Rebecca Wilton

Anna Ehrenstein: Tools for Conviviality

C/O Berlin, 27. 3. – 2. 9. 2021

Upon entering the current installation at C/O Berlin by the artist Anna Ehrenstein, visitors first stumble across stand-ups spread throughout the lobby-like hall, photos that are printed on vaulted transparent plexiglass panels. Presented are portraits of young people in the style of fashion shots, as well as photos of bitcoins, digital tools, and icons of economically successful brands from the West, like Mercedes, Nokia, Apple, et cetera—all in flashy colors and photoshopped to the max. With the help of the video installation that follows, along with a lot of information offered by the accompanying catalogue, the broader context of Ehrenstein’s Tools for Conviviality and the genesis of those images starts to open up. In 2018, the artist discovered the local creative scene of Dakar, Senegal, when visiting the city’s biennial Dak’Art and decided to come back for the purpose of an art project.

Over the course of three years, she developed her project on a mutually beneficial collective base: social networks helped her to get in touch with people and to share images and thoughts. Several photo shoots took place, and her collaborators in Dakar used the images created in this context for their purposes too, particularly for their products and advertising. Excerpts from Ehrenstein’s journeys to Dakar are recorded on a 360-degree video and shown, collaged with video chat windows, citations, and portrait images, in a 180-degree installation. Visitors follow the group to the market, on a boat trip, to a fashion shoot, strolling through the city, or just hanging out, discussing, acoustically accompanied by the song “It’s a Fine Day” by Opus III.




Find the complete review in Camera Austria International no. 154 | 2020, p. 75