Tag Archives: Factory of Found Clothes

Revolution in the Net (Helsinki)

www.kaapelingalleria.fi

8.11 – 2.12.2012
Revolution in the Net

The exhibition Revolution in the Net deals with social and political conditions in contemporary Russia, focusing on the political events surrounding the presidential election in spring 2012. It includes works by Russian artists and artist collectives: Olga Zhitlina; Factory of Found Clothes (FFC) represented by Natalya Pershina Yakimanskaya (Gluklya); and the collective Gentle Women (Nezhnue Babu, Evgenia Lapteva and Alexandra Artamonova). The exhibition is curated by St Petersburg-based curator Anna Bitkina.

The election of Vladimir Putin for a third term as president prompted profound disagreement among the politically engaged citizens of Russia. A series of actions that included huge demonstrations, protest meetings and concerts took place prior to and after the election. The demonstrations were followed by large-scale arrests (including that of Pussy Riot band members) and police raids. “Political tension is growing. The Russian Police and the Federal Security Service are building up a control net across the country that can catch anyone who wears a balaclava mask or holds up a protest slogan. Another controlling body is the Orthodox Church in Russia,” says Bitkina.

“The most immediate reactions to the current political situation continue to take place on the Internet, which is still a semi-free space where freedom of speech is less curtailed. This online revolt has created a network of people who care about the future of Russia, and has divided the country into those who are for and those who are against the Putin regime,” says Bitkina.

The exhibition artists express views on the current situation and convey the general mood of Russian society today. In her documented performance Political as Personal Olga Zhitlina tries to engage bored, lonely, apathetic Internet users in political discussion by showing them documentation of political actions recorded on her cell phone. Her other work, Week of Silence, a new online play in seven parts, deals with young Russian women’s experience of gender and global politics, and will be shown at the Cable Gallery on November 22, followed by a discussion between the exhibition curator Anna Bitkina and the artist. Factory of Found Clothes have worked with the main features of Pussy Riot’s outfit (colourful dresses and balaclava masks) and have constructed a net-like installation out of women’s stockings and dresses. Gentle Women, a young collective from Kaliningrad, presents Dirt, a video work in the style of a Tarkovsky film. “This rather abstract, yet romantic video loop could be interpreted as a revolutionary act of opposition by brave, strong young Russian women,” Bitkina concludes.

Zhitlina’s performance and FFC’s installation have been produced for the exhibition at the Cable Gallery. Olga Zhitlina will be on a residency at HIAP Suomenlinna for the exhibition period, and curator Anna Bitkina from November 11 until December 16.

Leave a comment

Filed under art exhibitions, contemporary art, feminism, gay rights, political repression, protests, Russian society

Russia, The Land of Opportunity: A Migrant Labor Board Game

Russia, The Land of Opportunity board game is a means of talking about the possible ways that the destinies of the millions of immigrants who come annually to the Russian Federation from the former Soviet Central Asian republics to earn money play out.

Our goal is to give players the chance to live in the shoes of a foreign worker, to feel all the risks and opportunities, to understand the play between luck and personal responsibility, and thus answer the accusatory questions often addressed to immigrants – for example, “Why do they work illegally? Why do they agree to such conditions?”

On the other hand, only by describing the labyrinth of rules, deceptions, bureaucratic obstacles and traps that constitute labor migration in today’s Russia can we get an overall picture of how one can operate within this scheme and what in it needs to be changed. We would like most of all for this game to serve as a historical document.

Olga Zhitlina

You can download a .pdf file of the game here: Russia, Land of Opportunity Board Game

Russia, The Land of Opportunity: A Migrant Labor Board Game

The game is designed for adults and children of secondary school age.

From 2 to 6 players

The characters, situations, and monetary amounts (fines, payments, bribes, etc.) are not fictional. Any resemblance to actual events is not coincidental. Each year, thousands of people are victimized by the system outlined here.

