In Conversation with Doron Beuns and Isabelle van ManenMaria Dragoi
Time of Publication: 2/6/23 ; 14:56
I sat down over zoom a few weeks ago to chat to Doron and Isabelle about their most recent exhibition ‘Bloodsport’. It turned into very long chat about tech, violence, ‘gorecore’, and contemporary artistic tendencies. I link the video below x
Bloodsport was “a group-exhibition in Amsterdam that investigated how gruesome impressions are confronted in technologically advanced societies.
Isabelle van Manen & Doron Beuns, collectively known as Sodom & Gomorra, curated a international selection of thirteen emerging artists from across Amsterdam, Eindhoven, London, Vienna and Gent. The exhibition was hosted by Pim Lamme from Semester 9, an emerging contemporary art agency in Amsterdam.
The exhibition presented various ways of grappling with the fragility of biological creatures in an age where technology could make one feel insulated from violence. In today's world, we are flooded with images of violence and gore, from news broadcasts to social media. But why do we find these images so compelling? Is it a morbid curiosity, a fascination with the limits of human endurance, or something deeper and more primal?
The works of Bianca Hlywa, Dae Uk Kim, Doron Beuns, Harry Hugo Little, Ilse Kind, Lili Bloom, K.T. Kobel, Maggie Dunlap, Max Otis King, Melle Nieling, Ton Damen, Thieu Kessels, and Vera Kersting provided a space for critical engagement. They grapple with a subject that is often overlooked or dismissed as simply part of the internet's sensationalism or shock value. By curating this group of artists, Doron Beuns & Isabelle van Manen facilitated a nuanced conversation around the complex relationship between violence, media, and digital culture, offering insights into how these themes intersect with
broader cultural issues such as trauma and identity.”
Melle Nieling (1994) is a Dutch contemporary artist. This work continues the narrative of the omni-benevolent AI introduced in Alison (2021). Alison, an AI created to optimise human decision-making discovers the contradictions of human logic. Simulating scenario after scenario, considering even becoming human itself, the AI grasps for an ever-elusive solution. Blood-stained shipping boxes signify Alison’s obsession with corporeality, but ultimately reduce the visceral realities of lives to an element of mass logistics. At the installation’s center a screen displays the AI: a fleshy simulacrum, endlessly revolving, imitating the motions of a shared existential crisis without end. The flesh turns endlessly inward, defeating all attempts at resolution. The AI finds itself lost in the same recurring labyrinth that has trapped humanity from the start.
Maggie Dunlap (b.1995) is an American artist that lives and works in London, UK. In her practice Dunlap investigates our cultural fascination for crime mysteries, that most recently manifested in the realm of podcasts. In this exhibition we see a split depiction of something that looks like a female corpse removes the narrative structure completely, ripping away the warm blanket of familiar media aesthetics and laying bare cold, blue flesh. It provides nowhere for the viewer to hide, placing them in the path of the reality of the image. There is no story, no clues, no friends and family in talking heads to cast doubt on police investigation and no chirpy hosts to lighten up the whole ordeal. There isn’t even a salacious description of the violence inflicted - there are only bodies. Dunlap furthermore challenges the fictional aspect of her images by distributing them online as real events. The responses that derive from this process become part of the work and reflect an absurd world where simulation and reality collapse into one another.
‘The Warmth and Security of Strangers’ - K.T. Kobel
‘Divine Design’ - Doron Beuns
‘Washington’ - Lily Bloom
‘I fed myself chocolate, then a string cheece
and then a red pepper‘ - Max King
‘Baarmoeder I & II‘ - Ilse Kind
‘LUKAS’ - Dae Uk Kim
‘Orbital Shakes’ - Bianca Hlywa
‘Suicide’ - Harry Hugo Little