Exhibitions / Interviews

Hannah Toticki, interview

Ex_posure: Hannah Toticki, Everything-Everywhere-All the Time

Hannah Toticki’s solo exthibition “Everything, Everywhere, All the Time” at EMST, has left it’s unique mark on those who had the opportunity to experience. Moreover it provided a deep insight on her distinctive visual language which interwaves fashion, pop culture ane design with a humorous and scathing way.

Hannah Toticki was born 1984 in Borup, Denmark. She lives and works in Hvalsø, Denmark.

The exhibition is curated by Ioli Tzanetaki.

Hannah Toticki talked to Ex_posure about her work and current exhibition at EMST.

Hannah Toticki
Exhibition view

E.Z. You belong to a generation of contemporary artists who instead of embracing and utilizing new media and technologies in their work, they seem to be rather skeptical about them.

Could you discuss your views on this matter further?

I think the new digital possibilities have lots of potential, both as part of solutions to the crisis the world is facing as well as an emancipatory potential for the individual – since we can now be in contact across the globe.

But if the technology is to fulfill this potential, it must be used wisely. The digital possibilities have been introduced into our lives quickly that we did not had the time to build the necessary cultural practices to embrace them. Our attention has become a commodity and entertainment that neither makes us happier, smarter nor more empathetic as people, fills many of the hours we spend in the digital universe. In my opinion it has created a crisis of attention: Studies show how our attention span has become shorter, our ability to focus and immerse,challenged. As with the technological progress that came with the industrialization, new machines and technology are not enough. In 1930 John Maynard Keynes predicted that his grandkids would work just 15 hours a week, due to technological progress. But what we see now is a global labour market where some are overworked to an extend that stress has become a pandemic, while others are made redundant with no access to work and the essential material goodstechnology progress could have made available to everyone. This is why cultures are so extremely important. We can create new machines but if we do not develop a new working culture, they might not get us to a better place. The challenge right now is to develop a sustainable culture, that allows for the new technology to become part of the solution. Sustainable both on the human and planetary level. I believe the two walk hand in hand.

Hannah Toticki

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E.Z. Your major solo exhibition titled Everything Everywhere all the Time, currently running at the EMST in Athens, raises issues concerning our working lives and daily routines in contemporary societies. Your eye is both critical and humorous and forces us to take a step back and contemplate our current state of living.

Are you optimistic about the future?

Do you believe that art has the power to change our lives in a more meaningful and essential way?

I think we have an obligation to be optimistic. We know that our expectations to the future are partly shaping it. Unfortunately, catastrophe scenarios, death and tragic news have more clickbait than edifying narratives about how things can succeed. I don’t think art can change the world alone – just like technology cannot. But I think culture is generally underestimated in relation to societal changes. Feminism and representation have been hot topics in art for a long time before #Meetoo, so I think art has a power to articulate some issues that start pushing our awareness. Here I am thinking of art in the broadest sense, both that which you experience in an art museum but also popular culture, film, music, sci-fi, design, architecture, etc. We all have a responsibility for the cultural change that is needed.

Hannah Toticki

E.Z. Your exhibition at the EMST is divided into four sections: Production, Sleep, Control and Attention.

Speaking from your own personal experience could you discuss the meaning, place and role that these four have in your life?

 I want to work with problems that can be experienced as individual, but which are linked to the culture we are all a part of. Take sleep as an example: On my app with audio books, you can follow how many others are listening to the same story as you. As the night progresses, more and more people listen to ‘calming stories that will make you fall asleep’. There is an invisible community of insomniacs. We are participating in a culture that provides very poor conditions for sleep, the digital culture’s opportunities to work, consume or be entertained, anywhere and anytime, make it difficult to turn off the phone, shut down for the day, and find the necessary rest. It’s not me or you as individuals who have a unique problem with sleep, it’s a cultural phenomenon. Linked to the attention problem I mentioned above. Work is another example: if it’s prestigious and even expected that you always have a little too much to look after at work, if this is something your boss appreciate and that gives you social status – which I’ve experienced myself there’s only a thin line between working a lot and collapsing with stress. This not a unique and personal phenomenon either. It’s has become an almost predictable side effect of an ordinary working life that you must feel stressed at times – sometimes even to an extend that makes you sick.

Hannah Toticki

E.Z. Your works at the EMST are mainly consisting of fabrics, clothes, uniforms and accessories. Why do you choose to work with these elements?

I love working with the objects closest to our body. Clothes, accessories, furniture – things we surround ourselves with in everyday life – give a recognizability when meeting the artwork. We all have a bodily experience of  textiles on our bodies, and I think there is an immediacy about these materials. I like that the works have a visual appeal that makes it attractive to approach them, almost like commodities in a window display, but at the same time they must have deeper layer that becomes accessible when you move closer to them.