Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
by Felix Vogel
"It is because of this already existing web of human relationships, with its innumerable, conflicting wills and intentions, that action almost never achieves its purpose; but it is also because of this medium, in which action alone is real, that it 'produces' stories with or without intention as naturally as fabrication produces tangible things. These stories may then be recorded in documents and monuments, they may be visible in use objects or art works, they may be told and retold and worked into all kinds of material."
Hannah Arendt: The Human Condition (1958)
Is there a difference between actions and stories? The German term Handlung serves not so much as a translation for both words, but much sooner it refers to the very semantic level. It is impossible to differentiate 'actions' from 'stories', both meanings are intrinsically linked to each other and generate each other. It is exactly this ambiguity of Handlung that should be stressed here and be made productive. The 4th Bucharest Biennale suggests an experimental set-up to scrutinize different modes of action, possible courses and capabilities of action. It will try to examine various stories, interweaved plots, and fictions and how all this is bound to or detached from concepts of agency. How is agency proposed and what instructions for taking action are necessary or have to be developed? We will examine practices that criticize, rewrite, correct or queer established narratives as well as yet other forms that play with the set of conditions of constructing narrations and history. It will be about the appearing of things in the blinding bright light that shines out of the public realm. With this project, we will investigate how, who, and where these possibilities of action are produced, how one can intervene in common patterns and how other and new possibilities of Handlung can be generated. In a critical manner, the set-up of this project will be based on the urban and spatial organization of Bucharest with its different historical and political layers and thus trying to examine how urban structures and architecture act as agents to allow, interdict and produce Handlungen.
Martin Beck (AT)
Kalle Brolin (SE)
Pablo Bronstein (AR/UK) & Eleonor Vonne Brown (UK)
Kaucyila Brooke (US/AT)
Elena Ciobanu (RO)
Stefan Constantinescu (RO/SE)
Claudia Cristóvaõ (AO/NL)
Angela Ferreira (MZ/PT)
Field Work / Nis Rømer & Lise Skou (DK)
Zachary Formwalt (US/NL)
Andrea Geyer (DE/US)
Charlotte Ginsborg (UK)
Ion Grigorescu (RO)
Sabrina Gschwandtner (AT/US)
Nicoline van Harskamp (NL)
Marcel Iancu (RO)
Maryam Jafri (US/PK/DK)
Alexander Kluge (DE)
Christine Meisner (DE)
Asier Mendizabal (ES)
Stina Östberg (SE)
Olivia Plender (UK) & Unnar Örn (IS)
Emily Roysdon (US)
Fia-Stina Sandlund (SE)
Lina Selander (SE)
Société Réaliste (FR/HU)
Åsa Sonjasdotter (NO)
Pilvi Takala (FI/NL)
The Otolith Group (UK)
Fereshteh Toosi (IR)
Lan Tuazon (PH)
Florin Tudor & Mona Vatamanu (RO)
Judi Werthein (AR)
Monday, May 17, 2010
TATE: NO SOUL FOR SALE // ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM // FAIR PAY FOR ARTISTS
“We don’t really cherish our artists to the degree we should.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, quoted in the Evening Standard 23.04.10
As a grouping of national and international artists, we publicly challenge No Soul For Sale (NSFS) at Tate Modern over the weekend of 14th-16th May 2010.
The title No Soul For Sale re-enforces deeply reductive stereotypes about the artist and art production. With its romantic connotations of the soulful artist, who makes art from inner necessity without thought of recompense, No Soul For Sale implies that as artists we should expect to work for free and that it is acceptable to forego the right to be paid for our labour.
It has come to our attention that many participants are not being paid by Tate Modern for their efforts. In fact, most are self-funding their activities throughout the weekend. Tate describes this situation as a “spirit of reciprocal generosity between Tate and the contributors”. But at what point does expected generosity become a form of institutional exploitation? Once it becomes endemic within a large publicly funded art space?
Reciprocal generosity is the lifeblood of independent art communities throughout the world. This spirit is not however the property of any one institution, artist or curator and it is complacent for Tate to believe that their position is comparable to ground level arts activity. It therefore seems disingenuous for Tate to claim that their hosting of NSFS is somehow altruistic or philanthropic. Tate publicly has the most to gain, yet we have discovered that Tate’s reciprocity does not even extend to the provision of basic resources, such as the use of chairs and tables for some of the participants in NSFS. Tate will commercially benefit from NSFS through increased audiences and the inevitable increase in the sale of books, magazines, merchandise, refreshments, donations and exhibition entry fees. Is the nature of this exchange really occurring on a level playing field? Is the relationship as reciprocal as it could be?
As many of us in Making A Living have worked with Tate and other major art galleries, we understand that the expectation of free labour and self -funding is not exclusive to NSFS. During our discussions it has come to light that Tate has not paid artists for some exhibitions, workshops and events, including last year’s Tate Triennial, and that this policy has existed over a considerable period of time, long before the current economic crisis became an issue for arts institutions.
