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Julia Scher: R.S.I.

Julia Scher: R.S.I.

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Nadia Ismail / Kunsthalle Gießen and Matthias Kliefoth / DISTANZ
Publication Date: 2023
Pages:  256 pages
Binding: Softcover 
Publisher: Distanz Verlag
ISBN:  978-3-95476-488-4
Dimensions: 24 × 28 cm
Language: English, German


Since the 1980s, Julia Scher (b. Hollywood, 1954; lives and works in Cologne) has been investigating the emergence of a “maximum security society”. Inspired by French philosopher Michel Foucault and sociologist Gary T. Marx, among others, her oeuvre focuses on issues of surveillance and the cyberspace. Since the beginning of her career, Scher has employed a visionary variety of media to demonstrate how much technologies like video surveillance, image recognition, and automated database queries have become ubiquitous and effectively structure our reality.

By mimicking common surveillance scenarios, Scher’s works invoke promises of increased security and convenience in order to expose the dangers and ideologies of surveillance systems. Scher creates striking and transient web, installation, and performance works that present viewers with urgent questions about power, gender, control, and medial seduction.

This comprehensive overview volume applies Lacan’s dictum RSI (the Real, the Symbolic, the Imaginary) to Scher’s work, examining it regarding the topics Real & Fake, Surveillance & Security & SM, Infrastructures. The publication is a collaboration between Kunsthalle Gießen, Kunsthalle Zürich, Museum Abteiberg, MAMCO Geneva (Musée d'art moderne et contemporain), and DISTANZ. It accompanies and expands on Scher’s most recent exhibitions (2022/23) at the participating institutions with an extensive retrospective and classification of the work since the early 2000s. With text contributions and essays by Paul Bernard, Gesine Borcherdt, Lilian Haberer and Katrin Kaempf, Magnus Schäfer, Mark von Schlegell, as well as a foreword by Daniel Baumann, Lionel Bouvier, Nadia Ismail, Matthias Kliefoth, and Susanne Titz.

The publication was initiated by Kunsthalle Gießen and DISTANZ Verlag, realized in collaboration with Museum Abteiberg, MAMCO Geneva, Kunsthalle Zürich. 

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