Martin Höfer

Artistic Statement: A Mass Media Approach

From the point of view as an artist I understand the artistic practice as well as research with artistic methods and comprehend research as an artistic and productive occupation in different strategies and mixed materials, with the aim of negotiation, reflection and critique of knowledge and knowledge mediations. The method and the object of research is the specific productivity of artistic techniques of research and strategies as research and critical reflection of this own artistic practice. It is therefore crucial to me, to reflect my own positions critically and actively participate in research. As well as consider the role of fine arts in systems theory societies5 in an internationally oriented research context. Important for the conception of this research is the assumption, that art, adjacent to the existing cultural function, can be understood as a space for social, political, media and economic conflicts, in which knowledge and truth claims will be equally negotiated. In the center of focus are mass media in various types as well as the treated contents. In this case the research project analyses aspects of mass media, such as television, radio, newspaper, magazines, billboards or internet by focusing on the context of their strategies. The artistic concept of the work is constituted by appropriating the workflow of different kinds of mass media by temporal interventions. This process also builds up a variety of autonomous works that reflect the workings of media, which are presented in the context of fine art and will be shown in several exhibitions. The fields of my interest are the mechanisms and the perception of mass media in context to their public effects. As well as, both my artistic work and my artistic research also deal with the relation of art and economy, aspects of art and media theory as well as the inclusion of matters of media communication, advertising and marketing.

Exemplary in the field of fine art for the parasitic immersion in the system of mass media, is my experimental artistic project Victory on behalf of Art (Siegen im Auftrag der Kunst). Increased discourse about economics of art, debates about ethos of artists in general and controversy about the sale of art lead to my initiative of starting an experiment of art within the mass media in early 2010. Art stepped aside from the niche of fanciers, got more popular, high priced and thereby economic consequences for the art and for artists have been caused. Therefore my experimental project Victory on behalf of Art should take a different path. It should interchange the principal from the sponsor to the artist. It should take place in a high-traffic environment and give the condition for mass media interventions. It should be placed in motorsport with TV presence. Previously it was common for a sponsor or a vehicle manufacturer to commission an artist to create an art car – so I went the opposite way with Victory on behalf of Art. Here, the artist makes his appearance even as the principal. Driver and race team are struggling in particular for victory on behalf of art. In addition to the shift of the artist as a client to the artist as the principal, there was also a shift in the presence and contemplation as a parasitic element in the mass media. A parasitic concept like Gerry Schum with the TV Gallery, Ant Farm with Media Burn or Andy Warhol with Andy Warhol‘s TV used to operate. As an example, the work complexes Embedded Artist and Embedded Media Production were used strategically to win the mechanisms of action of the media production for themselves. Just as the media strategy of embedded journalism of States at war, which manipulate the free press coverage.

In the 21st century knowledge is the central factor of renewal and reproduction. In the following sections, I will give a more detailed overview of my research in practice, the paradigmatic shift in the aesthetic discourse, participatory instructions for action by the artist as well as attention strategies through artistic interventions in mass media space by artistic implementation in contemporary competitive sports.


Martin Höfer
New York, 03/2015

5 ref. to the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann.