The Installation "Bureau of Rich Harvest - Department China" refers to Marcel Broodthaer's Museum of Eagles. Two image archives derived from Internet search for the words "Eagle" and "Dragon" are confronted with each other. The mythical and ancient chinese Dragon is brought in contact with the other symbol of imperial power, the eagle. The installation consists of 1000 single images that are arranged in two blocks and was part of the exhibition Potential Dialogue at the RCM museum in Nanjing, China.
Marcel Broodthaer's famous "Museum of Modern Art with its Department of Eagles", in which he grouped images and objects from the most diverse fields of life based on their reference to the word eagle can be seen as a very early attempt to question structuring of information. Since this early encounter, machines and programs have been developed to make sense within the universe of signification. Google and its chinese version "Gu Ge" ("the harvest song") could be seen as one of the most recent attempts to channel this universe of meaning. Axel Stockburger and Nikolaus Gansterer recontextualize Broothaer's approach by using contemporary technologies in order to analyse the current explosion of images and meaning.
"Bureau of Rich Harvest: Department of Eagles / Department of Dragons" scrutinezes the relationship between abstract concepts and language on the one hand and the sheer explosion of visual information on the other hand. Against the background of Internet censorship in China (which has been referred to as the Great Chinese Firewall) the work also raises questions concerning the limitations of access to information. By counterposing the image of the imperial eagle with the ancient chinese dragon, the complex symbolic agglomeration between power, art and politics that is facilitated by these symbols is disentangled and defused. The image as symbol is shown as the center of a dense web of meanings that initiates a process of "de-branding".
Title: Bureau of Rich Harvest: Department of Eagles / Department of Dragons
Artists: Nikolaus Gansterer / Axel Stockburger
Technique: digital fotoprints of found web images
Courtesy: Bureau of Rich Harvest
Dimensions: 2 blocks of 500 images á 200 x 375 cm,
but dimensions are variable, according to the architectural situation in the museum
Exhibition: Potential Dialogue
Location: RCM Museum, Nanjing, China
Curator: Zuo Jing, Christiane Krejs
Publication: Potential Dialogue, Zuo Jing, Christiane Krejs (Eds.), catalogue, RCM Museum, KRNOE Vienna/Nanjing, 2006