Private View: Wednesday, 7 May 2008, 6:30PM - 8:30PM

Exhibition Run: 7 May - Saturday 7 June 2008

Thinking in Loop, Three videos on iconoclasm, ritual and immortality

Curated by Bart van der Heide

Public talk by Boris Groys: Thursday 15 May, 5:30PM to 7:00PM
Location: A.V. Hill Lecture Theatre, UCL (see below for more information).

With the exhibition Thinking in Loop Cubitt is proud to host the installation of three video-collages by German philosopher Boris Groys. As a prolific contributor to current theoretic and cultural discourse Groys wouldn’t be at first associated with a visual practice. However Thinking in Loop shows that both means of public expression are compatible with each other. The three videos on iconoclasm, ritual and immortality were produced by Groys for several occasions between 2002 and 2007 and will have, as a group, their British debut at Cubitt. Each video combines a theoretical text — written and spoken by the author — with muted fragments from feature movies and film documentations.

    Boris Groys:

    One can assert that in our time video, instead of text, became the leading vehicle for transmitting information of any kind. […]

    The three videos shown in the exhibition fit in this pattern because they give the impression that the text has a more prominent role than the image. But the film footage that is used in these videos has no direct relationship to the spoken text. There are associations and parallels between text and image, but also there are contrasts and breaks. The image is not used here as an illustration that has a goal to make the text more comprehensible, to make certain theoretical positions more evident. Rather, the videos produce a certain gap between what we hear and what we see – they even make it especially difficult for the spectator to follow the text and image simultaneously. In this way the presented videos problematize the relationship between text and image that usually seems to be guaranteed by the structuring of the video material. In fact, these videos transmit no information – rather they reflect on the difficulties of such a transmission. These difficulties are the main topic of all three texts – and these difficulties reflect themselves in the shape of the videos themselves. Text and image correspond to each other, but they remain heterogeneous. 1

    In this way Thinking in Loop subjects a cultivated tool of mass communication to the private act of appropriation and miscommunication. Groys challenges with his videos the regime of visibility within contemporary cultural production, which fuels a continuous demand and circulation of information. At the same time an intriguing reading of mass media is posed by Groys: a reading that surpasses their embodiment as temporary forms of ‘transmission’ and ‘representation’. In his argument Unter Verdacht (Under Suspicion) [Carl Hanser Verlag, 2000] Groys undertakes to break through the ‘mediatic surface’ of mass media in order to expose their inherent, yet concealed, materiality. A set of ideological, economic and technical histories form the point of departure for this definition of their ‘materiality’ and outline at the same time the playing field of the videos on show at Cubitt.

    Thinking in Loop was shown at apexart, New York earlier this year. The paraphrased text parts are taken from an introductory text by Boris Groys for this exhibition.

    Boris Groys is Professor of Aesthetics, Art History, and Media Theory at the center for Art and Media Technology in Karlsruh and Global Professor at New York University. He is also a philosopher, essayist, art critic, media theorist, and an internationally acclaimed expert on late-Soviet postmodern art and literature as well as on the Russian avant-garde. Dr. Groys’ writing engages the wildly disparate traditions of French poststructuralism and modern Russian philosophy.