ARTISTS OF A NEW GENERATION
In a 2009 New York Times profile on his work, the celebrated young artist Ryan Trecartin was quoted as saying: “People born in the ’90s are amazing. […] I can’t wait until they all start to make art.” The creative climate of early 2013 validates his enthusiasm, as this new generation starts to enter the stage with a new set of radical and compelling artistic positions.
The level of technological acumen enjoyed since childhood by large swaths of this age group fuels the promise of aesthetic and conceptual breakthroughs, which are only now beginning to unfold. Irreverence for traditional notions of authorship and cultural heritage, empowerment through instant knowledge and reliance on digital social platforms are among the many qualities that characterise the creative standards of what the eminent author Douglas Coupland calls “the Diamond Generation”. As they reach adulthood in recessionary times, these artists expose their role as consumers of art, information and products, which they filter as equally significant elements towards the creation of original works with global appeal. New ideas and approaches are evolving from such forms of cultural iconoclasm, and it is more than a little exciting to see the future in these hands.
AT DLD13: AN INTRODUCTORY PANEL CONVERSATION
Several paradigm-shifting events mark the year 1989. At the geopolitical level, the collapse of the Berlin Wall heralds the beginning of the post-Cold War period, while in the technological realm, the introduction of the World Wide Web by British engineer Sir Tim Berners-Lee breaks the ground for the universal availability of the Internet. Meanwhile, the Russian army leaves Afghanistan after a nine-year occupation, Tiananmen Square roars with protest, and the first Global Positioning System satellite starts orbiting the world.
Positing a relationship between such events and creative production at large, Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist are conducting ongoing research into the generation of artists born in or after 1989. The first findings of this global study will be presented in an eight-artist panel at the upcoming DLD conference, to be held in Munich, 20–22 January 2013. Alongside the panel conversation, Rony Rodrigues will demonstrate the fieldwork of his research agency Box 1824, identifying the interests of the “Millennials” in emerging countries, while Ou Ning will introduce his latest book, Young Asia: The Emergence of the Post-Cold War Generation, focusing on young creatives throughout Asia. Representing the defining influence of innovative, creative media forms, Badroudine Abdallah & Mehdi Meklat from the Bondy Blog, Dena Yago & Emily Segal from K-HOLE, and writer Kevin McGarry will also take an active part in the 89plus project’s debut.
A WEBSITE FOR AN EVOLVING PROJECT
Prefiguring the actual meeting of these artists, whose places of origin are as different as their practices, 89plus.com is the online portal for this investigation, whose ever-evolving scope aims at following the development of this generational shift through various platforms, including books, periodicals and exhibitions. Circumventing the usual art-world filters, 89plus.com offers all artists of this generation the opportunity to upload information about their work for consideration by the project’s co-curators and possible participation in the next steps of 89plus.
Experimenting with the experimental, 89plus (to be followed by 90plus, 91plus etc.) does not aim at forecasting artistic trends or predicting the future of creation. While examining the very legitimacy of age-group categorisation, it brings together individuals from a generation whose voice is only starting to be heard and assists in the formation of its arts community.