This text was written by the writer Luise Meier in September 2018, commissioned by HAU Hebbel am Ufer to go along with the film and poster campaign “KEEP IT REAL”, which accompanies the new five-year cycle of the directorship of Annemie Vanackere and her team at HAU from summer 2017.
KEEP IT REAL! At first glance, this is a pretty conservative appeal. In times of fake news, TV star politics and anonymous online agitation the call to “keep it real!” seems like a yearning to take a step back – to move away from the screens and become an authentic self again – and to engage in actual acts amidst the real world. Then there is the cozy word “keep.” It does not call for anything new but for the preservation of the status quo. But an interpretation as accommodating as this one cannot hold up, since the slogan is inextricably linked to the avatars, cut into each other in the video clip and glued together on the wall. They are the ones claiming realness for themselves.
KEEP IT REAL! For a long time, the slogan was aimed at imposters and posers, those embarrassed by their origins, deficits, weaknesses, by their otherness and impotence – pretending, performing and hiding behind empty masks. Now, due to its avatarian kinship, the phrase takes on new meanings. The gaze no longer originates in real life and looks at the screen. Suddenly another gaze appears from behind the screen – and we are the ones caught in it.