"Naked life" explores a specific mode of existence in the age of globalization: thanks to anti-terrorism, border control, homeland security and the prevention of social anomaly, a clandestine, permanent, world-wide state of exception has prevailed in our everyday life. Human being, at the constant threat of being stripped off political rights and legal protection, has become bare life. Naked life is a concept popularized for its current usage by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. It refers to the status of those who are exiled, imprisoned or "camped" by the state sovereignty in the name of "the state of exception" or "the state of emergency". While maintaining a biological existence, a naked life is a life stripped of all political rights and legal protection and thus has lost its social and political significance.
There were a surprising number of video installations at the show, but their quality was somewhat uneven. Some were really good, though.
I really enjoyed:
- Jill Magid's Evidence Locker, a video 31-day project involving CCTV surveillance cameras in Liverpool.
- Koken Ergun's The Flag, a video project which documents a national ceremony in Turkey involving scary, brainwashed children.
- Chang Chien-Chi's Double Happiness, a photo and video series about Vietnamese women marrying Taiwanese men through marriage brokers.
- Wong Hoy-Cheong's Re-Looking, a video and room installation based on the fictitious account of Malaysia colonizing Austria (awesome and hilarious!)
- Kyungah Ham's Museum Display, where she shows stolen objects set in the fashion of a typical Western museum display.
You should check out Naked Life if you have interest in this sort of thing. It's really well done. Wendy is much more educated than I in the issues associated with the exhibit, and it was good to see it with her.