Since the beginning of modernity, the arts have been attached to the ideals of a libertarian life and have propelled the criticism of social norms. At present, however, artist-critique faces a fundamentally altered situation. The demand for freedom and autonomy has long gone hand in hand with a process of economic exploitation. Creativity, flexibility and self-realization form the basis of a new model of economic value-creation. To the extent, though, that aesthetic ideas are no longer the purview of art alone, they can they no longer necessarily be identified as constituting cultural counterpoints. Thus “[t]he long-cherished self-image of the arts – namely that they belong to the realm of criticism and emancipation – has been shattered” (Christoph Menke). To the backdrop of these developments, the Freedom of Purpose series of events examines forms of production that question the conditions of economic productivity, imperatives of effectivity and principles of purposiveness.
In the first part of the series, Marie Cool Fabio Balducci address the normativity of behaviour and concepts of temporality. In Hamburg, the duo transposes the sculpture Untitled, scotch tape, bottle of water, sheet of paper (A4), desktop (2011/2018) onto the actual spatial conditions in order to scrutinise working processes and value attribution. Likewise, the sculpture Untitled, opened window, sunlight or spotlight, desktop (2014/2018) examines the constitution of meaning by interrupting the logic of activity.
With the intervention SPOT MISSION (2018), Beatriz Olabarrieta reacts to VIS’ exterior space to create a setting for a production developing on site. The artist choreographs a sequence of movements involving vehicles. The car formations abide by an internal logic that thwarts actual purposes. By testing the formation process, Olabarrieta questions the prerequisites for the creation of artistic production.
Roman Barkow presents Interfunktionen 1-12, Gesamtausgabe (2018), a library with a complete run of the art magazine interfunktionen. interfunktionen was published in Cologne from 1968 to 1975 and expressed criticism towards traditional, genre-specific categories in art whilst itself pursuing a radically expanded art concept. Barkow has compiled and reproduced its twelve editions, some of which are now out of print, in order to counteract the imperatives of (new) production with methods of re-publication and circulation.
Gerwald Rockenschaub has designed two motifs especially for the Freedom of Purpose series that interrogate the principles of labelling and designation; as posters they are to reach beyond the exhibition space. Rockenschaub, who has also been a well-known techno DJ since the mid-1990s, addresses the crossover between club culture and the visual arts in his practice.