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Affect Me. Social Media Images in Art

Lara Baladi, Irene Chabr, Forensic Architecture, D. H. Saur, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Thomas Hirschhorn, Randa Maroufi, Rabih Mroué, Thomas Ruff

Duration: November 11, 2017 to March 10, 2018

Curators: Julia Höner and Kerstin Schankweiler

The way we deal with images has dramatically changed in the age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and co. Images circulating on digital networks have become the most significant means of personal expression for an extended public. The interactive component of Web 2.0 offers a new dialogue-based space in which users can communicate almost in real time. The frequency of this communication rapidly increases as soon as images become its vehicle; images have considerable affective potential that skilfully plays with the emotions of the recipients and releases spontaneous reactions. What others post is commented on ad hoc and “from the gut”. The posts include banal moments from the user’s life as well as visual evidence from the trouble spots of current global crises. The meaning of these images arises from the way they are dealt with, from the processes of interaction, marked above all by affective dynamics, between the images and their recipients. The images move the user; they are ‘liked’ en masse or provoke protests, induce criticism or unrestrained attacks; they instigate public debates and appear to create a sense of community. They show up again and again, posted or published in new contexts, altered with image editing programmes or imitated in new footage.

Especially given current forms of political protest, the democratic promise manifests itself via images disseminated on social media and delivers alternative perspectives on current political crises. The increase in ideological propaganda and falsified information in social media may well have discredited this channel as a means of communicating knowledge. In the worldwide protest movements of the last few years, however, the private photo, taken with a mobile phone camera and distributed through networks, has perhaps become the most important instrument for an independent formation of opinion.

This situation is where the exhibition, Affect Me. Social Media Images in Art, is rooted. It presents works from nine international artistic positions that refer to the new phenomena of social media imagery and select particular pictorial material that draws its energy from the context of global political conflicts and civil-social protest on the net. Their work reflects the usage and the semantics of these images as well as considering their aesthetic qualities. Sometimes, they allow us to delve deep into the places and events of our world in upheaval. Sometimes, the artists take a more distanced view. They elucidate the mobilising power of the images and demonstrate how these images create facts and thereby operate along the porous border between reality and fiction.

A cooperation of KAI 10 | Arthena Foundation, Düsseldorf and the Collaborative Research Center 1171 Affective Societies at Freie Universität Berlin.

The exhibition at KAI 10 is supported by:

Exhibition views

Accompanying program

, 7 pm

Affect Me. Social Media Images in Art: Opening

Duration: November, 11, 2017 to March 10, 2018
Tuesday to Saturday 12 to 5 pm.
Closed on Sundays and Holidays.

, 7 pm

documentary Philip Scheffner, Havarie, 2016

Saturday, December 9, 2017, 7 pm and Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 8 pm

Philip Scheffner, Havarie, 2016 
documentary, 1:33 h

Black Box Kino
Schulstr. 4, 40213 Düsseldorf
free entrance

, 11 am , 6 pm

Duesseldorf Photo

Extended opening hours:

Friday: 11 am–9 pm
Saturday: 11 am–2 am
Sunday: 11 am-6 pm

, 3 pm

Im Netzwerk der Bilder

Guided tour of the exhibition with the curators (in German language).

, 11: am , 6 pm

Duesseldorf Photo

Extended opening hours:

Saturday, 11 am–6 pm
Sunday, 11 am-6 pm

, 7 pm

Expanded: Affect Me in Berlin

Panel discussion with participants from the field of art and cultural studies at the Academy of Arts in Berlin.

Find details of programme here.

Akademie der Künste, Clubraum
Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin

, 7 pm

The Pixelated Revolution

Talk with Verena Straub (FU Berlin) and Rabih Mroué (Beirut/Berlin) in English.

Artist Rabih Mroué in dialogue with art historian Verena Straub on the use and the efficacy of images in the digital Age.

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