Knoll Gallery Vienna
2 October - 15 November 2014

Curated by Maja and Reuben Fowkes
Participating artists: Tibor Horváth, Oto Hudec, Renata Poljak and Davor Sanvincenti

#underthestars explore ecological alternatives to the tragic figure of the 24/7 immaterial worker who spends too much time in bed - replying to emails, creating clips for social media, interacting virtually, but not going anywhere. The exhibition highlights the opposite tendency of sleeping outdoors, making a bed beyond the illusionary security provided by modern architecture, and challenging the alienation of a technologically-determined life symbolised by the bad habit of working in bed. Sleeping under the stars could itself be a form of therapy for the distortions to natural cycles brought by over-dependence on technological comforts, countering the psychic deprivation caused by dozing in the invisible magnetic field of the digital bedroom, with even our dreams electronically rerouted by the whir of computers awakening from sleep mode in the depths of night.

The exhibition sets out to explore the ecological critique of what has been diagnosed as the Century of the Bed, by highlighting the strategies of artists who make their home under the stars in the liminal state between heaven and earth, echoing the eco-architectural apparition of the mountain climber’s portaledge, a precarious platform suspended halfway up a rock face that invokes a radically different phenomenology of bed. More than a century ago, E.M. Forster in The Machine Stops predicted the breakdown of a futuristic civilisation based on over-dependence on technology, in a dystopian vision of a world in which humans have lost the ability to survive on the surface of the Earth and live in subterranean cells with all their bodily and spiritual needs met by an all-powerful Machine. Perhaps it’s time to prepare for the possibility of the collapse of today’s unsustainable systems and to recognise that letting go of the illusory security of the technological cocoon brings with it the chance to discover the world anew.    

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