September 16 – November 17, 2011
Curated by JSBJ
Gallery 12 Mail
12, rue du Mail
Flemming Ove Bech
Text: MWWWXC : ADOLESCENTIA AETERNUM – Joël Vacheron
Tu tu ru tu tu tu ooh baby,
Mariah Carey, Dreamlover, 1993
You wait for it longingly, are confused when you listen to it but then remember it lovingly.
Hello, hello, hello
Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit, 1991
Physiological transformation, historical category, individual and collective statement, adolescence is fully marked by ambivalence and confusion. Despite this diversity, references relating to this transitional period continue to grow in importance, often to become the main components in the formation of a cultural heritage. From TV series to sports, video games and even pornography, the whole spectrum of our imagination bears the imprint of experiences and references conveyed during adolescence. This trend cult of youth seems to have become exceedingly clear since World War II. The decline of parental authority, the increasing purchasing power and exaltation of new lifestyles have contributed to making this period an explosion of identity marks. Each decade introduces its own eras and, in more and more spectacular ways, offers new countermeasures to challenge conformity. Through continuous updating of current assets, an escalation of miscellaneous items gradually stood out as exclusive privileges belonging to the “youth”.
Jump up, jump up.
And get down!
House of Pain, Jump Around, 1993
Disrupted by the synchronous effects of globalization and individualism, MWWWXC is a crucial time in this evolution. During this period, a large number of alternative cultural sectors reached a critical mass. Whereas concert venues, core press, clubs, skateparks, festivals, hip-hop battles, graffiti walls etc. had so far been looked down on, they were now starting to appeal to an increasingly broad audience. This legitimatizing procedure was encouraged by the proven profitability of these niche markets as well as gradual interest of local authorities looking to increase their “cool capital”. Compared to the previous hardline generations, this situation introduced new forms of responsibility amongst youth. Sports, instruments, video games and other hobbies became more and more of a potential professional activity. The idea that even the most insignificant hobby could be an asset to starting one’s career grew and people saw increasing importance in gathering experience and networking. Radicalization and lack of ambition became reasons of exclusion and brands soon offered to convey reassuring standards. A whole generation learned that no choice is contingent. Personal pleasure, professional or sentimental achievement, it is all just a case of making your own choices. Being a teenager in MWWWXC was becoming aware of the capitalization of passions.
No, no, no, no, no, no,
no, no, no, no, no, no,
there’s no limit!
2 Unlimited, No Limit, 1993
In a world doped on eurodance hymns, incentives to keep up with the rhythm were received from a very young age. Stimulation was increasingly sought, drugs became leisure, nonconformity became virtual and numerous artifacts serve as social prostheses to counter growing egocentrism. We are taught that experiences should be ever more numerous, more intense, without being demanding or sustainable. For the clear-sighted, future lies in smoky perspectives. The futuristic extrapolations still around during the previous decade gradually disappeared. The horizon was entirely subject to the requirement of simultaneity. Like the characters in Kids or in the scrupulous narrations of Bret Easton Ellis, MWWWXC standardized both a remote and finalized look upon the world. A leveling effect that cut the last threads of romanticism. The pragmatic position is a survival instinct in a society that constantly invites us to reassess the limits of the collective fantasies of the past. As Alain Ehrenberg points out in L’Individu Incertain, the competitive rhetoric of the 80’s suggested anyone could succeed. MWWWXC raised the fear that we could all fall into decay. In this context, tension and juvenile provocations are expressed in more intimate, more visceral, ways. Fear of falling had definitely taken over the dreams of ascension.
Now, now, now
Now, now, now…
DJ Shadow, Midnight in a Perfect World, 1996
In the same time, current technical devices help to disseminate a certain type of cultural productions. The art of sampling or digging, the reference of parody, a retrospective glance become a popular alternative to escape living in the future. The various archives of the collective memory are more and more accessible. Sequenced in many shapes and forms, the past comes back almost as if to fight the obsolescence of the present cybernetics. All through MWWWXC, new configurations accentuated the indecision of artistic production. Seized within a labyrinth of references, styles hybridized to the extent of changing nature. The recomposed reality of numerical images invite us to test the resistance of our perceptions of the world. Our eyes learn to distinguish the likely and evanescent nature of what surrounds us. In an environment of multiple, hybridized and repeated temporality, adolescence continues to define a set or transitory period. Its contingency rather reflects the mental state of a world that is gradually losing its stability. In MWWWXC, adolescence troubles tend to merge with the vagaries of the modern world. Flexibility, indistinctness, instability, disruption, all these symptoms refer to the various effects of the desynchronization that effected daily life. Millenarian fears were lurking and even chaos became a fully accepted reality.
One more time
One more time
One more time
Daft Punk, One More Time, 2000
During MWWWCX, adolescence turned into a series of eternally repetitive sequences