10 September 2016 – 26 March 2017
There are weapons everywhere: they exert an ambivalent fascination because they embody power, violence and superiority while also reminding us of pain and death.
Whether they are carried – legally or illegally – as a means of maintaining the public order, for the individual or collective application of force, for personal safety or as sports or work equipment, weapons and the threat they pose are always bound up with social structures. They are among us – whether we see them or not, whether they arouse fear or pleasure or both at the same time.
In an exhibition architecture that exaggerated the formal language of fairs for the museum context, the show presented objects from design, the media and art that seeked to exploit the emotions associated with weapons for their own aims.
Under Arms: Fire & Forget 2 was an expansion and new conception of the show Fire & Forget: On Violence, curated by E. Blumenstein and D. Tyradellis for the KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin.
Curators: Ellen Blumenstein, Dr Daniel Tyradellis, Matthias Wagner K
Curatorial assistance: Juliane Duft, Anna Gien and Leonie Wiegand
The exhibition has been accompanied by a bilingual Distanz-Verlag publication entitled AMMO, which presented widely differing forms of art, advertising, design and fashion in a glossy magazine aesthetic.
From the perspectives of fields such as military history and psychoanalysis, contributions by renowned guest authors – among them Olaf Arndt, Richard Brem, Klaus Günther, Andreas Hofbauer and Barbara Vinken – addressed the subjects of non-lethal weapons, camouflage, and the justification of self-defence and seek an explanation for why military references are so popular in fashion. AMMO also features hitherto unpublished notes by Friedrich Kittler on a seminar concerned with literature and war and a small drawing from the media theorist’s estate.