Video, 25:14 min, 16:9, color, sound, German and Thai with English subtitles
During the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of seemingly invisible professions entered the public eye and have come to be associated in the media with angels. Sender and Receiver responds to this wave of global revelation by giving essential workers a platform on television, testing the limits of lip service. Reaching out among his reduced daily encounters, Jankowski recorded personal accounts of the challenges that essential workers face, both in Berlin and – at the invitation of the Bangkok Art Biennale – in the Thai capital, also known as the ‘city of angels’. A supermarket employee, a carer, a bus driver, a food deliverer, a security guard and a pharmacist, among others, can each be seen infiltrating a different TV show in personal protective equipment. This danse macabre brings them into close proximity with the main protagonist, around whom they raise their gloved hands in a healing gesture, activating their statements in voiceover. Their words, however, are voiced by the collaborating news anchor, actor or presenter, who becomes the medium for an alternative message. These brief interruptions to broadcast (which in some instances aired live to audiences of millions) break the logic of the media by making space for critical and reflective input from the servants of society. The collision of two worlds, public-facing and under-valued, forces moments of uncomfortable listening but also unexpected connection, and proposes the possibility of new social narratives. The work was produced in collaboration with Fluentum Berlin and the Bangkok Art Biennale 2020, where it was shown simultaneously.