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Thun-Hohenstein, Christoph: Ruth Schnell, 2006

In: catalogue 21 Positions


Screens have become the rule, real-life exposure the exception. Screens are everywhere at all times, providing us with an endless stream of pictures in a variety of formats. We have become screen addicts, but our preferred method to deal with such visual overload is to keep our eyes wide shut. The people who feed the screens understand our plight and know how to repackage the horrors happening in the real world into clean images that tend to leave us indifferent (unless it’s a Hollywood movie).

Ruth Schnell is an untiring explorer of the borderlines between reality and the virtual worlds. Her recent project “Beyond the screen - all targets defined” is part of a series that investigates the hidden dimensions of pictures beyond the superficial meanings we have been lulled into accepting. By decoding the real intentions and purposes behind the polished surface of the screens, the artist draws our attention to the networks of manipulation governing our lives, including the defense mechanisms protecting our affluence. The first of the two selected works depicts a scene from the war in Iraq, the second belongs to the border between Europe and Morocco. In both diptychs, the targets are clearly defined, and the field of vision and the line of fire seem to coincide. While the green color undermines our sensorium, the information encoded in the LEDs is supposed to bring us to our senses. Paradoxically, we can get the words only in passing, i.e., by glancing away. Isn’t it representative of our times that learning the truth requires an effort not to make an effort to see what we are told to look at?

Christoph Thun-Hohenstein