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Events 2021


Marlies Pöschl
Les Maintenants

Soft Opening: Fr, 19 February 2021, 15.00-19.00 Uhr

Marlies Pöschl is the 2019 winner of the Salzburger Kunstverein / Salzburg Land Förderpreis, which includes a presentation of her work in the Kabinett gallery. The artist’s work rests between film, research, experimentation and philosophical reflections on humanity, ethics and the future of technology. As an artist, Pöschl is also a collaborator, where she is founding member and chair of The Golden Pixel Cooperative (a collective of artists working with moving images).

The work of Marlies Pöschl has a slippery nature to it. Often with echoes of science fiction and feminist theory, her films nestle up closely to quotidian reality. Nothing is ever quite what it seems, and especially when she collaborates with children and amateur actors, the effect of her films can be vertiginous. This use of disorientation in her work is intended, even strategic, as much as it is subversive to the representation of what we see in her work. Appearing within this work are lingering, uncomfortable questions about our collective future, including how empathy and end-of-life care, for example, might be transformed by technological advances. Or we encounter eerie, wondrous landscapes that are based on existing realities, albeit tainted by a futuristic, critical gaze that the artist shares with us. Her artwork is importantly prescient in her ongoing pursuit of depicting a world undergoing rapid change.

Two of the works presented in this exhibition are the result of an extensive pedagogical project that explored the automation of affect with a diverse group of participants―children, teenagers and seniors, among others. Marlies Pöschl’s film Aurore for example, is a collectively authored science fiction, in which Les Maintenants - a fictitious company developing caring robots―play a central role. At the same time, Les Maintenants, which is also the title of this exhibition refers to a neologism, the plural of “now” (maintenant)―a constantly repeated, eternal present. The question of time is central to Marlies Pöschl’s works: on the one hand, in the shared speculation about a time that is coming, and on the other hand, as a future that always already carries the past within it.

These films are carefully-constructed narratives in which myth, documentation and science fiction overlap and enrich each other. But we also experience a sense of pausing, where the artists seems to be formulating an alternative temporality that questions familiar rhythms and transcends standardized time zones. Pöschl’s work moves into to places that exist at the margins of society and function according to their own logic. For example, the lives of senior citizens, in various retirement facilities, are at the center of these three films. Questions are thereby asked: What would the housing they live in look like in 20 years? What emotional connection do they have to technological devices? What does physicality mean to them? Would they give up their bodies and become an artificial intelligence?

Pöschl’s works are concerned with the changed relationships between human and non-human actors that are created by new technological developments. What is essential here is that she involves precisely the users in order to narrate together with them. Her films emerge from collective processes in which she initiates temporary communities―workshops, choirs, and fictional startups. By means of a multifaceted methodology, a knowledge of uncertain states is formulated together―beyond language―that insists on the importance of reciprocity, resonance and situatedness.

The Films

Simple Whistles
2020, FR/AT, HD video, French with English subtitles, 11 min, colour, stereo

Time has been put on hold. Parzival enters an enchanted castle. While people are standing still, the building has taken on a life of its own. Windows watch over us, blankets take our temperature and the floor is listening in.

This video mixes the medieval legend of Parzival with a futuristic vision of a retirement home developed by a group of seniors. Taking a collectively written poem as a starting point, the piece experiments with concrete poetry, but also with the sounds of the machines surrounding the seniors in their daily lives. Tenants of a residence for the elderly and members of the choir la Clé des chants assembled in this choir.

2021, TH/AT, 360 Grad VR, German version, 13 min, colour, stereo

This enigmatic “VR regional novel” intertwines everyday life in a long-term resort for European seniors in Southeast Asia with fictionalized anecdotes based on memories of home that the “guests” project onto this place. The invisible narrator Beat leads us through an area that seems just like any other typical Swiss village. And yet it is as if the scenery had shifted slightly out of place, as if we were in a virtual rift between here and there. Some of the things we encounter here appear to come from Thailand - one could almost get the impression that we are not in Switzerland at all. The text of the video, performed by an actor, is an aesthetically condensed fiction, drawing from conversations between the artist and residents of this resort. The narrator’s descriptions, although spoken clearly and confidently, are muddled, sometimes seemingly blurred between different places and times, which makes experiencing this film even more disorientating.

Schatzalp is the first of three episodes of a VR film on this topic.

2019, FR/AT, 2K video, French with German subtitles, 21 min, colour, stereo

Aurore is a voice without a body, she lives in a crack, resides on the interface. She is, in fact, a form of artificial intelligence designed to care for the elderly. At a retirement home in the south of Paris, she’s been engaged to keep older people company. Technically though, she can work in many places at once. This semi-documentary science-fiction about the future of care and the automatization of affect has been developed in the context of a collaborative project that Marlies Pöschl undertook during her artist residency at CAC Brétigny, Paris. All the elements that appear in this film have been created in collaboration with the participants: primary school children, high school students and seniors. The second part of the film is a collaboration between Pöschl, composer Peter Kutin and vocal artist Agnes Hvizdalek. “Aurore” is an attempt to write science-fiction differently: in dialogue, in vernacular.

Marlies Pöschl (*1982, Salzburg) is an artist and filmmaker, based in Vienna. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, where she has been teaching from 2018 to 2020. As a founding member and chair of The Golden Pixel Cooperative she advocates for sustainable conditions in the production and distribution of moving images. Pöschl received various grants and awards, such as the emerging artist award of Salzburger Kunstverein in 2019. Her work has recently been presented in solo and duo shows at ÖKF Warschau (PL), CAC Brétigny (FR), Museum auf Abruf, Vienna (AT). She participated in biennales and festivals such as Vienna Biennale for Change (AT), Donaufestival (AT), Antimatter media art festival (CA), Edinburgh International Film Festival (GB), Cinema Verité (IR), Diagonale (AT) and others. Coming from a background of performance and participatory projects, she often collaborates with non-professional actors and experiments with unconventional dramaturgical methods. Her work is focused on the film set as a social environment as well as on filmmaking as a process.

On the occasion of the exhibition, the catalogue/artist book Les Maintenants will also be published by Schlebrügge Verlag.

Marlies Pöschl, Les Maintenants & Marlies Pöschl, Pepper Perceval, 2018, performative exhibition, 60 min, CAC Brétigny.

Marlies Pöschl, Les Maintenants & Marlies Pöschl, Pepper Perceval, 2018, performative exhibition, 60 min, CAC Brétigny.
Photo: Aldona Gritzmann

Marlies Pöschl, Les Maintenants & Marlies Pöschl, Pepper Perceval, 2018, performative exhibition, 60 min, CAC Brétigny.00000000

Marlies Pöschl. Les Maintenants (20.02-25.04.2021)