In the context of Membrane Projects as part of documenta 14, RELAXATION ROOM took place as a shifting and inhabited exhibition score from 10th to 12th of August at Stellwerk, Kassel.
The show included works by BBB_, Miriam J. Carranza, Lisa Dreykluft, Lotte Meret Effinger and Jacob Höfle who all invited visitors to examine notions and actions of (self-)care in states of uncertainty operating in the field of post-digital cross disciplinary music, video and participative performance.
In self-oblivion we wander through exhibitions, unconscious of our action: enjoying ourselves and/or the art. Is it self-care or care for the (art-)world, are we actually moving our bodies or do we transcendentally drift through the rooms? To which extent do we remain conscious of ourselves or do immerse fully in what is around us?
No matter whether we are driven by curiosity, bad conscience, performance pressure or joy, we invest something, we give at least some of our attention and energy. What is it that we get in return? New awareness, insight, inspiration, or a new soft skill? In this allegory of reciprocal investment, relief from this continuous trade mechanisms comes in the form of relaxation in the end. Relaxation as the permanent unattainable other state of being. And like happiness, relaxation is an empty signifier – the quality of relaxation is subject to continuous debates.
The RELAXATION ROOM explored contradictory notions of relaxation. Relaxation as the consumerist behavior (consumption of presumed apolitical art), relaxation as intimacy (that is as fictional as every ASMR-Video), relaxation as recreational activity and failed attempts of escaping one's own treadmills of the mind when trying to meditate.
Are sleeping visitors in an exhibition disregarding the art, or is this act of self-care the political use of agency? In an exhibition designed as a place to sleep, do visitors remain consumers when using the facility? Is relaxation just the reproduction of labour power?
There is this notion of psycho-hygiene – the cleanliness of psychological health that has held captive neoliberal minds and hearts, making them eager for a balance, craving for relaxation and for lightheartedness in an attempt of being healthy in a world that actually is making us sick.
text by Miriam J. Carranza & Amelie Jakubek
RELAXATION ROOM initiated by Miriam J. Carranza
all photos by Niko Wefers
'ASMR' 3-channel-video-installation by Lisa Dreykluft
8eck&reiher, die schönsten Landschaften der Welt, bokeh bees by Jacob Höfle
'HUMAN ECSTASY' by Miriam J. Carranza & Lotte Meret Effinger
‘Buddha App Says II VR Version: The Divine And The Device’ by BBB_