Sectioning: My Holy Nacho

2. April 2016 to 17. April 2016

With the project My Holy Nacho Jamie Allen (CA) & Bernhard Garnicnig (AT) explore the object and the materiality of labour, order and command in the digital sphere. My Holy Nacho is a durational, transactional and transnational project that has been underway since 2014. For My Holy Nacho, a single object has been sent to different manufacturers and workshops to have various ‘processes’ applied to it. In secret, and in turn, the two collaborating artists choose each process. The work interrogates the mysterious infrastructures activated when you click the ‘submit’ or 'send' button in a browser. This is a seemingly simple act that initiates the churning of global economies—a warehouse worker in a distant country fills a box, or a machine whirs into motion in a factory somewhere, filling out the order form, procedurally responding to our online commands. There is so much power in the action of a 'click', to move people, machines, materials and minds–a mysterious performance comes into being. The ‘click’ triggers processes that combine virtual and actual action, everything outsourced, a completely remote controlled creative process. My Holy Nacho, as a final, sculptural object remains a mystery even to its creators.

The project is inspired by and named for Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy, whose Telephone Paintings (1922) inaugurated a way of exploring the affordances of miscommunication and telecommunicative action-at-a-distance. The title My Holy Nacho stems from a mis­hearing of the name Moholy­-Nagy; a mumbly mispronunciation in a Canadian accent to an Austrian not­-so­-native speaker during a conversation in a UK bar. The project’s title, like the work it names, is the result of distortions, mistranslations and slippages that occur with and through communications networks. These are examples of the deformations, distances and gaps between our ideas, languages, technical systems, processes, and markets.

After the object stuttered and stammered through the network, the resulting object was physically unveiled last year with the performance Unboxing: My Holy Nacho at Kunsthal Aarhus in March 2015. Now at Nikolaj Kunsthal the object will be ‘sectioned’, that is, sliced, in order to unravel the digital acts, deeds and misdeeds written into its layers. In this special performance Allen and Garnicnig will use a large-scale band saw to slice the object into separate sections. The slices will then be frozen in resin and exhibited at Nikolaj Kunsthal along with other project documentation.   

The exhibition opening on April 1st 2016 at 5PM will include open viewing of the sectioning process by Allen & Garnicnig and an evening lecture by archives curator Mela Dávila Freire, Director of Cultural Activities at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.


Jamie Allen is an artist and researcher. He has exhibited at the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, FACT Liverpool, Eyebeam New York and Platoon Kunsthalle Seoul. He is Senior Researcher at the Critical Media Lab, Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures in Basel.

Bernhard Garnicnig is a Vienna based artist. He is a Very Artistic Director at Palais des Beaux Arts in Vienna, a founding editor of the internet-based magazine Continent and founder of Bregenz Biennale. He has exhibited, among other places, at Culture Lab, Newcastle, ISEA, Dortmund, Lust Gallery, Vienna and Strelka, Moscow.

Mela Dávila Freire is Director of Public Activities at Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid and was formerly in charge of the Publications Department as well as Director of the Study and Documentation Centre at MACBA, Barcelona.


This Nikolaj Kunsthal presentation is held in conjunction with Kunsthal Aarhus and the online commission Order: My Holy Nacho (, a collaboration with Moritz Greiner-Petter. The My Holy Nacho project was produced by Sóley Mist Hjálmarsdóttir. 

Funded by: