KACZYNSKI/KELLER/KOSMAS – a conversation piece

Ted Kaczynski (b. 1942), also known as the “Unabomber” is an American mathematician, anarchist, social critic, primitivist and Neo-Luddite. He injured 23 and killed 3 people in a mail bombing spree that spanned nearly two decades, while living as a recluse in a remote cabin. His manifesto Industrial Society and Its Future argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization. His story is a manifold one and reverberates with the discourses of nature, technology and society. He is, as was written in The New Yorker, America’s “own Raskolnikov – the appealing, appalling, and disturbingly visionary murderer of Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky’s masterwork of 1866, […] a philosophical criminal of exceptional intelligence and humanitarian purpose, who is driven to commit murder out of an uncompromising idealism.”

AIDS 3D are Daniel Keller and Nik Kosmas (b. 1986). The American born, Berlin based duo deals with a multitude of issues at the intersection of art, technology and society. Their recent work plays with our contemporary conceptions of the value of art, the value of value, the energy of value, and the power of those networks in our society where value exchange takes place. Their work has been exhibited at The New Museum (2009), The Padiglione Internet, at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009), Kunstverein Medienturm (2010), Mass MoCA (2011), Based In Berlin (2011), and the Netherlands
Institute for Media Art (2011).

The conversation piece KACZYNSKI/KELLER/KOSMAS came into being when Keller and Kosmas won Ted Kaczynski’s self-built backpack in a government auction, the proceeds of which went to Kaczynski’s victims. From transport to concept, combination and installation, the exhibition’s narrative circles between conversation and conservation. By correlating the rugged enframing of Kaczynski’s backpack with the technological fever curve of Moore’s Law – describing the exponential escalation of transistor per inch density on integrated circuits, as an industrial target and a self-fulfilling cultural prophecy – AIDS 3D transformed the 032c Workshop vitrine into an echo chamber for conflicting discourses. Iconicism and fetishism, terror and technology, nature and culture, individualism and collectivism clash violently and produce their very own logic of the contemporary:

  • HUMAN BEINGS EVOLVED UNDER PRIMITIVE, LOW-TECH CONDITIONS. THIS IS OUR NATURAL STATE OF EXISTENCE.
  • PRESENT TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY IS RADICALLY DIFFERENT THAN OUR NATURAL STATE, AND IMPOSES UNPRECEDENTED STRESSES UPON US, AND ON NATURE.
  • TECHNOLOGICALLY-INDUCED STRESS IS BAD NOW AND WILL GET MUCH WORSE, LEADING TO A CONDITION WHERE HUMANS WILL BE COMPLETELY MANIPULATED AND MOLDED TO SERVE THE NEEDS OF THE SYSTEM. SUCH A STATE OF AFFAIRS IS UNDIGNIFIED, ABHORRENT, DISASTROUS FOR NATURE, AND PROFOUNDLY DEHUMANIZING.
  • THE TECHNOLOGICAL SYSTEM CANNOT BE FIXED OR REFORMED SO AS TO AVOID THIS DEHUMANIZING FUTURE.
  • THEREFORE, THE SYSTEM MUST BE BROUGHT TO AN END.

David Skrbina, ecophilosopher, Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. “The Unabomber”

Deeper

  • “As soon as he saw me, he started talking about artists who had been bad fathers. He spoke with great ease, as if we were intimate friends who had discussed the topic many times. I smiled politely and nodded while feverishly trying to get my bearings. What was the connection? Was it because I had written about being a father? Did he himself have a bad conscience as a father? Or was there another reference I hadn’t picked up on? The whole situation was unclear. I wasn’t there to interview him, and we didn’t know each other — I wasn’t even sure if he knew who I was.”

    – Karl Ove Knausgaard, “Into the Black Forest With the Greatest Living Artist,” The New York Times.

    A meeting of two major (and masc) egos, the neurotic Norwegian novelist Knausgaard devotes months — and a hefty word count — trying to understand what makes Anselm Kiefer tick. Tautology and transference ensue.