When the world ends: The collective DIS thinks

DIS, there was something! DIS, the collective from New York, made its appearance at the 9th Berlin Biennale seven years ago. At that time, the team took over the artistic direction – at a time when collective curating, but above all joint decision-making, was still relatively new in the art world. And not everyone was convinced of the election at the time.

At DIS, which counts itself among “post-internet art”, much remains superficial, it was said. Critical interventions and affirmative strategies are said to be so alike that one sometimes wonders whether the smoothness and smooth consumability of the works is not meant to be completely serious. After the optical overload At the time of the Biennale, with its contributions that often drew on the digital, nothing was seen or heard from DIS in Berlin for a long time. Which by no means means that the group with its changing collaborators has become quiet. There have been various exhibitions in houses such as MoMA, most recently she curated another biennial; this time in winter 2021 in Geneva with a focus on video productions.

You sit on electric blankets and look at hyper-realities

It was about self-acceptance and (of course) renewed consumption, about occult knowledge and doubts about the linearity of history. Many truths were presented instead of one, depending on the perspective of the fluid characters. Right in the middle: the video collage “Everything But The World” as the latest DIS in-house production. That was a good year ago – and yet the video with its hyper realities in the Schinkel Pavilion jumps out at you as directly as if it had been produced yesterday.

You sit on electric blankets in the octagonal exhibition room and let yourself be intoxicated for 40 minutes. Fast cuts, changing protagonists, a whirlpool of seemingly unconnected stories: “Everything But The World” is so packed that the private art association concentrates entirely on the presentation of one video. It seems a bit unusual after the last mega-projects, which reached from the upper floor down to the basement bar with its labyrinth of tiled cells. But well, the all-absorbing cinematic material in the style of a docu-sci-fi episode challenges eyes and ears alike and makes a provocative thesis right at the beginning: an over-the-top duo is chatting about the qualities of fossils. Too bad nobody wants to be a fossil these days.

In the drive-thru, there is a monologue instead of a burger

Everything is in the process of transformative demise anyway. Lurking behind yesterday’s phrases like progress or property – the transapocalypse. Whatever that is or where it’s taking humanity, DIS can’t say at the moment either. Just that a lot will change because the old situation will inevitably lead to extinction. The collective leaves no doubt as to its responsibility for this state of affairs. The human species, a small light compared to about how long dinosaurs have been on this planet, caused it and will have to see what they make of it. The video shows possible reactions: Yoga in the scorpion pose, dancing in the mud or becoming a fossil. What doesn’t work: Just carry on as before. If you try anyway, you will get a long, philosophical discourse about the end of mankind instead of your order in the drive-in zone of a burger joint.

Attack on a cardboard box and its occupant

DIS, which this time includes the artists Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, have chosen the burger chain “White Castle”, which is unknown in this country. On purpose: The approach in the video is associative, the video pans from the burger roaster to a real castle as the nucleus of capitalism and property. Soon after, a New York attorney presents the legal case of a homeless man whose cardboard box was attacked. Can he defend himself like the owner of a house, even if the “burglar” is injured?

The answers to knowledge that we had no idea we needed are neither new nor surprising. Nevertheless, one remains spellbound because DIS pulls the strings together in the end: The world is collapsing because greed and consumerism are acting as destructive forces. With their striking criticism, they hit the nerve of a digital generation that adapts knowledge as media rapid fire. As a consequence, the collective offers up-to-date mediation formats, visually stunning and so fast that some complexity falls by the wayside. But a way to generate attention.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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