ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012
Tintin Wulia
* 1972 in Denpasar, Bali (ID), lives and works in Jakarta (ID) and Melbourne (AU)

Artist Statement

Magic and failure, citizenship and nation-building, politics and chance, capitalism and technology are several themes that I have been reflecting on in my current practice about borders. Their significance can be thought of in many stimulating pairs and combinations. Magic, for example, is when technology works without electricity. With electricity, magic becomes the awe-inspiring lure of capitalism. In magic, even failure is a premeditated event, so it is through magic that I feel I can illuminate why, in the politics of nation-building, history is never based on chance. Personally, however, I have found that my citizenship is predominantly based on chance. In a universe parallel to ours, I could have been born in exactly the same year that I was born, at exactly the same spot where I was born, and still have a different citizenship. But the element of chance is unwanted in a nation-state’s history – in the interests of nation-building, there should be only one language, one motherland, one nation, one power, and one possibility.
This type of oneness differs from my personal reality in several ways, including its fixity and its disregard of process. I therefore often invite people to join in the process of the making; the making often becomes the artwork. People, I have found, are the perfect randomizer. As everyone has his or her own will and desires, I often find myself, the artist, in the midst of a fascinating power dynamics. This is the basis I will build on in order to develop my work at the ZKM’s The Global Contemporary. (TW)

The Butterfly Generator, 2012
Interactive Network Installation with Live Video Projection
Produced in Cooperation with ZKM | Centre for Art and Media, artist-in-residence program of the exhibition The Global Contemporary (2011) & Osage Art Foundation, Hong Kong.
This work is part of the artist’s practice-based PhD research at RMIT University, Australia

In accounts of globalization processes two contradicting statements are found:, globalization can signify a proliferation of possibilities, because it makes more places, more things, more knowledge accessible for more people – it can however also signify a loss of possibilities as soon as ideas and products are standardized and simplified in order to reach the largest number of people possible. In criticism of the capitalistic worldview the latter is, for example, referred to as “McDonaldization” – as the strategy of corporations to uniformly cover the world with their commodities, while suppressing local alternatives.

The vision of a world in which – for better or worse – the same conditions prevail everywhere, is juxtaposed by visions of a globalized world as chaos. From the allegory of the “butterfly effect” we learn that one stroke of a butterfly’s wing in Brazil may cause a tornado in Texas, and therefore little events in one place may have unforeseeable consequences for the whole world.

In “The Butterfly Generator” Tintin Wulia has merged both of these world models. Almost entirely made up of products of a popular furnishing house, her installation is reproducible at any place where the company, which was once founded in Sweden, has established one of their blue-and-yellow outposts. In fact, the installation is only complete with its identical counter-part situated at a different place, currently in Hong Kong; each location features a projection where you can see what is happening on the other side simultaneously.

If we touch one of the installation’s buttons, this will activate an “atmospheric” reaction at both locations and stir up the inner life of the piece. At first glance, this supports the thesis of a simultaneity and uniformity of forms and events – yet at second glance, it delineates a threatening, almost eerie loss of control, as in the end, we don’t have influence on who is controlling the buttons on the other side of the planet and not only disarranges their own world, but also the small universe of the installation placed in front of us. (JB)

Nous ne notons pas les fleurs, Fort Ruigenhoek

Nous ne notons pas les fleurs, Fort Ruigenhoek, 2011
prozessbasierte Installation mit wachsenden Blumen, Blumentöpfen und Untersetzern, Ferngläsern, 24-stündiger Kameraüberwachung und Liveübertragung auf Videomonitoren, Im Auftrag von Kaap 2011/Stichting Storm, courtesy of the artist