Energy Room

On the third floor of the Awareness Muscle Training Center in Museum Villa Stuck, is a circular room filled with flatscreens of varying sizes, all displaying an abundance of action. This is what makes up the “Energy Room”, the part of Geoffroy’s exhibition dedicated to showcasing the largest selection of Critical Run’s presented in the same place. 

The Critical Run, one of Geoffroy’s earliest and most widespread art formats, consists of Geoffroy running and debating with participants, usually people he has engaged with through the activating of another art format, on topics of importance and controversy. These are often recorded by the artist; some have also taken place without the artist present and were then sent to him after the run finished. In the Energy Room, a space 13dm across and 4m high, which has been specifically redesigned into a beautifully round, white-walled and slightly darkened room, there are forty Critical Runs playing simultaneously. Though shown without sound, the dialogue is made staggeringly loud through the use of fluoro subtitles, emboldening the sentiments captured in the videos while softening any overwhelming effect the televisions could have. One needs only to follow a few of them before an underlying tone is detected; the message seen within these videos can be seen to pull together the scope of the Awareness Muscle Training Center at its core. Though participants are all from different cultures, countries and belong to various age groups; these aspects sink into the background when their views come to the forefront. The beauty of the critical run is that anyone can be involved, and this is evidenced in the energy room. 

The screen sizes of the televisions vary greatly. The larger size serves to concentrate attention to debates that can be seen as fierier, yet the smaller screens do not lack any dominance and can be a more subtle way of presenting a running discourse. One thing they all have in common is the effort radiating from the participants and the artist; effort in both the physical form from the building up of heat and sweat caused by the exertion of running, and the mental effort of expressing critical opinions that are true to themselves. The accumulation of effort seen in the Energy Room helps highlight the purposes of the rooms around it. It creates a reference point for the exhibition’s visitors for the adjunction of exercise and opinions they personally experienced in the training room themselves, and links them to the strategy room by informing them on the critical run concept, possibly motivating them to engage in one themselves. 

Such topics seen on display include freedom of speech, xenophobia and the delegation of critical thought. The debate locations have incredible cultural differences in their range; compiled in the energy room, a debate that occurred in New York hangs opposite one organized in Cairo, places of immeasurable distance only divided by a few feet of gallery space. Visitors are able to access debates activated all over the world, over more than a decade, with just a simple turn around the room. All in the same place, the gravity of these debates can be asserted as a concentrated, unifying effort, taking the visitors on a journey of Geoffroy’s critical run oeuvre. 

Text by Elena Hansen


see some of the Critical Run films here