Tag Archives: Oliver Ressler

Disobedience Archive (The Republic), Castello di Rivoli


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Disobedience Archive (The Republic), 2005–ongoing. Installation view, Céline Condorelli, “The Parliament,” 2012. Photo courtesy Bildmuseet, Umeå, and Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Turin.

Disobedience Archive (The Republic)
April 23–June 30, 2013

Press preview: Tuesday April 16, 2013, 11am
Frigoriferi Milanesi – Open Care
Via Piranesi 10
Milan

Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art
Opening: April 22, 2013 at 7pm
Piazza Mafalda di Savoia
10098 Rivoli (Turin), Italy

www.castellodirivoli.org
www.castellodirivoli.tv

Curator: Marco Scotini

After Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), Nottingham Contemporary, Raven Row (London), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Boston) and Bildmuseet (Umeå), Disobedience Archive is presented at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea within a format especially planned for the Museum.

The curatorial project dates from 2005, when Marco Scotini planned a travelling exhibition of videos, graphic materials and ephemera whilst in Berlin. The exhibition-archive explores the links between contemporary art practices, cinema, tactile media and political activism. Planned as a heterogeneous, evolving archive of video images, the project aims to be a ‘user’s guide’ to four decades of social disobedience seen through history and geography: from the revolt in Italy in 1977 to the global protests before and after Seattle and on to the current insurrections in the Middle East and Arab world. From the historic videotapes of Alberto Grifi to the films of Harun Farocki, from the performances of the American Critical Art Ensemble to those of the Russian collective Chto Delat, and from the investigations of Hito Steyerl to those of Eyal Sivan, the Disobedience archive has over the years gathered hundreds of documentary elements.

The exhibition, which will be hosted in the rooms of the third floor in the Castello di Rivoli, aims to offer a wide-ranging synthesis of the earlier editions. With the new title of Disobedience Archive (The Republic), the exhibition will include the production of a large Parliament-shaped structure and the publication of “La Costituzione” (The Constitution) as a concluding phase to the entire project. The archive takes place in The Parliament by Céline Condorelli (b. 1974), with a contribution by Martino Gamper (b. 1971), while the wall paintings accompanying it are by Mexican artist Erick Beltran (b. 1972). Aside from The Parliament, two rooms serve as thematic antechambers: the first, dedicated to the 1970s in Italy, amongst others, presents works by Joseph Beuys, Mario Merz, Gianfranco Baruchello, Laboratorio di Comunicazione Militante, Enzo Mari, Nanni Balestrini and Living Theatre beside documents by Carla Accardi, Carla Lonzi and Felix Guattari; the second, which considers the first decade of the 21st century, houses works by Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, Superflex, Chto Delat, Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, Oliver Ressler, Arseniy Zhilyaev, Critical Art Ensemble, Rene Gabri and Ayreen Anastas, among others. Technical instruments, props and published materials produced by the antagonist culture of those years are also displayed in these two rooms.

Disobedience Archive (The Republic) is a work in progress reflecting on the various events as they unfolded, in which form and content vary with each venue. In this sense, the exhibition constitutes a sort of atlas of the different contemporary antagonist tactics: from direct action to counter-information, from constituent practices to forms of bio-resistance, which emerged after the end of modernism, inaugurating new methods of being, saying and doing. The archive is divided into nine sections: “1977 The Italian Exit,” “Protesting Capitalist Globalization,” “Reclaim the Streets,” “Bioresistence and Society of Control,” “Argentina Fabrica Social,” “Disobedience East,” “Disobedience University,” “The Arab Dissent” and “Gender Politics,” which joins the other sections for the Castello di Rivoli exhibition.

The archive includes materials by 16 beaver, Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée (AAA), Mitra Azar, Gianfranco Baruchello, Petra Bauer, Pauline Boudry, Brigitta Kuster and Renate Korenz, Bernadette Corporation, Black Audio Film Collective, Ursula Biemann, Collettivo femminista di cinema, Copenhagen Free University, Critical Art Ensemble, Dodo Brothers, Marcelo Expósito, Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica, Rene Gabri and Ayreen Anastas, Grupo de Arte Callejero, Etcétera, Alberto Grifi, Ashley Hunt, Kanal B, Khaled Jarrar, John Jordan and Isabelle Fremeaux, Laboratorio di Comunicazione Militante, Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson, Angela Melitopoulos, Mosireen, Carlos Motta, Non Governamental Control Commission, Wael Noureddine, Margit Czencki/Park Fiction, R.E.P. Group, Oliver Ressler and Zanny Begg, Joanne Richardson, Roy Samaha, Eyal Sivan, Hito Steyerl, The Department of Space and Land Reclamation, Mariette Schiltz and Bert Theis, Ultra-red, Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, Trampolin House (Morten Goll and Tone O. Nielsen), Dmitry Vilensky and Chto Delat, James Wentzy.

