Mass Recording (To Be Read From Right to Left) is a recent photographic work by Erik Blinderman that continues the artist’s inquiry into the intersection of representation, media, and politics in contemporary life where an increasing number of individuals have the means to record, manipulate, and circulate information.
Originally the image was distributed on the cover of a major German newspaper and takes as its subject the crowd of a Barack Obama rally held in Berlin, Germany during his campaign for the United States presidency in July of 2008. The event was attended by more than 200,000 people, the artist among them. Unnerved when he saw the rally photograph in the newspaper the next day, he observed, “In the image printed on the cover of the paper, it was clear that all of the blank spaces, all of the unhappy faces were Photoshopped over, so as to create a more powerful image, an image of the people in complete unison.”
Blinderman’s reappropriation takes a detail from the much larger source photograph, turns it from color to black-and-white, reframes it, reprints it, and recirculates it in order to draw our attention to its problematics. Mass Recording updates or reconfigures the notion of propaganda inside the contemporary neoliberal regime. The crowd is no longer just a passive mass posed for a photograph, they are also actively photographing themselves. With this important detail, the photograph points to a broader relationship between the collective and the individual that capitalism both formulates and requires.
Previously exhibited only in Europe, Mass Recording will be on view for the very first time inside an American context. The installation, created specifically for the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College Bulletin Board, will take this image as its starting point, collecting,incorporating and interweaving additional visual material as a way for the artist to come to terms with what it means to “return” this image to the United States.
Erik Blinderman will be at Bard to present the work, with curator Laurel Ptak, on Tuesday, February 2nd from 5:30-6:30pm in the Bertelsmann Campus Center Lounge. This mediation, considered an integral part of the exhibition, will serve as an embodied and exploratory “slideshow” manifesting narratives, relationships, and meanings implicit and explicit in the project’s imagery.
Erik Blinderman was born in New York in 1979 and currently lives and works in Europe. He studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt from 2006–8 and is currently an associate artist at LUX in London. Recent exhibitions include Sounds of the Sea and Shops at Focal Point Gallery in South Essex, UK, 2009; The Leisure Suite, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York City, 2008; Nought to Sixty at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2008; as well as Aspen 11 (Part 3) and Secret-Flix, both of which took place at Neue Alte Brücke in Frankfurt in 2007.
Curated by CCS Bard graduate student Laurel Ptak
THE BULLETIN BOARD
The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College is the third venue to host Matthew Higgs’s (Curator and Director of White Columns) bulletin board project. CCS and Higgs collaborated to begin a bulletin board program at Bard in the fall of 2007 with the understanding that the graduate students at CCS would curate it. The bulletin board is an enclosed glass case divided into three panes by aluminum bars. As of January 26, it has migrated from outside of the CCS Library to its new location in the Bertelsmann Campus Center, adjacent to the billiard tables.