The exhibition Anonymity is presented by Anonymous and lasts until the 26th of February. 40 photos, 40 texts, a video and music deals with the theme.
I see anonymity as closely connected to modernity and individualism. In traditional society your position and identity would be set by the family, the history and the local community. Identity as a straight-jacket or a seat-belt, depending on who you’re asking.
In modern society, the quest for identity is placed on the individual. Anonymity becomes the Janus-face of modernity: It can be an occasional luxury-haven for the rich and famous, and an escape-route for people trying to leave a troublesome past behind and build a new identity. Or it transforms into the curse of loneliness that plagues many urban dwellers that as been rooted up from their place of birth.
Also anonymity has been truly globalised. Refugees throw away their passports in order to hide their true identity an anonymity pointing to a brighter future. But many untold stories show that these peoples’ future is more like a dubious lottery. In one of the photos ” although we can’t see it” a refugee is handcuffed, crying over his destiny. I find this faceless photo particularly congenial.
These are part of the reasons I connected with Anonymous’ idea of starting his project in Kunming, China. The country pops up in the headlines of newspapers and magazines all over the world as an illustration of the benefits and challenges of globalisation. “Anonymity” will last for two years and is truly trance-continental: It will end in Berlin, Germany in 2007 after also having been exhibited in Bombay India, Dodoma Tanzania and one South-American country.
Of course, when you look closer on the photos, you’ll notice that there actually are differences between the people portrayed. This is perhaps the most hopeful message from this exhibition. An implicit denial of any attempt to wipe out our uniqueness. And somehow I hear: Anonymity is not a fixed position, only a starting point.
So what are you going to do about it?
Anders Gustafsson, Programs Director at TCG Nordica