In today’s world, desperation is an economic force. Entire populations uproot and flee in the direction of the faintest glimmer of hope, only to find themselves in the worst of predicaments: abandoned and deported, sold, abused, or stigmatized forever, they end up circulating as extremely cheap and disposable commodities. It is this economics of despair that Ines Doujak offers a glimpse of in her contribution to steirischer herbst, revealing both its staggering statistics and its historical dimensions. Her baroque collages show children with skin diseases drawn from 19th-century medical textbooks in gory detail. Their spoiled beauty is near-impossible to look at, and thus all the more hypnotic. These images are accompanied by a research-poem comprised of numbers and prices quantifying the massive extent and outrageous economics of how children of all ages are drawn into human trafficking, the organ trade, prostitution, and slavery, and how church and state add to the misery with mass sterilization and forced adoption programs, closing borders at exorbitant costs and abandoning minors on the other side to meet their fate, only to revel at times in the shocking images of the victims, prepped and amplified for our consumption.
Economies of Desperation (2018)
Ines Doujak (1959, Klagenfurt) is an artist whose installations, photography, collages, and texts investigate gender stereotypes and neocolonial exploitation against the backdrop of a complex world economy. She lives in Vienna.