Simon Denny: The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom
Published 2013 by Verlag der Buchandlung Walther Konig, Cologne
240mm x 165mm, softcover, with colour illustrations
The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom was the first museum-scale solo exhibition in New Zealand by the New Zealand-born, Berlin-based artist Simon Denny. This was a restaging of a major installation first conceived for the Museum moderner Kunst Shiftung Ludwig Wien (mumok) in Vienna, Austria, in July 2013. Taking over all three floors of the Adam Art Gallery, Denny’s exhibition rematerialised the entire inventory of confiscated items taken by New Zealand police (acting for the FBI) during a dramatic raid on the home of German internet entrepreneur, Kim Dotcom, who, at the time faced extradition to the US for charges of copyright infringement, money laundering, and racketeering relating to his now-defunct file-sharing platform, Megaupload.
Consisting of 110 stretched canvases featuring Denny’s graphic representations, conceived in conversation with David Bennewith, of the seized goods, together with a host of objects assembled to stand in for the millionaire’s possessions, this exhibition exemplified the artist’s critical and creative responses to the contested space of the media-sphere, which has for some time been the object of his attention. Denny’s exhibition entailed a dynamic slippage between information, images, and objects. His aim was to see what happens when the logic that functions on the internet is sourced and applied to exhibition making and thus to complicate too-easy distinctions between image and function, original and copy. In focusing on Dotcom’s case, which perfectly bridges these domains, he also set out to question the nature of property, seeking to engage what he calls, “the most important legal discussions of the moment”, which concern the testy relationships between intellectual property and creative copyright, consumer products and consumers’ rights, access to information and the individual’s right to privacy.