Hold On
Anna Zett
Thursday, October 17 — Saturday, January 11, 2020
Reception Wednesday October 16, 7pm

Please pick up the glass objects to activate the audio-visual exhibition components.

Hold On is activated by the viewer. Multiple audio-visual elements help to build an environment through which artist Anna Zett can address representation and dialogue as a sensual process involving the exhibition visitor’s body. Each of the handmade glass objects that populate the installation triggers a different aspect of Zett’s installation when handled, creating layered experiences of the work. This includes three soundtracks, one of which is a conversation between Zett and performance artist Chao Liu on dialogue as a physical practice. The video work features archival footage of a spontaneous painting action on the East side of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, just after the border opened, with the border police still in place and physically present. The historical footage is interwoven with a contemporary performative exploration on a massive heap of gravel in a concrete factory.

Parallel to these audio and video recordings, viewers themselves may be drawn into an embodied dialogue with other viewers, as well as with the symbolic material of the exhibition. The glass objects in Hold On channel the dangers and possibilities of tactility, alongside other sensory experiences that are deemed peripheral to the experience of an art exhibition. This work connects to Zett’s ongoing research into social apparatuses of virtuality after cinema and after the smartphone, or perhaps in spite of these ubiquitous technologies. Inside the gallery, viewers are recast into the role of mediating object in Hold On’s network of digital sensor-based communication.

By leaving their installation open to the viewer’s intervention, Zett’s work highlights the cycle of passive spectatorship, careful exploration, active engagement and focused contemplation as overlapping states of observation in the gallery space. Taken together, the various layers offer a meditation on the role of written, verbal and bodily languages in both historical processes of memory and forgetting, and in our everyday experiences of interaction.

Hold On, Mixed media, HD video and stereo audio recording, 18’21’’
Electronics & Programming (Berlin): Jin Lee
Programming and Technical Support (Vancouver): Brady Marks
Electronic Interface and Hardware Support (Vancouver): Bobbi Kozniuk
Dialogue: Anna Zett with Chao Liu
Music: Tian Rotteveel
Sound mix: Jochen Jezussek
Camera: Nadja Krüger
Archive video: “Painting the wall in East Berlin 1989”, Recorded by Klaus Freymuth,
Robert-Havemann-Archiv Berlin
Installation Technician: Jordan Milner
Installation Support: Aubin Soonhwan Kwan
Sound Consultation: Brady Cranfield
Production Support: District Berlin / Haupstadtkulturfonds, Berlin. Or Gallery, Vancouver
Special thanks to: Robert Havemann Gesellschaft, Elske Rosenfeld, Suza Husse, Joshua Wicke,
Lior Shamriz, Andrea Gomez

Zett’s first exhibition in Canada is accompanied by the launch of their first monograph, Artificial Gut Feeling. This collection of texts explores the traces left in the body by power systems, showing the interrelation between feeling, memory and authority. In search of the most effective self-defense technology, Anna Zett rehearses resistance as a physical practice involving arms, legs, cortex, core and voice in this collection of personal science fiction. Zett’s voice appears in several textual guises, addressing authority, resistance, trauma and the physicality of language that traverse the borders between monologue, dialogue, and personal narrative. Dedicated to the feminist revolution, the post-socialist subject of Artificial Gut Feeling questions logo centric and capitalist beliefs about the economy of meaning. This book gathers fists, guts and brains to gain a deeper understanding of the non-verbal roots of dialogue and asks: what belief system supports life in this body?

Artificial Gut Feeling (2019) is published by Divided, an independent materialist feminist publisher based in Brussels and London. Available at Or Bookstore.

Zett’s artist talk on October 17th is accompanied by a screening of their film This Unwieldy Object (2014), a ‘research drama’ probing the colonial myth of the dinosaur in the USA. These distinct but conceptually related projects draw together Zett’s transdisciplinary inquiry into the embodied practice of storytelling, linking personal and political narratives about (post-) socialism, capitalism and the shifting environmental terrain.

Artist Biography
Anna Zett is an artist, writer and filmmaker based in Berlin. Their multidisciplinary practice combines historical research and analytical perspective with a playful, interaction-oriented approach. Their work often focuses on the material remnants of language-based power and processes of sense making through symbol and contact. Many of Zett’s works involve the voice as primary medium and they have written and directed two experimental radio plays for the German public radio. Zett has also hosted several participatory performances in which joint interpretation and the activation of the voice plays a crucial role. Zett’s work frequently addresses the theater of technology and the tragicomedy of science and in 2014, Zett produced, This Unwieldy Object and Dinosaur.Gif, two video works resulting from a body of research into the dinosaur as an emblem of the ideology of progress in the Euro-American imperial project. Zett’s films have been screened widely, including at Serpentine Cinema (London), Whitney Museum (New York), CAC (Vilnius), Sonic Acts Festival, Rhizome.org, Human Resources (Los Angeles), and SALT (Istanbul).

The Or Gallery acknowledges its presence on unceded xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.

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Or Gallery

236 E Pender St.
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6A 1T7

T. +1 604.683.7395
E. or @ orgallery.org

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