A project by Oliver Ressler & David Thorne
“Boom!” is a collaborative project of Oliver Ressler (AT) and David Thorne (US). The project consists of photo-text works in various media designed for flexible production and application in a range of display contexts. The project began as a series of banners for use in counter-globalization protests, and has also been realized in art institutions, as contributions in print media, and as public art.
The works inject lengthy statements into the traditionally short linguistic structure of the “url” to generate dysfunctional web addresses which examine some of the central myths of globalized capitalism. These dysfunctional urls are combined with additional texts and photographs in order to suggest that the current (or is it “over” now?) economic boom is a manifestation of the deepening crises of capitalism, and that “boom” must be understood not only as “expansion” (capital in search of return) but also as potential collapse or explosion.
The first version of “Boom!” was included in June 2001 in the exhibition “What, How & For Whom” in Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna. The text “oppositions nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere” is a modified quotation from The Communist Manifesto. In reference to the expansive, globalizing tendencies of capital, Marx and Engels write, “it must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.”
We have produced 3 banners (12 x 6 feet) which were used in several public demonstrations, e.g. the demonstrations against the World Economic Forum in New York in January/February 2002, and in Salzburg in September 2002. Although these works are somewhat atypical as protest slogans, we feel that this is their strength, in that they challenge the mystifications of the global economy and at the same time suggest that critical analysis can be non-didactic, challenging, and humorous.
“3 proposals for banners” (2004) is a set of drawings of extremely long protest banners which might be used in a strong and radical international anti-capitalist movement. These somewhat atypical banners could be used in demonstrations, applied on the facades of buildings, or displayed in public spaces, in order to mix up the rhetoric of oppositional politics and to complicate the visual and verbal languages of protest.
Versions of “Boom!” have been presented in exhibitions at CCA Glasgow (UK, 2005), Ottawa Art Gallery (CA, 2005), Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (NZ, 2005), Kunsthalle Wien, permanent installation at Karlsplatz, Vienna (2004), Dunkers Kulturhus, Helsingborg (SE, 2003), Gallery 825, Los Angeles (2003), Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program Exhibition, New York (2002), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, LA (2002), World-Information.Org, Amsterdam (NL, 2002), Kunst Raum Goethestrasse, Linz (AT, 2002), Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (2001 and 2004) and others.