Rules

To play you need dice, counters, paper and pens.

The dice should have two sets of numbers from 1 to 3. If you have regular dice numbered 1 to 6, and you roll a 4, 5 or 6, subtract three from the number you have rolled.

Instead of counters, you can use any small object – coins, SIM cards or buttons.

Have paper and a pen handy to write down your income and expenses.

Spaces and Moving around the Board

Each space represents one move.

The diamond-shaped spaces are required. You must pass through them in the direction indicated by the arrows.

The square- and rectangular-shaped spaces are playable. You move around the board by throwing a die: the number you roll determines the number of spaces you move forward. If the number you roll is greater than the number of playable spaces in front of you, you must go to the next required (diamond-shaped) space.

If there is a dice symbol in front of the space where you are located, roll a die and move along the arrow marked with the number that the corresponds to the number you have rolled.

If there is a circle symbol in front of you, you must yourself choose one of the spaces indicated by the arrows.

If you land on a space marked Police:

  • and you have a valid work permit, speak Russian, and know your rights, you are released and free to make your next move;
  • and you have a valid work permit, but you do not speak Russian, then you must skip one turn and pay 1,000 rubles;
  • and you have an invalid work permit, you skip one turn and pay 3,000 rubles;
  • and you have a fake entry/exit stamp in your passport, you must go to the space marked Prison.

If you land on a space marked FMS (Federal Migration Service) Raid:

  • and you have a valid work permit and speak Russian, you skip one turn;
  • and you have a valid work permit, but do not speak Russian, you skip one turn and pay 5,000 rubles;
  • and you have a fake work permit, you skip one turn and pay 5,000 rubles;
  • and you have a fake entry/exit stamp in your passport, you go to the space marked Prison.

Actors, Agencies, and Documents

Migration Card. A document confirming that the migrant (or foreigner traveler) has crossed the Russian Federation border. It is filled in, for example, on board an airplane or at an airport upon arrival. It is valid until the newly arrived migrant goes through the registration procedure.

Registration (notification of arrival). Migrants must register at their place of residence in the Russian Federation. Registration is valid for ninety days.

Work Permit. A document confirming that a migrant has the right to work for a specific legal entity in a particular job as stipulated by the foreign labor recruitment quota. By law, work permits can be issued only by the Federal Migration Service. A yearlong work permit entitles the migrant to obtain a residence permit for the entire period (and thus not have to exit and re-enter the country every ninety days).

Private Employment Agencies. The “services” provided by such agencies are widely advertised, for example, in the Tajik media. These agencies promise to provide migrants with all necessary documents and find them work in Russia. They are renowned for engaging in fraud, cheating migrants, and exposing them to the risk of ending up as virtual slaves or being overworked.

Foremen. (In Russian, “brigadiers.”) The foreman is the leader of a group of migrant workers. He or she is someone who has already been to Russia, or a friend or relative. The foreman handles the processing of documents, and finds and organizes work and housing for the migrants, for which services he or she takes a cut from the total income earned by the “brigade.”

Middlemen.  In Petersburg, there are a numerous semi-legal intermediary firms that offer migrant workers such services as processing of work permits and residence permits, and assistance in passing medical board exams. In reality, they often issue fake documents or simply take money for their services without providing any documents at all. While migrants wait for these documents, the residence registration period usually expires and they find themselves living in Russia illegally. However, sometimes these firms do arrange for legal work permits, which indicates that these firms have unofficial connections with the Federal Migration Service, the only government agency authorized to issue such documents. Ninety percent of migrants make use of the services of such intermediaries.

