Oliver Ressler (Knittelfeld, 1970), artist and filmmaker, lives and works in Vienna. Since 1995, he has exhibited in museums and art institutions all-overs the world, in ar/ge kunst (IT), Berkeley Art Museum (US), Museum of Contemporary Art of Belgrade (SCG) and he has taken part in many biennials such as in Prague, Moscow and Taipei.
His artistic practice is characterised by a complex and political use of video, from films applying different documentary formats to multi-channel video installations. His artistic methodology is based on an in-depth sociological analysis of the new challenges triggered by neoliberalism and on a clear final result. Several works focus on the contestation of the new economical and anthropological forms allowed by neoliberalism.
In his text Protesting capitalist globalization on video (2002), Ressler describes the use of video as a mediated and peculiar artistic choice, in order to criticize capitalism in the most straight, clear and practical way; the choice of using the video, the peculiar shots, as the distinct political ideology expressed, represent an antithesis to the way information is offered by the media and, at the same time, a critic to the presumed neutrality of the mainstream media system. In his works a strong vocation to internationalism and collective participation is clearly evident; this is also underlined by the fact that in many of his projects he collaborates with artists and social scientists, among them Dario Azzellini, David Thorne, Martin Krenn and Zanny Begg.
Among his most crucial works about the activism-participation-contestation, there is Disobbedienti (2002), one of the first works about the connection between demonstrations, activism and repression, focused on the Genoa G8; in the same year he wins the first prize of the International Media Art Award at the ZKM of Karlsruhe with the video This is what democracy looks like!, a video which discusses the demonstrations against the World Economic Forum in Salzburg in 2002. Its title picks up a central slogan being used in demonstration all over the world. One of his most complex and well-structured projects is Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies (2003-2008), a widespread project based on concepts and theoretical models for alternatives to capitalism; it adapted an exhibition according to the place where it had been showed, starting from Ljubljana in 2003 to The Hague in 2007, passing through Berlin, Taipei, Graz, Sao Paulo and many other cities. The show highlighted different modes and approaches, which shared a rejection of the capitalist system of rule (here more info about the show).
In the framework of his solo-exhibition Everything under control at the ar/ge kunst in Bolzano films relating to the economic crisis were included, namely Occupy, Resist, Produce (2014-2015) – which show the occupation and worker-controlled production at some Italian and Greek factories – The Visible and the Invisible (2014) and The Right of Passage (2013), based on the circulation of people and goods in the late capitalism; the exhibition was curated by Emanuele Guidi (more info about the show and the curator can be seen here).
In 2012 Ressler co-curated the exhibition It’s the Political Economy, Stupid! with Gregory Sholette, an US-American artist and writer. It was presented as a cycle of exhibitions, with the first of altogether nine exhibitions taking place at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. The book accompanying the show included essays by philosophers, critics and curators such as Slavoj Zizek, John Roberts, Brian Holmes, Judith Butler, David Graeber and others.
During the exhibition Piigs_an Alternative Geography of Curating, Oliver Ressler will discuss with Emanuele Guidi the exhibition Everything under control and its implication regarding the main theme of the panel about dominant narrations during crisis