Milan MI 20122
Will Benedict, Steffen Jørgensen
For their new video, The Restaurant, Will Benedict & Steffen Jørgensen have created a fable of our own metabolic moral economy, a world-inside-a-stomach populated by embodied libidinal forces both earthly and celestial. The Restaurant opens directly onto the hot locus of the food experience, where grotesque global inequalities meet our daily lives and where the transformation of our most basic metabolic process, something fundamental to life since our mono-cellular ancestors drifted in plasmal seas, to an activity so overdetermined, that in order to eat we need not just food but:
– the entire apparatus of the internet, with it’s heavy breathing servers,
– all the ink and paper that newspapers and books use up,
– all the air, water and calories we burn thinking,
– a state, with laws to defend our property, and militarized squads to enact and reinforce those laws, and finally,
– all the hours of time and effort we spend deciding and evaluating where, how and with what our experience is to be had.
The Jains believe in either a seven or eight chambered model of hell. Each part of Jain Hell is colder than the last. Thankfully, this hell is not a final destination—instead, the Jains believe their hell corrects the moral failings that consigned people there, and after a time they are reincarnated to try again at living well. Ejected from the bowels of hell, the soul can, as a fresh poop, try and grow into a lighter and more improved moral vehicle.
Since the unveiling of the food experience, our entire cultural economy has been revealed as a market speculating on the future of our own feces. For this, we created theatre, art, and music. For this, we have so thoroughly militarized the police. The god we have been venerating, that we created capitalism to serve and worship, has been inside us this whole time. THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.
Benedict & Jørgensen’s fable shows us that we are no longer eating to provide energy and motion to our organism, but rather the reverse: the shit is driving the body. If we try and assert ourselves, our waste answers back: “Do you feel like you’re in charge?”
The world of The Restaurant is not entirely without optimism. The resonant antipodean tones of the Snailien (a half man, half snail who delivers groceries) indicates the flexibility of the natural world, indulging us in our wild pursuit of our own waste. He is a reminder that this world is not a zero-sum system: his pliancy suggests a both/and scenario living alongside the apocalyptic coprophagia that otherwise rampages through The Restaurant. To compliment the inclusivity of both/and, The Restaurant also includes it’s reflection, neither/nor, in the haughty and removed figure of the Alien, whose goals lie beyond our comprehension. One hopes that in the gaze of their otherness we can grow a sense of appropriate shame for our role in ruining a planet, forcing the majority of the world to crawl while we drive and raising our own fear of disappointment to such heights that we can no longer see the sky without peering through the telescope of our own expectations.
Will Benedict (b. 1978, Los Angeles) is an artist living in Paris. His work was recently included in the exhibitions I AM A PROBLEM at Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2017), Genre Non-Conforming: The DIS Edutainment Network at the De Young Museum, San Francisco (2017), the 9th Berlin Biennial (2016), the 10th Nicaragua Biennial (2016) and the 31st Ljubljana Biennial (2015). Recent solo exhibitions include: Recent Video at Overduin & Co., Los Angeles (2018), Fiction is a Terrible Enemy at Fondazione Giuliani, Rome (2017), The Social Democrat at Gio’ Marcon, Milan (2017), Law and Order at Simon Lee, Hong Kong (2017) and I AM A PROBLEM at Rob Tufnell, London (2016).
Steffen Jørgensen (b. 1983) is an artist based in Copenhagen. Together with Robert Kjær Clausen and Allan Nicolaisen he is the author of a range of films including, Sirens (2015), Sniper on the Sun (2014), Suicide Monkeys (2012), Easy Beige (2008), Cornucopia (2007), Captain’s Log (2004) that have been exhibited at Christian Andersen, Copenhagen, Paramount Ranch, Los Angeles, Toves, Copenhagen, Kunstraum, London, Galeria Vermelho, Sao Paolo and Pro Choice, Vienna. Jørgensen is co-founder of the exhibition space and artist collective YEARS in Copenhagen.
20122 - Milano
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