MAGIC, MYTHOLOGY AND THE NEW DARK AGE: Interview with curator James Bridle about the exhibition AGENCY

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SLEEK, writing

‘The last eight or nine years demonstrates that the process of pure revelation has failed to produce major systemic change. In fact, it’s often solidified it. A lot of things revealed in the Snowden documents have now been signed into law. Repeating and reinforcing these logics is a trap that a lot of art falls into as well.’


Given this, it was a surprise to enter the gallery space and be greeted by a long table, piled high with, you guessed it, a cache of Wikileaks print-outs. But a presentation of the old story of fear this is not. The work is by Anna Ridler and is entitled Wikileaks: A Love Story (2016). Visitors are encouraged to pick up the tablet that’s also on the table and hold it above the papers. An augmented reality app reveals an added text layer of email correspondence with personal subject lines like “mwwah” and “I wuv you”, which are not the usual diplomatic cable fare. Instead, the artist showcases the metanarrative of a workplace affair, another form of ‘revelation’ that lies, along with so many bigger secrets, among the 10,000+ documents. The result is funny – enchanting, even – and all the more compelling for it. It offers a different route into making sense of the now ubiquitous ‘papers’ trope: Pentagon, Paradise, Panama etc. Humour and love become valid ways to take on this subject matter – and are also suitable comebacks for fear.

Full text:

Interview and write up with curator James Bridle for SLEEK magazine on the exhibition AGENCY, featuring the work of seven artists who “engage with the most technologically complex and politically pressing issues of our times while asserting the ongoing importance of storytelling and myth-making, and the value of artistic expression, imagination, and intervention”. The exhibition opened at NOME gallery in Berlin, October 26, 2018.

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