Founded in 1993, the Danish group made up of Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen and Rasmus Nielsen operates under the corporate-sounding name Superflex. Superflex works in dialogue with businesses, galleries and museums to create commissioned projects they call “tools.” The tools range from large-scale installations, interventions and publications to signage, films and orchestrated gatherings exploring—broadly—the impact of capitalism on social relations and connections to place. Superflex is one of more than 50 artists and collectives presented in Aleksandra Mir and John Kelsey’s book Corporate Mentality.
Corporate Mentality, published in 2003, presents a cross-section of works from the mid ’90s to early 2000s. The works reflect the influence of communication technologies, advertising and corporate strategies that, only a few years later, would have an even greater impact on culture. Around the time of the book’s release Myspace was launched in August 2003; Facebook was launched in February 2004; and YouTube was created in February 2005. Their corporate names signaled the placement of the individual above all else. Their digital platforms promised social connectivity. By putting the power of communication in the hands of individuals, the digital tools were seen as a means toward independence from corporate culture, providing the freelancer a direct way to sell something. That scenario has devolved into a financially unstable culture of gig economies. And today’s precarious workforce, seemingly freed from the constraints of corporate culture is thrust into another kind of constraint of 24/7 hustling and selling—under the influence of corporate strategies and social media.
The broader existential questions and effects that these digital technologies (and now Instagram) unleashed onto society are at the core of the artists profiled through interviews, emails exchanges, texts, and documentation in Corporate Mentality. The book is an archive of works and writings by figures such as Carey Young, Liam Gillick, Andrea Zittel, Andy Stillpass, Bennett Simpson, Lars Ban Larsen, Atelier van Lieshout, Kathrin Böhm, and others that, in part, serve as a precursor to the strategies under which society operates today.
Kathrin Böhm/Stefan Saffer
Starbucks Performance Art Series
Andrea + Philippe
Bonk Business Inc.
Case Studies identifies a book to unfurl into an exhibition of archival materials, photographic reproductions, periodicals, ephemera, sound, and text that amplify ideas explored by the featured publication.