“Canned Laughter”


“Canned Laughter” – a group exhibition composed of a selection of works by Tomas Eller (Vienna), David Muth (Turku/Vienna) and Axel Stockburger (Vienna). The show is concerned with the forces of expansion and normalisation, which accompany contemporary forms of globalisation.

In order to achieve continued growth, present day capital increasingly depends on the establishment and implementation of formats and protocols that guarantee smooth transactions across different national and local boundaries. While the material effects of this development are perfectly demonstrated by the introduction of DIN norms for technological devices, postage and container systems – optimising the commercialisation of regional resources – there also exist cultural and political forms of formatting that are increasingly visible, from popular culture to contemporary art. Just as the canned laughter, that we have become used to as a protocol of audience reactions, heavily deployed in the entertainment industries’ soap operas, these forms of standardisation are often so present that they are screened out by contemporary consumers of culture. Indeed, they often find their way into subconscious regions, where they reside as ghostly artifacts of a presumed naturalisation – canned laughter becomes the “natural” atmosphere of such forms of entertainment.

The works in this exhibition engage with these phenomena from a range of different perspectives and practices. Thomas Eller presents us with the visual translation of a process of expansion as disintegration that precisely points towards the unavoidable forces of contingency, making use of techniques deployed in open-cast mining across the borders. David Muth deals with aesthetic protocols of domesticated natural forms, in his series of artificial flower decorations provided by a global lifestyle and decoration behemoth. In the work Bestiarium, by Axel Stockburger, the process of localization in the wake of the global implementation of cultural narratives such as the Pokemon universe becomes the starting point for a poetry beyond the local. Stockburger’s Transformer videos engage with the cosplay phenomenon and the way it has become a global cultural attractor where fans develop their own take on the canon of corporate fantasy universes.

Tomas Eller, born 1975 in Meran, Italy, lives and works in Vienna. He studied sculpture, painting and New Media at the Vienna University of Applied Arts (Alfred Hrdlicka / Brigitte Kowanz) and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (Peter Kogler). Recent exhibitions took place at the Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, at Kunstraum Bernsteiner, Vienna, and the Künstlervereinigung Maerz, Linz.


David Muth is an artist, musician and programmer. Having grown up in Salzburg, Austria, he relocated to the UK to study at Middlesex University, where he received an MA in Digital Arts. He currently lives and works in Vienna and Turku. His artistic practice combines conceptual and experimental approaches and is informed by his background in architecture. His projects range from installations and responsive environments, through video and photography, to composition and performance of music. Muth’s work has been shown on numerous occasions internationally, with venues and events including the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Montreal, the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art in Helsinki, Ars Electronica in Linz, Le Cube in Paris, Laboral in Gijón, the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Museum of Modern Art Salzburg. He also teaches at Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art.


Axel Stockburger is an artist who works as associate professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna in the department for art and digital media. He studied at the University of Applied Arts in the Master Course for Visual Media Art headed by Peter Weibel. In his PhD from the University of the Arts, London, he engaged with the spatiality of digital games in the context of contemporary art. Stockburger employs global popular culture, such as computer games, and blockbuster films as a starting point for the production of his videos and text works. His work engages with novel forms of participatory and fan culture that have emerged with the transition from traditional mass media like TV and Film towards the Internet. In his videos, he focuses on concepts such as intellectual property, political issues in relation to the notion of the information economy as well as the changing role of audiences. His videos and installations have been exhibited internationally. He is a member of the artist association Secession.

Opening reception 2018/7/11, 7 pm
Exhibition open 2018/7/11 – 07/27
Wednesday to Sunday 3–7 pm
or by appointment, tel.: +37062728274

Organiser: Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association
The project is supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture

Project space ‘Sodų 4’
4 Sodų Str. Vilnius

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