Jørgen Michaelsen - Cyber versus Buddha
The exhibition Cyber versus Buddha by the visual and conceptual artist Jørgen Michaelsen (b. 1961) has been specifically created for the Færch-wing of Holstebro Kunstmuseum, where it occupies the rooms as an overall installation of visual, auditory, spatial and linguistic elements.
European identity between world crises
In general terms, the exhibition expresses itself as a critical-experimental perspective on the tensions that currently characterise the dominant form of consciousness in Western culture. A significant theme is the European idea of the United States as the realisation of the modern utopia, and, in particular, the evolution that this idea has undergone since 1945. Since the end of the Cold War with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, European idealisation of the US and American culture has gradually come under pressure. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have strengthened the NATO alliance, but it has particularly exposed Europe’s difficulty in acting as a single autonomous actor on the global geopolitical stage – a stage especially characterised by growing rivalry between the key players, the United States and China, but with a general trend towards a multipolar world order, in which the leading role of the West is no longer a given.
Eksport-import, 2020-22. Collage
A contemporary diagnosis
Behind this identity crisis lies a complex threat landscape with visions of enormous migratory flows triggered by political instability and economic inequality, intensifying struggles for control over resources, the growing vulnerability of critical infrastructure due to the increasing complexity of cyber technologies, the increasingly pervasive surveillance of citizens by states and private companies, the decline of democracy worldwide, and the likely collapse of the global biosphere caused by the apparent inability of the current political-economic structures to change.
All of this comes in the wake of an inter- national financial crisis, a global COVID-19 pandemic, and the withdrawal of the US and other Western countries from Afghanistan after 20 years of failed nation-building, which has ultimately marked the West’s acknowledgement, or at least sensing, of the fundamental collapse of the universal enlightenment project.
Tusind borgerhaikuer ('A thousand citizen haikus'), Antipyrine 2023. One of the three publications, which are part of the exhibition