Ideal Media - 2009
11th International Istanbul Biennial
For Ideal Media, commissioned for the 11th International Istanbul Biennial (2009), I brought media mechanisms into focus by presenting media coverage of two events that started at the same time in August 2008: the Olympic games in Beijing, and the Georgian-Russian war. For one year I monitored news coverage of the two events through different Dutch newspapers. I then selected key moments that revealed the disjunctive way in which events become 'news', and how subjects fade in and out of public attention through different media strategies.
I created a spatialized archive of the selected material, transcribing newspaper headlines, text, and images onto a series of school chalkboards. The visitor sat in front of the chalkboards on school desks that were perched on top of rocking arches. The display highlighted how media consumption is our quotidian way of learning about global events. Here, however, the precarious viewing position forced the visitor to be physically active and mentally alert as they engaged with the material presented to them. A video work was included in the installation that demonstrated how despite the radically different content of these two events, the same tactics were used to present them. Most exemplary was how explosions, and specifically fireworks for the Olympics and bombs for the Georgian-Russian war, were used as a standard means to introduce the two events in TV coverage.