About The Project

“Love in the Time of Social Media”, is a group exhibition curated by Olga Stefan that will take place on March 16-April 6, 2019 at Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zurich, and features:

artwork by: Sophie Calle (FR), Lauren Wy (USA), Navid Tschopp (CH), Stefan Botez (CH/RO), Sabian Baumann (CH), Jenny Rova (CH/SWE), Himali Singh Soin (IN/UK), Esther Shalev-Gerz (FR), Sandra Sterle (HR), and others

artist films by: Keren Cytter (IS/USA), Jon Rafman (CA), Mikhail Karikis (GR/UK), Shu Lea Cheang (USA/TAI/FR), Tova Mozard (SWE), Hito Steyerl (G), Karam Natour (IS) and others

short films by: Sophie Dros (NL), Johanna Bernhardson (SWE), Manfred Rott (FR), Sean Buckelew (UK), Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and André Turpin (CA), Donia Summer (FR) and others

“Love in the Time of Social Media” analyses the ways in which the concept of love has evolved in the last three thousand years, with a particular emphasis on the modern period of capitalism and industrialization that has transformed our communities and human relations, a phenomenon that we live once again with the advent of the internet and social media. These radical transformations are destabilizing the fragile balance between public and private spaces, allowing changes in our personal identities and social values, and promise to revolutionize our entire society. And yet, despite the possibilities offered by these new ways of interacting and “loving”, we have never been more isolated and alone. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal which revealed just how profoundly our emotions and our thoughts are monitored, predicted and manipulated by algorithms in the social media platforms we use to form bonds, what remains of love? And if indeed we can still love, can it function as resistance to the closure of societies, the rise of hatred and dehumanization resulting from increasingly destructive right-wing and neo-liberal policies? Is this new type of love as radical as the flower power movement once was, pushing us once again to redefine gender, the couple, sex, community, friendship and the moral? 

Curated by Olga Stefan


Vernissage, March 16, 6-10pm – featuring a performance and live-action

Navid Tschopp´s “The Facebook Project” is a live portrait drawing session of our guests.  The portraits will be then hung on the “wall” for an analog version of the social media app, and each “profile” will be connected personally, upon request, with anyone else already on the wall. 

Himali Singh Soin´s “my lyf isin shambles rn but tbh its so funnnn” is an interactive event with the public on Instagram. Each guest is invited to ask the artist a question by DM and she will post her answer to instagram stories. The question as a proposal. A one-line ‘fortune poem’ will be gifted to the audience member to interpret. The interactions will be projected in the gallery space. She will do this for the first 50 visitors.

Andreea Chirica, whose Five Tinder Stories zine will displayed during the exhibition, has produced a limited edition of 50. You can take this fanzine at home. But in return, send her on instagram – (persoana_fizica) – a short message with your most memorable Tinder experience or dialogue and she might turn it into a drawing that will also be posted in Instagram.

Film Screenings and Lecture: the screenings are organized in three categories based on the different types of love proposed by the ancients Greeks.

Eros/Ludus/Mania – During opening hours on: 
March 21, 23, 28, 30 & April 4, 6
 Love Streams by Sean Buckelew (UK), LoveMe2030 by Shu Lea Cheang (USA/TAI/FR), My Silicone Love by Sophie Dros (NL), Wall of Love by Tova Mozard (SWE), You, the World and I by Jon Rafman (CA), Lovely Andrea by Hito Steyerl (G), Siren by Keren Cytter (IS/USA), Forever by Donia Summer (FR), Prends-Moi by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and André Turpin (CA), Utopies by Manfred Rott (FR), and others

  • Love Streams, 9min – “The internet was a much less crowded space back then, it had not yet gone fully mainstream, and as much as it was a scary, wild west frontier of toxic hate, there was also a sense that the anonymous-by-necessity atmosphere allowed a person to be playful and mysterious with their identity and how they represented themselves, allowing people to explore aspects of themselves with more freedom than they might in the physical world. “
  • Loveme2030, 30min – Paris, as in other metropolitan European cities, is rejuvenated by the influx of border crossing urbanites. While the old guard Europeans accept the arrival of the New Europeans, the tension of the urban mix is recounted in the collective tangled love stories left unfulfilled. Two young LOVEME agents , Natsuo and Hako, sent from Tokyo headquarter, are transported to Paris on a mission. Fronting themselves as Japanese tourists, they infiltrate Paris’ LOVEME underground in the thick of the nights.  They take reservation for rendezvous2030, the year the grand love hotel Incorporated welcomes the parted lovers. LOVEME not now, not here. LOVE ME when I depart.
  • My Silicone Love, 28min – Everard has twelve life-like dolls. He talks with them, dresses them, has sex with them and loves them as if they are real people. Is he happy with this way of living or does he actually long for a real woman? My Silicone Love shows his every day life in contrast with the fantasy world in which his dolls come alive.
  • Wall of Love, 5min – A Swedish woman, Mrs. Berliner-Mauer, has entered into a marriage with the Berlin Wall. Her unusual disposition is objectum-sexual, indicating an emotional and sexual attraction to things. The woman’s personal and sexual relation to the wall is contrasted with its historical political significance. She describes the day the wall fell as the worst day of her life. Her very clear description of herself makes the remarkable story approachable and raises questions about perceptions of reality, differences, desires and morals. 
  • You, the World and I, 6:20min- When Orpheus’ beloved Eurydice dies, he cajoles his way into the underworld with his musical charms and his lyre. Wanting her but not her shade, he cannot forbear looking back to physically see her and so loses her forever. In this modern day Orphean tale, an anonymous narrator also desperately searches for a lost love. Rather than the charms of the lyre, contemporary technological tools, Google Street View and Google Earth, beckon as the pathway for our narrator to regain memories and recapture traces of his lost love. In the film, they are as captivating and enthralling as charming as any lyre in retrieving the other: at first they might seem an open retort to critics of new technology who bemoan the lack of the tangible presence of the other in our interactions on the Internet.
  • Lovely Andrea, 29:43min – exposes the depiction of women in society. It is about her journey of finding her BDSM photoshoot she did in the early 80’s. Showing us multiple environments of both work and practice, in the documentary/ essay film, Steyerl shows us different aspects of camera work, showing us as the viewers the recorder/videographer which is never to be seen – this breaks down the barrier between viewer and recorder.
  • Siren, 14:39min – Cytter engages with “poor images” and their mass processing and circulation via mobile and smart-phone cameras. Reiterations of images and scenes of different qualities unravel the wide range of ambiguous possibilities of interpretation, holding and insisting on issues such as love and revenge. The female narrator convinces her male friend to murder another man in the name of all women, in revenge for the unequal treatment in the battle of the sexes.
  • Forever, 10min – Thomas and Zoe live a deep virtual love affair after Zoe brutally left. Thomas is so deeply in love that he will endure anything, almost anything. When technology makes everything possible, Thomas touches the limits of love and of life.
  • Prends-Moi/Take Me, 10min – A nurse working in a center for the disabled is confronted to his principles when he’s asked to help a couple have sex.
  • Utopies, 21min – Two young French men from different social backgrounds spend time together to know each other. They explore the suburbs around Paris and visit vacated utopian architectural projects built in an era when a better future for all was still the goal of society. Inspired, they hope for their own personal utopia where they are free to love each other.

Pragma/Philia/Storge – During opening hours on:
March 20, 22, 27, 29, 31 & April 3, 5
In All Her Ages by Johanna Bernhardson (SWE), Fragments of a Life by Olga Stefan (RO/USA/CH), Through the Back Door by Karam Natour (IS), and others

  • In all her Ages ,4:30min –  an experimental documentary in which Bernhardson tries to depict the experience of her grandmother living in all her ages at the same time. When she visits her Bernhardson sees how she mixes time and space. She travels through the decades without even noticing.
  • Fragments of a Life, 40min – a video combining intimate family conversations on skype between Olga Stefan and her grandmother, Sorana Ursu (now 94) with footage, photographs, and other images from the past and present, creating an assemblage of memories and impressions that both support and reject historical events. A love letter of sorts exploring the impact of distance and the passage of time on relationships, love, family, and memory.
  • Through the Back Door, 20min – a series of vignettes in which Karam Natour`s widowed mother and his twin brother perform various tasks.  The rules for each session are unclear, but easy to recognize(follow with one`s eyesight a buzzing fly, answer the mother`s questions at the same time as his brother; compete in a burping contest or suckling milk from a bottle.) Together, these offbeat acts of fraternal competition and of mother`s devotion accumulate towards making a portrait of familial dependency and unity.

Agape March 20, 7pm – Children of Unquiet by Mikhail Karikis (GR/UK), The Show Show by Susanne Steinmaßl and Julia Fuhr Mann (G), and Future My Love by Maja Borg (SWE)

  • In Karikis’s video, Children of the Unquiet, 20min,kids take-over depopulated sites in Italy transforming them into a self-organised school and a playground.
  • In The Show Show, 20min, cat content followed up by disturbing war images. Social media in a nutshell. But how does the constant juxtaposition of mind candy and political coverage affect its users? 
  • Future My Love, 90min, challenges our collective and personal utopias in search of freedom. At the brink of losing the idealistic love of her life, Maja Borg takes us on a poetic road trip through the financial collapse, exploring a radically different economic and social model proposed by 95-year-old futurist Jacque Fresco.

March 23, 7:30pm – lecture by Dr. Eva Illouz on the intersection of love, capitalism and the internet.

Dr. Eva Illouz teaches sociology at the EHESS in Paris and at Hebrew U. in Jerusalem. She is the author of 12 books translated in 19 languages and the recipient of numerous international awards. In cooperation with Omanut. Seating limited. Tickets: 10CHF/students and Omanut members, 15CHF regular. Registration at omanut@omanut.ch by March 20.

An archive of public submissions will also be exhibited .  Some of the artists who have sent in their work are: Linda Weiss (G), Verica Kovacevska (MA/CH), Seda Hepsev (TU/CH), Efa Muhlenthaler (CH), Lala Misosniky (RO), Simion Cernica (RO/USA), Mi Kafchin (RO), Jila Svicevic (ES), but also many anonymous individuals.

This website also functions as a call for your submissions .  Click on the link for a description of what we seek. You can also submit your contributions to google drive with no sign-in here: https://driveuploader.com/upload/ZIaBL4QO93/