opti-ME* Online Commission: Sascha Pohflepp: "The Currency of Living Matter (Every Thought Is Sunlight)"

23rd May. 2014

As part of opti-ME*s investigation into embodied value, identity economics, and human exchange, artist Sascha Pohflepp presents a speculative executive toy modeled on the body’s very own ‘molecular currency’.

Converting organic into digital ‘money’, he maps in a closed circuit the energy needed for the bio-mechanical production of five US dollars worth of Bitcoins – the market value of the digital rendering of the molecule itself.

Sascha PohfleppThe Currency of Living Matter (Every Thought is Sunlight)

“A movement is produced on the surface of the globe that results from the circulation of energy at this point in the universe [...] The play of living matter in general [is] involved in the movement of light of which it is the result.”

– Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share


Before we learned to harness electricity all work was done by bodies; consuming, storing and expending energy that comes from a star called Sun. Within the body’s trading floor of cells, the molecular currency of energy transaction is the coenzyme Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Each human body is a vast stock exchange of such chemical energy, turning over its own weight in ATP each day.

Drawing inspiration from Georges Bataille’s writings on flows of energy and excess, the Currency of Living Matter re-imagines a model of the ATP molecule, bought on the internet for five US dollars, as a desk accessory for biotech executives of the near future.

Presented online as part of opti-ME* is a 3-minute excerpt from a 440-hour computer simulation. 440 hours is the approximate amount of time in which a human body interacting with a physical version of the object would turn over an amount of energy equal to that required for a Bitcoin mining rig to generate five US dollars.*

* Based on a fictionally under-clocked Avalon ASIC #2 mining rig drawing 100W, at an exchange rate of $449.36 per Bitcoin, at a difficulty of 8000872135.9682 as of May 10th 2014

Auto Italia at Kunstvlaai, 21-25 May

16th May. 2014
We’re excited to announce that Auto Italia will be participating in this year’s Kunstvlaai in Amsterdam, 21st-25th May. Developed in close collaboration with Theo Cook, Pablo Jones-Soler and Michael Oswell, Auto Italia will present a billboard-based piece, installed in the Amstelpark alongside work from over 50 artist-led initiatives from around the world.

Kunstvlaai is a platform for experimental art practices; taking place every two years and creating a platform to meet, discuss, and exchange ideas. This tenth edition takes place in the Amstelpark, one of the city’s largest parks – with contributors encouraged to engage with alternative approaches to production and exhibition formats in this unusual context.

The site-specific commissions are accompanied by Spaces in Dialogue, a three-day programme of round-table discussions between the participants over three themed sessions, Space and Context, The Positioning of The Art(ist-Run) Initiative and The Different Manifestations of The Art(ist-Run) Initiative. 

Image © Auto Italia and Michael Oswell

Ingo Niermann at opti-ME*

13th May. 2014

As part of opti-ME* we’re looking for people interested in taking part in a workshop – The Artist as Material - with writer Ingo Niermann, based on his concept of self-determined drill.

This focused, small workshop will take place on Saturday May 24th from 2pm onwards, where Niermann will work with the group to explore ideas and methodologies for how artists might make themselves their own material. The closed workshop will be followed by a public presentation on Sunday 25th May at 4pm, led by Niermann and developed collaboratively from the previous day’s workshop.

If you’d like to take part, please get in touch with marleen@autoitaliasoutheast.org by Monday 19th May for more information. Places are extremely limited.

The Artist As Material – Ingo Niermann

In a common understanding of modern art the actual work is the artist persona, while the signed stuff that he/she produces are just “relics” (Boris Groys) of his/her existence. Still, since a phase of radical performance art in the 70s (Hsieh, Abramovic, Burden,…) personal frontiers have rather not been challenged. While the media is flooded with books, TV shows, and blogs on self-improvement, the artistic practice seems to be all about protecting a grail like persona. While pop and movie stars are encouraged to deliver revelations on personal meltdowns and erratic shifts, artists are expected to steadily evolve their once found artistic position to satisfy a market and a critical perception that are both, in whatever ways, determined by the prospects of museification.