Outsourcing (Outstaffing) Companies. These are employment brokerage firms engaged in the hiring of foreign workers for lease to large companies (retail chains stores, petrol stations, etc.). Formally, these firms are the migrant worker’s legal employer and they pay him or her a wage from the commissions received from the real employer. As a result, the legal relationship between employer and employee is violated. This scheme allows large companies to evade taxes, save on social benefit payments, and exploit migrant workers by introducing a long working day (up to sixteen hours a day) with no sick leave and holidays, and a system of illegal fines (for imaginary “disciplinary” violations). Outsourcing companies dispose of the wages of thousands of people as they wish. It is typical for them to pay employees not every thirty days, but every forty-five days. The amount of back wages they owe to workers constantly grows, and it is not paid out when workers are dismissed.

Diasporas.  Fraternal associations of people from the same region, country or ethnic group. Diaspora leaders may offer mediation services for a fee.

Human Rights Groups. These organizations offer pro bono legal assistance to migrants and monitor the human rights situation in general.

Migrant Detention Centers. Special facilities for persons subject to expulsion or deportation from the Russian Federation due to loss of identity documents. Migrants can be held in such facilities for up to a year.

“Legal Services.” A form of corruption practiced by Interior Ministry (police) and Federal Migration Service officials on migrants awaiting expulsion or deportation. For a certain “fee” (that is, a bribe ranging from 30,000 to 70,000 rubles), corrupt officials offer to simply release the migrants or the chance to “appeal” the decision to expel them.

Russia, The Land of Opportunity board game was designed by:
Andrei Yakimov (human rights consultant, concept development)
Olga Zhitlina (idea, concept development)
Alexander Lyakh, Galina Zhitlina (board game design)
David Ter-Oganyan (drawings)
Tatyana Alexandrova, Nadezhda Voskresenskaya (graphic design)

_____

Olga Zhitlina and Andrei Yakimov (Memorial Anti-Discrimination Center, Saint Petersburg) will present Russia, The Land of Opportunity, discuss the realities behind the game, and play with all comers at Cafe-Club Artek (Mokhovaya ul., 27/29) in Petersburg tonight at 8:00 p.m. The evening will also include a screening of two videos by the Factory of Found Clothes (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya aka Gluklya and Olga Egorova aka Tsaplya), Utopian Unemployment Union No. 1 and Utopian Unemployment Union No. 3, both of which involve contemporary dancers and migrant workers.

The evening is part of the series of actions around the world coordinated by Immigrant Movement International, Queens Museum of Art, and Creative Time in New York to mark December 18, International Migrants Day.

Leave a comment

Filed under activism, contemporary art, critical thought, immigration, international affairs, Russian society

re.act.feminism #2 – a performing archive

re.act.feminism #2 –
a performing archive


Ewa Partum, “Selfidentification,” Warsaw 1980.
Photo-montage (from a series of 8 images).
Courtesy: The artist.

re.act.feminism #2
a performing archive
Archive / Exhibitions / Workshops / Performances / Talks / Research
7 October 2011–1 September 2013

First Venue:
7 October 2011–15 January 2012, Centro Cultural Montehermoso Kulturunea, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

www.reactfeminism.org
re.act.feminism #2 – a performing archive is a continually expanding, mobile and temporary performance archive travelling through six European countries from 2011 to 2013. In its current version, it presents gender-critical, feminist and queer performance art by 125 artists and artists collectives from the 1960s until the beginning of the 1980s, as well as contemporary positions. The research focus is on artworks from Eastern and Western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, the US and selected countries in Latin America. On its route through Europe this temporary archive will continue to expand through local research and scholarly cooperation. It will also be “animated” through exhibitions, screenings, performances and discussions along the way, which will continuously contribute to the archive.

With this project, the organiser cross links e.V., Berlin and the curators Bettina Knaup and Beatrice Ellen Stammer draw on the success of the exhibition “re.act.feminism—performance art of the 1960s & 70s today” which was shown to great critical acclaim in the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany, in 2008–2009.

The main goals of the project are to make performance documentation, which is dispersed and often difficult to access, available to a broader public for the first time in such a great volume and variety, and to strengthen cross-generational and trans-cultural dialogue.

