Marge Monko

Drawing on psychoanalysis, feminism and theories of visual culture, Marge Monko uses photography, video and installation to explore historical as well as current events. Recently, her work has also investigated the discourses of romance and its implications in advertising, commercial displays and the internet. I Don’t Know You, So I Can’t Love You (2018)
is a spatial installation consisting of sound and photographs. The focal point of the display is a romantic conversation between two smart assistant devices (also known as voice assistant devices), the personalised software one can interact with using one’s voice (such as Alexa). The installation reflects on social relations in a technologically dominated world. The sculpturally organised photographs in the installation portray
a fragmented body, suggesting the disembodied, virtual experiences of internet use. As sociologist Eva Illouz noted, the internet is shaping our imagination with purely cognitive and linguistic content, whilst traditional romantic imagination was characterised by a mix of reality and imagination based on the body. In this work, Marge Monko ponders on love in the digital age – which could be characterised by the presence of voice and the absence of body – and explores the possibility of forming an emotional bond only through textual or aural interactions. Dear D (2015), on the other hand, is a video that explores contemporary ways of declaring one’s love. It was recorded entirely on a computer screen, depicting the reluctant process of writing a love letter, interrupted by browsing online and switching between tabs, windows and image files. The text includes several references, from the writings of writers such as Chris Kraus and Siri Hustvedt, to sociological research by Eva Illouz on love and the Beatles’ song Something, considered a love song to Pattie Boyd, George Harrison’s first wife.

Marge Monko