Daily Archives: September 9, 2010

1st Ural Industrial Biennial: Shockworkers of the Mobile Image (Ekaterinburg)

1st Ural Industrial Biennial

Collage by the employees of Ural Worker Printing Press, 1990s
Photo: Andrei Luft

1st Ural Industrial Biennial
Shockworkers of the Mobile Image
9 September – 10 October 2010

Opening days:
8-12 September 2010

Ekaterinburg, Russia

Curators: Cosmin Costinas, Ekaterina Degot, David Riff

The National Center for Contemporary Art (NCCA) and the Sverdlovsk Region Governor’s Office are pleased to announce the opening of the 1st Ural Industrial Biennial. The biennial will take place in the Ural Workers Printing Press (the main project) and in four large industrial plants (the special projects) in the city of Ekaterinburg. The Ural Industrial Biennial is a format initiated and developed by the director of the National Center for Contemporary Art, Ekaterinburg branch, Alisa Prudnikova.

Ekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk, is the capital of the Soviet Union’s industrial heartland, the Ural. When the USSR collapsed, the city’s many heavy industries fell prey to economic malaise. But today, Ekaterinburg has become one of the hubs of Russia’s resource economy, a site of accumulation following an era of shock privatization, a place where people dream with BRICs and awaken to the harsh realities of economic crisis. How should we understand all this new investor architecture, empty as of yet, all these new service industries, all that new imaginary “symbolic capital” produced by “creative professionals” and their underlings? What role does and can contemporary art play in such a place, when it comes to the half-operational spaces of Soviet industry? Can it be more than a shot in the dark, a fastmoving consumer commodity, a medium for gentrification, a plaything of the superrich? Can it be more than a reproduction?

The biennial’s title is “Shockworkers of the Mobile Image,” and its main venue is the Ural Worker Printing Press, a constructivist building in the center of Ekaterinburg. Built in 1929-1930, this space prompts a dialogue with the most contradictory period of Soviet history, when the party sent shock brigades to build heavy industries in the middle of nowhere. Their superproductive labor was supposedly voluntary, heroic, based on enthusiasm and affect, but overseen by a growing security apparatus. Foreign experts and internationalists participated, reproducing and implanting mobile images of Fordist modernity. Their engagement was genuine, but remained blind to the harsh reality of intensifying exploitation. In many ways, Russia’s transition to global post-Fordist capitalism is no less drastic, and today’s global artists, filmmakers, and architects are shockworkers, too, and internationalists, no doubt, capable of an affective solidarity much like that of the pre-fascist 1930s. They come to distant cities, working nights to build temporary factories on the sites abandoned by industry, factories that reproduce images, affects, and social relations, factories where free time takes on form and becomes a commodity. In Ekaterinburg, this temporary factory taps into a vast reservoir of amateur creativity, harkening back to an age when it seemed like all the shockwork was over… We want to ask: who is really the worker in this new factory? The artist? The curator? The audience? What happens when these workers leave? And what happens when they return?

Curated by Cosmin Costinas (Amsterdam/Utrecht), Ekaterina Degot (Moscow), and David Riff (Moscow/Berlin), “Shockworkers of the Mobile Image” draws together the work of more than 40 artists and filmmakers in a dense curatorial narrative.The exhibition consists almost entirely of copies, reproductions, rips, reconstituted objects and long-distance works, including contributions by: Yuri Albert, Tarsila do Amaral, Pablo Baen Santos, Yael Bartana, Bela Balazs Studio, Guy Ben-Ner, Blue Noses, Christian von Börries, Serguej Bratkov, Alex Buldakov, Cao Fei, Olga Chernysheva, Chto Delat, Evgenia Demina, Jimmie Durham, Harun Farocki, Daniel Faust, M.M. Fontenelle, Joris Ivens, Christian Jankowsky, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Nikita Kadan & Alexander Burlaka, Kolumne Links, Naroa Lizar, Roman Minin, Andrei Monastyrski, Rabih Mroue, Ciprian Muresan, Deimantas Narkevicius, Amshei Nuerenberg, Johannes Paul Raether, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Andreas Siekmann & Alice Creisher & Max Jorge Hinderer, Sean Snyder, Praneet Soi, Hito Steyerl, Mladen Stilinovic, Taller E.P.S. Huayco, Avdey Ter-Oganyan, David Ter-Oganyan, Florin Tudor & Mona Vatamanu, V.M.Volovich, Lin Yilin, Vadim Zakharov, among others.

The exhibition at the biennial’s main venue is accompanied by a program of special projects, curated by Alisa Prudnikova. It inhabits the operational or defunct premises of some of Ekaterinburg’s largest industrial plants. Artists from Ekaterinburg and elsewhere in Russia and from abroad will turn these production sites into a heterogeneous territory for experiments in the industrial environment. Factory spaces themselves become objects of artistic production that pursues a diversity of aims, be they critical, poetic, or social. The special projects program features contributions by artists from Russia, Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Mexico, the USA, France, Finland, and Sweden.