The project is based on the idea of a living archive, emphasising the use, appropriation, and re-interpretation of documents: What effect does the performance document have in the moment of its reception, what does it do? What kind of relationship does it create between past and future, between author and recipient?

At Centro Cultural Montehermoso, first venue of the project, the archive will be accompanied by an exhibition presenting 20 artists of different generations, which have been selected from the archive:

EXHIBITION
Oreet Ashery, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Regina José Galindo, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Marta Minujín, Fina Miralles, Lorraine O’Grady, Tanja Ostojić, Letícia Parente, Ewa Partum, Adrian Piper, Ulrike Rosenbach, Raeda Saadeh, Zorka Ságlová, Stefanie Seibold & Teresa María Díaz Nerio, Miriam Sharon, Gabriele Stötzer

ARCHIVE
Helena Almeida, Eleanor Antin, Oreet Ashery, Antonia Baehr, Maja Bajević, Anne Bean, Anat Ben-David, Renate Bertlmann, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, Nisrine Boukhari, Maris Bustamante, Cabello/Carceller, Graciela Carnevale, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Helen Chadwick, Lygia Clark, Colette, Nieves Correa, Laura Cottingham, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Disband, Ines Doujak, Orshi Drozdik, Yingmei Duan, Diamela Eltit, VALIE EXPORT, Factory of Found Clothes, Esther Ferrer, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Simone Forti, (e.) Twin Gabriel, Regina José Galindo, Rimma Gerlovina & Valeriy Gerlovin, Patrycja German, Ghazel, Kate Gilmore, Mona Hatoum, Sanja Iveković, Elżbieta Jabłońska, Françoise Janicot, Joan Jonas, Anne Jud, Kirsten Justesen, Kanonklubben/Damebilleder, Line Skywalker Karlström, Tina Keane, Amal Kenawy, Verica Kovacevska, Elena Kovylina, Katarzyna Kozyra, Christina Kubisch, Verena Kyselka, Nicola L, Latifa Laâbissi, Leslie Labowitz, Suzanne Lacy, Katalin Ladik, Sigalit Landau, Klara Lidén, Kalup Linzy, Natalia LL, Manon, María Evelia Marmolejo, Muda Mathis, Dóra Maurer, Mónica Mayer, Ana Mendieta, Marta Minujín, Fina Miralles, Linda Montano, Charlotte Moorman, Teresa Murak, Sands Murray-Wassink, Hannah O’Shea, Itziar Okariz, Yoko Ono, ORLAN, Tanja Ostojić, Letícia Parente, Ewa Partum, Jillian Peña, Performance Saga (Andrea Saemann & Katrin Grögel), Howardena Pindell, Polvo de Gallina Negra, Yvonne Rainer, Egle Rakauskaite, Jytte Rex, Ulrike Rosenbach, Martha Rosler, Boryana Rossa, María Ruido, Estíbaliz Sábada, Andrea Saemann, Christine Schlegel, Cornelia Schleime, Carolee Schneemann, Miriam Sharon, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Barbara T. Smith, Cornelia Sollfrank, Spiderwoman Theater, Annie Sprinkle, Gabriele Stötzer, Melati Suryodarmo, Jinoos Taghizadeh, Milica Tomić, Valie Export Society, Cecilia Vicuña, The Waitresses, Faith Wilding, Hannah Wilke, Martha Wilson, Julita Wójcik, Nil Yalter

A bilingual exhibition catalogue, documenting the entire project, will be published in 2013. The project’s content will also be made accessible on our website, which is intended as a research tool and will grow in sync with the ongoing exhibition and archive programme.
www.reactfeminism.org

re.act.feminism #2 – a performing archive
is a project by cross links e.V., curated by Bettina Knaup and Beatrice Ellen Stammer

Research: Kathrin Becker, Eleanora Fabião

Organised in cooperation with
Centro Cultural Montehermoso Kulturunea, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Instytut Sztuki Wyspa, Gdansk, Poland
Galerija Miroslav Kraljević, Zagreb, Croatia
Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskilde, Denmark
Tallinna Kunstihoone, Tallinn, Estonia
Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain
Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany

The project is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and ERSTE Stiftung.
Additional support from cine plus, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.)

