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LEVI VAN GE
ÖTZI IS A FAKE BITCH (2019) Ötzi, also called the Iceman, the Man from Hauslabjoch, the Tyrolean Iceman, and the Hauslabjoch mummy, was born as Gerhard Friedle in St. Johann, Tirol, between 3400 and 3100 BCE and is the son of DJ Anton Friedle. Shortly after birth, his mother, age 17-years at the time, gave him up for adoption. He was raised by foster parents and later by his paternal grandparents in the nearby village of Erpfendorf in Tirol. His career arose gradually, first working as a student cook, then on being discovered at a karaoke competition, went on to work as an entertainer, disc jockey and singer in discothèques around Austria, as well as tourist destinations Majorca and Turkey. His body and belongings are displayed in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy. I believe one could claim that archaeological artefacts (generalizing: mummies, ruins, spears, pots, carvings, cave drawings and the statue of Venus of Willendorf) dó have actual value apart from socially constructed contexts. Of course one could argue that the collective curiosity and social tendency to value historical things (the older the better) is also just a collective fiction, and has no real value whatsoever. But the value placed in Otzi the Ice Mummy, the first human ever found, is surely easier to understand than the value placed in Interchange by Willem de Kooning, a painting by a painter that happened to be sold for 310 million dollars. But the discrepancy between the physical artefact and its cultural aftermath is even more fascinating. Let's look at mummies as a very real object: a deceased human (or animal) whose skin and organs have been preserved, either intentional or accidental. Within a confusing hyperreal whirlwind of Halloween paraphernalia, Hollywood blockbusters and simplified Egyptian imagery, there is not very much left of the original. And what is left of the mummy in the cultural ruins of our mass media society is definitely not rare or valuable. And let's face it; I have never seen a mummy in my life if I remember correctly. And if I have ever seen one it has made no lasting impression on me whatsoever. The symbol of the mummy has obliterated its original ancestor. And what happens when you visit the long, long murdered ancestor of our beloved symbolic counterpart. For example, when visiting the Venus von Willendorf in the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, you (of course) are greeted by many banners that introduce the coming grandeur, the life changing experience that is about the fall upon you. Enclosed by hungry tourists, you manoeuvre yourself in a very dark, very small room where our little thicc lady is dimly lit in a large showcase. She is tiny, smaller than your finger, but the extravaganza is immense. Even within the "real" experience of seeing the original, 95% is cultural aftermath. Venus von Willendorf is murdered by every lifesize banner in Vienna. But of course Venus von Willendorf is an iconic piece of cultural heritage, it is logical that she would have a great horde of symbols destroying her. With symbols, the law of size and mass applies in a similar way. The bigger the mass of the symbol, the more the original will explode when it falls. And in this mass media society, with Twitter, YouTube and an almost infinite database of images on Google, an image will always fall. The symbol of dabbing was one with great mass, and got destroyed in a spectacular way. People are still discussing where its origin precisely lay, that's how effectively it was destructed. What I am fascinated by is the murder, rape and mutilation of reality. So by the rule of mass, volume and gravity, I am naturally gravitated (see what I did there) to the Big Blue Whales of cultural heritage and valuable imagery. The Otzi's, the Venus von Willendorfs, the Mona-Lisa's and endless amount of spectacular mummies. The more value our collective fiction places into their cultural residuum, the more worthless they become. So that's what I am trying to do in my video collages, exposing these symbols for the worthless motherfuckers they really are.