Francis Hunger | International Sputnik Day | Press Release

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International Sputnik Day

February 23 – March 14, 2008 | Opening February 22 | 7-10pm

Galerie Metro is pleased to present “International Sputnik Day”, a solo-exhibition with works by the artist Francis Hunger.

1957 on October 4th, Sputnik Zemli (companion of the Earth), the first satellite, was sent into outer space by the Soviet Union. Initiated by Francis Hunger, artists from 24 cities such as Riga, London and Los Angeles decided to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this occasion self organized in October 2007 as the “International Sputnik Day”.

Among the various events that took place were a lecture at the Aerospace Museum Toronto, private parties in Seattle, a web stream from Riga, a radio broadcast from Frankfurt/Main and an Internet opera in Ljubljana.

Francis Hunger accompanied this process with the publication of six issues of a single page fanzine called “Sputnik Gazette”. The magazine includes interviews with Dragan Dzivadinov (NSK), Lisa Parks (University of Santa Barbara), Marko Peljhan (Makrolab) and related articles. All six issues distributed free of charge at over 40 locations worldwide in 2007 are available at the gallery.

Hunger’s individual contribution to the “International Sputnik Day” is comprised of three posters – “Sputnik Manifesto”, “Technology & Progress”, and “International Sputnik Day”.
In addition to these works presented at the gallery there will be “Sputnik Song”, a techno track, composed by the artist, as well as a 4-meter pencil drawing of the track.

On first sight, Hunger’s project seems rather benign and harmless. Only after closer investigation it becomes obvious that the artist’s standpoint is clearly sarcastic with a socio-critical focus. In the “Sputnik Manifesto” it reads for example: „We, the multitudes of the world, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the heroic Sputnik launch as the advent of globalization!”

Francis Hunger comments on his project as follows: „My declaration of openness - the ‘International Sputnik Day’ is supposedly open to everyone’s participation – turns out to be quite cynical. In the end, the principle of participation celebrated by the ‘International Sputnik Day’, a significant concept of the Internet age, serves mostly myself. I am the beneficiary, as I am the one who collects the symbolic capital.

According to Hunger, it is precisely the Sputnik that heralds the Internet age. It resembled the first global ‘radio transmitter’, initiated global satellite navigation, and served as a catalyst for the aerospace industry of both the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as for the concurrent advancement of computer science.