Review /

Simon Denny T293 / Rome

“TEDxVaduz redux” is part of Simon Denny’s major interest in both the evolution of media and the experience of receiving information and sharing knowledge. The title of the exhibition leads back to “TedxVaduz – Radically Open,” the collaborative project by Denny and Daniel Keller that happened at the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein last December within the framework of TEDx events. The talk aimed at reconsidering both the intellectual viability of TEDx talks characterized by infotainment, conformism and oversimplification, and the cultural implications of a country like Liechtenstein, mostly known as a tax haven for its population of multinationals. Denny and Keller structured a program to discuss cases of controversial brand reputation by focusing on the position of the TED model relative to the socio-economic reality of Liechtenstein.

The central installation by Denny and Keller draws attention for both its monumental backdrop — a tag cloud composed of the most popular words in TED talks — and the stage from Vaduz that portrays Liechtenstein as a tropical island. The plexiglass wall-mounted “atmospheres” by Denny, the sound work by Keller and the “#Vaduz” USB drive by Emily Segal all reference the way we communicate through symbols, hashtags, keywords and short messages on social networking platforms. All around, videos and slide presentations document the Vaduz talk. Artifacts from the lectures merge with works created ex post for the show and comment on topics related to economics and marketing strategies. Hence, the relation between brand identity and authenticity in the luxury market is investigated through Segal’s bomber jacket. Peter Fend and Femke Herregraven present a sharp analysis of Liechtenstein’s business model through a series of graphs illustrating how to use high-art based technologies to improve a country’s energy independence; and Taxodus, an online game that teaches how offshore tax avoidance works. A more didactic approach is suggested by Katja Novitskova’s curved and twisted arrows. The series Growth Potentials clearly references financial and economical symbols while offering a point of departure for a discussion on the consequences of both Liechtenstein business identity and TED socio-cultural complexity.

by Carmen Stolfi