For further information please contact:
artpress – Ute Weingarten | Elisabethkirchstr. 15 | 10115 Berlin
Phone: +49-(0)30-21 96 18 43 | Email: artpress@uteweingarten.de
or info@reactfeminism.org
www.artpress-uteweingarten.de

Leave a comment

Filed under art exhibitions, contemporary art, feminism, gay rights

Etats de l’Artifice (Paris)

Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris / ARC

ETATS DE L’ARTIFICE

Victor Alimpiev, Olga Chernysheva, Chto Delat, FFC, Nikolay Oleynikov

Press preview:  October 7th, 11am – 2pm.

Preview:  October 7th, 6pm9pm. Entrance upon presentation of this announcement.

Salle 18

8 October 2010 – 2 January 2011

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris presents Etats de l’Artifice, curated by Elena Sorokina, running from October 8th 2010 through January 2nd 2011. This exhibition is organized in the framework of the l’Année France-Russie 2010.

This exhibition presents four artists and collectives who regularly employ theatrical situations in their videos and films. Some works explicitly revive filmed theater or dance, while others utilize the technique of “performance trouvé” —  scenes discovered by the camera in a documentary situation and used as a constitutive element of the film. A blend of theatrical devices and formal reflexivity carried out in diverse ways characterizes the work of the show, all produced from mid 2000 on. If the 90s celebrated violent self-expression in radical performances reacting to new freedoms and their illusions, today many artists employ reflective strategies marked by formal experimentation, often incorporating references to the styles or events of the Soviet past.

Rather then following a specific theme, this exhibition unfolds along two broadly defined leitmotifs. One focuses on the artists’ self-conscious engagement with the specific elements — stories, films, imagery — from the Soviet realist canon, exploring its conflicts and correspondences and making the spectator experience old debates and events as new encounters. The other takes up art’s current fascination with theater’s transformative power and its ability to speak about the present, sometimes described as “the present as fiction” or l’artifice du present.

The exhibition will change over time following a specific timeline and involves the projection of different groupings of films selected.

The videos by Chto Delat, founded in 2003, are realized by: Tsaplya (Olga Egorova); Nikolay Oleynikov, Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), Nina Gasteva, Dmitry Vilensky. Composer: Mikhail Krutik.

FFC (Factory of Found Clothes), founded in 1995, consists of Tsaplya (Olga Egorova) and Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya)

Leave a comment

Filed under art exhibitions, contemporary art, film and video

Living Politically: A 48-Hour Communal Life Seminar (Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht)

Living Politically: A 48-Hour Communal Life Seminar
Friday 2 July, 10:00 – Sunday 4 July, 10:00
Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, the Netherlands

The Jan van Eyck Academie is hosting Living Politically: A 48-Hour Communal Life Seminar. The Communal Life Seminar is an initiative of the Chto Delat collective and the Vpered Socialist Movement (Russia) as a response to the acute need to establish alternate forms of collectivity. The fundamental principle of this seminar is that its participants constitute a temporary community for the duration of the event. By combining research, creative work and daily living, they are transformed into a commune.

Living Politically will focus on the problem of how to combine theory and art with the militant political life. The Russian philosophers, artists and scholars organising this initiative have invited people from various branches of creative knowledge production, such as design, art, poetry and philosophy, to participate in the seminar.

During the seminar, participants will attempt to answer three questions: How are the practices of various disciplines and their professional production methods conditioned by the political stances and activist practices of artists and researchers? How do the collective appropriation and generalisation of specific scholarly, artistic and activist work shape new models of politicisation? Seminar participants will focus on what ‘living politically’ means for them. Which political categories do they invoke to make sense not only of their own work in research and art institutions, but also of their daily lives? Thus, one theme of the seminar will be the commonalities and differences between contemporary European and Russian types of political subjectivation. The programme includes lectures, performances, discussions and screenings.

