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You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Disaster

December 12, 2019
Text by Pia-Marie Remmers
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In her work the Viennese artist Jessyca R. Hauser often collaborates with other artists and friends. Her exhibition »You make me feel like a natural disaster« reveals the complexity of this practice and functions as a collective amplifier for individual sensations.

We live simultaneously in the moment whilst maintaining a detachment from the now, a contemporary sentiment which is inherent to Jessyca R. Hauser’s practice. When entering her exhibition You make me feel like a natural disaster, one is welcomed by a precarious structure of twisted metal beams, which tenderly uphold curtains of see-through plastic sheets and grey reflective foil. Inside this light weighted shelter, the visitor can lay down on two shallow leather loungers. While resting and watching out of the one window left free from the curtains, the above-indicated distortion kicks in.

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Three red spotlights are installed at the ceiling, warming up the otherwise cold-lighted scenery. The plastic sheets reflect their light and every other minute they are accompanied by the red traffic lights, controlling the intersection outside of the window. A sound piece is gasping out of a partly hidden sound system, intermingling with the noises of the street outside and the vibrations of the floor, caused by the subway that rushes through underneath the building.

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In her usual manner, Hauser put together the parts of her exhibition in a collective process. Julia Znoj thereby has been involved in developing a fitting structure for the space and Juliet Aaltonen assisted the artist putting together the fragments of the sound piece. The latter is itself again a product of collective action. The text snippets one can hear, sometimes in repetition, sometimes whispered or sung, in parts with a disturbing echo, are all written by the artist while traveling. Later she gave the writings to friends and let everyone choose the part they could most identify with. She asked them to read them out, record it and send the pieces back from wherever these friends currently live. Some phrases appear many times, others not at all. »Creativity, creativity, creativity« goes one reiterated line of the text, which disperses in the soft noise of iPhone typing and the standard apple notification sounds. Excerpts of Lana del Rey and FKA Twigs songs blend in. »A list of things, to feel better – to feel less … to feel a little less alien sometimes …«. This selection of phrases together with the described noises are based on the experiences of being a citizen in the beginning of the 21st century: a young woman and artist, a generation-Y snowflake, a world traveler, a digital native, maybe a little lost but definitely aware.

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It’s not easy for the spectator to leave the shelter, the somewhat calming structure and these emotional landscapes of personal fictions. But the last part of the exhibition can only be found outside, so one has to detach at some point. Together with Soso Phist, Hauser developed a 3D animation of abstract compositions based on natural catastrophes. In spite of the close connection to the exhibition title, the piece unfortunately drops out of the exhibition’s atmosphere.

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The exhibition is definitely speaking to a certain kind of audience in particular and is strongly connected to very contemporary sentiments, which should not simply be dismissed as a cliché. Hauser’s work builds an invisible framework around the current moment of dissolving realities and digital alienation, widely spread and strongly felt social conditions that she manages to catch in the act.

Jessyca R. Hauser »You make me feel like a natural disaster« is on view until December 14, 2019 at xE – Exhibition Space of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Eschenbachgasse 11, 1010 Vienna

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PW-Magazine is a bilingual online magazine for contemporary culture.