Francis Hunger: History has left the Building

21. April 2012 - 22. July 2012 Dortmunder U, Level 3

Opening: Friday, 20 April 2012, 18:30

Curated by Dr. Inke Arns

On April 20, 2012, the HMKV opens on the 3rd floor of the Dortmunder U three solo exhibitions. Two of them enter into a dialog with each other: British artist Suzanne Treister (HEXEN 2.0) amd German artist Francis Hunger (History has left the Building) deal in their exhibitons with similar themes – the hopes, utopian dreams, but also dystopia which were connected to the development of modern technologies in the 20th century. The artists also refer to the social conditions of the development of technology and to its function as accelerator of social and economic processes in different political systems. Both artists operate as media archaeologists, applying methods of artistic narration. They tell stories from the age of information technologies, and present incredible and unseen findings in the form of ephemeral drawings and diagrams (Treister) as well as installations, radio plays, videos and performances (Hunger).

Francis Hunger: History has left the Building

The exhibition History has left the Building by Francis Hunger (*1976, Dessau) addresses the hopes and visions associated with the development of new technologies in the ruling political ideologies of the 20th century, and remember the victims of technological progress. Francis Hunger's artistic narratives in the form of installations, performances and radio plays reflect the neuralgic interfaces between technology and ideology, leading to conclusions regarding the social constitution before and after the downfall of communism.

Hunger’s art is essentially an attempt to clear the “mythological rubble” left behind by the failed revolutions of the past and make room for a debate on the potential of new models of society. The common thread in his works is a strong interest in the development and significance of complex technologies in socialist countries. More specifically, the artist suggests that the problems and questions they raised point to the deeper causes which eventually led to the demise of these utopian systems. Indeed, five-year plans are hardly compatible with the speed and ubiquity of networked technologies, whose decentralised organisation effectively undermines socialist centralism.

Following this line of thought, Hunger turns his attention to artefacts which bear the traces of these ideological discourses or have been shaped by them. The SETUN computer and the Sputnik satellite are thus quiet witnesses of our ‘ideological Antiquity’ (Alexander Kluge), who are trying to establish contact with us from within their archival tombs.

By addressing the function of technology as a catalyst for social, political and economic progress, Hunger asks questions that are still relevant today – and perhaps even more so if we want to find a way out of the dominant neoliberal cul-de-sac. Hunger’s narratives take the shape of installations, radio plays and performances which are never mere representations of historic facts and in which the artist also discusses his own practice. With their numerous references to popular culture, they evoke the memory of exotic parallel worlds where avant-garde, politics and science formed an inextricable entity (Sieg der Sonne) [Victory of the Sun], but only to sharpen our senses for the present time, for the post-Fordist networked technologies of capitalistic societies which have led to the outsourcing of production into regions of the world that cannot defend themselves against exploitation, and generated capital that exists only in our mind (Human Capital).

Francis Hunger's website:

Live performances "The SETUN Conspiracy"
April 21+22, 2012
May 12+13, 2012
June 02+03, 2012
June 23+24, 2012
July 21+22, 2012
daily from 11 am - 6 pm

Funders and Partners

Main funders of HMKV:
Kulturbüro Stadt Dortmund
Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes NRW
Sparkasse Dortmund
Film- und Medienstiftung NRW

Media partner:
ARTE Creative -

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