Kevin Bewersdorf, "Monuments to the INFOspirit"
Tue Sep 30 2008
Photograph: courtesy V&A Gallery
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Could V&A, a gallery that shares its location with an acupuncture center, travel agency and sketchy gambling club, be better suited for Kevin Bewersdorf’s creepy corporate cult and mental discipline? Even the space’s ceiling, complete with industrial tiles, seems custom-made for the exhibition’s awkwardly arranged objects: a trophy inscribed with the show title, boxes of pamphlets and an overhead banner, as well as a tantric, blingy animation of the artist meditating at his computer.
On the far wall, four different flyers explain the basic principles behind Bewersdorf’s spiritual practice of embracing mediocrity, which he calls Maximum Sorrow. According to the text provided, the Marketplace is empty of everything but products; you are the Product, and therefore contribute to the market; Info is the free-flowing energy generated by your production and consumption. The INFOspirit, which encompasses all of these concepts, is both the state between the knowable and unknown, and mediocrity in its purist form. None of these teachings make perfect sense, but they don’t have to.
As a whole, the concept recalls the Church of the SubGenius, a satirical religious group dedicated to cultivating slack and worshipping J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, a well-coiffed, smiling figure with a pipe in his mouth. However, in contrast to the SubGenius movement, which began offline before migrating to the Web, “Monuments to the INFOspirit” comprises the empty physical relics of online activity. While the ultimate purpose may be to draw people to Bewersdorf’s powerfully melancholic website, the hollow cast emanating from these objects provides an equally emotive force.