101 years and proposals for the future of mankind

Exhibition by Jon Brunberg at Galleri Hlemmur, Reykjavik Oct 4 – 26, 2003.



Only during the last decades the world have seen a couple of events that have redefined the international political landscape drastically, and my solo exhibition “101 years and proposals for the future of mankind” uses two of those defining moments as a starting point for the works to be displayed at the Hlemmur Gallery from October 4 to October 26, 2003.

The main work with the title “101 years” is a projected animation that uses conflict research to visualise the war-ridden 20th century. The graphically simple animation display all wars that has been going on in the world between 1900 and 2000 over twenty seconds, meaning that every year is merely the fifth of a second. Like an epidemic or an accelerating skin disease, war is spreading over a black and white political map. Whenever a war starts a red and yellow circle is lightening up on the current location on the map, accompanied by a distinct bomb sound effect, and fades into a purple semitransparent dot when it is over. The resulting appearance resembles an increasingly dense bomb carpet as seen from above. Two counters keep track of the years and casualties. The latter figure is based on research made by several conflict research institutes with the Nobel Peace Prize Committee as the primary source. It is noteworthy that it is foremost military casualties that are counted with a few exceptions where the civilian death toll have been of genocidal nature or otherwise exceptional. The question this work poses is whether the world has changed after the events of September 11th, and the answer it gives is that the world is entangled in a continuous struggle for power and blood-vengeance, albeit during the last century the terror of warfare reached a horrendous scale concerning the ability of mass destruction and “collateral damage”.

The other work shown in the smaller room of the gallery uses the same map as in the above-described work, but for a quite different purpose. It is displaying the current status of the ongoing worldwide competition “The Utopian World Championship”, which I initiated together with Annika Drougge within the framework of the Stockholm based artist group SOC. The championship is an attempt to determine the status of current utopian ideas after the fall of the Soviet bloc, which ended an era of utopian experimentation with partly catastrophic consequences. The map, which is drawn directly on the wall, shows the events of the championship so far, with images of the jury and finalists from the first championship as well as the location of residence of the competitors of the ongoing. It also maps the locations of the Utopian World Championship tour, which has taken members of SOC to Helsinki, Riga, Dublin, and Belfast so far and will continue to Iceland and Australia. The aim with the tour is to meet visionaries, politicians and activists and to distribute the document from the 2001 competition when T.R.O.Y. won the first prize, 1000 US$, with his essay "The New World Disorder". Consequently one of my assignments during my travel to Iceland is to hand over the final document in person to the Icelandic President, if possible.

All info about the Utopian World Championship can be found at www.soc.nu/utopian. The final document, calls for participation and other documents will also be on display in the gallery. Please visit http://brunberg.x-i.net for more info on my works.



Jon Brunberg, Dublin 2003-09-13