The exhibition has been realised thanks to the collaboration of Open Care Servizi per l’Arte, Milan and NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan together with the Biennio di Arti Visive e Studi Curatoriali.

Media Partner: La Stampa, Turin

Press Office – Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea
Silvano Bertalot – Manuela Vasco
T +39 011 9565209 – 211
C +39 33 87865367
press@castellodirivoli.orgs.bertalot@castellodirivoli.org

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Without Reality There Is No Utopia (San Francisco)

Without Reality There Is No Utopia
February 15–June 2, 2013

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street
San Francisco CA 94103

www.ybca.org

Behind the phrase that lends this exhibition its title there are two thinkers: Jean Baudrillard and Andreas Huyssen. The former defined simulation as the creation of something that “has no relationship to any reality whatsoever,” and therefore predicted the replacement of “the real” by “the virtual.” Huyssen picks up where Baudrillard left off, positing that, since reality has been lost and replaced by its simulacrum, utopia cannot exist. Hence the title, “if there is no reality, there can be no utopia.” In other words, in the age of simulacra and virtual reality, the disappearance of the real also entails the end of the utopian.

In the age of information, actual reality has been supplanted by virtual reality, computer simulation and false narratives. Since the concept of utopia is based on the improvement of reality, the disappearance of the real also signals the end of utopia. Without Reality There Is No Utopia illustrates this premise by examining false narratives that masquerade as truth; the collapse of Communism in the 1980s; the recent financial crisis, which heralds the demise of capitalism; the contradictions inherent in geopolitics; and the explosion of democratic uprisings that rebounded around the world. The exhibition, organized into two asymmetrical sections, includes work by twenty-two international artists in photography, video, drawing, painting, collage and more.

The first is The Description of the Lie, a skeptical introduction to the systems, which fabricate the simulacra of the real. In this section, the artists focus on how truth has been replaced by media-constructed false narratives. Judi Werthein‘s work portrays life in a settlement in a region of Chile peopled entirely by Germans exiled from their country after World War II; and Dora García fictionalizes the paranoid state of surveillance generated by the Stasi in the former East Germany. Other artists in this section are Rirkrit Tiravanija and Lene Berg.

The second section bears the title Collapses and is divided into four sub-sections: communism, capitalism, geopolitics and democracy. As Huyssen aptly put it, “Utopia never dies alone. It takes its counter-utopia down with it.” Therefore, when communism falls it takes capitalism down, and as capitalism collapses it drags democracy along with it, since the latter decided to cast its lot in with the former. At the same time, the expansive system that characterizes capitalism also implies its geopolitical implosion. It therefore seems that we should seriously consider the demise of utopia as the great problem of our time.

Artists in The Collapse of Communism examine the conditions leading up to, and the aftermath of, the fall of Communism. The Russian collective Chto Delat (What is To Be Done?) encourages the viewer to critically engage with the events that lead to the demise of the Soviet system; paintings by Manolo Quejido were inspired by a trip to Cuba, where he asks, “What can we do right now with our desire for revolution?” and Ciprian Mureşan considers the paradoxes of history and memory from a post-Communist perspective.

The Collapse of Capitalism focuses on the effects of the 2008 world financial crisis, with the premise that this was the inevitable result of a system based on consumerism, waste and the depletion of the planet’s resources. SUPERFLEX Collective‘s humorous parody The Financial Crisis ironically suggests that the crisis is an illness that can be cured through hypnosis; and El Roto‘s cartoons, which mix irony, dark humor and sarcasm, create a stark portrait of the current situation in Spain. Other artists in this section are Daniel García AndujarJan Peter Hammer and Katya Sander.

The artists in The Geopolitical section examine the influences of colonialism and the West on recent geopolitical uprisings. Through a collection of posters, Zeina Maasri documents the civil war in Lebanon between 1975 and 1990; and in his drawings Fernando Bryce depicts colonial practices and their “civilizing” discourses. Other artists in this section are Ignasi AballíZhou Xiaohu and Federico Guzmán.

