Aram Bartholl: TOP25

HMKV Video of the Month


01–31 May 2022

TOP25 is a series of short 3D animation sequences featuring the 25 most used passwords in the world. Standard, easy-to-guess passwords like ‘123456’ or ‘admin’—frequently the default preset passwords for routers and other devices in the past—still pose a significant security threat to computer systems in general. This collection of well-known passwords is presented in a style of 3D animation often used for YouTube intros. It is very common practice among YouTubers to use short and very to-the-point 3D animations of their logo and name to introduce their channels, and a whole scene of young YouTubers exchange and share the 3D source files (Blender 3D) online to help new channel producers generate their own intros. Though the animations are remixed and altered, the general aesthetics follow a very clear visual concept. All sequences in this video are original designs and arrangements by different creators; the text has been altered to match the top 25 passwords.


Aram Bartholl is also currently featured in the exhibition House of Mirrors: Artificial Intelligence as Phantasm at HMKV.


Aram Bartholl, *1972 in Bremen, Germany, studied at UdK - University of the Arts Berlin, 2002, and is based in Berlin. Through his sculptural interventions, installations, and performative workshops, Aram Bartholl questions our current media behavior as well as the public spheres that are linked to social networks, online platforms, and digital distribution strategies. He puts socially relevant topics such as surveillance, data security or technology dependency up for discussion by transferring the gaps, contradictions or absurdities of our digital everyday life into spatial settings. On the one hand, this results in sometimes grotesque confrontations with our own ignorance of a globally operating platform capitalism; on the other hand, he also uses the potentials of public space to renegotiate network activities as political forms of participation on an analog level. By means of his works, Aram Bartholl thus initiates a performative process that makes it possible to understand individual action again within a collective and self-determined network discourse. Formally and conceptually, he draws in his artistic works on the aesthetics, codes, and communication patterns with which users also act on YouTube, Instagram, or in video games. The targeted contextualization visualizes the logics of the Internet and at the same time subverts them on the basis of their own exploitation strategies. In addition to numerous lectures, workshops, and performances, his work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the MoMA Museum of Modern Art, Palais de Tokyo, Hamburger Bahnhof, Seoul Museum of Art, the Thailand Biennale, the Venice Biennale, and at Skulptur Projekte Münster.

01–31 May 2022

In the series HMKV Video of the Month, HMKV presents in monthly rotation current video works by international artists – selected by Inke Arns.

Aram Bartholl


Full HD, Blender 3D, 2018, 5:44 min.

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