Exhibition I

16/11/2023 16:00
15/12/2023 18:00

Location: PXL-MAD Gallery, Elfde-Liniestraat 25, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium

Exhibition I at PXL-MAD Gallery forms a central component of Agents of Concern’s exploration of ways of speaking about, with, and to images. While the conference on November 16 to 18 and the doctoral symposium on December 15 foreground performative modes of speaking that are grounded in academic and artistic research, the exhibition features more hybrid, ambiguous, and experimental ways of reflecting on images.

Juxtaposing sixteen video works, the exhibition explores how images direct our empathic gaze and shape how we empathise with others. Much like secret agents, images ‘operate’ in the world with a purpose: whether in the service of political, economic, or religious concerns or with an agenda of their own, they can manipulate viewers emotionally, create false impressions, or cause misunderstandings. However, crucially they also provide evidence, raise public awareness, and enrich our understanding of others.

Looking at images as ‘agents of concern,’ we seek to uncover some of the methods and constructions they adopt as mediators of our empathic involvement with the world. The videos in the exhibition address such image ‘operations,’ both by critically employing certain visual strategies and by commenting and reflecting on them in words.

Eight video works were selected as initial reference points for Agents of Concern. They include iconic works like Harun Farocki’s 1969 film Nicht löschbares Feuer (Inextinguishable Fire) and Rabih Mroué’s non-academic lecture On Three Posters, created in 2004. In addition to this central body of works, eight video contributions were selected from the Agents of Concern open call. Six of these videos are new works, created or adapted especially for this project. As a performative counterpart to their videos, five of the exhibiting artists also gave a presentation at the conference on November 16 to 18.

The conference talks have been recorded on video with the help of PXL Digital Learning Lab. A selection of five lectures can now be viewed in the exhibition: Florian Göttke’s talk Burning Images: Performing Resemblance; Miglė Bareikytė and Natasha Klimenko conversation with Ukrainian scholars Mykola Homanyuk, Bohdan Shumylovych, and Denys Shatalov; Ira Goryainova’s lecture performance A Film Jar; Christina Varvia’s keynote lecture Counter Shots; and Dámaso Randulfe’s lecture performance Eyes That Do Not See.

Agents of Concern — Exhibition I is curated by Toon Leën and Pieter Vermeulen. The exhibition was made possible with support from the Flemish Government, MuHKA, and VDB.

Detailed descriptions of the works on display can be found in the Agents of Concern brochure. Download the PDF here or find the booklet in the exhibition.