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All Targets Defined, 2006
[ All Targets Defined #1, #2, #3, 2006 ]

Series “All Targets Defined”

Light object
Two pieces, each: 112 x 90cm, 56 x 90cm (tableaus), 18cm (light stick)
2 aluminium plates, UV printing, epoxy resin, light bar composed of 64 green super-bright LEDs, circuit board, eprom, power supply converter


The group of works with the title All targets defined is organized under the topic of the exploration of technologies and reception of modern warfare: the more advanced warfare equipment allows its users to kill at a distance. The contemporary reporting system provides us with easily consumable pictures of the crises and wars around the world, whenever necessary, by taking over the narrative of the military operation as a meticulous planned surgery. The optics of the rifle-scopes and night-vision devices convey the representation of the war into virtuality. The colour of modern war is no longer bloody red, but is instead represented in the greenish tone of the images of the night-vision devices in action.

The tableaus are conceptualized as diptychs. Whereas each of the left panels depicts grainy gridded motifs of media-mediated war images captured by different cameras and locations, the second panels contain an LED bar representing expressions, numbers, dates and facts from the world of military strategists, war technology and world politics dictated by energy interests.

The Target tableaux represent a particular group of works within the light objects series.

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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 defence mechanisms protecting our affluence. The first of the two selected works depicts a scene from the war in Iraq, while 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 colour 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, that is, 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, in: 21 positions


Exhibitions:
2009, Bilderschlachten – 2000 Jahre Nachrichten aus dem Krieg, Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche, Remarque Friedenszentrum und Museum für Industriekultur, Osnabrück (DE)
2007, Die neue Kollektion 2001-2006, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck (AT)
2007, 21 POSITIONS, Österreichisches Kulturforum, New York (US)
2006, Beyond the Screen - All Targets Defined, Galerie Grita Insam, Wien (AT)
2006, Bibliotheca Insomnia. Das digitale Bauhaus II, Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar (DE)
2006, Salon du Monde, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 7 (Potsdamer Platz) / public space, Berlin (DE)