ON / OFF
Joséphine Kaeppelin’s art works is initially based on the use of « machines ». These devices are at the same time means of production, co-authors and food for thoughts. By putting forward use and gestures, she focuses the attention on human presence within a production system dominated by technology. By using pre-defined formats, standards and default settings, she experiments the re-appropriation by usage. Indeed, using software or machines in an opposite way or diverting a program purpose can be assimilated to an act of resistance, a way to create a space for free thoughts in a defined system. She bypasses a program in order to show the structure behind the system. She wants to point out the awareness of an action, the will of people using a system and finally a sort of self-realization in a professional activity. Her most recent works have to be considered in relation to a larger scale system: the human society.
For the «
ON / OFF » exhibition, Joséphine Kaeppelin displays works which point out the « STOP » as a mean to produce forms, pictures, thoughts and meanings. In confrontation with the current European industry status and the omnipresence of new technologies and devices, she shows a critical sight on technology use and work practices. She invites visitors to make a “pause” in order to think about the way systems are working.
Some works deal with “turned off screens” or with the gesture of “turning off a machine”. DISPLAY, made of black ©Corian panels, can be assimilated as turned off TV screens, isolated from the information flow. Diagrams and text engraved on those black screens deal with one’s will: « I don’t want to see this ». These are a schematic way to show lack of critical behavior we have in front of continuous TV news or entertainment. The TURN ON / TURN OFF project focuses on the act of turning off a screen. This usual act has become an “out of mind reflex”. Do we really turn off our cells or laptops? Pointing out this act is an invitation to think it as thoughtful and self-will driven.
Other works deal with the world of work and society phenomena. In those researches, collaborations occurred where the artist is an operator who activates a production as well as thoughts. The piece Appuyer sur pause is echoing the temporary shutdown of the steel industry in Florange (Moselle) in 2011. The artist set up a protocol for a black digital print on fabric by requesting two emergency stops during the production. The outcome is a visual translation of this “stop” dealing with the industrial situation in Florange and today European post-industrial situations. The video-presentation Slide Show hijacks the Microsoft PowerPoint software constantly used by companies. The software is a production tool as well as a way to tell about work mechanisms. Finally, the MADE WITH makes a step aside the question of the production location to question the feeling of workers. The project tells about the inner value of work. Joséphine Kaeppelin interrupts people in their activity in order to ask them to take time and think about what there are doing and how they are doing it. She collects feelings of workers, the first one being Roger Gorrindo, a stone carver.
text written for the exhibition
ON/OFF, Greylight Projects, Brussells, may-june 2014