Zoe Dewitt: IDEOLOGY (2015)

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Exhibition catalogue, Mandelkern Project, Vienna 2016.
Signed and numbered, limited edition of 100 copies.

Ideologies are collections of ideas and beliefs held by an individual, a group or a society. Their function is usually to strengthen the social coherence, often based on the claim that they represent a kind of ‘true’ vision or world-view. Ideologies may appear as political ideologies imposed by governments on society, as implicit ideologies that are connected with social and economic systems (as capitalism in free market economy), as state-supportive religions or as specific world views shared by subcultural groups. In one of his lectures the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek illustrated his assertion that ideologies are present even in the most intimate spheres of everyday life by the following example: “Friends from Vienna told me that in avantgarde student circles the pubic haircut was strictly codified. There is the triangle, the New Age hippie way, where everything grows profusely, the yuppie way, where only a small strip may be visible, and the punk style with pubic hair clean-shaven and rings hanging in the clitoris etc.” This statement was directed against Jean-Francois Lyotard and all those who proclaim the end of ideology as a characteristic trait of our postmodern times. But is Slavoj Žižek right, is there really a significant relation between the pubic hairstyle of individuals and the social or subcultural group they belong to? As a Vienna based artist and philosopher I decided to empirically reassess Žižek’s argument by an artistic research and exhibition project. In order to realize the project I asked a number of individuals if they would be willing to let me take a photo of their pelvis zone and answer a question form regarding subcultural groups and political camps they feel close to or have been influenced by. The photos and the personal data were combined in the works shown in this catalogue and the exhibition which took place at Mandelkern Project, Vienna, in December 2016.

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