The Democracy section traces the effects of technology on communications, privacy and public assembly and their impact on democracy. Ed Hall‘s banners depict the micro-history of recent social struggles in England; Artur Żmijewski‘s videos of intentional public gatherings in various cities—Belfast, Berlin, Strasbourg, the West Bank, and Warsaw—feature playful and celebratory events; Oliver Ressler interviews philosophers, politicians, activists and concerned citizens, asking What is Democracy?; and Carlos Motta‘s photographs feature political graffiti on the walls of various Latin American cities.

Without Reality There Is No Utopia is organized by the Centro Andaluz de Arte Conteporaneo in Seville, Spain, where it was originally presented in 2011. Curators are Alicia Murría, Mariano Navarro and Juan Antonio Álvarez Reyes.

For more information on Without Reality There Is No Utopia, artist bios, and visitor information, click here.

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ECONOMY (Edinburgh/Glasgow)

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Image: Dani Marti, “Good Dog,” 2012.

ECONOMY

Stills, Edinburgh
Saturday 19 January–Sunday 21 April 2013
Opening: 18 January, 6pm

Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow
Saturday 26 January–Saturday 23 March 2013
Opening: 25 January, 7pm

www.economyexhibition.net

In the 21st century the economy has come to provide the ground zero of our sense of self. But what does this experience of a life dominated by economic relations feel or even look like?

Two parallel exhibitions make the core of a curatorial project which examines why, and how, art since the 1990s has revealed the economy to be the axis of contemporary existence.  Presented at Stills in Edinburgh and the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow, ECONOMY features works by over 40 international artists including new commissions by the Austrian collective WochenKlausur and Scottish photographer Owen Logan. A reflective follow-up to the curatorial project, the volume ECONOMY: Art and the Subject after Postmodernism is forthcoming from Liverpool University Press.

Exhibitions David Aronowitsch & Hanna Heilborn | Ursula Biemann | Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz | Tracey Emin | Andrea Fraser | Claire Fontaine | Melanie Gilligan | Johan Grimonprez | Andreas Gursky | Kai Kaljo | Owen Logan | Rick Lowe | Jenny Marketou | Dani Marti | Angela Melitopoulos | Marge Monko | Tanja Ostojić | Anu Pennanen | Stéphane Querrec | Raqs Media Collective | Martha Rosler | Hito Steyerl | Mitra Tabrizian | WochenKlausur | Paolo Woods

Film Lounge Dario Azzellini & Oliver Ressler | Jeremy Deller & Mike Figgis | Marcelo Expósito & Nuria Vila | Yevgeniy Fiks, Olga Kopenkina & Sasha Lerman | Christos Georgiou | Michael Glawogger | Francesco Jodice | Ernest Larsen & Sherry Millner | Jesper Nordahl | Maria Ruido | Yorgos Zois

The end of the Cold War, represented by the fall of the Berlin Wall, generated a number of ‘turns’ in the context of contemporary art: turns to collectivism, to activism, to archives, to social bonds, relations and communities, to labour, to biopolitics and the document, to struggle. This restless quest for the right ‘tag’ has been one way of saying that contemporary art is, finally, becoming new. Navigating art’s current shift to materialist aesthetics, the ECONOMY exhibitions and film programme showcase strategies deployed over the past two decades to chart capitalism’s most advanced frontier: ourselves. The artworks presented—and often re-interpreted—illuminate the diverse ways in which our lives and sense of self are shaped by and through capital’s internalised rule, from our childhood experiences to the way we labour, play and make love or war.

Guided by a set of seven keywords (work, sex, life, enclosures, crisis, spectres, exodus) widely used in recent analyses of capitalism and potential alternatives, ECONOMY draws together a small selection of the many artists whose work attends to capitalism’s far-reaching transformation in its global moment. Paolo Woods’ photographs of Africa’s takeover by Chinese businessmen are set against Martha Rosler’s documentation of airport design as soul narcotic; and Raqs Media Collective’s investigation of happiness is a critique of capitalist subjectivities as much as Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz’s queer articulation of labour and desire. Presented for the first time in Britain, Tanja Ostojić’s devastating portrayal of the post-socialist migrant’s sexualisation meets Melanie Gilligan’s capital as pure Spirit and the relentless intensity of Anu Pennanen’s depiction of a Parisian shopping mall. Tracey Emin’s self-portrait with money complements Mitra Tabrizian’s City bankers of year 2008 as guilty or not and Andrea Fraser’s anatomy of art-world production values. Jenny Marketou’s children-art collectors share the planet’s future with David Aronowitsch and Hanna Heilborn’s children-slaves—a planet which Ursula Biemann and Johan Grimonprez find in poor environmental shape. These are just some of the ways in which ECONOMY artists have registered multiplying social divisions as capital has been claiming the earth. In doing so, they give us also reasons to think about the paradigm of art after postmodernism—one where proliferating forms of economic otherness have replaced postmodernism’s iteration of cultural difference.

