Hanseatenweg 10
Berlin, Bundesland Berlin 10557

1. Exhibition SMILE MACHINES

Useless systems, robots depending on human assistance, artificial intelligence
producing nothing but failure, and machines uttering seemingly nonsensical
discourse: The beauty of paradox turns technical failure into art. In its
exhibition SMILE MACHINES, transmediale.06 shows about 30 artworks, which
undermine the reality of our technologically determined times with friendly
irony or black humour, with exaggeration or malfunction.

The French media art historian Anne-Marie Duguet has curated a show that
investigates the critical potential of humour in different artistic strategies.
The exhibition shows a humorous examination of the art system as well as
critical reflections on technology and society.

2. Reflecting Art

While works by Nam June Paik ('The Thinker') and Les Levine ('I Am an Artist')
ironically reflect the role and the self-conception of artists, Michael Snows
video installation refers to the context in which the art work is presented:
'That/Cela/Dat' shows simultaneously on three monitors single words in English,
French and Dutch. With a dry sense of humour Snow broaches the issue of language
and image in art.

Nam June Paik (us/kr), 'The Thinker - TV Rodin' (1976)
Les Levine (us), 'I Am an Artist' (1975)
Michael Snow (ca), 'That/Cela/Dat' (2000)

3. Media Critique

Antoni Muntadas' installation 'Slogans' deconstructs advertising messages and
reveals their endless repetition as a power strategy, while Robert Filliou's
video 'And so on, End so soon: Done 3 Times' shows the subversive dimension of
repetitive variations. Also Dara Birnbaum in her video 'Wonder Woman' uses
subversive strategy: Scenes from the TV series, dating from the late Seventies,
become their own parody through a deliberate repetition

Christian Moeller's video installation 'Cheese' is a cynical contribution to
media critique: He asked six actors to smile into a camera for as long as
possible, while they are watched by an emotion detector. A decrease in
'cheerfulness' triggered an alarm, demanding more 'seriousness' on the job.

Antoni Muntadas (es/us), 'Slogans' (1986-87)
Robert Filliou (fr), 'And So On, End So On: Done 3 Times' (1977)
Dara Birnbaum (us), 'Wonder Woman' (1978-79)
Christian Moeller (de/us), 'Cheese' (2003) http://www.christian-moeller.com

4. Black Humour

Black Humour seems a mainly female strategy in SMILE MACHINES: Eva
Meyer-Keller's video series 'Death is Certain' shows cherries being tortured,
quartered, poisoned and brought to 'death' in many gruesome ways. Tamy
Ben-Tor's video series 'Hitler, The Horror and The Hurrah' is a very special
parody on documentaries and musicals for the 'inherent Hitler' in all of us.

Maja Bajevics Video 'Back in Black' shows masked individuals, who recount
disturbing, sick jokes about the war in Sarajevo. The dark humour here can be
seen both as a strategy of catharsis but perhaps also as a mechanism that can
enable the expression of the unspeakable.

Eva Meyer-Keller (de), 'Death is Certain' (2004) http://www.evamk.de
Tamy Ben-Tor (is/us), 'Hitler ? The Horror and The Hurrah' (2003) series, 3
parts: 'The Hitler Sisters', 'My Name is Adolf Hitler', 'Women Talk About Adolf
Maja Bajevic (fr/bih), 'Back in Black' (2003)

5. Machines

Two robots, both useless and perverted caricatures of their kind, will molest
the visitors of the exhibition: Simon Penny's 'Petit Mal' is programmed with a
curious 'personality', which makes it appear a little out of control. The
'Helpless Robot' by Norman White seems pitying, because it is literally
helpless - but it can talk. By asking for help, the machine turns the
compassionate visitor into its servant.

Leaving the exhibition you will experience the final uprising of our ordinary
technical devices: In Perry Hoberman's installation 'Faraday's Garden', a
landscape of innumerable household and office appliances is waiting for the
sound of footfalls, on which they start a force field of noise and activity,
creating a wildly complex symphony of machines.

Simon Penny (au/us), 'Petit Mal' (1989-93)
Norman White (ca), 'Helpless Robot' (1987-96) http://www.normill.ca/
Perry Hoberman (us), 'Faradays Garden' (1990-99) http://www.perryhoberman.com/

6. More works include...

Jean-Christophe Averty (fr), excerpts from 'Les Raisins Verts' (1963) and 'Ubu
Roi' (1965)
Paul DeMarinis (us), 'Grind Snaxe Blind Apes (A Study for Pomeroy's Tomb)'
(1997) http://www.well.com/-demarini/
Robert Filliou (fr), 'this flag is meant to straddle national border lines'
Jean-Pierre Gauthier (ca), 'Remue-Menage' (2000-2006)
George Maciunas (us), 'Flux Smile Machine' (1971)
Valerie Pavia (fr), 'C?est bien la societe' (2000)
Jim Pomeroy (us), 'Apollo Jest' (1979) u.a.
UBERMORGEN.COM (ch/at), 'G3 ? Bureaucrazy'
William Wegman (us), Selected Works (1970-78)
The Yes Men (us), 'Dow does the right thing' (2002-2005)

7. Catalogue , Opening Hours, Admission

'Smile Machines - Humour Art Technology - transmediale.06 Berlin'
Revolver Verlag Frankfurt am Main 2006
App. 80 Photographs
192 pages
Price: 15,00 Euro

February 3 - March 19, 2006
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 11-20 hrs
Special opening hours February 3-7: daily 10-22 hrs
Admission: 5 Euro (reduced 2 Euro)

Added by Berlinista.com on December 19, 2005