May 28 – June 26
videocity.bs window at GLOBUS Basel created by the artists Sylvie Boisseau & Frank Westermeyer from 8:00–24:00 Marktplatz 2.
The videos were selected in relation to the presentation site by the curators. Thus the artworks make a new perspective or else commentary upon everyday life possible. This is particularly evident in the videocity.bs showcase situated in the Globus Basel department store, created by Sylvie Boisseau & Frank Westermeyer. With their design, they react to how desire is represented surrounding products and what relationship we adopt towards the products. GLOBUS Basel has its own decoration department. The lavish display windows have played an important role since the beginning of the company in 1892. And now the artist duo confronts the department store with the popular internet phenomenon of "unboxing". How will the mixture of differing staging practices from the real and the virtual worlds affect the passersby in front of GLOBUS Basel?
In the centre of the shop window is the latest video by the artist duo. The video "Gods and Spirits" is a found footage montage culled from "unboxing" films, which have come to enjoy great popularity on the internet in recent years. In the videos shot by amateurs you can see various attention-seekers unpacking a product. The videos found on online platforms have relatively simple qualities, which cannot possibly explain the considerable fans they generate.
Sylvie Boisseau & Frank Westermeyer achieved an explanation of the material they found by way of the montage technique; they focus on the hands of the unboxers, who touch the packaging, stroking, pressing or repeatedly tapping on certain areas. They also handle with knives in order to slit or to cautiously stab open packaging. The artist duo makes it quite clear that the unpacking is charged with emotions and combined with seduction. The products are invoked by the unboxers as if in a ritual. In the process the commodity, which usually remains hidden, acquires a spiritual presence just like a cult object; it is treated as if it were a living being – similar to the animistic thinking of children or primitive peoples who attribute a life force to objects or dead matter. Hence the unboxers build a personal relationship to the product. It is a relationship of various kinds – loving, desiring, erotic, adoring – which we must understand as an authentic one. It is said that unboxers tend to buy a lot or as the case may be, they want to possess something first and foremost. But are they really interested in owning and using these things? Or do their videos express an unfulfilled longing for what is permanently new? In any case, it can be said that even though the unboxers appear to be mostly alone in their videos – each of them attracts their own throng of followers and they all participate together at the “mass“.
Sylvie Boisseau & Frank Westermeyer transfer the stage production style of the unboxers to their design for the videocity.bs in the GLOBUS Basel display window throughout the summer of 2019. Next to their video, pedestals of differing height are also positioned. Here spotlights are used to illuminate a void, in proximity to neighbouring display windows where the newest sales objects stand. The artists invoke the paradox of ritualized unpacking: the product is – as yet? - still invisible, but its "spirit" already appears to manifest itself. However the desiring gaze cannot actually take hold of it, so that the mind-product relationship really only functions within the digital world?