Wien Kunst

to fly through the mouths of men

In late October 2022, I stumbled upon a collection of Chinese Joker card designs online by amateur playing card collector Matt Probert. Containing a wide range of motives, it included original motives, western inspired ones as well as cheaply reproduced counterfeits for the global market.
Exhibition view. Julian Siffert – to fly through the mouths of men

Taking this collection as a starting point, “to fly through the mouths of men” tries to read the history of copyright and intellectual property through the trickster figure of the joker. Just like to the Joker, there is a sense of blurriness and fluidity that adheres to the idea of intellectual property, a lack of groundedness in concrete materiality which allows both to shapeshift.

Looking for other points of connection between the two, I found that French author Victor Hugo wrote a book whose main character later became the template for the design of the Batman Joker and instigated the first international copyright agreement as a politician. This so called Berne Convention from 1886 and its aftermath in the TRIPS Agreement of the World Trade Organisation on the one hand and the various appearances of Joker like figures throughout history on the other hand, serve as the playground for the works of this exhibition to tackle issues of global trade, finance, AI and authorship.

Exhibition: Julian Siffert – to fly through the mouths of men

Julian Siffert –,