MONA VĂTĂMANU AND FLORIN TUDOR — TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Quote—Unquote: Video Station presents Terms and Conditions by Mona Vătămanu and Florin Tudor, 2019, single-channel video.
To accompany the Video Station open call and commissioning programme for video works, Quote—Unquote presents a series of artists’ films and videos dealing with topics of speech and public speaking.
Working with a group of teenagers, the artists together with the playwright Mihai Lukács explored within a workshop held at the Youth House the relationship between social networks, data collection, and surveillance technologies. In the act of consent to terms and conditions of any digital service, what are the implications in terms of individual sovereignty?
The starting point of the work is an excerpt from Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism published in 1951. Arendt describes a simple graphic system employed by the Czarist secret police, The Okrana Guard (operating between 1881-1917), in order to produce a social mapping of an individual by studying one’s close relationships, contacts, and interactions. A density of information can derive from the cartographic representation of social interactions. Only technical limitations, suggests Arendt, restricted this endeavour to be applied on a larger scale and fulfil the dream of a totalitarian police. In the current digital era, Arendt’s anticipation of an extensive social mapping as a tool for control reads like a prophecy.
Passages from Arendt’s text were pasted as vinyl stickers on four large canvases, with the sentences being peeled off letter by letter during the workshop. Although the text was removed, it left permanent and visible traces. Around and across the text, circles drawn by the artists and teenagers evoke the surveillance system described by Arendt and point out to the shared perceptive principles between the language of abstraction in art and data visualization. Inserted in the rotunda hall of the Youth House, the textiles become part of its architecture. The communal reading of an excerpt from an internet agreement repeats in the space in loop. The voices of young performers overlap in a choir treating the click-to-agree terms the same way they are written – close to unintelligible for each one of us. (text by Anca Rujoiu)
The film is related to a workshop conceived in collaboration with Mihai Lukacs and the participants Sara Andone, Cristian Bodiu, Julia Namoloiu, Maxim Opriș, Julia Romocea, Ianca Simion, Clara Tudor.
This work was articulated within a larger intervention in the Youth House, Timișoara, in the frame of Windswept: Art Encounters Biennial, 2019.
Camera: Andrei Infinit, Mona Vatamanu, Florin Tudor
Thanks to: Diana Marincu, Anca Rujoiu, Mihaela Tilinca, Georgia Țidorescu
With the support of Art Encounters Foundation Timișoara
MONA VĂTĂMANU (b. 1968) and FLORIN TUDOR (b. 1974) work and live in Bucharest. Their practice consists of attentive observation and taking notice of material elements of reality. They often choose from it that which is ephemereal, small, marginal as dust, rust, fire, fluff from the tree’s seeds, soil. The work of the artists with such material can be a starting point for questioning social relations, technological and economic changes, political conflicts. Solo exhibitions (selection): Omnia Communia Deserta, La Loge, Brussels (2020), Metalurgica, Magma Contemporary Art Space, Sfântu Gheorghe (2019), Prăpădenia pământului, Salonul de proiecte, București, (2016), All that is Solid Melts into air, Extracity Kunsthal, Antwerp (2013), I dreamt the work of another artist, Kunsthalle Lissabon (2013), Powerlessness a Situation. Revolutie, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2013), The order of things, daadgalerie, Berlin (2012), All Power to the Imagination!, Secession, Vienna (2009), Surplus Value, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht (2009). Their works had been exhibited in international exhibitions such as Borderlines, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2019), Pangea United, ms Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz (2019), The Street. Where the World Is Made, Maxxi Museo Nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Roma (2018), Gaudiopolis – Attempts at a Joyful Society, GfZK Galerie fur Zeitgenossische Kunst Leipzig (2018), A Global Table, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (2017), Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb), The Showroom, London (2017), Still (the) Barbarians, EVA Biennial, Limerick (2016), Social Factory, 10th Shanghai Biennale, Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2014), Something in Space Escapes Our Attempts at Surveying, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (2014), A History, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014), Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module, New Museum, New York (2014), Untitled, 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), Call the Witness, Roma Pavilion Collateral Event, 54th Venice Biennale, Venice (2011), Shockworkers of the Mobile Image, 1st Ural Industrial Biennial, Yekaterinburg (2010), 5th Berlin Biennial, When Things Cast No Shadow, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2008).