Sunday, July 20, 2008

The big Fuss: Who Killed Barack Obama?


Once again, Peter Fuss (remember his "For the Laugh of God"?) manages to poke the finger in the right spot.
His most recent work, exhibited at the Out Of Sth exhibition in Wrocław (Poland) (which also has blu's animation on display) plays on our sense of reality.
What I like most about this work is something I didn't notice at first. The first reading, to me, was simple: knowing the fate of the liberal Americans who came to positions of power, it is difficult not to think of the risk Obama is facing. This also might be seen as a cool and lucid way of looking at politics. Can any ideal manage to survive? Isn't Obama, the Obama we know as fighting for "change", somewhat dead, already? Who killed him?
But what I really like about this work is not this seemingly political message. It is the way it portraits us and our own patterns of looking at reality.

The problem is not that Obama may get killed. The problem is our thinking of it as a fact. It is not Fuss's work that is cynical. We are.
Seeing the work on a billboard makes it even more obvious: we take it for granted that things are the way they are, and even if they aren't, too bad for the facts. The billboard is there, so Obama is dead. Who killed him? Guess who.


update/ps: A couple of months ago an Israeli designer created a shirt with a similar text. I think the differences between the two projects prove my point. Having/seeing this on a T-shirt and seeing it on a billboard are two completely different experiences. (Not to mention the completely different level of design). And that's what sets apart a good artpiece from a, well, another one. (Also notice the context - one is set in NY, the other- in Wrocław). Suffice it to say that already a few days after the opening of the exhibition two French tourists entered the gallery (you can see the entrance to the right on the second picture) saying they haven't had the chance to follow the news and they were quite terrified. Now, just to add another level of artsy-fartsy commenting, the person attending them answered they weren't to worry because it was "just an art installation". Ouch, now that's not what I would call effective art guidance. Or what she being ironic?

14 comments:

jilcov said...

Can any ideal manage to survive? Isn't Obama, the Obama we know as fighting for "change", somewhat dead, already? Who killed him?But what I really like about this work is not this seemingly political message

Jaak said...

Obama might be Kennedy the Second
Jaak, www.galerii24.ee

KH said...

we asked peter what he meant by the piece, his explanation is posted on our site.
www.obamaartreport.com

Gerard said...

" knowing the fate of the liberal Americans who came to positions of power,"

You are deeply, deeply ignorant of recent American history if you believe that.

vvoi said...

gerard, you are certainly right - i suppose i am. would be delighted to know better, if you can advise something.
so far, all i can say is 2 things:
1. It should have been "some of the more liberal Americans" (correction to be included soon)
2. "liberal", here, is meant in the sense of "favoring civil liberties and social progress", which is often distant from the political liberalism my.

Anonymous said...

I this this is very sad...sad that anyone can even think of such an unnessesary death of a man that I believe has the best intentions for a country that he loves. How anyone can put this out in the universe and sleep well at night is beyond me. Shame.

elect2009 said...

Reminds me of the series "HERO's" and a funny thought..Hayden (one girl in that show..the star) actually likes obama. funny thought.

ericHurst said...

Boring.

Sya said...

Obama, to me is like Mr. Luther King and Kennedy merged into one. No suprise for fear he may be killed. There were 2 attemps allready, zero for Mc Cain. Maybe we should be very carefull with this one. He's larger than life. And anybody who is, has to be protected. May Obama rule for a long time. I certainly hope so. Yes we can.

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Anonymous said...

hello from fu-King Finland. We have this same
going right now, okay Obama ain't here, but there are threats to kill ministers like prime minister Vanhanen. And real, not art. Go get yourself angsted
http://1baltic1bullet.wordpress.com/
contemp art also!

Alexander said...

I think the work is very good, I agree with you, my reading was a kind of double take too. I also like the way the piece questions are own sense of morality in how we react to the piece. I am sure many people reacted negatively to this piece and upon reflection ,realized more about the piece and its intention. I think works that make you change your mind on the subject (or your initial reaction to the subject)generally have a bigger impact than stating a clear interpreted message.

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