Achim Mohné / Uta Knopp: remote Words

Seit 2010 schleust das Duo widerständige Worte, Textfragmente und Bilder auf Hausdächern oder Landflächen in hochtechnologische und auf Satelliten und Drohnen beruhenden digitalen Kartographien ein.

Für die Ausstellung »Luther und die Avantgarde« (2016) entstand ein Bild des Whistleblowers Edward Snowden. Mit diesem vergrößerten und verpixelten ikonischem Portrait von Snowden wird dieser zumindest digital und virtuell wieder nach Amerika zurückommen können – und zwar beim nächsten upload von Google Earth oder Apple Maps.

Die Künstler zur Arbeit: If Luther’s Reformation was made possible by the then “fast” medium of printing, Edward Snowden with his globally publicized revelations managed to beat digital technologies predominant in his own time with their own weapons. Both “whistleblowers” aimed at the disclosure of systemic injustice. Lucas Cranach’s portrait of Luther is widely considered to be an iconic image that has come to stand for Reformation, Snowden’s globally circulated likeness stands for the personified resistance against rampant digital surveillance practices.

For the exhibition “Luther and the Avant-Garde”, the analog reconstruction of a digital image structure has been created to form a large-scale mosaic consisting of 672 square floor panels. While the image remains unrecognizable as long as one tries to see it from ground level, it can, from aerial and satellite perspectives, be discerned as the pixelated portrait of Edward Snowden. The 672 “picture elements” – each is enlarged to cover a square shape of 50 x 50 cm, the whole structure measuring 12 x 14 meters – correspond to a digital photographic resolution of no more than 0.000672 megapixels. The floor piece which appears to have no geometrical orientation to its surroundings is actually along a north-south axis, so it will appear at right angles with the grid of virtual maps.

In its analog low-tech format, the picture of the “persona non grata” will not be recognized by digital filters, but will still be channeled into the data pools of virtual globes such as Google Earth or Apple Maps, who will then spread these data worldwide. The parasitic appropriation of distribution processes as well as the reversal of the photographic apparatus correspond to methods of artistic misuse developed in dialog with different new media.