Karina Aguilera-Skvirsky
Stephanie Andrews
Bernard J. Canniffe
Matthew Fisher
Rainer Ganahl
Joy Garnett
Ilona Granet
Marc Lepson
Max Liboiron
David Luke
Pamela Matsuda-Dunn
Robin Michaels
Lina Pallotta
Michael A. Rippens
Dread Scott
Natacha Seideneck
Therese Stowell
 
 

Rainer Ganahl

MORE NEWS...

This series of paintings deals with mainstream news I find on line. The news items I select are always of a terrible nature, yet they seem to drive the news industry and bring good sales: terrorism, the Middle East crisis, U. S. and allied casualties in the war in Iraq, the war on terror, in the fight against evil-doers.

I consider all these horrific incidents to be preventable and the symptoms of failed long term and short-term politics. I also look at them as temporal facts - temporal in the sense the Cold War was temporal, or the war in Vietnam was temporal, though the consequences for many people are unending. These depressing and spectacular events – the bombing of a bus in Israel, the explosion of a roadside bomb in Baghdad or 11 children killed by a US bombing raid in Afghanistan and so ...–are today part of our infotainment. We are served around the clock without much delay. I am not elaborating here on terrorism and its roots, on the historical background of the Middle East crisis, on the logic of preventive unilateral war doctrines or on the USA trying to enter a "New American Century." I am also not talking about global justice or injustice, the resurgence of religious fanaticism or a new global anti-Americanism accompanied by perverse forms of anti-Semitism.

With this work I'm interested in freeze-framing and observing on-line news pages, looking at how headline news is distributed for millions of users around the world and changed within seconds. News content mixes with news headlines of all sorts of things: corporate logos, numerous links, personalized features, fancy graphic design, and a variety of advertisements packaged into pop-up menus and flash graphics. This is all quite impressive and overwhelming and changes by the second. Only the computer and a printer can stop these semi-animated, more and more customized and infantilized news portals. For me, it is interesting to observe how news is selected and allowed to stay for a couple of minutes or a couple of hours before it is replaced by the next headline. News is news independent of the gravity of its content: dead body counts or 'best dresses' at the Oscars. These on line pages provide stock information for temporary display to be forgotten.

As an artist who for many years has been interested in the logic of computer interfaces and in the way knowledge and information is produced and circulated, it has become my intriguing interest to have these pages enlarged and painted on canvas. I find it quite inspiring to use an old fashioned format –painting on canvas –to represent the most advanced digital format to shape opinions and politics with news content.

Because these digital info-bytes are made to disappear I try hard to make them stay. Every element on these pages, which so often compete with each other, are traces of a corporate world that controls our lives and our politics. When it once might have been accurate to paint battlefields for kings of winning armies, as a quasi-voiceless consumer of news, it now appears correct for me to paint these web pages. The spin of todayıs super-consolidated news industries is, of course, related to the most powerful corporate players who lobby and are lobbied in Washington.

As an American citizen of choice I see it as my duty to focus in on the most basic instruments of information that are crucial to defend our democracy, which seems to be more and more manufactured by big money and big interests. The corporate world with its global outreach is best represented on-line with headline news and links on your way to on line shopping. As an artist I see it my duty to export this digital info-world news back into the real world.

Rainer Ganahl

www.ganahl.info More on this series: www.ganahl.info/morenews.html