The independent ECONOMY website is an integral part of the project.  As well as offering further information about the accompanying programme of screenings, public forums, talks and performances, the Public Forum section facilitates collective investigations into how we interpret our relationship with capitalism and the possibility of alternatives. Users can upload photographs to the Image Archive, exchange views on themes raised in the debate section and consult the material in the Reading Room. To see, hear and speak out, visit www.economyexhibition.net.

ECONOMY is a collaboration between Stills, CCA and the University of Edinburgh.

Curated by Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd: curators@economyexhibition.net

Stills
Saturday 19 January–Sunday 21 April 2013
23 Cockburn Street
Edinburgh EH1 1BP
Hours: Monday–Sunday, 11–6pm. Free.
www.stills.org

CCA  Glasgow
Saturday 26 January–Sunday 23 March 2013
350 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G2 3JD
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 11–6pm. Free.
www.cca-glasgow.com

ECONOMY is generously supported by The Association of Art Historians | The Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust | Creative Scotland | Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e. V. | Austrian Cultural Forum London | Goethe Institut Glasgow | Finnish Institute in London | Arts Council of Finland | Inigo | City of Edinburgh Council | Glasgow Life | The Nancie Massey Chartable Trust | Scottish Contemporary Art Network.

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Absolute Democracy (Graz)

ABSOLUTE DEMOCRACY

A conference organized by Carlos Motta (CO/USA) and Oliver Ressler (A) for steirischer herbst as part of the 24/7 marathon camp “Truth is Concrete” in Graz
September 26, 2012 — 8 pm – midnight

Participants: Manuela Bojadzijev, Janna Graham & Dont Rhine/Ultra-red (D/UK/US), Mariam Ghani (US), Nicoline van Harskamp (NL), Jennifer Gonzalez (US), Isabelle Fremeaux & John Jordan (F/UK), Miguel López (PE), Sofía Olascoaga (MX), Nikolay Oleynikov/Chto Delat (RU), and Marco Scotini (I).

The idea of an “absolute democracy” suggests the need for the redistribution of wealth and power and the radical transformation of systems of rule. It denounces the effects of capitalism and in that way challenges normative understandings of class, race, gender and sexuality. “Absolute Democracy” convenes an international group of cultural producers to discuss the construction of a plural, heterogeneous, inclusive and “absolute” democracy. The conference is composed of two sessions: “Forms of Democracy: Activism, Art and Cultural Production,” which features presentations by artists and theoreticians that question past and existing forms of democratic participation, revise historical accounts and interpret forms of artistic production and documentation; and “Thinking Politics Freed From the State,” a session devoted to presentations that imagine new democratic models independent from the State and that envision new understandings of governance and self-determination.

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Session 1: Forms of Democracy: Activism, Art and Cultural Production
Introduction/Moderation: Carlos Motta (CO/US)
Manuela Bojadzijev, Janna Graham & Dont Rhine from Ultra-red (D/UK/US)
Mariam Ghani (US)
Jennifer Gonzalez (US)
Miguel López (PE)
Nikolay Oleynikov (RU)

“Forms of Democracy: Activism, Art and Cultural Production” asks what is at stake in the process of representing, critiquing, and archiving democracy. Presenters discuss artistic and cultural projects that interrogate the “forms of democracy”— its aesthetic and political articulations—and engage with specific representational strategies that comment on democracy as a form of government but also as a mode of cultural production.

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Teaching/Learning Democracy: Delegate Reports from Three Schools of Echoes
Manuela Bojadzijev, Janna Graham & Dont Rhine from Ultra-red (D/UK/US)

The problem of democracy echoes everywhere. The curators of “Absolute Democracy” have called for “concrete statements about how to possibly achieve, construct, arrive at an absolute democracy.” This sounds like an invitation to interrogate what we do, why we do it, and with whom. Since every inquiry presumes a protocol, and every protocol commences around a question, Ultra-red ask, what is the sound of democracy? That sound can be heard in the traditions of radical democracy linking political organizing with education. For the “Forms of Democracy” conversation, delegates from three Ultra-red teams (Berlin, London, and Los Angeles) reflect on their efforts to establish local pedagogical experiments. What is radical democratic pedagogy within the very centers of global capital today? What concrete contributions can cultural producers make to teaching/learning absolute democracy in a moment of crisis in/of capitalism?

