DIS | A Good Crisis

November 2018 - November 2019

The Baltimore Museum of Art

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DIS, with contributors Hannah Black, boychild, Culturesport, Christopher Glazek, Matt Goerzen and Ed Fornieles, Whitney Mallett, Sean Monahan, Andrea Shaw Nevins, Babak Radboy, Moritz Schularick, Spooky Bauhaus, McKenzie Wark, and Drew Zeiba

 

New York-based collective DIS creates work across a wide range of formats, forecasting and responding to cultural, economic, and aesthetic trends. Composed of Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, Marco Roso, and David Toro, DIS was founded in 2010 as a subversive online magazine that in early 2018 transitioned into dis.art (http://dis.art), a video-streaming “edutainment” platform that the artists envision as the future of learning. dis.art stands out starkly in a media landscape muddled by pundits, fake news, sound bites, and alternative facts. Described by the artists as “PBS for Gen Z,” the site presents complex, rigorously researched subjects within scenarios informed by DIS’s irreverent take on popular culture.

 

In A Good Crisis, a year-long exhibition at The Baltimore Museum of Art, DIS debuts a newly-commissioned season of videos in immersive environments. Contemplating the future of money, income inequality, and the uncertain economic prospects of Millennials in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the artists frame the exhibition with this question: “As our homes, property and, increasingly, our bodies are offered up as collateral to the tyranny of financialization, it’s necessary to ask: how did we get here?”


DIS’s project takes inspiration in part from the satirical, Spanish children’s television show La Bola de Cristal (The Crystal Ball). Airing from 1984 to 1988, the show’s countercultural puppets shared Marxist fables with a generation of young viewers. Excerpts from the program are featured alongside the new videos created in collaboration with a diverse, international coalition of artists and scholars who explore topics ranging from “trolling” tactics to universal basic income. In juxtaposing this compelling array of imagery and ideas, DIS seeks to unmask the tangled networks of power that both influence and threaten the current state of contemporary media, liberal democracy, and efforts to achieve economic equality.  

To facilitate audience comprehension of the specialized vocabulary used throughout the videos in the exhibition, I created a glossary which visitors could reference in-gallery, and later take with them, with definitions of these economic, political, and sociological terms. The glossary took the form of a single-fold pamphlet printed in-house. The PDF of that pamphlet is available for preview here: DIS Glossary

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@2020 by Claudia Mattos