this tangible in aesthetic and physical terms. In her new series of works, the artist juxtaposes the operation of cryptocurrencies with queer forms of love and reads them within the anthropological context of the exchange of gifts, translating the affective, immaterial dimensions of the exchange into choreographed movement.

The structures of exchange and cashless production of value within the contemporary economic systems of the (crypto) financial sector here are equated with the transaction of affective forces. Johanna Bruckner explores diverse forms of exchange and transmission into other cultural contexts as well as into quantum physics. Could current binary forms of exchange be transformed by the power of emotions? Might forms of exchange be described in terms of molecular cycles of love and polymorphous sensibilities?

The title of the exhibition refers to brittle stars; starfish-like creatures that belong to the class of the eleutherozoa. Brittle stars have no eyes as such, yet they have a sophisticated perceptual system. Their anatomy – their curving skeleton and diffuse nervous system, the latter’s structure and form – acts as a visual system, their arms and central body working like micro-lenses. For brittle stars, being and knowing, materiality and intelligibility, substance and form are mutually dependent. They oppose and transcend conventional, normative boundaries between organic and inorganic material, animal and machine, episteme and techne and the macro and micro level.

In her work BRITTLE STARS, Johanna Bruckner uses physical movement to develop a complex artistic language that explores possible versions of our future in which economic and affective aspects are tightly interwoven. The series is defined by the micro and macro structures of the indeterminate power of love. Bruckner aesthetically transforms the question of how we might understand exchange as a complex movement in order to establish new structural transformations as queer ecologies. The soundtrack that accompanies the movement-based performances in the video work also echoes these reflections.

Bruckner’s works link individual emotional states to structural examinations of how bodies and emotions are increasingly honed in upon and exploited in the digitalised world. Her exhibition at Q18 explores the emotive zones we might produce with new technologies in the future and how we might redistribute their intrinsic value in new ways. Bruckner’s process-oriented artistic works create poetic yet also theoretically grounded pictorial worlds of a fictive and narrative nature that prompt the viewer to reflect both on an emotional and a cognitive level.