LOUIS BETONG & BALZ ISLER: COVIDITY INTERVENTIONS
MON, 08.06. – SUN, 31.08.2020
In form of a web residency, the performance- and media artists Louis Betong & Balz Isler worked on the website of the network for media art and digital culture
The original agreement between the artists and the office medienwerk.nrw was to conceive several contributions for the Meta Marathon 2020 festival of the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf under the annual motto “Cyborgs” and to realise them on site in a time span of 42 hours. But – as everyone knows – everything turned out quite differently. The situation surrounding the outbreak of the coronavirus also had serious consequences for the cultural sector, resulting in the cancellation of all events in the physical space until at least summer 2020. For artists and many institutions of all disciplines, questions arose about securing their livelihoods as well as new forms of artistic production, presentation and exchange with the public in times of “social distancing” – beyond the purely documentary. The situation at that time was also a time of experimentation with the possibilities and limits of the digital as well as fundamental political debates – among other things about the world after the crisis, “system relevance”, solidarity and the importance of art and culture for an open society.
Louis Betong & Balz Isler’s interventions, which took place episodically in the digital space of the website www.medienwerk.nrw, were attempts at artistic reflection on the new realities, ways of speaking and thinking, everyday and media worlds, adaptations and restrictions brought about by the coronacrisis, which brought people together worldwide in a state of waiting, hope, speculation and uncertainty. Isler & Betong call this state “covidity”. As self-proclaimed “covidity residents”, the two nested on the website www.medienwerk.nrw and played with the artistic possibilities of the medium. Reflections on the location, individual experiences of presences and absences in now closed places as well as questions from previous medienwerk.nrw events on the thematic field of “Body and Technology” served as source material.
The works could be experienced in the period 08.06.-31.08.2020 on the website of medienwerk.nrw
About Louis Betong & Balz Isler:
The two are performers, artists and public thinkers in old and new space. They studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg and work with time-related media. They live together in Europe. Isler & Betong move in the compositions of sound and space and in installations and performances. Within this they deal with communication, presentation methodology and today’s clip- and documentary culture. They collect, superimpose, rearrange and try to make new connections by means of different media and spatial levels, translating them into “real time” (Paul Virilio) in order to infer new movements if necessary.
The office medienwerk.nrw nd the web residency were funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The office is located in: Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Dortmund.