Fabrik – On the Circulation of Data, Goods and People

German Pavilion 2015 on tour

At the outset it seems like a foolhardy plan, a scheme from Werner Herzog’s film Fitzcarraldo, the notion of wanting to send the German Pavilion from the Giardini in Venice on tour. Even if the idea of taking the massive building from its Venetian hill, loading it on a ship, and setting sail remains a pipe dream, the following exhibition project is at least a step in this direction: a voyage embarked on by the artistic crew from German Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition.

The exhibition Fabrik raises the question what images might represent today. Refugees, disabled people through the neoliberal system, real and imaginary workers form closed or from a virtual factories,  a political engaged video game developer and nameless occupants of rooftops looking for freedom, all these people are part of the exhibition, protagonists of a future living together in the 21st century. The idea of circulation is a common trope running through the works – the circulation of images, of people, and of goods. In this sense, the Pavilion on Tour project picks up on a form of movement, a motif, that is anyway couched in these works.

What connects the works over and above that is their exploration of the well-rehearsed concept of participation, the individual’s shared involvement in social process and political representation. They are characterized by an attitude of resistance in a society that has long been subject to the primacy of economics and capital. What room for manoeuvre does each one of us have in a world in which the Internet poses as a magnificent form of participation? What forms of protest and of reporting are there? What form will our images take in the future? These questions, which are raised in the works by Hito Steyerl, Tobias Zielony, Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk, and Olaf Nicolai, will receive very different answers in the various places the exhibition will be shown in around the world. In this sense, it is also a global exhibition that directs its questions in no small part to those who do not have the wherewithal to travel to Venice.

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Florian Ebner; photo © Museum Folkwang

"Photography is like a house with many rooms"

Interview | Florian Ebner curated the German Pavilion 2015 in Venice. In the interview, he talks about his passion for photography, his work as a curator and his idea of a pavilion as a factory. Interview by Juliane Pfordte

Fabrik. Biennale Arte 2015, German Pavilion. – Stuttgart: ifa, 2015. – 220 pp.

Exhibition catalogue

Fabrik. Biennale Arte 2015, German Pavilion. – Stuttgart: ifa, 2015. – 220 pp. Order on ifa Publikationen