With the fictional personas Young Business Woman Without A Business and Sick Person, Francis Kussatz and Xiaofu Wang question the definitions of functionality and productivity, thereby inviting us to deconstruct them within our own thinking. Both figures are creations that have previously appeared in primarily videos and photos on social media. In the showcases of the Kunstverein, they are now given a physical stage on which the two characters enter into a dialogue with themselves and those passing by on the platform. As character tropes, Kussatz's personas are emblematic of Generation Y's social dilemma; between striving for authenticity and over-adaptation.
“Don’t assume anything about anyone.”, says the Young Business Woman Without A Business in one of her videos. In spite of this, or particularly because of this, the following question arises: Who are these characters, who have taken the path from the TikTok-World (#diaryofasickperson) to the outside?
The Young Business Woman… is unemployed and posts coachings on Instagram. Upon first glance, she appears to be a failed existence who is trying to capitalize on her failure. Slightly tense, she presents her situation to the outside world, supposedly to polish up her self-esteem. In fact, however, she resists the impression of being unemployed and thus useless. The Young Business Woman... is not a "victim" of the labor market. She understands her non-participation in the capitalist system as a necessity for this very system. The social view of her (non)-action is the frame of reference for her activism. The Young Business Woman... manifests a world without business and exploitation. She knows that this means that there can be no more business.
Opposite to her is the Sick Person, whose course of illness is shared in the form of an online diary. In their videos, they never speak themselves, but an off-voice narrates about they: “The only thing that irritates is the sick person - every person passing by, triggers an uncomfortable desolate feeling - it is as if the sick person is carrying the discomfort of others.” The Sick Person represents and mirrors human frailty. They are a symbol of inadequacy and finitude. It creates discomfort and reflects fears of inefficiency and loss of control.
Both characters move in similar spaces and are stuck in their respective never-ending loops. They create a personal connection with the audience by depicting familiar moments of illness and doubt, crisis and exhaustion.
The Sick Person and the Young Business Woman... seek to re-address the fear of one's own failure and transform it into skepticism directed at a system that views people as replaceable elements of a circuit of commodification.
More information on the exhibition series