ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012

World Time. The World as Transit Zone

With the works of art exhibited here, the first section simulates the utopia of a world united in time and space and at the same time the resistance of reality. An apt metaphor for this is the airport. The transit zone of an airport is a place where one neither remains nor arrives, but briefly stops before flying onwards. World time has mapped space, whereas air travel has blurred its boundaries in time. The artists’ group Raqs Media Collective finds in personal experience an impressive representation of the collision of time and space. As indicated in a commentary on their work Escapement (2009), the contemporary generation of artists finds itself “in a state of permanent jetlag, in which we easily fall out of time.” Contemporaneity harbors “the simultaneity of very different ways of life.” With his installation Centro di Permanenza Temporanea (2007), an abandoned gangway on which asylum seekers are left behind, helpless, Adrian Paci develops – much like Hito Steyerl in her video In Free Fall (2010) about an airport cemetery – the topos of the airport as an imaginary, and yet painfully real place of globalization. Artists not only concurrently pursue their projects in several places, either online or in several studios, but also, as Ni Haifeng’s installation Para Production (2008) demonstrates, conceive and produce their projects in various regions of the world. This practice testifies to a new state of affairs that characterizes the art trade in the global era.