During the international election campaigns of the past few months supporters of opposing parties fought fierce image battles on social media.
Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and other services have become the digital marketplace for the political debate. The online work Bundestagswahl by Swiss media artist Marc Lee (*1969, Eglisau) displays the momentum of an election campaign fuelled by social media as exaggerated theatre. For the Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Lee has programmed a so-called bot - a software that filters the latest Twitter, Instagram and Youtube messages according to political parties and the primary candidates for the German federal election. The bot interweaves the messages into a frenzied live TV show in which images, tweets and videos flicker over the screen in real time and icons in the colours of the combatants display their current online market value.
A look beyond the borders of your own echochambers and filter bubbles, presented from 9 September as an installation in the exhibition No Image Is an Island at Port25 – Raum für Gegenwartskunst, Mannheim, and at the Thalia bookstore at Paradeplatz in Mannheim’s city centre.
One question for Marc Lee
Q Since the late 1990s you have been dealing with the exchange of information in network-based and network-oriented installations. How has the rapid development of the World Wide Web changed your work since then what is the role of images in this?
A The development is both a blessing and a curse. As humans we are becoming more and more transparent while at the same time participating in an incredible amount of knowledge and information. For example, every day more than 80 million images are posted on Instagram alone. I use this material for many of my works. In traditional photo and video art art, it used to be artists or artist collectives who decided on what we would come to know. Usergenerated content lets people from all over the world tell stories and have a voice. In this way, our lives, our hopes and wishes as well as our cultures can be reflected globally. Maybe even more successfully so than with traditional art. Besides, I love the fleetingness and transience of these pictures. Every few minutes millions of new images are created and this is a process that is symbolic of the nature of all things.