Tag Archives: Arab Spring

The Museum of Non Participation: The New Deal (Minneapolis)

april11_walkerartcenter_img

Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, “Act 00136,” 2009. Neon sign, 31-1/2 x 51-3/16 inches.
Courtesy waterside contemporary, London and Galeri NON, Istanbul.



Karen Mirza and Brad Butler
The Museum of Non Participation: The New Deal
April 18–July 14, 2013

Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
T +1 612 375 7600

www.walkerart.org

The Walker Art Center presents The Museum of Non Participation: The New Deal from April 18 through July 14, 2013, the first U.S. presentation of an ongoing project by London-based artists Karen Mirza and Brad Butler that has traveled to Canada, Egypt, Pakistan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

In 2007, Mirza and Butler found themselves inside Islamabad’s National Gallery, watching as mass protests by the Pakistani Lawyers’ Movement—and subsequent violence from government authorities—unfolded outside. For them, this experience became a dramatic example of the challenges that artists and museums face in reconciling aesthetic practices with contemporary social realities and political conditions. In response, the duo developed The Museum of Non Participation, a roaming expansive collection of audio-visual works, workshops, presentations, and other activities.

This April, Mirza and Butler transform the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery into a multilayered installation and evolving social space that situates “non participation” at the crux of the shifting allegiances, contracts, and “new deals” between nation states and their citizens. A selection of film and video works drawn from the fictional museum’s collection highlights the precarious nature of these relationships as witnessed through significant global events. Hold Your Ground (2012) intersperses documentary footage of demonstrations during the Arab Spring and Occupy London, amongst others, with the choreographed actions of a performer who both attempts to teach and struggles to speak. Direct Speech Acts, Act 00157 (2011) offers overlapping testimonies or “speech acts” from an actor, artist, and writer to reflect on the relationships between political speech and action. In The Exception and the Rule (2009), portraits of daily lives and public spaces in contemporary India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom reveal the continued entanglements of Empire.

Mirza and Butler debut two new works, the wall-based installation The New Deal and the opening-night performance, The Exception and the Rule. The former draws on the Walker’s history and collection to construct tensions between policies of the New Deal era and the United States’ role in envisioning the governing structures of Iraq during the ongoing occupation. The latter engages members of the Twin Cities community to interpret Bertolt Brecht’s 1929 tale of corruption, exploitation and injustice—drawing compelling parallels to today’s culture.

A series of short commissioned texts by Minneapolis-based and international contributors, published on the Walker’s website through the exhibition’s run, offer different constructions, interpretations, and definitions of non participation.

The Museum of Non Participation: The New Deal is curated by Yesomi Umolu, with Susannah Bielak of the Walker Art Center.

About the artists

Karen Mirza and Brad Butler have worked together since 1998 with earlier works emerging from their interest in seminal avant-garde film. In 2004, they formed no.w.here, an artist-run organization that combines film production and critical dialogue on contemporary image making. The Museum of Non Participation was an Artangel project in 2009 and featured in The Museum Show at the Arnolfini, Bristol in 2011. Mirza and Butler’s work was recently shown at the Serpentine Gallery (London), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Kunstverein Medienturm (Graz), as well as in Transport for London’s Art on the Underground program. They were nominees for the 2012 Jarman Award. Mirza and Butler’s political alignment directly informs not only the content of their work but their collective approach to production.
www.museumofnonparticipation.org

Acknowledgements

The exhibition is made possible by generous support from Robert and Rebecca Pohlad.

Leave a comment

Filed under art exhibitions, contemporary art, protests

Occupy Everything (St. Lambrecht, Austria)

Occupy Everything
An exhibition organized by Oliver Ressler
for REGIONALE12 in St. Lambrecht, Austria, June 23–July 22, 2012

The financial and economic crisis intensified the related redistribution from the bottom up, this brought forth new protest movements in 2011: the Arab Spring, the movement of the squares in Spain and Greece, and the Occupy movement starting from the USA. Although these movements do not directly communicate with each other, they do have something in common: they are regionally active, non-hierarchical movements that reject representation and use direct democracy to make decisions. Occupying central public places serves as a catalyst to form and develop political projects and working groups. Successful occupations in one place can often inspire occupations in other cities.

The movements of the squares generally do not focus on particular grievances, but organize against the general way in which society and economy are controlled against the wishes and desires of the 99 percent.

The exhibition Occupy Everything in the pavilion at St. Lambrecht brings together projects that come directly from the square movements or deal directly with them.

The filmmaker Stefano Savona focused his film Tahrir, Liberation Square (F/I/Egypt, 2011) on the uprisings in Cairo, which ended with the resignation of the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. Savona systematically took the perspective of the insurgents at Tahrir, which he followed for several days without the camera’s view leaving the square even once. He makes tangible the conditions of a very specific time and place in the struggle that took place in Tahrir, which has since become synonymous with the possibility of successfully changing a social reality from below.

