Vanessa Joan Müller
Unrelated is a long-term project conceived by Vanessa Joan Müller that will look at alienation as a contemporary condition and condition of the contemporary. It will work as a kind of background sound; a voice somewhere in the room accompanying the other projects that will happen at Netwerk Aalst as part of The Astronaut Metaphor. It will materialise itself in a series of texts, interviews and conversation. It might include a film program; an exhibition on the fringes of the institution; a podcast; a list of recommended readings — all together forming a supplement to the issues thematised by The Astronaut Metaphor at large.
Vanessa J. MÜLLER. Unrelated. An introduction.
Social distancing is the catchword of the days, weeks and months dominated by the corona virus — keeping apart, avoiding physical contact. Separation is the new social. However, many people fear that they might become alienated due to spending so much time in seclusion. But what does “alienation” actually mean?
Vanessa J. MÜLLER. Identity and Dis-identity as Unity: Paintings of Modern Life.
Alienation is nothing new: the concept as developed by Marx dates back to late nineteenth century and reflects how, in a capitalist mode of production, the worker is alienated from what he produces, from his labour, from his own historicity. It is also applicable to the human in general. But how did artists respond to it?
Michael HIRSCH. Unrelated_Alienated. The Way We (Might) Live Together.
Social distancing has created a particular form of unrelatedness, and alienation. What is it exactly that we are lacking now? We are in lack of community, in lack of others. We are in lack of reality, both physical and symbolic, feeling separated, alienated, privatised, reduced to the private sphere, locked in our homes. Alienated from humanity, from others — and from ourselves.
Vanessa J. MÜLLER. Safe Alienation.
Todd Haynes’s masterpiece Safe from 1995 once again became a focus of film critics recently as it seems to resonate perfectly with the present COVID-19 pandemic. A film about illness and isolation, it also offers an incisive analysis of the USA’s middle class at the dawn of the neoliberal era.