The biennial’s opening will be accompanied by an international symposium dedicated to discussing the industrial past and the post-industrial present.

On the occasion of the opening, the biennial will publish a catalogue in two volumes, one of them dedicated to the main venue, the other to the special projects program. Contributors include Oleg Aronson, Keti Chukhrov, Boris Groys, Hu Fang, Ben Seymour and Hito Steyerl.

Biennial venues:
Main venue: Ural Worker Printing Press (House of Print)
Special projects: Verkh Iset’ Metallurgical Factory, VIZ-Stal’, Ural Heavy Machines Plant, old Uralmash House of Culture, Colored Metals Factory (historical building), Sverdlovsk Worsted Factory

Commissar: Alisa Prudnikova
Intiator: National Center for Contemporary Art (NCCA)
Co-Initiators: Governor’s Office of the Sverdlovsk Region, the Sverdlovsk Regional Government with the official support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
Organizer: National Center for Contemporary Art, Ekaterinburg branch
Co-organizers: City Administration of Ekaterinburg, “New Art” Regional Public Foundation in Support of Contemporary Art

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No One Is Illegal: Support the Dale Farm Travelers!

What a bloody wretched world we live in. Apparently, for lack of a better plan and in hopes of rallying the “natives” to the neoliberal self-destruction programme (or, rather, distracting them from it), so-called western governments have begun moving in flashy fashion against various “illegals,” from the Roma in Europe to Mexicans and other Hispanics in the US.

Here is yet another dispatch from that ongoing war. Thanks, as always, to the Reclaiming Spaces mailing list for bringing this to our attention.

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http://dalefarm.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/102/

Traveler sites across Europe are facing eviction from their homes in a wave of mounting intolerance against traveler communities.

Traveler sites across Europe are facing eviction from their homes in a wave of mounting intolerance against traveler communities.

On Tuesday 7th September, the eviction of seven traveler families began at the Hovefields site in Essex. At 8 in the morning bailiffs Constant & Co, accompanied by police, arrived at the site and began telling families to leave their homes. The bailiffs occupied a pitch at the site, which they made a base for their operations, and then proceeded to bring in diggers to smash plots of ground, preventing later re-entry.

Many individuals attended the eviction as legal observers and monitors of human rights and health and safety. They documented the eviction, and identified numerous breaches of international human rights law, including the failure to provide alternative housing, the disruption to children’s education, and the failure to keep heavy machinery within the safety perimeter. There were no authorized government representatives present and bailiffs and police refused to facilitate legal observers’ access to the site. When these issues were brought up with the police overseeing the eviction process, they refused to respond, maintaining that they were there to prevent breaches of the peace by those resisting eviction, no matter the legality of the operation itself.

Two supporters were arrested early in the day, and a seventy-two year old man, John Lee, had his nose fractured after his face was smashed into his caravan before legal observers arrived.

At the end of the day, one pitch had been bulldozed, and three families had left the site. The other four families whose pitches are being evicted stayed, though the bailiffs had already cut off access to electricity and water for the majority of the site. The families who left the Hovefields site went to a nearby unoccupied site that had previously been earmarked by the national government as a potential resettlement area; but this move was refused by Basildon Council, eager to chase the traveler community out of Essex. Police arrived at 9 this morning with a 3 hour ultimatum for the families to move on. The eviction is likely to be ongoing through this week – people interested in coming up to provide human rights monitoring and support should contact savedalefarm[at]gmail.com.

The Hovefields site eviction is taking place in the run-up to the planned eviction of the Dale Farm traveller site, very close to Hovefields. Bailiffs Constant & Co., whose conduct is the subject of serious complaints relating to brutality and human rights breaches, were recently granted a £2 million contract by Basildon District Council to evict Dale Farm. Dale Farm is the largest traveller site in England, and is home to roughly one thousand people. The eviction, pushed through by the Conservative-controlled Council, is being monitored by the United Nations Advisory Group on Forced Evictions and the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Like the Hovefields families, the Dale Farm community is facing intolerance, racism and brutal evictions, and it is vital that people come forward to provide support in the run-up to the planned eviction.

It is essential that people mobilize to support the Dale Farm community in the coming weeks. Check out http://dalefarm.wordpress.com for information about human rights monitoring, local groups, and getting involved in the campaign to save Dale Farm. The Dale Farm Support network urges people across the UK to form groups and arrange transportation for coming up to Dale Farm when the eviction commences. Supporters will be notified of the eviction via a text message service – sign up at: https://smsalerts.tachanka.org/dalefarm.

Website: http://dalefarm.wordpress.com
Facebook Group:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=124229427082


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