Coolhunters
Exhibition view "Coolhunters"
Youth Cultures between Media and Market
23.04.2005 – 03.07.2005

Unlike any previous generation today's youth lives in a thoroughly commercialised and mediatised world. There is no need, no interest that the market and the media are not prepared to materially and symbolically satisfy. Correspondingly, young people offer highly diverse and multi-faceted images of themselves and their youth cultures to the public. How could they be portrayed? And how do they find their own, self-determined way, their own identity and coolness in confused times and spaces?

The exhibition »Coolhunters« offers some answers to these questions: It seeks to recognize young people in the mirror of their objects and practices. Works from numerous artists, which document and reflect everyday life, are presented besides examples of youth culture phenomena, such as clothing, accessories, and the like. The exhibition offers a different look at the everyday and invites to fantasize about alternative ways of living.

In a special architectural environment, modelled on a huge skater half pipe, central aspects of young people's experiences today are touched upon. Presented in six modules - Body/Object, Language, Violence, Space, Time, Gender - the photographs, video pieces and installations enter into dynamic relationships, thus enabling especially young visitors to an independent reflection on the self and the world without subjecting them to a didactic commentary.

How do objects change the body? How do young people modify objects through alternative, not preconceived uses, expropriation and destruction? How does media imagery constitute and transform female gender identity (game heroines, hip hop ladies)? What kind of fascination do action and violence exert? Is there a correspondence between gender and propensity for violence (are offenders mostly young males)? How do young people communicate with each other? How do they find and occupy their own places in public spaces?

The pressures within a consumerist society render life difficult: How are young people to establish an identity and experience the subjective nature of their being in a society that offers something for everything? The exhibits focus on how young people are actively dealing with what the market and the media are offering, for example in the form of individual product modifications, but also show how the market counteracts these original practices.

Credits
Exhibitions team

Martin Häberle (technical project management)
Nikolaus Hirsch (exhibition architecture)
Regina Linder (registrar)
Michel Müller (exhibition architecture)

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie
Partners

Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe ; Künstlerhaus Wien

Sponsors

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg ; Projekt P ; Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg ; Landesanstalt für Kommunikation Baden-Württemberg ; Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main ; Universität Koblenz Landau ; Hochschule Offenburg ; Uni Basel