Ed Fornieles l Der Geist: Flesh Feast
April 30 - June 11, 2016
Forget: Forget your preconceptions.
Active: Read actively and participate in the exercises.
State: Feel the excitement and curiosity to learn. Sit up, lean forward.
Teach: Read as though you must teach this to others.
Der Geist: Flesh Feast – Ed Fornieles’ first solo exhibition in Berlin – is a journey into the culture of self-management and specifically self-management diets that view the body and mind as a system to be understood, leveraged, and controlled.
A desire for intimacy is present, a desire to somehow share a hope or a belief or a delusion, where agency is realized through the fog of old habits and addictions. But intimacy is hard, and desires are prickly and often not what they seem.
Take a moment to manage your state.
Now let’s dive in.
Der Geist (2016) is a film that both chronicles Fornieles’ attempt to adopt his own self management diet and a drama that plays out over a backdrop of shifting images that can be read as an internal train of thought or perhaps a stream of endless imagery that cocoons any group, culture or search.
During the exhibition, starter diet packs will be on sale to anyone interested in beginning their own journey into the world of self-management diets; each pack will contain diet information and the first meal to get you going on your own programme of self exploration.
3D printed tableaus, digitally printed carpets, a food cart….
Beyond any core nutritional guidelines.
These objects act as markers, anchors or features in a shifting landscape.
The artist’s body has evolved into a lovable yet slightly anxious fox; this recursive avatar becomes a tool to pry open the lid of how identity is produced. Existing in the gap between the artist’s body and a world of images, the fox’s superpower becomes a flexibility that allows him to transverse, insert and rub-up-against, fracturing and expanding Fornieles’ own sense of self.
“Don't cry over the past, it's gone. Don't stress about the future, it hasn't arrived. Live in the present, and make it beautiful."
The world can often seem out of control, chaotic and opaque, unable to shape, remodel or change what you see through a political process; the self suddenly becomes a domain where actions can be felt and rewards harvested. In this environment the question becomes about ends. Do you align yourself with the mechanisms around you, conform to the desire for pure efficiency or repurpose these tools, redirecting them towards some other, less definable point.
Social media, as well as data analysis and an attention to the interpersonal relations that arise from a post-digital environment, have informed Fornieles’s works previously, and have been transposed into scripts and improvised performances (Dorm Daze, 2011 and New York New York Happy Happy (NY NY HP HP), New Museum 2013, The Work Place 2015). These relations are played out again here with a looming presence of physical and psychological risk. The diet packs – acting as a trigger – enter into a re-contextualised circulation initiated by Fornieles, identified not by the pumping, frenetic marketing blare of a diet lifestyle brand, but conforming to the equally unregulated and rampant production machine of the global art market.
These principles of exchange are appearing at a time when immaterial labour and an ever-greater material disjunction to the conditions of production assert themselves. They may be as much related to strategies of co-opting the ‘public sphere’ (Öffentlichkeit) – the identifiable space of networked relations – as they are brought back to subjectivity-forming activity by way of a symbolic relationship to neo-liberalism.
Identity is performed, the knowledge of this seems both empowering and terrifying; to interfere contains the risk of trauma and the promise of hope.
These diets are made for us!
Whilst the diets, delivered in their “fresh from the field” cart, bring the New Age promise of your “growth” as a person, like Ockham’s razor they simultaneously reduce: habits, mass, dependencies; and in contrast to the capitalist drive for growth make you lighter, less. The sculptures on display exist in a network of narrative, each one revealing parts of a whole. The site of intervention though, is first the artist’s body and then that of the viewer, who here can also be called eater, slimmer, improver.
Image of the future:
Consumption and being consumed are modulated by their interchangeability and constant exchange. Fornieles asks if it is possible to repurpose performance enhancing diets, seemingly geared to a productivity aligned with neo-liberal expectations, toward a more holistic remodelling of the individual and societies, while acknowledging the anxieties, dependencies and politics inherent to them.
Out with the oppositional, in with the Bulletproof® Diet.
How are you feeling?
Text Ed Fornieles & Adam Gibbons
Click here for German press release