Statement #10 | Ernst Miesgang — Pretty Close

Performative setting, June 15 – 18 2020
Presentation, June 19 – July 8, 2020

Unusual perspectives on things we consider familiar and known can help us discover new realms of thinking and perception. Kunstraum Lakeside, which is located in a science and technology park, invites artists to reflect upon the very structures and processes that it owes its existence to. A site where interdisciplinary research and innovation are performed, where education, production, and the provision of services interweave, is fertile ground for artistic interventions that explore current technological developments and prevalent scientific models. In his multimedia (mis-)measurement of Lakeside Science and Technology Park and the people who work there, Ernst Miesgang satirizes the belief in progress, which surrenders solutions for urgent problems to the world of science in the hope that things, in the end, can stay essentially the way they are.

Ernst Miesgang’s artistic works often consist of fragments or excerpts of everyday objects, which he combines into autonomous compositions. In the framework of the statement Pretty Close, the artist investigates the spatial and social conditions of the Science and Technology Park. With the aid of a modified digital document scanner and a stethoscope attached to a recording device, the artist approaches his objects of research—maintaining the currently required minimum distance—and documents them. “I seek out specific places in order to portray the environment and the people present there. With the scanner, I take samples of the surfaces of the surroundings along with details of people I encounter,” says the artist about his approach. But for him, it is not about creating an objective representation of reality, rather about consciously falling short of such a thing. Hence, it is typically impossible to recognize the original sources of the depicted and recorded. The results of his multi-day performative setting are presented as digital collages, which can be viewed and listened to in Kunstraum Lakeside.

“Just like how an unusual perspective on everyday familiar things can give rise to new forms of interpretation and layers of meaning, new ways of seeing and value systems can encourage a radical paradigm shift on a societal level,” explains Ernst Miesgang. The artist is convinced that this change is urgently needed in order to adequately face the problems and challenges of our time—be it the advancing social inequality, climate change, or the present crisis of health care systems.

Ernst Miesgang (b. 1980 in Austria) lives and works in Vienna.


Ernst Miesgang, from the series: Vivid Spaces, 2019