The New York artists collective Not An Alternative develops works to be used directly for occupations, demonstrations and other activities of Occupy Wall Street. They developed tactical and symbolic infrastructure that include eviction defense shields, multipurpose tents (“mili-tents”) and the yellow and black tape with “Occupy” lettering spread throughout New York. The works show the importance of practical artworks in the struggles for social change.

A central element in the pavilion is a 10-meter-long wall covered from floor to ceiling with 52 posters of the Occupy movement collected by Occuprint. The posters from around the globe have served to mobilize and disseminate political opinions; they express the amazing multiplicity of the movement. The posters come from activists, political groups and artists (including Paul Chan, Dread Scott, Noel Douglas).

The wall of posters has an opening that leads into the projection space of the 3-channel video installation Take The Square (2012) by Oliver Ressler. Three video projections show films of discussions that Ressler initiated with activists from 15M in Madrid, the Syntagma Square movement in Athens and Occupy Wall Street in New York. The video installation commissioned for REGIONALE12 re-enacts the working groups of the square movements; it deals with issues of organization, horizontal decision-making processes in the assemblies and the meaning and function of occupation of public spaces.

Leave a comment

Filed under activism, art exhibitions, international affairs, protests, urban movements (right to the city)

Everything Falls Apart (Sydney)

Artspace, Sydney

june12_artspace_imf.jpg
Tony Garifalakis, “Anti Christs” (detail), 2012.
C-type print. Courtesy of the artist.

Everything Falls Apart
Part I: 
27 June–5 August 2012
Opening: Wednesday, 27 June, 6pm

Part II: 
10 August–16 September 2012
Opening: Thursday, 9 August, 6pm

Artspace, Sydney
43–51 Cowper Wharf Road
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Sydney, Australia
Hours: Office 10–6pm, Mon–Fri
Gallery 11–5pm, Tues–Sun

T +61 2 9356 0555
artspace@artspace.org.au
www.artspace.org.au

Part I: Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck in collaboration with Media Farzin, Jem Cohen, Phil Collins, Sarah Goffman, and Sarah Morris
Part II: Vernon Ah Kee, Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler, Jem Cohen, Tony Garifalakis, and Merata Mita
Curators:
Mark Feary and Blair French

Everything Falls Apart brings together several significant works by international and Australian artists presented over two exhibitions. Overall, the project focuses on works examining the collapse of ideological and political systems—actual, imagined, desired—be this via specific events or through broader consideration of the dissolution of or confrontation with capitalist, colonial, or totalitarian regimes. The works often draw on existing footage, personal recollection, and reconstitution. They form around relationships between the individual and the mass, felt or articulated through interwoven conversation, testimony, and narrative.

Part I clusters works that act as reflective analysis in and of the aftermath of system disintegration, including ecological and cultural belief systems. Part II homes in on the moments and territories of conflict—the abrasive meeting of institutionalised power and its counter-energies and structures. With an emphasis upon video work, woven together by new installation interventions, common threads connecting these distinct works become apparent: failings of the state, crumbling ideologies, dissolving authoritative measures of control, the generative energies and collective impulses of anti-institutional collective cultural and social identity, the failings of history as both efficacious event narrative and discursive form, the individual as both the subject of and counterforce to the dominance of the mass.

Everything Falls Apart will be presented at Artspace in the organisation’s twentieth year in the Gunnery building fronting Sydney Harbour in Wolloomooloo. The exhibition series forges connections between the work of major international artists such as Phil Collins, Sarah Morris, and Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck (in collaboration with Media Farzin) and projects by Australia-based Vernon Ah Kee, Zanny Begg, Tony Garifalakis, and Sarah Goffman. The two parts of the project are linked by a number of film works by American filmmaker Jem Cohen, with Part I of Everything Falls Apart featuring Cohen’s Gravity Hill Newsreel series, and Part II presenting the film Little Flags (1991–2000). Everything Falls Apart will also feature three screenings of late New Zealand filmmaker Merata Mita’s Patu! (1983).

Symposium
In association with the exhibition, Artspace and the National Institute for Experimental Arts, University of New South Wales will present a one-day symposium, Another World, on 17 August 2012. Another World will ask how twenty-first-century global crises—whether financial, environmental, social, or political—have transformed the context of art practice and analysis. In the face of the Occupy movements, the Arab Spring, climate change, and environmental disaster, what new aesthetic tactics and strategies are emerging? How do new ways of operating challenge existing modes of representation, exhibition-making, and theoretical analysis? Do we need to rethink our disciplinary practices in response to the demands of the momentous events that shape contemporaneity or the new everyday? Participants will include Jill Bennett (National Institute for Experimental Art, UNSW), Blair French (Artspace), Nicholas Mirzoeff (New York University), Kim Simon (Gallery TPW, Toronto), and Terry Smith (University of Pittsburgh).

Artspace is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State, and Territory Governments. Artspace is assisted by the New South Wales Government through Arts NSW and by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its principal arts funding body. Artspace is a member of CAOs (Contemporary Art Organisations Australia) and Res Artis (International Association of Residential Art Centres).

june12_artspace_logo.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under art exhibitions, contemporary art