Hamster Hipster Handy: Under the Spell of the Mobile Phone

Hamster Hipster Handy: Under the Spell of the Mobile Phone

Museum Angewandte Kunst

Graphic: Tobias Jacob. © Museum Angewandte Kunst.

April 24, 2015

Hamster Hipster Handy. Under the Spell of the Mobile Phone
25 April–5 July 2015

Museum Angewandte Kunst
Schaumainkai 17
60594 Frankfurt / Main
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm, 
Wednesday 10am–8pm

T +49 69 212 34037
F +49 69 212 30703


Many people can no longer imagine everyday life without a mobile phone, or “Handy,” as it is fondly called in the German-speaking world. Its functions meanwhile far exceed making and receiving phone calls: the “cell” is a camera, fashion accessory, computer, flashlight, video screen and much more. As complex as it is contradictory, it forms the core of a whole universe of objects. It shapes our communication, influences our consumer behaviour, reveals our preferences, and brings in its wake entire complexes of things that wouldn’t exist without the mobile telephone. Citing examples from the worlds of design and the media, film and contemporary art, the exhibition will focus on these aspects and show the cell phone as an object that—convenient and harmful, bonding and polarizing—contributes to shaping our cultural self-conception.

Within this context, Hamster and Hipster will serve as two contradictory leading characters. Around the turn of the millennium, mobile phone radiation tests were carried out on rodents to provide evidence of possible damage to the human brain and sense of hearing as well as the surrounding neural pathways. In keeping with this logic, Hamster represents the negative consequences of the cell phone for human life. He is juxtaposed with the fictional figure Hipster. As a an affirmative 21st-century consumer, Hipster represents a new culture of mobile image generation with its seemingly infinite possibilities and the related narcissistic self-presentation, all of which are linked in turn with cultural and social precepts and conventions such as ethnicity, class and gender.

In the exhibition, Hamster and Hipster will represent the two extremes of the object cosmos of the cell phone, which is as complex as it is ambiguous. The two figures are tried and tested role models for illustrating the shift of the mobile’s image from that of a harmful to that of a useful, indeed indispensable, thing of everyday use.

The objects on view will offer a visual foray into the universe of the mobile phone as a culture and consumer object. They will include photographs, interactive installations, video art, painting and street art by artists and designers, enhanced by artefacts of everyday material culture from the Jugendkulturarchiv Frankfurt and a collection of cell phones (M.E.G.A. Darmstadt).

All artists in the exhibition: Aram Bartholl, Kyle Bean, Cedric Blanchon, Peter Boettcher, David de Brito, Brunettes Shoot Blondes, Stefan Constantinescu, DetroitBORG, Fairphone B. V., J. Robert Feld, Florian Fischer, Alberto Frigo, Peter Funch, Amit Gupta, Charlene de Guzman & Miles Crawford, Wolfram Hahn, Andrei Haurylenka, Luis Hernan, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Max-Sebastian Höflich, I ❤, hipstermerkel.tumblr.com, IOCOSE, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Jugendkulturarchiv Frankfurt am Main, Noah Kalina, J. K. Keller, Rainer Kohlberger, Künstlerkollektiv BaNF, Yayoi Kusama, David LaChapelle, La Molleindustria, Edgar Leciejewski, Lifeofastrangerwhostolemyphone.tumblr.com, Adam Lisagor, Lev Manovich, Andy Martin, M.E.G.A. Darmstadt, Florian Mehnert, David A. Mellis, Birte Svea Metzdorf, Sarah Elisabeth Meyler, Gal Muggia, Laurel Nakadate, No Phone, OgilvyOne Beijing, Julian Oliver & Danja Vasiliev, Ann-Sophie Parker, Martin Parr, Peter Picciani, Peter Piller, Lennard Poschmann, PUZZLEPHONE, Johannes Paul Raether, Bruno Ribeiro, Birgit Richard, Römer + Römer, Marijke de Roover, Satire Channel, Clara S0pht, Thilo Schwer, Erica Scourti, Crystal F. Spellman, Thomas Struth, Sweza, Britta Thie, TXTual Healing, Robert Voit, Anne de Vries, Markus Weisbeck, Ai Weiwei, Charlie White, Michael Wolf, Seikou Yamaoka, Tobias Zielony

One section of the exhibition is being curated by the media and concept artist Aram Bartholl, who will present web-based works by Internet artists in an offline format, with following artists: Morehshin Allahyari, Alma Alloro, Anthony Antonellis, LaTurbo Avedon, Hans Bernhard, James Bridle, Constant Dullaart, Claudia Mate, Eva & Franco Mattes, Nico Princen, Sebastian Schmieg, Addie Wagenknecht in the part “Are you still there?” (Curator: Aram Bartholl)

Director: Matthias Wagner K
Curators: Birgit Richard, Eleni Blechinger, Katja Gunkel and Harry Wolff
Presented by: Museum Angewandte Kunst  

Press contact: Grit Weber and Julia Quedzuweit, T +49 69 212 32828 / 73243
/ F +49 69 212 30703 / presse.angewandte-kunst [​at​] stadt-frankfurt.de

A project of the interdisciplinary research association “Konsumästhetik – Formen des Umgangs mit käuflichen Dingen” (“Consumer Aesthetics ‒ Ways of Handling Purchasable Objects”)

Sponsored by the VolkswagenStiftung

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Museum Angewandte Kunst
April 24, 2015

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