Attention economy

“So we thought an odor couldn’t hurt” – MARTIN KIPPENBERGER

The German artist Martin Kippenberger is known for his extremely prolific output in a wide range of styles and media, superfiction as well as his provocative, jocular and hard-drinking public persona. What is less well known is his use of cheese as a smelly material in the installation Geoma-Plan. Neurologisches Experiment mit der Macht, an exhibition with Georg Herold at Kunstverein Hamburg in 1984.

The work consists of 36 Harzer chesses nailed to the wall and wired. Each cheese is named and the whole installation is called Neurological experiment with power. An electrical installation connects the cylindrical pieces – why?

“To prevent people from touching the installation, we run electricity through it”, Kippenberger humorously remarks.

Given the limits of an attention society it is interesting how Kippenberger comments on the use of smell:

“It is harder to get people to notice art. So we thought an odor couldn’t hurt” – MARTIN KIPPENBERGER

The original statement in German is part of the documentation dvd Kippenberger – Der Film (Deutschland/Österreich 2005; Buch und Regie: Jörg Kobel, Dürbeck & Dohmen, ca. min 25:10).

“Heutzutage wird es immer schwieriger die Leute auf die Arbeit aufmerksam zu machen. Deswegen dachten wir ein kleiner Geruch kann da nicht schaden.” – MARTIN KIPPENBERGER

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Image source: Kippenberger – Der Film, Germany/Austria: 2005. Written & directed by Jörg Kobel, Dürbeck & Dohmen, screenshots ca. min 25:10.

Martin Kippenberger with Georg Herold: Geoma-Plan. Neurologisches Experiment mit der Macht, Galerie Max Hetzler, 1984.


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