Open Skies is an exhibition that challenges the ever louder call for transparency in society. It does so through the contributions of seven artists who explore our public and private spaces of supposed freedom.
The demands of transparency are far-reaching: expose, identify and align oneself, trade intimacy and authenticity for control, profit or security. Things become transparent when they lose their ambivalence, which could be seen as a positive quality in certain domains. In the core of human life, however, no-one can be transparent, even to themselves. The philosopher Byung-Chul Han in his manifesto The Transparency Society, has made a counterclaim for mystery, shadow, and nuance as forms of resistance.
Open Skies takes a closer look at the ways these artists seek to elude the reign of the like-button, evade the elevator pitch or entangle the reductive statement of intent. Instead, they create works that ambiguously play with masks and codes, projections and fantasies, at the intersection of language, popular culture, and technology.
The exhibition’s title evokes the stock images used as digital screensavers or employed in advertising to evoke the seemingly immaterial “clouds” of information that connect us, for better or worse. Open Skies is also the name of a NATO pact designed to open their airspace for the purpose of making surveillance images, suggesting how even the clear blue sky above us contains many layers and secrets, and is far more regulated than the eye can see.