Friday 2 July

Nikolay Oleynikov (Moscow)
Why obshezhitie?
— lecture introducing the context of “political/creative living” in Russia over the past decade

Pietro Bianchi (JVE)
The dark side of the communal
— presentation + discussion

Factory of Found Clothes (Gluklya & Tsaplya)
Witness cabinet

franck leibovici (paris)
some musical techniques of political composition
— theoretical performance, collective performance: one would draw a strong link between processes of production of knowledge, systems of (musical, choreographic, scientific) notation and the nature of collectives which perform them. following john cage’s line, one would say that a score should be like the ideal representation of a society in which one would like to live. we will exercise during 48h.

Kirill Medvedev (Moscow)
Poetry as politics
— examples of political, civic and feminist poetry to show how radical work in poetry shapes the revolutionary political challenge

Elena Sorokina (Brussels)
Communism’s afterlife in contemporary art

Filipa Ramos & Andrea Lissoni (Milan/London)
Political action does not produce objects – Parades and the (re)contextualization of the individual subject
— how to insert in the question of Living-Politically a reflection on parades and their possibility to act, inter-act and trigger some new practices between single and collectivity; while trying at the same time to analyse the operations of recontextualization associated with the use of this practice in the context of visual art.

Dmitry Vilensky (St. Petersburg)
Making film politically
— the possibilities for collective work during the shooting and editing of films as well as familiarising participants with the historical background of this approach and the ways it is practically realised today

Alexei Penzin (Moscow)
Sleeping politically
— a nighttime lecture on sleep and the sleeping body as a limit of the rationalization of life in the context of late capitalism, on the relationship between sleep, wakefulness and power, as well as on awakening and political subjectivisation. He will also discuss some early Soviet utopian projects concerning sleep.

Chto Delat & Pietro Bianchi
— night screenings

Saturday 3 July

Elena Sorokina & franck leibovici
performing a document: aerobics reconception (featuring Elena Sorokina)
— In order to answer the question “what does performing a document mean?” we will do some gymnastics in the small hours.

Tzuchien Tho (JVE)
Math politics

Aaron Schuster (Brussels)
Politics of nature: Marxism and psychoanalysis, labour and sex

Oxana Timofeeva (JVE)
Political animal

franck leibovici
mini-opera for non-musicians
— collective performance – concert

Factory of Found Clothes (Gluklya & Tsaplya, Amsterdam/ St. Petersburg) with Andros Zins-Browne (JVE)
Loving-politically
— ballet-dance performance + discussion on relations: We would like to organise a kind of “witness cabinet”: each participant can have a private conversation with us about their problems in personal relations. After summarising all the models in our laboratory, we will find the problem which is common to everybody and based on this knowledge we’ll create a performance piece.

Katja Diefenbach (JVE)
Less than a thing: queer politics and the deconstruction of the fetish

Katja Diefenbach
— night screenings

CONTACT:
Madeleine Bisscheroux
Anne Vangronsveld
Public Programme and Events Coordinators

coordinator.events@janvaneyck.nl
www.janvaneyck.nl
t +31 (0)43 350 37 29
f +31 (0)43 350 37 99

Leave a comment

Filed under activism, alternative education, contemporary art, critical thought

When One Has to Say “We” (Saint Petersburg)

The Critical Art Laboratory at the European University at Saint Petersburg presents:

When One Has to Say “We”: Art as the Practice of Solidarity

Participating Artists: Factory of Found Clothes (Gluklya and Tsaplya); Nikolay Oleynikov (Moscow); Street University; R.E.P. Group (Kiev); Alexander Veryovkin (Samara); Arseny Zhilyaev (Moscow); Babi Badalov and Jacques Crenn (Paris); Marina Narushkina (Minsk/Berlin); Darya Irincheeva; Sergey Chernov (Saint Petersburg); Nina Gasteva (Saint Petersburg); Anton Litvin (Moscow); Right to the City Movement (Moscow); Affinity Group (Saint Petersburg); Extra-governmental Control Commission (Moscow); Radek Community; Chto Delat Collective

along with the many other artists who will participate in a three-month program of seminars, screenings, and workshops that runs until late June 2010.