Ultra-red is an international sound collective. The group’s diverse membership draws on a broad range of political experiences, intellectual traditions and artistic practices. Founded in 1994 by two AIDS activists in Los Angeles, Ultra-red conduct sound-based investigations as part of our members’ daily involvement in social justice struggles concerning HIV/AIDS prevention justice, anti-racism, migration, education, gentrification, and poverty. Ultra-red teams work in locations across Europe, North America, and South Africa. We learn from musique concrète, conceptualism, popular education, and militant inquiry. In the image-dominated field of political art, Ultra-red seek to develop, test, and teach practices of political listening.

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Kabul: Constitutions
Mariam Ghani (US)

Mariam Ghani will present a guided tour of “Kabul: Constitutions,” her interactive documentary of Afghanistan’s Constitutional Loya Jirga of 2003-4, with a discussion of the strategies of representation employed in the production (by UNAMA and the transitional Afghan administration), experience (by delegates and observers both elected and appointed) and depiction (by the international media and by Ghani herself) of the constitutional assembly. “Kabul: Constitutions” resists the construction of any linear narrative of the events of the assembly, instead choosing to examine the political process through the space in which it unfolded, a multi-million-dollar tent complex constructed specifically for the two jirgas, or “grand councils,” held between 2002 and 2004 to reimagine the fundamental architecture of the Afghan state, in that “open moment” when previous structures and assumptions had been swept away by war, invasions and migrations.

Mariam Ghani is an artist, writer, and teacher. Her videos and installations have been exhibited internationally, most recently at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel and Kabul, MoMA in New York, and the Sharjah Biennial 10. Her public and participatory projects have been staged in Berlin, Amsterdam, Buffalo, Detroit, New York and online. Her texts have been published in, among others, Mousse, Pavilion, Filmmaker, The New York Review of Books, and the Radical History Review. Her ongoing collaborations include work with media archive pad.ma, choreographer Erin Kelly, anthropologist Ashraf Ghani, and artist Chitra Ganesh, as the roving archive Index of the Disappeared. She is currently a visiting scholar at NYU’s Asian Pacific Institute.

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Does Democracy Have a Visual Culture?

Jennifer Gonzalez (US)

Political theories of democracy generally define the term abstractly according to a set of relations among people that are cultural, legal, participatory and voluntary. Over the past decade we have seen repeated claims that democracy also has a visual component, that, in fact, democracy looks like something. Activists and government officials make this claim; artists and historians substantiate this claim. It seems possible to argue, therefore, that a visual culture of democracy exists. If democracy looks like something, what does it look like? Who gets to decide? How and where do bodies appear, or disappear? What can we learn from looking at early visualizations of the democratic process? What is at stake, politically, in the current battle over articulating new visual forms of democracy? How is the look of democracy tied to the feel of democracy, and why might this connection be important?

Jennifer A. González
is Associate Professor in the History of Art and Visual Culture Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her critical writings have appeared in numerous periodicals and journals including Frieze, Bomb, and Art Journal. Her book Subject to Display: Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art (MIT Press, 2008) was a finalist for the Charles Rufus Morey book award. She teaches in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, NY, and has received numerous fellowships, including from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Ford Foundation. In 2012-2013 she is affiliated with the Centre de l’histoire et theorie des arts, EHESS, Paris.

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Absolute Transfutures

Miguel López (PE)

An “absolute democracy” requires us to shape our own histories. Any radical transformation of the system demands that we establish new territories and narratives for subjectivities and bodies that have been, for a long time, outside history. I would like to consider here one of the most remarkable examples of this rewriting of the past: the “Museo Travesti del Perú” (“Transvestite Museum of Peru”), founded by the artist and drag queen Giuseppe Campuzano (b. 1969). This museum is a portable collection of objects (masks, wax Virgins, high heels), appropriated images, press clippings and artworks. The project, halfway between performance and historical research, proposes a critical rereading of the so-called “History of Peru” from the perspective of mixed-race transvestite natives. Here transgender, transvestite, transsexual, intersex and androgynous figures are posited as central actors and the main political subjects for any construction of genuine and democratic futures.

Miguel A. López (Lima, 1983) is writer, artist and researcher. He is an active member, since its foundation in 2007, of the Southern Conceptualisms Network / Red Conceptualismos del Sur (RCS). He has published his writing in newspapers and periodicals such as Afterall, ramona, Manifesta Journal, Tercer Texto, The Exhibitionist, Artecontexto, and Papers d’Art. He is co-curator (with RCS) of “Perder la Forma Humana. Una imagen sísmica de los años 80 en América Latina” at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2012–2013), among others. During 2012-2013 he is guest-curator at Lugar a Dudas, an independent art space in Cali, Colombia.

