Stefan Panhans
17.08.2018 - 30.09.2018
  • The photo shows the Pulverturm with the artwork by Stefan Panhans: Hostel. Photo © Edith-Russ-Haus
    Stefan Panhans: Hostel. Photo © Edith-Russ-Haus
  • The photo shows the Pulverturm with the artwork by Stefan Panhans: Hostel. Photo © Edith-Russ-Haus
    Stefan Panhans: Hostel. Photo © Edith-Russ-Haus
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Hostel, a new video installation created for the Edith-Russ-Haus, is a four-part miniseries conceived as a crossover between a fictitious docu-soap and a game show. It takes place in a fully occupied, utterly crammed room in a hostel. Amid an atmosphere of increasing day-to-day racism, celebrity cultism, widespread stereotyping, postcolonial diversity challenges, and the pressures of almighty economics, five traveling cultural workers of various backgrounds, all of whom live in a state of precarity; Apple’s virtual personal assistant, Siri; and several computer-game avatars enter a battle of spoken word that focuses on their experiences and dreams. They constantly switch roles and simultaneously form a sort of chorus, which contradicts the mundane reports of their daily activities. The stories of the different protagonists merge into the narrative of a meta-individual organism. The hostel room where the scene takes place is outfitted with the obligatory bare bunkbeds but also offers diverse tools for self-improvement, such as exercise balls, stair-climbers, yoga mats, and climbing ropes. As though partaking in joint exercise, the people in the room struggle to have their voices heard and form shifting alliances. The characters’ stories are largely based on the experiences and dreams of the participating performers.—Stefan Panhans

Stefan Panhans’s oeuvre investigates popular culture, with particular focus on the digitization that is impinging more and more upon all areas of life. Two subjects the artist regularly returns to are social media and the aesthetics of computer-game worlds, as well as their interaction with and repercussions on the “analogue world,” that is, their impact on our bodies, language, and behavior—in fact, upon the formation of our entire identities. As an artistic researcher, Panhans has undertaken a sort of psycho-archaeology of contemporary media. Of crucial importance in his investigations are the issues of enforced self-optimization and the flexibility required of one’s self-conception in this era of the global economy.

Stefan Panhans (b. 1967, Hattingen/Ruhr) works primarily with photography, video, and performative elements. Solo exhibitions include the Haus am Waldsee, Berlin; Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen; Kunsthalle Mainz; Acme Studios, London; Goethe-Institut Brasilien, Porto Alegre; Villa Merkel, Esslingen; and Kunsthaus Hamburg. He was awarded the Bremen Award for Video Art in 2014 and in 2017 received a Media Art Grant from the Foundation of Lower Saxony at the Edith-Russ-Haus. He lives and works in Hamburg and Berlin. — stefanpanhans.com

The Pulverturm ("Powder Tower") belongs to the former castle-wall and the only remaining building of the fortification of Oldenburg. The history of the tower goes back to 1529, when Count Anton I. (1505-1573) renewed the military facilities of the city. Since 1996, the Powder Tower is used for cultural purposes during the summer months.

Curated by Edit Molnár & Marcel Schwierin.

Funded by

Stiftung Niedersachsen
Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg
Poolhaus - Blankenese Stiftung