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'Auxiliary Lights' by Kai Philip Trausenegger at Bildraum 07, Vienna

Fighting tv-series fans in malls causing national security crises, mysterious social media posts of Russian anime squads, Wagner announcing Yevgeniy Prigozhins death on Telegram with a manga in his hand and virtual turf wars featuring provocative hyper-sexualized avatars. Auxiliary Lights by Kai Philip Trausenegger explores the bizarre entanglement of re- appropriated anime and manga in relation to specific events during the current invasion of Russia in Ukraine. 

Accompanying a conflict that counts as one of the best documented in the history of mankind a strange parallel universe of a new subversive culture is spun. Reappearing in various staggering situations Japanese Otaku and geek culture infiltrated the geopolitical game in an unprecedented manner. To the dismay of national interests this new player introduces an unruly layer of contradicting principles to the war that subverts traditional values propagated by states. Following the Soviet playbook of the “enemy within” a cultural war is fought with an adversary that does not abide the rules of warfare. One that infiltrates by force and executes the soft power of absurdity and amoral travesty. 

By using the very same techniques that the constant information war employs, a re-definition of this artistic research meets the post-truth era. Causation and correlation become blurry borders which have to budge to alternative narratives whose factual integrity is of no importance. What potential of weaponization does anime bear in this conflict? How does it subvert specific stereotypes of tradition while at the same time possibly propagating completely different modes of discrimination? 

Delving into those peculiar occurrences and coincidences which materialized, the exhibition at Bildraum 07 connects reality, internet culture, and information warfare to a congregated narrative of eventualities. 

25.10.23 — 30.11.23

Bildraum 07

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