As long as artists don’t claim to be identical with their artist persona, they feel secure from the trap of a fake authenticity. But as the art world is very much based on personal encounters expectations on what the “real person” is like, make up a large part in the evaluation of an artist persona. To disrupt this trust, writer Ingo Niermann will gather with a couple of artists to develop previously undisclosed ways of how to make themselves usable as artistic material. An elementary tool for this endeavour will be Niermann’s concept of a self-determined drill (Choose Drill, Hatje Cantz/ dOCUMENTA13, 2012).


Ingo Niermann (b. 1969) lives in Berlin and Basel. Recent writing work includes Solution 247-261: Love (ed., 2013), Choose Drill (2011), The Future of Art: A Manual (2011, with Erik Niedling). His work has been featured at Serpentine Gallery (London), MACBA (Barcelona), ZKM (Karlsruhe), dOCUMENTA(13) (Kassel), MoMA (New York), and La Biennale die Venezia. Collaborative projects include Vote (Gwangju, Korea) – a tool for public ballots developed with Rem Koolhaas, and Fiktion – an international digital publishing project with Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin).


9th May. 2014


Now available, from us to you, a *FREE* ringtone, comprised of the auto-tuned and pitch shifted sounds of Lady Gaga and Marina Abravomic in physical and emotional turmoil. Answer your calls after a duet of despair.


The ringtone gifts a special mobile-momento re-edit of DJ and producer Pierre LX‘s future-Muzak commission and spatial soundtrack, commissioned by Justin Jaeckle for In The #Memewhile… as part of the Auto Italia project opti-ME*.

In the Memewhile – Justin Jaeckle at opti-ME*

7th May. 2014


Join us for – In the Memewhile – as Justin Jaeckle leads the next stage of our project – opti-ME* – with an evening of high performance [anxiety] and socialised futures.

On Saturday 10th May we’re opening our doors for a take over by a syndicate of participants to explore the #MEMEWHILE with early evening meditative vibes, pizza and live streaming dinner with online persona vol33lov, and the launch of a new commission with Warsaw-based producer Pierre LX.

The events are free and open to the public. See you in the #MEMEWHILE.

Movies have been replaced by interactive live streaming events. MJ returns to the stage as a spectral hologram from beyond the grave, as psychic retromania gains virtual corporality. Living recording artists no longer tour, but host one off spectaculars – tickets to which sell in nanoseconds for thousands of pounds, purchased by the rich who own tailor made sniping algorithms, whilst the world’s consumer underclass watch at a distance through pay-per-view retinal screens. Increasing bandwidth has enabled the population to live-stream their own lives, gaining personal resolution through high definition, as Endemol looks on from the sidelines and cherry picks its new reality stars for syndication. The Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion is sponsored by Instagram, as the Arsenale is filled with photogenic immersive installation experiences. Marina Abramovich duets with Lady Gaga on a track entirely composed of their auto-tuned sobbing. The word ‘art’ falls out of common usage, since economic regulation of the art market forces consolidation of the long held suspicion that its artifacts might merely be operating as speculative currency, and a culture of widespread exhibitionism forever alters the perception of exhibition culture…

Assembling a selection of present-day talismans that might offer insights for the near future, in the second of opti-ME*s residencies curator, writer and artist Justin Jaeckle has organised an evening for opti-ME* of high-performance [anxiety], socialised futures and digital imbibing.

Whilst wading in the mists of time we will explore life in the #MEMEWHILE through a series of artifacts, commissions and live-streams from around the globe, turning Auto Italia’s Kings Cross HQ into a reception site for the broadcast of the self and the magic realism of networks.

An ambient exhibition environment will run throughout the afternoon, culminating in an evening of live events, including:


Meditation for Narcissists, with Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf leads an hour-long meditation session via Skype. Comfortable clothes recommended. In collaboration with Nastja Säde Rönkkö & Luke Turner.


Mok Bang Pizza Party
Dinner with Broadcast Jockeys (BJs) streamed from the future (AKA South Korea). Pizza and simultaneous live Korean-English translation will be provided.


.COM Wine Reception + Gagavić Muzak
Drinking the internet accompanied by a soundtrack, commissioned from Warsaw-based Pierre LX, composed of the auto-tuned sounds of Marina Abramović and Lady Gaga sobbing (a ringtone version of which will be available as a free download on our website).