Curator: Dmitry Vilensky (Critical Art Laboratory at the European University; Chto Delat Collective)

Opening: 7:00 p.m., April 8, 2010

Gym of the European University at Saint Petersburg

Gagarinskaya, 3, Saint Petersburg, Russia

This project is realized as part of the international conference The Politics of the One: The Limits of Fragmentation and the Chances for Consolidation, organized by Smolny Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The European University at Saint Petersburg, and Centre d’amitié franco-russe.

The exhibition is organized with financial support from the Chto Delat Foundation.

We gratefully acknowledge all the artists, volunteers, and friends who have made this project possible through their hard work and trust.

Premises

Many people are familiar with moments in life when it becomes clear that they have to unite with other people to accomplish simple and urgent tasks:

We, the residents of house no. X, demand that the illegal construction next to our house be stopped…

We, the workers of factory X, demand payment of back wages…

We demand an end to neo-Nazi terror…

What do these things have to do with art?

Even people who believe that artists are starry-eyed creatures living in an ivory tower sometimes catch sight of the fact that this tower has long ago been transformed from the tidy space of art for art’s sake into a factory where the majority are relegated (in the best case) to work on the conveyor belt. It thus becomes clear that change is necessary. Otherwise, without the possibility to realize ourselves with dignity, we will suffocate.To make this change happen we have to unite with other comrades, with people who also sense that things are going wrong.

The art system is not situated within the abstract realm of daydreams or the private world of the studio and the gallery. On the contrary, it is part of public life. To change this system we need to be sensitive to the general processes at work in society, and we need to take part in them.

Context

The exhibition is part of the international multidisciplinary conference The Politics of the One: The Limits of Fragmentation and the Chances for Consolidation. The conference is dedicated to forms of solidarity and multiplicity in the contemporary world. The speakers will address issues of contemporary philosophy, as well as collective political practices for transforming the world.

Social connectivity – in particular, sociopolitical solidarity – is in a state of crisis today. Social atomization enables globalization processes, the collapse of collectivist ideologies, and the technologization of state power. The available alternatives include nationalist or fundamentalist authoritarian movements, or bureaucratic attempts to manufacture solidarity on the basis of “constitutional patriotism” or around the figure of a “national leader.” For Russian society, which underwent a massive sociopolitical revolution during the eighties and nineties, social atomization and political apathy are particularly characteristic. People have a hard time cooperating with their next-door neighbors, not to mention finding solidarity with those more distant from them. At the same time, a multitude of small-scale collective initiatives have emerged in Russia. They differ both from traditional Soviet forms and established western practices. Analysis of these initiatives is one of the focuses of both the conference and the exhibition.

Concept

We want to create a public exhibition space that takes the form of a process in which all utterances – graphic works, seminars, film screenings or discussions – produce a context of cooperative co-existence and enter into dialogue with each other, thus accumulating new meanings and generating their own common history.

By relying on its acknowledged autonomous status in contemporary society, art has the capacity for continuous innovation, inquiry, and critique of the forms in which people organize their lives together, and it is these functions that define art’s role in social life. While preserving such generic features as freedom of expression and the constant overcoming of the aesthetic status quo, art is capable of questioning not only the consensus about what it can and should be, but also the basis of this consensus, which is contained in established forms of political agreement and unity.

The logic of this project is bound up with an expanded notion of art and the artist in today’s world. For us, art is not a narrowly specialized activity engaged in by professionals, but one of the principal elements of creative public speech, something that can be practiced by any engaged, passionate human being.