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Communal Living
Nikolay Oleynikov (RU)

Several years ago, Nikolay Oleynikov initiated a series of obshchezhitie projects grounded in collective creative living [obshchezhitie is Russian for “communal living”]. Since then, bringing together practitioners from different fields and organizing temporary communities in constant dialogue, has become an essential element of his artistic practice. This initiative was elaborated and developed in the work of the Chto Delat group and supported by other collectives, and have now taken the shape of experimental non-stop seminars, congress-communes or learning plays. At this stage it makes sense to summarize the experiences we have had and to attempt to examine the different perspectives for this experiment, which has offered “creative workers” and “workers in the field of cultural production” a direction for making sense of their position in society, given them the impulse to engage in critical self-education at a local level, and to reframe the question of a rapprochement between political and creative practices.

Oleynikov likes to think about collective practices as a sort of dance. The aesthetic power of the body language common to public gatherings, protests and assemblies is a kind of “dance” logic, very similar to “contact improvisation.” As Oleynikov was thinking about his “performative” presentation for “Absolute Democracy,” the memory of his Soviet past came to mind and specially the practice of “industrial gymnastics.” Everyone was obliged to make some easy warming-up physical exercises during the work day, despite what industry the worker was involved in, or whether they did physical or intellectual labor, were service workers or creative workers. During his presentation at this conference the audience will make a collective industrial ballet together. A volunteer will lead a simple and slow exercise sequence as Oleynikov talks about collective practices, durational seminars, learning plays, learning murals and the Soviet tradition of communal life practices.

Nikolay Oleynikov (1976) is a Moscow-based artist and activist and member of Chto Delat, an editor of Chto Delat’s newspaper, and co-founder of the Learning Film Group and the May Congress of Creative Workers. He is known for his didactic murals and graphic works that draw on the traditions of the Soviet monumental school, comics, Surrealism and punk culture. Represented worldwide by his solo projects as well as by a number of collective works, Oleynikov has had numerous international shows at such venues as Fargfabriken, Stockholm; Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris – MAM/ARC; Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella; Museo dell Arte Contemporaneo Luiggi Pecci, Prato; the X Baltic Triennale, Vilnius; Welling School, London; the State Tretyakov Gallery and Paperworks Gallery, Moscow.

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Carlos Motta (Introduction/Moderator) is a multidisciplinary artist whose work has been presented internationally in venues such as New Museum, Guggenheim Museum and MoMA/PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá; Serralves Museum, Porto; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; San Francisco Art Institute; and Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin. Motta is currently working on a performative event, which will premiere on February 2013 at Tate Modern, London. Motta is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program; he was named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in 2008 and received a Creative Capital Foundation Grant in 2012. He teaches at Parsons The New School of Design and The Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.

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Session 2: Thinking Politics Freed From the State

Introduction/Moderation: Oliver Ressler (A)
Nicoline van Harskamp (NL)
Isabelle Fremeaux & John Jordan (F/UK)
Sofía Olascoaga (MX)
Marco Scotini (I)

“Thinking Politics Freed From the State” is a session devoted to presentations that imagine new democratic models independent from the State and that envision new understandings of governance and self-determination.

Yours in Solidarity
Nicoline van Harskamp (NL)

Nicoline van Harskamp will talk about the theoretical tradition of anarchism as it applies to artists with an ambition to be somehow instrumental in the world, or more specifically as it applies to herself and her work Yours in Solidarity, on show in < rotor > in Graz from September 29th, 2012.

The work of Nicoline van Harskamp (Netherlands, 1975) addresses the function and power of the spoken word, and its ability to influence perception and shape thought, both of which are instrumental to politics. Her most recent and ongoing project Yours in Solidarity, addressing the contemporary history of anarchism through a correspondence archive, was presented in different stages of completion at the Museo de Arte Contemporanea Universitario in Mexico, the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Hillary Crisp Gallery in London, Manifesta 9 in Genk, Belgium and the Shanghai Biennale. Nicoline van Harskamp was trained at the KABK in Den Haag (BA) and the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London (MA). In 2009 she won the Dutch Prix de Rome. She is a faculty member at the Sandberg Institute Amsterdam and a board member at Witte de With in Rotterdam.

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Paths Through Utopias: Everyday Life Despite Capitalism
Isabelle Fremeaux & John Jordan (F/UK)

As the storms of the financial crisis began in 2007, we set out on a journey across Europe to experience examples of post-capitalist living. For 7 months we traveled through 11 communities and projects, all of which used horizontal forms of organizing and direct forms of democracy. This ranged from a direct action climate camp to squatted villages, a free love commune to self-managed factories, an anarchist school to land reappropriated by precarious agricultural workers.

