The Liberate Me exhibition is based on the theme of inconvenient information being blocked by the society...
The Liberate Me exhibition is based on the theme of inconvenient information being blocked by the society. But how can knowledge on its own be dangerous? Information itself is neutral. It only becomes either toxic or beneficial once executed in real life. It is a matter of power and freedom. Information is a source of power. Every society system bends the spectrum of knowledge to its advantage. By this logic, personal freedom can be defined as the ability of an individual to keep their knowledge despite the distorting mechanisms. Information is innocent. Its legitimacy is determined when we use it, but its usage is legitimised using different information. The relationship between knowledge and legitimacy is a closed circle, because every power legitimises its knowledge. Freedom is the only way out this circle. Freedom is not suppressing information even though it could be abused. Freedom is not suppressing knowledge in order to gain power. The main theme of the exhibition is the relationship between man and power.
A specific demonstration of this relationship is the phenomenon of 3D printing. 3D printers have become so popular and hopeful they’ve initiated a talk of another industrial revolution. It is just a matter of time before the technology of 3D printing spreads so rapidly that everyone will be able to print any object they want. Every household can become a manufacture or a factory. As manual labour is being replaced by digital production, the difference between digital data and physical objects is starting to disappear as well. Everyday objects are becoming schematics that are shared online. 3D printing has started a dispute about exporting guns out of the USA. The United States Department of State claims that information has the same qualities as a material object. Information is now defined as a tangible asset. What does it mean? 3D printing has forced government bodies to redefine the term information so it could be treated as a physical object, specifically, so it could be treated or banned as an actual weapon. What makes 3D printing so important is the possibility to create things that are regulated by the industry and government institutions: medical and pharmaceutical devices, and weapons.
The ability to print a weapon has its own specific meaning. On one side, when a weapon is printed, it becomes a simple product, it looses its “sanctity” and uniqueness. On the other hand, everybody gains the same ability. Weapon production is no longer limited to selected institutions or individuals. Everybody can make a weapon. It actually reaches the socialistic equal relationship to production. And this leads us to the key aspect of the exhibition which is freedom. In USA, an organisation called Defense Distributed has presented their wiki weapon project – a fully functional open-source gun that can be printed on a home 3D printer. Data have quickly become the focus of internet censorship and a symbol of the fight for freedom.
The exhibition comments on the process of democratising production means and the relationship between man and weapon using a video installation based on popular YouTube videos that show people shooting into water and creating rainbow. It illustrates how a weapon, a means of war, is used to create rainbow, a symbol of peace, promising the mankind will survive. The worship of weapons, that are becoming a means of perfecting personal freedom, reveals a hidden assumption that freedom is something that can be gained materially, that freedom is a territory (like animals have) that needs to be protected. Freedom uses violence to fight violence, so it is violence. There is also a different perspective that sees weapons as symbols of freedom. It points out that a person can become their true self through their tools, Marx says. The outcome of the project is supposed to be the freedom that cannot be enforced and that is a part of human consciousness that is free of the society’s interests in power because identifying these interests is the first step towards eliminating them.
Tomáš Kajánek (*1989, Praha) mostly works with the media of photography, video and performance. His work tries to fill the gaps created by fringe social phenomena. Besides the Czech Republic and Slovakia he also exhibited in Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium. In 2015 he cooperated with A. Żmijewski on a project called Speaking (of) Monuments that was created for the Vienna Biennale. He is currently presenting his work at a group exhibition titled About the Fear That Will Come and hosted by the East Slovak Gallery in Košice. In 2015 he received a VIG Special Invitation as a part of the Essl Art Award CEE and took up residencies at Het Wilde Weten in the Netherlands and AIR Antwerpen in Belgium. He lives and works in Prague, currently taking residency at the Meetfactory. You can find out more about the author on his website www.tomaskajanek.com