ExhibitionA Slippery Slope

Youri Appelo

Is it possible to keep a grip on a world in which the boundaries between past and future, truth and untruth, and the real and unreal are becoming increasingly blurred? In our polarised and hyper-capitalist society, it appears that behind everything there is a hidden agenda at play. Ingrained ideas, however, are now on ‘a slippery slope’, on which the descent into a sea of complexity seems inevitable. The group exhibition A Slippery Slope focuses on the question of how we can learn to deal with this complexity without losing our minds.

Over time, the world around us has been built up in compartments and contradictions. And preferably placed in a linear perspective. The goal is to make the world clear and manageable, but also to make humans and non-humans more manageable and exploitable. The motto is: measuring is knowing. A good example of this is the increase in the value and collection of data. With the advent of computers, complex social positions and situations are translated into hard figures. Numbers are stripped of the context in which they exist, assuming that there is an universal and equal position for each individual or (complex) situation. Today, there is resistance against the norms and beliefs that arise from this type of thinking. Absolute knowledge and a universal truth seem to have become (more) liquid and negotiable. And this causes a radical shift in our thinking, both for the better and for the worse.

The exhibition offers perspectives in which generalised and simplified ways of thinking make way for more complex ones. This transition is portrayed through concepts such as new approaches to time, authenticity and knowledge. Underlying questions that are dealt with are: what can a mathematical concept, in which numbers are not stripped from their context, offer us? How do we deal with the fact that technology is capable of making lifelike replicas, both physical and digital? How can we embrace different understandings of time? How do we protect ourselves against algorithms that know better what we want than we do ourselves? And finally: who benefits from these developments?

A Slippery Slope presents artworks which, within their own context, have a place in this whirlwind of complexity; a place between nonlinearity and pluriformity, as a response to the power structures that are hiding behind a mask of simplification. The exhibition aims to act as a plea for letting go of our ingrained ways of thinking.