At the same time, we do not advocate an amateur, non-obligatory attitude to art. On the contrary, we believe that if they are willing to take seriously the issue of self-presentation and find unique ways of inscribing themselves into the artistic context, a multitude of creative and activist practices can acquire a completely different but no less important dimension in the process of interacting with a broad spectrum of contemporary art.

Image by R.E.P. Group

3 Comments

Filed under activism, art exhibitions, contemporary art, protests, Russian society, urban movements (right to the city)

Ground Floor America (Klagenfurt, Austria)

Ground Floor America
Exhibition
January 14 to February 26, 2010
Kunstraum Lakeside
Lakeside Park, Klagenfurt, Austria

with: Vyacheslav Akhunov, Factory of Found Clothes (Gluklya & Tsaplya), Yuri Leiderman, Vlado Martek, Jinoos Taghizadeh, Škart, Yelena Vorobyeva & Viktor Vorobyev

curated by: What, How and for Whom/WHW

“Ground Floor America” is the title of a travel book by Soviet writer duo Ilf and Petrov, written in 1936. Traveling as official Soviet writers through the USA during the Depression, and describing the American culture and way of life with their characteristic humor and satirical approach, they criticize both American reality in the 1930s as well as Soviet prejudices against “decadent American capitalism.” As an exhibition, Ground Floor America takes Ilf and Petrov’s approach as a starting point for questioning the notion of “curatorial research” within the broader field of cultural translation, looking at the parallels between the burgeoning liberal economy’s capacity to erode a hitherto existing social consensus — both in the crisis era of the 1930s and at present. Today, as then, one of the consequences of the economic crisis has been the massive rightward shift of the (European) electoral body. The post-89 conservative backlash, the dismantling of the welfare state, rampant anti-terror legislation and the black world of “security” agencies are all slowly eroding what was built up over two centuries of emancipatory struggles.

Ground Floor America reflects on the research undertaken by the curatorial collective WHW in the course of the two-year preparations for the 11th International Istanbul Biennial (September to November 2009) in the regions of the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, regions to various degrees struggling with their imposed and/or internalized “marginal” position in relation to the Western or Soviet project of modernism, in which contemporary art stands in a certain tension to the ideas of “authentic,” “autochthonous” national cultures. Against the growing professionalism geared exclusively towards the staging of the exhibition, disregarding processes of knowledge production that entail more than merely acquiring and interpreting information, as well as the intentional and unintentional effects of ideologies in the process, Ground Floor America focuses on those elements of “curatorial research” that stay hidden and outside of the international circulation of contemporary art. It is critical towards hegemonic cultural and geopolitical relations and investigates oppositional strategies, dealing with issues of discrepancy between local and international reception and questioning the very possibility of knowledge production under global conditions of contemporary cultural production.

ABOUT WHW: What, How & for Whom/WHW is a curatorial collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb, Croatia. Its members are Ivet Ćurlin, Ana Dević, Nataša Ilić and Sabina Sabolović, and designer and publicist Dejan Kršić. WHW organizes a range of productions, exhibitions and publishing projects and directs Gallery Nova in Zagreb. What, how and for whom, the three basic questions of every economic organization, concern the planning, concept and realization of exhibitions as well as the production and distribution of artworks and the artist’s position in the labor market. These questions formed the title of WHW’s first project, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto, in 2000 in Zagreb, and became the motto of WHW’s work and the title of the collective. In 2002 WHW published Brian Holmes’s first book, Hieroglyphs of the Future.

_____
|   \/| kunstraum
| _ /\| lakeside
Christian Kravagna, Hedwig Saxenhuber | Curators
Anja Werkl | Coordination
Lakeside Science & Technology Park GmbH
Lakeside B02 | 9020 Klagenfurt
T (+43-463) 22 88 22-20
M (+43-664) 83 99 305
www.lakeside-kunstraum.at

Leave a comment

Filed under art exhibitions, critical thought