Many people can no longer imagine everyday life without a mobile phone, or "Handy," as it is fondly called in the German-speaking world.
(Museum Angewandte Kunst) Its functions meanwhile far exceed making and receiving phone calls: the "cell" is a camera, fashion accessory, computer, flashlight, video screen and much more. As complex as it is contradictory, it forms the core of a whole universe of objects. It shapes our communication, influences our consumer behaviour, reveals our preferences, and brings in its wake entire complexes of things that wouldn't exist without the mobile telephone. Citing examples from the worlds of design and the media, film and contemporary art, the exhibition will focus on these aspects and show the cell phone as an object that—convenient and harmful, bonding and polarizing—contributes to shaping our cultural self-conception.
Within this context, Hamster and Hipster will serve as two contradictory leading characters. Around the turn of the millennium, mobile phone radiation tests were carried out on rodents to provide evidence of possible damage to the human brain and sense of hearing as well as the surrounding neural pathways. In keeping with this logic, Hamster represents the negative consequences of the cell phone for human life. He is juxtaposed with the fictional figure Hipster. As a an affirmative 21st-century consumer, Hipster represents a new culture of mobile image generation with its seemingly infinite possibilities and the related narcissistic self-presentation, all of which are linked in turn with cultural and social precepts and conventions such as ethnicity, class and gender.
In the exhibition, Hamster and Hipster will represent the two extremes of the object cosmos of the cell phone, which is as complex as it is ambiguous. The two figures are tried and tested role models for illustrating the shift of the mobile's image from that of a harmful to that of a useful, indeed indispensable, thing of everyday use.
25 April–5 July 2015
Museum Angewandte Kunst Schaumainkai 17 60594 Frankfurt / Main Germany Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm, Wednesday 10am–8pm