B3 Exhibition ON DESIRE

In the leading roles: desire and aspiration
by Bernd Kracke and Anita Beckers

Desire and aspiration, are two concepts that have always played a major role in fueling the history of human development. They have consistently contributed to change, both for the good as well as evil. Neither drama nor comedy, art nor culture and especially not politics nor economy—in fact not even society in general—would be imaginable without protagonists who are motivated by their aspiration, driven and even seduced by their desire.

In his 1977 / 78 paper entitled The Mass Media and The Future of Desire, American media theorist Gene Youngblood already formulated the tremendous opportunities, as well as the challenges, that humanity would face through the development of mass media. At that time, through the introduction of portable video cameras, electronic imag- es first became available beyond broadcasters and media companies. Options for alternative media production, counter-publicity and a new culture emerged. Artists immediately foresaw the great potential, new possibilities and opportunities; they rushed to the new tools. At the time, there was as yet no talk of the Internet and total digitization. Nevertheless, a very vivid and experimental video art scene emerged beyond the classical art market, eventually growing into a highly elaborate and avantgarde art, science and technology scene that developed in parallel with the technological innovations of the 1980s to the 2000s.

Today, 40 years after Gene Youngblood published his paper, we have become used to a digitized and mediatized global reality, where world politics are heralded via Twitter, facts are interpreted alternatively and at will, and fake news lurks in the dark, ready to jump at us at any moment. At the same time, populists and separatists are increasingly dominating the news and receiving broad support in elections and popular referendums. Democracies all around the world are facing new challenges and have to fight for survival. Climate change, refugee waves, financial crises, and terrorist attacks highlight the global dilemmas that we all need to face. Too much for each individual but unavoidable for society. As a cultural, political and economic driving force of the 21st century, moving images play a key role in this context.

The B3 Biennale has set itself the task of addressing the central interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral role of moving images.

This year, the theme of the B3 Biennale 2017 is “ON DESIRE.” With the help of moving images, our goal is to make it possible to experience desire and aspiration through the entire spectrum of art, media, science and technology. For this purpose, we have invited international artists to present their current works and share their insights in the B3 main exhibition.

Desire / Aspiration designate phenomena inscribed in a productive ambivalence. They associate basic elements of human coexistence, at the same time as referring to complex social processes and institutions. With the digital media and the Internet, we experience a fabric of desire that proposes new relationships to property, the social body, sexuality and gender issues and to the production, perception and appropriation of moving images, music and art.

The B3 responds to these new conditions with a wide range of international artistic works that use the moving image. Within their aesthetic semantics, these well-for-mulated artistic positions respond to the ubiquity of desire / aspiration and related topics such as love, sex, freedom, religion, obsessions, individuality, power and greed. At the same time, these subjects and topics are the starting point for lectures and panel discussions. Art and discourse form the heart of the B3, where all participants express their different world views, attitudes and insights in order to formulate questions for the future in the best way possible.

At the present time, political debate is overshadowed by issues such as homeland, flight and displacement, which has also strongly influenced the current electorate behavior in Europe. The B3 has also given some interna- tional artists the opportunity to discuss their personal contributions to the cause and effect of this worldwide problem.

Among all other works contributed to the B3, the works of Candice Breitz and Federico Solmi can safely be considered a milestone for the third edition of the Biennale. Both contributions are key works in terms of content and form, as well as the divisions represented by B3.

Especially in the arts, we must protect the freedom to express our views and feelings, whether they stem from personal or political motivation, and provide artists with a platform for their fictional narratives, which, from within the context of art, can subsequently impact the public.

This year, for the first time, in addition to the artistic lifetime achievement award, which will be given to Lithuanian film pioneer Jonas Mekas, the dedicated German art collector Ingvild Goetz will also receive the honors. With her insightful early commitment to the art of moving images and the construction of her private museum in Munich, she laid a foundation stone for the sustainable promotion of film and video art in particular. To underline the presentation of this lifetime achievement award to Ms. Goetz, we took this opportunity to invite other international collectors, who for many years, and with equal commitment and interest, have supported the development of contemporary art in many ways.

We have asked collectors Carol Weinbaum from Canada, Baryn Futa, Tony Podesta and Manuel de Santaren from the USA, and Mario von Kelterborn from Frankfurt to provide us with works that we can use to show that there have always been people, who, with very different personal preferences, collected moving pictures, at the same time as proving themselves to be socially responsible by not purchasing art out of speculative interests. These selected works also reflect the guiding principles of “ON DESIRE” of the B3 Biennale.

Finding the most diverse partners—especially from with- in the business world and urban society—is a long-term goal of the B3, as part of its aim to participate in shaping the identity of the entire Rhine-Main region. However, this does not entail to absorb art and misuse it as a means to an end, but to primarily strengthen its self-conception and defend our core values.

Carlos Aires (ES): Sweet Dreams (are made of this), 2016
Shirin Anlen (ISR): Tzina, 2016
Janet Biggs (USA): Afar, 2016
Candice Breitz (SA): TLDR, 2017
Persien Broersen und Margit Lukács (NL): Double Mirror, 2017
Martha Colburn (NL): Metamorfoza, 2013

Johannes DeYoung (USA): Raft, 2017
Jonas Englert (GER): Praeludium, 2015
Beate Geissler und Oliver Sann (GER): heart-shaped box, 2017
Douglas Gordon (USA): I Had Nowhere to Go: A Portrait of a Displaced Person, 2016
Johan Grimonprez (B): Raymond Tallis / on tickling, 2017
Johan Grimonprez (B): Every Day Words Disappear / Michael Hardt on the politics of Love, 2016

Erika Harrsch (USA): Under the same sky... we dream, 2015
Dieter Jung (GER): Hommage to Otto Piene, 2015
Dieter Jung (GER): Lightmill, 1987
Jesper Just (DK): Servitudes, 2015
Clare Langan (IR): The Winter of 13 Storms, 2017
Soren Lind und Larissa Sansour (PSE/DK): In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain, 2016
Maya Magnat (ISR): Coded, 2016
Sam Messer (USA): Reflecting of Red Darkness, 1982-2017

Kent Monkman (CAN): Casualities of Modernity, 2015
Ann Oren (ISR): The World is Ours, 2017
Mario Pfeifer (GER): Über Angst und Bildung, Enttäuschung und Gerechtigkeit, Protest und Spaltung in Sachsen/Deutschland, 2016
Daniel Pflumm und Klaus Kotai (CHE/D/AUT): FRANKFURT
Johanna Reich (GER): Resurfaces, 2016
Julia-Charlotte Richter (GER): Camp, 2017
Julia Scher (USA): American Tanks, 2001

Igor Simic (SRB): X <3 Y, 2017
Igor Simic (SRB): Spine 2.0, 2017
Skawennati (CAN): She Falls For Ages, 2016
Federico Solmi (IT/USA): The Great Farce, 2017
Joscha Steffens (GER): Filia Athenae, 2017
Britta Thie (GER): System of a Doubt, 2017
Clemens von Wedemeyer (GER): Against Death, 2009

Gongxin Wang (CH): Basic Color, 2010
Bing Xu (CH): Dragonfly Eyes, 2017
Fudong Yang (CH): Moving Mountains, 2016
Fudong Yang (CH): A Resolute Woman, 2016