Böhler & Orendt – Give us, Dear

06.02.2019 @Neues Museum Nürnberg

Bohler & orendt

The disciplined discordancy between virtue and misery is exposed with brilliant cynism through this fascinating installation – on show in Nürnberg until the end of February 2020.

There are different layers of regular exploitation unveiled here – nature to human, human to nature, human to human. At first sight, the installation resembles a flashback from a sinister Gulliver landing to the real world, where humanity is actually just microscopic and minute – though still not enough to let nature and its essence just be. The miniatures march around, boxed in their own jobs; their activities are classified by the color of the hats they wear. And yet despite their distinctions, their final goal is to just collect: blood, piss, hairs – subject to both active speculation and contemplation – they result in simple, operative profiteering of their surroundings.

The obsessive details (there are over 500 hundred miniatures of anthropomorphic parasites in search of various non-human raw material to be pumped out) offer a macabre picture whose menace reminds me of the McDonalds clowns by Jack and Dinos Chapman and the dark context associated to them – these creatures are all designed by the same architect.

The poor King Kong lies on the ground – is he really asleep or dead? Would it matter? Not much is left off him anyway – blood, teeth, and skin are extracted, transferred to a parallel universe on the other side of the wall – where there is a hole we don’t have access to. This civilization is only acquainted with rudimental technology, physical strength, and unequal power relations – on a system that seems based on pure exploitation and fear. We are not given a hint to understand the reason for all of this – everything dissipates in the void and we conclude (or realize) the whole process might have been simply worthless.

But what is morally acceptable? In this dystopian Gulliverian reality we are witnessing an imprisoned and tortured Godzilla, whose metaphorical meaning roots into the deepest themes of difference, evolution, and transformation, being tortured for no apparent reason. On the other side, a colony violates a new territory, looking for sources to suck from – not being very considerate of the long term impacts. Despite the torment of the beast, I can’t help but wonder about this civilization and its hierarchy – are they undeveloped in this parallel world? Are they being exploited as well by other living beings, whose actions will result in the reason for their suffering one day? It seems Böhler and Orendt want to leave us with the idea we will be in agony of our existence either way – no matter if the beast awakes or die.

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The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don’t understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it. Bertolt Brecht

The epilogue is a solid encouragement form the past:

Are there social pressures that encourage you to continue to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan”
― Gary L. Francione

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