Bygone Selves

Bygone Selves
Foto: Anthony Kroytor


Anthony Kroytor, Jia Qian Yu

This project is part of the exhibition “Back to Normality”

Vernissage & Festival-Opening: 10. 9. 18.00 – 22.00 Uhr 
Exhibition: 11. 9.–18. 9. 14.00 – 20.00 Uhr 
Closing & Finissage: 19. 9. 14.00 – 22.00 Uhr 

SOHO STUDIOS, Liebknechtgasse 32, 1160 Wien

In 2121, a series of video clips shot on mobile phones during the covid-19 pandemic of 2020 is being exhibited to the Collectives. The clips are incomplete, damaged as a result of a worldwide cataclysm that shortly followed.

Our descendants in 2121 are posthumans living in an era of impersonality. They are not individuals, at least not by the standards of 2021. These posthumans find the personal video clips of their ancestors to be puzzling, at times even incoherent, all the more so because the audio tracks are missing.

Our posthuman descendants surmise that self-expression characteristic of the early 21st century, that personality and the cult of personality were the key factors that led to the near collapse of the world. It will be left to the Wienwoche audience to decide whether this vision of 2121 is a dystopia or a utopia.

Excerpt of the 2121 exhibition:

“2021: Peak Self-Expression in the Medium of Mo Bilephon-es”

In 2121 ¾, our digital archaeologists discovered the missing link in an old non-embedded human technology, the mo bilephon-e. Hive49.21 interfaced with mo bilephon-es to elicit historical video images of the people from a century ago. It is now known that in 2020/21, most people residing in the former European Union owned (had exclusive possession of) mo bilephon-es capable of recording video.

The video images on these handheld personal communication devices were broadcast over the Internet, an information network which inspired our Inner|net. These images consist of natural scenes, the surveillance of other humans, athletic exercises, food preparation and consumption, care of children and animals, and other, stranger daily rituals. The authors of the videos occasionally further processed their footage, superimposing images and words over it, perhaps in order to better advertise some message or simply for exaggerative effect.

It is thought that individuals expressed their own emotions and ideas on mo bilephon-es, cultivating their personalities. Identity, individuality, and personality seemed vital to our recent ancestors. It is widely believed that these drives, paradoxically coupled with a desire for group belongingness, heralded the end of the Anthropocene.