From this experience came a film-book, Pfade durch Utopia fusing reflective travel writings with an attached DVD. Whilst the book is travelogue, analyzing the communities, their practices and their histories, the film is a magic-realist road movie set in an imagined post-capitalist future. Our presentation will briefly outline the experience and how it changed our own lives and practices. Pfade durch Utopia has just been published in German by Nautilus.
http://www.edition-nautilus.de/programm/politik/buch-978-3-89401-763-7.html

Isabelle Fremeaux was a Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck College-University of London (2002-2011) until she deserted the academy. Her action research explores popular education, storytelling and creative forms of resistance.
John Jordan is an art activist. He co-founded the direct action groups Reclaim the Streets and the Clown Army, worked as a cinematographer for Naomi Klein’s The Take, co-edited the book We Are Everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anti-capitalism (Verso 2004) Together they co-founded the The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, and co-authored the film-book Pfade durch Utopia (Nautilus, 2012). They are in the process of setting up a school of art activism and Permaculture within the new collective La r.O.n.c.e (Resist, Organise, Nourish, Create, Exist) on a farm in Brittany, France.

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Between Utopia and Failure

Sofía Olascoaga (MX)

Between Utopia and Failure is an active research project-in-progress, assessing the productive tension of intentional community models developed in Mexico in past decades. The project traces the work and influence of radical thinker Ivan Ilich, through CIDOC, the intellectual community he started in Cuernavaca, and the role that model has played in the practice of many Mexican and international thinkers and artists. It also looks at Gregorio Lemercier and Sergio Méndez Arceo, who pioneered communal models of education, psychoanalysis and social movements. This critical reassessment focuses on the current relevance of the ideas and forms of organization generated between the fifties and eighties, and on their influence on several generations. The research includes the activation of dialogical platforms with direct participants, scholars, and with younger cultural producers influenced by these experiences, to discuss the pertinence of looking back at them, as a way to respond to Mexico’s disrupted social tissue.

Sofía Olascoaga (b. Mexico City, 1980) works in the intersections of art and education by activating spaces for critical thinking and collective action. Through museum education, artistic practice, and curatorial initiatives seeks to engage in productive ways of questioning and experimenting on art’s social role. Olascoaga is a Curatorial Research Fellow at Independent Curators International, and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program as a Curatorial Fellow in 2010. She received her BFA from La Esmeralda National School of Fine Arts (MX). From 2007 to 2010, she was Head of Education at Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, and was Clinics Director for SITAC X Symposium in Mexico City in 2012.

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Autonomia, for example
Marco Scotini (I)

Contemporary forms of social mobilization breaking out everywhere across the planet these days assert that “there are no alternatives” possible within representative democracy. From the WTO protests in Seattle to those currently enacted by the international Occupy movement, from Zapatista to the Arab insurrections, there is an identical tension (global, chaotic, plural) transforming the world that has never ceased to act. The insurgent movements respond to the irreversible decline of the political model based on representation, to the neoliberal economy’s new hegemony and the reigning police forces, with a devastating political experimentation that dislocates the classic methods of exercising power and resists the logics of representation (political parties, ruling classes, the State). The refusal to delegate the representation of what divides us (property, wealth, power) to political parties and labor unions, and the representation of what we share (citizenship, community) to the State, has its origin in a new concept of political action brought forward by the revolution of the Seventies.

Marco Scotini is art critic and independent curator based in Milan. Director of NABA Visual, Multimedia and Performing Arts Department and M.A. of Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies. He is a Director of Gianni Colombo Archive in Milan and editor-in-chief of the magazine No Order: Art in a Post-Fordist Society, published by Archive Books, Berlin. Co-founder of Isola Art Center. His writings have been published in magazines like Springerin, Flash Art, Domus, Moscow Art Magazine, Brumaria, Fucking Good Art, Kaleidoscope and Manifesta Journal. Recent exhibitions he has curated include Gianni Colombo, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, 2009; A History of Irritated Material, Raven Row, London, 2010. Since 2005 he has been a curator of the traveling exhibition Disobedience: An Ongoing Video Archive, exhibited in Berlin, Mexico DF, Eindhoven, Nottingham, Riga, Atlanta, Boston, Umea, Copenhagen, etc.

