Put its lights on a dimmer switch and the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna might well fit the bachelor pad dreams of teenage boys around the globe. A Jet Ski, numerous gargantuan flat screen TVs, a robot statue, and two pallet-loads of cash are just a handful of the extravagancies spread throughout Berlin based artist Simon Denny’s latest show, “The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom.”
The exhibition presents 110 recreated or indexed objects seized from internet entrepreneur (or criminal mastermind depending on who you ask) Kim Dotcom’s New Zealand mansion when he was arrested on behalf of the United States for a slew of alleged copyright infringements enacted by his most recent ventures, Megaupload and Megavideo, in January of 2012.
By copying objects deemed illegal to posses because their very acquisition was funded by copies, Denny enacts a heavy wink at the anachronistic frame in which discussions of copyright infringement and ownership are placed. From an artistic context, the doubling of a $60,000 Hastens mattress doesn’t quite hit to the core of the issue: the fake won’t provide the same quality of comfort as the original, regardless of the latter’s perhaps inflated price tag.
But, the mask-like art work that lays atop it does poke quite directly at the issues of intellectual property that come into play as the world becomes increasingly reproducible or devisable from its object and author entirely. Denny seems to suggest that we simply don’t have the vocabulary or sufficient legal frameworks to reckon with the pseudo-borrowing of streaming and cloud-based data storage where possession and ownership are no longer synonymous.
[Image: Installation view, Simon Denny, "The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom," mumok Wien; Photo: Gregor Titze; © mumok / Simon Denny]