Exhibition and Publication Launch: We do not yet know what malls can do

Mateo Vega, Lila Bullen-Smith, Maxime Garcia Diaz, Dominique De Groen

We do not yet know what malls can do is a multiform contemplation on the urban and virtual infrastructures of late capitalism and lost futurities. The exhibition, which is accompanied by a public program and publication launch on 19 April, 19:00-21:00, comprises the audiovisual and textual works of artist and filmmaker Mateo Vega. Central to the exhibition is a video installation of Vega’s short film Center, Ring, Mall, a film poem based on three peripheral architectural sites in Amsterdam: a data centre, a ring road and a run-down mall. Through textural images, multilingual texts and a site-specific soundtrack, the spaces and their implied futurities are subjectively mapped, poeticised and questioned.

The video work is accompanied by a thematically connected piece of writing, We Do Not Yet Know What ‘Toto-Africa (playing in an empty mall)’ Can Do – a conversational essay that explores the internet phenomenon of musical empty mall memes on YouTube, in which pop songs are digitally processed to sound as-if played in an empty mall. Vega reads these videos as a sonic mourning and questioning of Western consumerism’s failed promises, drawing from his personal experience as well as theoretical sources. Expanding on the written piece, a web installation of empty mall YouTube videos, both found and made by Vega, makes the research tangible and sonically experiential in the exhibition. The textual work is published by OUTLINE and will be launched during a public program on 19 April from 19:00-21:00. This program consists of three readings by Lila Bullen-Smith, Maxime Garcia Diaz (both co-writers of Center, Ring, Mall) and Dominique De Groen, as well as an introductory reading of the publication.

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