Thursday, September 04, 2014

Matt Stokes: "Metarave I – « it’s only a fantasy »" WallRiss, Fribourg, Switzerland

Image: Matt Stokes (conversation texts - Banner No.1) 2006, printed silk-screen inks and acrylic on canvas tarpaulin 300 x 400 cms. Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery


METARAVE I - « it's only a fantasy »

Varis 10, Fribourg
Preview 5th September 18:00

Mathis Altmann
HR Giger Mia Goyette
Tillman Kaiser
Emanuele Marcuccio
Frédéric Post
Pamela Rosenkranz
Lorenzo Senni
Timur Si-Qin
Matt Stokes
Anne de Vries

Performance 20h : Tinguely Sound (live)
Metarave I - Collective Transcendence Party
05.09.2014, 21h30, Bad Bonn Club

IVVVO (live)
Throne (live)
Grey Chalk
DJ Danse Noire

It is twenty years since the great days of the Gugelmann megaraves in Roggwil, near Langenthal. It was also in 1994 that Netscape Navigator 1.0 came on the market and what was then the new World Wide Web began to become popular. Taking this look back as its starting point, "Megarave-Metarave" deals with artistic responses to the aesthetic, social, eco¬nomic and political questions thrown up by digital life and considers the historical traces of the futuristic promises of rave culture and the early web. The exhibition is part of the cooperation project Megarave-Metarave by Kunsthaus Langenthal and WallRiss Fribourg and includes exhibitions and events in both institutions and a publication. With the kind support of Pro Helvetia.

WallRiss also wants to thank Pro Helvetia, Roth Echafaudages, Anyma Fribourg, Belluard Bollwerk International, Vitromusée Romont, Frank R Communication, Lowrider, Danse Noire, Bad Bonn, Jean Tinguely.


Metarave takes the multiple imaginaries of rave culture and the utopias of the early internet emancipatory public sphere as the fertile ground out of which emerges a contemporary art exhibition. The exhibition is thought as a tactic to produce a specific hallucinated history of the present. It projects itself as if it was a body found in state of shock, discovered in a epistemic state of confusion, not knowing exactly when and where it is. Here, rave and early web occupy the place of mnemonic objects that can never fully be grasped. The body of the exhibition acts as if being in touch with them, without being able to define them as something experienced or only a dream vision of a now distant past. Colliding past and present the idea of rave/web and that of a contemporary art exhibition also aims at opening a future beyond any sense of justification.

This gesture defines itself as stupid: acting "as if" knowing to be wrong but not being able to act differently. But acting stupid is here a reaction to a "stupor". This strategy aims at diversion: only once the common sense history suspended can one approach the actual domestication of the senses, the current disorienting tension between the past the actual and the future, the now invisible that so vividly shapes our vanishing bodies and souls; a sense of acceleration and the vertigo we experience mixed with a feeling of despair concerning what one should do (disappear or mutate).

Something has played a trick on us, or are we just fooling ourselves: the nineties come to us as the new "when it all began", a date in the pop simulator with 2001, 1984, 1969 or 72, 1949, the nineties: all strangely mixed up with a relation to seventies flair of pastness, to neo-conceptualism flirting in a love-hate affair with neo-media art, to cyber/eco materialism, to the mourning nostalgia of the end, or nihilist impulses. The nineties are not a past that we can think in a linear term. The nineties aren't the nineties' seventies, nor the sixties' twenties, etc

If the nineties are a place in time, they are more a contemporary multitude made out of nostalgia, futurity, origine, the absence of present, our goal; images and sensations of all kind, a site that allows us to fool ourselves in the historical sublime.
Oscillating in one's performances of the self, one wants to win or to die. Self-historicisation and lies: be it the 90s internet or the emergence of the rave phenomena, both act as new sites of techno-sociality we fantasize, a dialectical image, including things some have missed, some others miss: raves, global techno-tribalism, communion, speed and futurity, aliens encounters, l'"enfance de l'art". Here, nostalgia is not only romantic, but always already a site of capital investment of the affect, a systemic weakness thought a traumatic site where a body can emerge.

More rationally, can one consider that the movements that shaped the 90's are kind of avant-garde esthetic position to what is now in form with a new generation of artists, or that rave prescient of certain forms of socialisation now installed critically in the young contemporary art scene. If so, is this of any interest? Rather, what if the future preceded the past. To know we might have to forget about what we think it is to know, but we might also do "as if "we were in the nineties so to trick the melancholic regime of esthetics: when today was the dream of tomorrow. The moment of this generation we invoque is unspecific. Not defined by its age, it rather recognizes itself in the destructive character of an always already broken narrative of history, lost between the too early and to late. May this help us to understand the absurd behavior of the child of Megarave: Metarave.

For full program of Megarave-Metarave see: