Unnur’s works talk in different ways about fading human connectedness caused by different forms of accepted narcissism. Making an impression has become a norm of the human condition, it provides a new form of belonging. We are not connecting to each other on a deep level but to a designed image of one another. Online narcissism and computer coding refer to the total image control we strive for, our constant search for a recipe for perfection.
The exhibition consists of three video works and a sculptural work placed in two different locations in the surroundings of Seyðisfjörður.
In “Beauty Parlor” we see a white supremacist getting a treatment in a beauty parlour. His face is without expression, his nails are clipped and polished, his face washed and smeared with a white mask. This work addresses the collective narcissism found in extremist groups. Collective narcissism requires constant external validation, just as individual narcissism does. The constant strive to impress and to be “the best” version of themselves (an “Übermensch”) and avoids connection with anybody that does not subscribe to the group’s identity values. In this work Unnur Andrea underlines the vanity involved when belonging to an extremist group. The work also refers to the act of balming, a ritual done with corps before burial. Is death the only way out of the image you have created for your self?
In “Coding” we see the same character as from “Beauty Parlor” in an undefined white space, reading the numbers one – zero – one – one – zero in a monotone voice without looking directly into the camera. The numbers he is reading form an algorithm, a computer code for a sequence of instructions. The collective narcissist follows specific rules or sets of instructions in order to belong to the group. In this video however the recited algorithm translates as unity, connection and information, which are opposing concepts to the ideals that extremist groups follow. Is he aware of what he is reading?
The “Selfie Stick Battle” shows two middle aged women fighting in front of a waterfall with selfie sticks which they use as a sword or a weapon to actively hurt and push each other out of the way. The selfie stick has become one of the key tools in personal branding, a vital weapon to control and or create your online image or persona. It symbolises the methods and efforts we go through in fiercely creating our online identity. The video talks about the accepted online individual narcissism , they are fighting for a space for the ego.
“You are here” consists of wooden boxes with printed QR codes which are placed in two different locations in the surroundings of Seyðisfjörður. Scanning the codes will bring you, through the use of your smartphone, to a 360 degree view of where you are standing at the exact moment of scanning. In this work the artist shows concerns relating to the contrasts between online and offline lives, and questions what constitutes a real experience. It is the artist’s attempt to place the viewer in real time, to snap them out of a mode that could be called “living through devices”, a mode in which life is experienced through the lens of documentation, a second hand experience of life.
The show has been organised in collaboration with HAH- Editions, a Berlin based exhibition and publication series focused on exhibiting emerging artist in solo exhibitions and publication.
Unnur Andrea Einarsdóttir (IS) is an Icelandic artist and performer who lives and works in Berlin. She graduated from the Icelandic Academy of the Arts in 2005 with a B.A. degree in Fine Art. Since graduation her work has mostly been focused on videos, performances and installations, frequently using music as a central factor in her work. She has taken part in numerous exhibitions and art related events in Iceland, and her work has been shown in about 30 countries around the globe.