Curatorial Project @ Trinity Square Video, June 2015


Is this a good idea? That's always the question. We come up with ideas – and then try to determine whether those ideas are reasonable, valuable, good – but what makes a good idea and what makes a bad idea? And how might a good idea become a bad one? A Good Idea Will Turn into a Bad One comprises two videos, both of which address these questions through the consideration of systemic shifts.

In Corinna Schnitt's Once Upon a Time (2005), various animals are let loose in a domestic space. They begin to occupy a house in a seemingly democratic coexistence, until a hierarchy becomes visible: some animals are more advantaged than others, and each relies on its natural abilities (we might recall George Orwell's line “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”). Schnitt playfully engages with the notion of freedom, perhaps suggesting that freedom itself can instigate a shift away from utopia.

A Short History of Water (1989) by Gary Kibbins proposes that money be replaced with water as a new medium of exchange. In the context of this proposition, water serves as a metaphor for all things good (connection, freedom, democracy) since it supposedly belongs to everyone. But what are the implications of this hypothetical shift? Kibbins' video emphasizes the status of water as a twofold good, with both intrinsic and instrumental value. The work reflects on the line between (life-sustaining) consumption and (capitalist) consumption, and how the latter can transform the former.

Once Upon a Time and A Short History of Water challenge the conception that a good idea will always be good. They call attention to the capacity of a good idea to become a bad one, and provoke a contemplation of the very possibility of a universal good. Both works are open-ended, perhaps because – when it comes to the future of our ideas – we can only speculate.

Gary Kibbins is a media artist and writer currently living in Kingston, Canada. He previously taught at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, and is now the Department Head for Queen's Film and Media.

Corinna Schnitt: Geboren in Duisburg, lebt und arbeitet in Braunschweig. Von 1986 bis 1989 Ausbildung zur Schnitzerin (Gesellenbrief) in Michelstadt, von 1989 bis 1996 Studium an der Hochschule für Gestaltung, Offenbach, sowie an der Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1995 Meisterschülerin). Seit 2009 Professorin für Film/Video an der Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Braunschweig