Parallel Vienna 2017 Exhibition/ Installation – Video Kulturistik

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In self-presentation, one assumes the position of wishful thinking. Displayed is what should be seen; outwardly presented fragments that fake an illusion of the supposed optimum of the self that erroneously requires a restless retouching. Since the genuine defective human being and the damaged psyche of society do not accept their own imperfection as part of the whole big picture, nervous additions and hysteric extras must be subjoined and the true self ekes out its existence behind the scenes.

“The seal of freedom: no longer be ashamed of oneself.”

– Irvin Yalom, when Nietzsche wept.

Cultural and social observations show an overall social and fatal change of values and reproaches the narcissistic society or “culture” for a prevalence of selfish values such as a general craving for self-expression, prominence and admiration. The narcissistic society is understood as a society that privileges persons with narcissistic traits or character disorders by following “narcissistic rules” and their questionable values.

When wealth and body perfection takes a higher rank than wisdom, when admiration is more admired than dignity, when success is more important than self-esteem, culture itself overstates the ‘image’ and must be regarded as narcissistic.

Bodybuilding, obsolete Kulturistik, is a power sport to achieve active body shaping.

The self-creation of a illusory perfect body flaunted through the posing – demonstrative “show-to-see” or “want to show off”. The ultimate goal of the historic muscle training Kulturistik is to win the competition of the forcedly mutated body shapes in order to satisfy the narcissist cravings.

The urge for a faultless self-presentation goes hand in hand with an efficiency-driven, artificial perfection mania that degenerates the naturally imperfect human being. In the commercialized body culture, the focus is on the excessive pursuit of the body and the display in competition. Shown is the result of hard physiological work, surreal body structures exposed through demonstrative body poses and flawless curls. The unnaturalness of the abnormal bodies is also a reflection of our megalomaniacal society, programmed for pathological performance enhancement and efficiency extremes.

Torn between latent self-hatred and longed for self-love one is obsessed by self-glorification and the usus to instrumentalize the object body and the artificially modified being to the enforcement of own interests. The individual’s personality is fragmented into fractions of the self-image and reflection outward, as well as distracted by the resonance of society – a deformation of the true self.

The individual is trapped in the restless pursuit of optimization, power and recognition in a society whose values are positioned around an ego center constructed of narcissistic traits. The natural behavior of emulating alpha animals respectively idols, orienting oneself towards their values and abilities in order to grow on them mutated into a veritable addiction to create a more perfect copy of one self and to be a constantly new, perfected ideal. Excessive self-esteem, which is subject to the ubiquitous narcissism, denies the constant struggle to achieve a supposed ideal state and to force one’s own body into enforced forms and to manipulate its function for an exaggerated and meaningless “like”. Trapped in covetousness, the egocentric individuals spend most of their time trying to at least mimic their own optimum, they are driven and frantically seeking for the next exhilaration but are accompanied by abstract failure because one must but cannot be an improved version based on the misguided society´s echo.

The society is merely a reflection that nourishes the self-glorifying ego-extreme, (self-) criticism is nothing more than a nameless response of moralising arrogance and hubris. The megalomaniacal mass follows the power of the narcissistic code of values instead of experiencing the poignantly process of self-reflection.

The incessant search for the “kick” is also the deeper cause of the ongoing crises in the financial, economic and social systems of modern societies; A society that sacrifices the natural environment for profit and power reveals that it is insensitive to human needs. Ultimately, these erroneous developments could only be remedied if ways and means were found to tackle the problem of narcissism.

The urge for a faultless self-presentation goes hand in hand with an efficiency-driven, artificial perfection mania that degenerates the naturally imperfect human being. In the commercialized body culture, the focus is on the excessive pursuit of the body and the display in competition. Shown is the result of hard physiological work, surreal body structures exposed through demonstrative body poses and flawless curls. The unnaturalness of the abnormal cultural-cultural bodies is also a reflection of our megalomaniacal society, programmed for pathological performance enhancement and efficiency extremes. The natural process of multi-faceted evolution is destroyed by artificial stereotypes and becomes the victim of the illusion of a faulty system.

Annabella Khom

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