Christian Jankowski, 2020

Sender and Receiver

Christian Jankowski's video work Sender and Receiver, produced in collaboration with Fluentum and the Bangkok Art Bienniale 2020, references Wim Wender’s film fairy-tale Der Himmel über Berlin (1987), an homage to the black and gray island state of West Berlin, a supernatural-looking subtext characterizes the world portrayed. The main characters in Wender’s film, two male angels invisible to adults, understand themselves in their transcendental state of existence as mediators of positive changes in mood, which they trigger through touch and nearness.

In his work, Jankowski takes up this metaphysical form of transmission for affect and emotion in order to provide a media platform for essential workers during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, who, often as underrecognized fixtures of society make an immense contribution to everyday life. Unnoticed and coming from an apparently alternative reality, they appear in selected television clips dressed in the personal protective equipment necessary for them to be safely present on set. In the following, the internal voice of the essential workers’ experience of the sudden changes in their own lives are telepathically impressed into the ecosystem of typical Thai and German TV formats.

Through this intervention, idiosyncratic narratives unfold synchronously with the regular TV script, which for a brief moment overlay the otherwise intact world of everyday television. The excerpts correspond in part directly with the actual content of the program in a coincidental and tension-filled manner. The viewers, orchestrated together on an oversized sofa, hear in the array of the media sequences the often unheard and critical voices of experienced crisis experts and their lived state of limbo far away from a major pandemic canon. For the brief moment of their appearance, the workers are given the definitional sovereignty over a subjectively fragmented present, which has been broadcast in part to millions of households worldwide.

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Sender and Receiver
Christian Jankowski
1 channel video installation, color video, stereo audio
1920px x 1080px, 23'01"