The Influencing Machine
The Influencing Machine is an anthropological investigation that celebrates the Soros Centers for Contemporary Art (SCCA), an unprecedented network of art centers that existed in twenty Eastern European capitals throughout the 1990s.
The exhibition presents a global survey of historical and contemporary artworks from today’s most important artists. The exhibition includes a large archive about the entire SCCA network, which allows first-time research into the institutionalized strategies of curatorial practice in the early years of the SCCA Network – trajectories of influence that lead to specific kinds of cultural production that continue to resonate in our contemporary world. The museum galleries are broken into anthropological themes such as neoliberation, precarity of the avant-garde, identarianism, and tactical media literacy. These themes give a holistic tour through the tumult of this transitory period and the resulting arc of cultural production, exploring what it means for our understanding of art today.
Using the same models and approaches of the SCCA Network, The Influencing Machine is a recursive experience of the Network and its legacy. Care has been taken to treat the Network the way they would treat any of their host cities: profiling the Network, creating an archive about the Network, breaking down the Network’s cultural systems, and using other principles of tactical and participatory anthropology to show what cultural patterns emerge. The overall experience allows viewers to enter an overlooked period of art history from the 90s and journey through its influence to present day. The artists included in The Influencing Machine come from across the SCCA regions and have represented their countries at major biennials worldwide. The exhibition presents artists from across the political spectrum to show the power of dialogue and mutual understanding within the tenets of the Open Society.
But most importantly, this exhibition is about the aesthetics, mechanisms and cultures of propaganda and is itself propaganda. All contemporary art exhibitions are. This one is honest about it and actively teaches lessons learned from the Soros Center for Contemporary Art legacy about the performance of propaganda as art and vice versa. This exhibition functions as a field guide to tactical media literacy and a holistic confrontation of a sensitive period of influence. It allows us to better understand how art is used to control society. This research is about quantifying and making visible the mechanisms of influence at an unseen scale and with a medium/message so closely aligned with free will. And in telling this story today it allows a necessary analysis about emergent behavior, decolonization and stepping back to see contemporary art as both a tool of propaganda and a holistic weapon. The Influencing Machine is a celebration of the avant-garde.
Daniel Baker, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Mike Bouchet, János Brückner, Chris Burden, Joshua Citarella, Nina Czegledy, Ole Dammegard, David Dees, Constant Dullaart, Dorian Electra, Jacob Broms Englom, Jakup Ferri, Ivan Fijolić, Adrian Ghenie, Ivan Grubanov, Ole Häntzschel, Jacob Hurwitz-Goodwin, Christian Jankowski, Hortensia Mi Kafchin, Corporate Kafka, Filip Kostić, The Krasnals, Zbigniew Libera, Jon McNaughton, Eva & Franco Mattes, Yerbossyn Meldibekov, Mihaela Minca, Mike Morrell, Ciprian Mureşan, Lucia Nimcová, OMA/AMO, Oksana Pasaiko, Kirsten Pieroth, Post-America, Abbey Pusz, Şerban Savu, Andres Serrano, János Sugár, Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová, Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev, Jak Ritger & Clack Auden, Arsen Savadov & Georgiy Senchenko