Installations, videos and projects in public space

by Oliver Ressler

Sustainable Propaganda

Veronika Gasser

The basis for this work was the Expo 2000 in Hannover, dealing with “sustainable development” under the motto “Man – Nature – Technology.” This term and the surrounding debates have created the impression that technology could be the reason for ecological crises, but that it could also be used to repair the created damage.

“Prior to the world fair, there was a five days’ conference under the title ‘Brave New Expo-World,’ which critically questioned the image of technology as a savior of mankind,” Ressler reports. The represented initiatives and their representatives formed the basis for the video “Sustainable Propaganda“. In the (video) interviews, the concepts of a vigorously reformed global capitalism turn out to be absurd. Hence, the conceptual artist operates as a partial mediator between the critics of capitalism and the audience: “I don’t agree with all the contents, thus I want to offer a platform for the underrepresented views. I’d like to have them included in the discourse of the media.” Besides Expo critics, Ressler also presented pictures of the exhibition area during the construction phase: “In the video, the construction sites are a metaphor for the reconstruction of capitalism.”

The walls show nine color prints. The depicted materials are visualizations of the Expo, resembling the background images of computer screens. But the idyll of the staged theme parks can hardly be perceived because it is disturbed by large error notes. In dialog windows, which usually inform users about software problems, you can read the comments of those opposing the exhibition: “The Expo advertises a sustainable economic controlling of the world, existing power relations are legitimized and consolidated.” But for Ressler, the Expo is only a “symbolic battlefield,” presenting the manifold ecological and economic problems of the capitalist market.

translated excerpt from: Veronika Gasser, Nachhaltige Propaganda, Wiener Zeitung, 11.09.2000