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Oliver Ressler (Introduction/Moderator) produces exhibitions, projects in the public space, and films on issues such as economics, democracy, forms of resistance and social alternatives. His projects have been in solo exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum, USA; Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid; Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Egypt; Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery, Krakow and The Cube Project Space, Taipei. Ressler has participated in group exhibitions at MASSMoCA, USA; Itaú Cultural Institute, Sao Paulo; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven and at the biennials in Prague, Seville, Moscow, Taipei, Lyon and Gyumri. For the Taipei Biennale 2008, Ressler curated an exhibition on the anti-globalization movement, A World Where Many Worlds Fit. A show on the financial crisis, It’s the Political Economy, Stupid, co-curated with Gregory Sholette, is currently presented at Centre of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki.

Artists involved in the “Absolute Democracy” conference will also participate in the related exhibition “Absolute Democracy” at < rotor > association for contemporary art.

Opening of the exhibition: Saturday, September 29, 2012, 12 noon
Opening speech by Gerald Raunig

Participating artists: 
Julieta Aranda & Anton Vidokle, Petra Bauer, Lenin Brea & Nuria Vila, Miklós Erhardt & Claudio Feliziani, Isabelle Fremeaux & John Jordan, Mariam Ghani, Carles Guerra, Nicoline van Harskamp, Jim Hubbard, Vladan Jeremic & Rena Rädle, Alejandro Landes, Nikolay Oleynikov, Fernando Solanas, Ultra-red

Curated by: Carlos Motta & Oliver Ressler

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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.

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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).

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Oliver Ressler: Resist to Exist

Resist to Exist

A project in public space in Copenhagen
by Oliver Ressler

The project Resist to Exist consists of two elements, which are presented next to each other within sight of the S-train station Bispebjerg in Copenhagen.

The first element of the intervention is a freestanding billboard of 366 x 244 cm that shows a photographic image with fenced-in containers of the shipping and oil conglomerate Maersk—the largest Danish corporation and the world’s largest container-shipping corporation. Containers are the most important means of transportation for goods around the globe and therefore essential for the continuation of the world-market. Major parts of the fence on the image are destroyed, as if they were taken down in an uprising.

This billboard is accompanied by 12 meters of fence placed on the lawn next to the billboard. It appears to be pieces from the extracted fence on the billboard. Concrete panels are beneath the fence, so that it is slightly above the ground. This metal structure can be used as a grill for a huge barbecue freely available to the public. The fence, which previously formed a barrier between a transnational corporation and the public, has been transformed into a “commons”—into something joyful, practical and meaningful where people can meet. It creates an image for the dispossession of the “republic of property” through the “multitude of the poor” that emerges “at the center of the project for revolutionary transformation” (1).

According to the social theorist David Harvey, the main achievement of neoliberalization has been to redistribute, rather than generate, wealth and income. In this “accumulation by dispossession”, existing wealth is extracted by transnational corporations from areas all around the world, usually from the poor or the public sector, through legal or illegal means, and most often in situations where the limits of legality are unclear. (2) The billboard imagines the reclaiming of this previously expropriated wealth, the attempt of the people to win it back.

The project Resist to Exist is a re-appropriation of activities that protagonists of social movements such as the Piqueteros practiced in the uprising during the crisis in Argentina in 2001. For them, destroying fences and re-using them as tools to prepare a meal, became an act of survival. In order to exist, boundaries between what appeared to be immovable were dismantled.

The project in Copenhagen takes place in an old railroad area, which residents from 2002 to 2007 tried to transform into a park (with barbecue areas) and cultural facilities according to their needs. The municipal officials finally forced out the residents. The project is also within view of the Føtex shopping center, one of many subsidiaries of Maersk.

Resist to Exist pursues the question whether an activist practice—which was performed in a specific historical situation—can gain a new relevance in this current situation, where not a single state, but the capitalist system as a whole is in crisis.

The project will open with a free barbecue for everyone at 3:00 pm on July 30 and remain in place until August 21, 2011. During this period, it is open to everyone to use for meetings and barbecues at any time.

The project was done during a residency at ANA – Astrid Noack’s Atelier (www.astrid-noack.dk) in Copenhagen in July 2011, supported by Statens Kunstråd, Nørrebro Lokaludvalg and BM:UKK.

Credits: Kirsten Dufour (ANA, YNKB), Katrine Skovgaard (ANA), Biba Fibiger, Andreas Lykke Jensen, John Jordan, Bjørn O., Katarzyna Winiecka.

(1) Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt: Commonwealth, Cambridge, 2009, p. 55
(2) Ibid., p. 230 – 231

For a German text please visit: http://www.ressler.at/de/resist_to_exist/

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