We call for an end to this poor practice and manipulation of generosity as Tate Modern celebrates its 10th birthday. We call on Tate to make public its policy in regard to artists’ fees.
If artists continue to work for free, or are expected to pay for their efforts when working with our major art institutions, then we deny opportunities to the great majority of artists who simply cannot afford to take such financial risks. Tate and other major publicly funded galleries risk spoiling their good work by unwittingly limiting their pool of future exhibiting artists to individuals who can afford to pay for the privilege, or who are content or able to work for little or no pay. If NSFS manages to start a productive conversation about this ‘elephant in the room’ then we think it may yet be described as a success.
(Making A Living: A discussion group of Arts professionals currently active across the UK)
There are as many definitions of philosophy as there are philosophers – perhaps there are even more. After three millennia of philosophical activity and disagreement, it is unlikely that we’ll reach consensus, and I certainly don’t want to add more hot air to the volcanic cloud of unknowing. What I’d like to do in the opening column in this new venture — The Stone — is to kick things off by asking a slightly different question: what is a philosopher?
As Alfred North Whitehead said, philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato. Let me risk adding a footnote by looking at Plato’s provocative definition of the philosopher that appears in the middle of his dialogue, “Theaetetus,” in a passage that some scholars consider a “digression.” But far from being a footnote to a digression, I think this moment in Plato tells us something hugely important about what a philosopher is and what philosophy does.
Socrates tells the story of Thales, who was by some accounts the first philosopher. He was looking so intently at the stars that he fell into a well. Some witty Thracian servant girl is said to have made a joke at Thales’ expense — that in his eagerness to know what went on in the sky he was unaware of the things in front of him and at his feet. Socrates adds, in Seth Benardete’s translation, “The same jest suffices for all those who engage in philosophy.”
What is a philosopher, then? The answer is clear: a laughing stock, an absent-minded buffoon, the butt of countless jokes from Aristophanes’ “The Clouds” to Mel Brooks’s “History of the World, part one.” Whenever the philosopher is compelled to talk about the things at his feet, he gives not only the Thracian girl but the rest of the crowd a belly laugh. The philosopher’s clumsiness in worldly affairs makes him appear stupid or, “gives the impression of plain silliness.” We are left with a rather Monty Pythonesque definition of the philosopher: the one who is silly.
But as always with Plato, things are not necessarily as they first appear, and Socrates is the greatest of ironists. First, we should recall that Thales believed that water was the universal substance out of which all things were composed. Water was Thales’ philosophers’ stone, as it were. Therefore, by falling into a well, he inadvertently presses his basic philosophical claim.
But there is a deeper and more troubling layer of irony here that I would like peel off more slowly. Socrates introduces the “digression” by making a distinction between the philosopher and the lawyer, or what Benardete nicely renders as the “pettifogger.” The lawyer is compelled to present a case in court and time is of the essence. In Greek legal proceedings, a strictly limited amount of time was allotted for the presentation of cases. Time was measured with a water clock or clepsydra, which literally steals time, as in the Greek kleptes, a thief or embezzler. The pettifogger, the jury, and by implication the whole society, live with the constant pressure of time. The water of time’s flow is constantly threatening to drown them.
The freedom of the philosopher consists in either moving freely from topic to topic or simply spending years returning to the same topic out of perplexity, fascination and curiosity.
By contrast, we might say, the philosopher is the person who has time or who takes time. Theodorus, Socrates’ interlocutor, introduces the “digression” with the words, “Aren’t we at leisure, Socrates?” The latter’s response is interesting. He says, “It appears we are.” As we know, in philosophy appearances can be deceptive. But the basic contrast here is that between the lawyer, who has no time, or for whom time is money, and the philosopher, who takes time. The freedom of the philosopher consists in either moving freely from topic to topic or simply spending years returning to the same topic out of perplexity, fascination and curiosity.
Pushing this a little further, we might say that to philosophize is to take your time, even when you have no time, when time is constantly pressing at our backs. The busy readers of The New York Times will doubtless understand this sentiment. It is our hope that some of them will make the time to read The Stone. As Wittgenstein says, “This is how philosophers should salute each other: ‘Take your time.’ ”. Indeed, it might tell you something about the nature of philosophical dialogue to confess that my attention was recently drawn to this passage from Theaetetus in leisurely discussions with a doctoral student at the New School, Charles Snyder.
Socrates says that those in the constant press of business, like lawyers, policy-makers, mortgage brokers and hedge fund managers, become ”bent and stunted” and they are compelled “to do crooked things. The pettifogger is undoubtedly successful, wealthy and extraordinarily honey-tongued, but, Socrates adds, “small in his soul and shrewd and a shyster.” The philosopher, by contrast, is free by virtue of his or her otherworldliness, by their capacity to fall into wells and appear silly.
Socrates adds that the philosopher neither sees nor hears the so-called unwritten laws of the city, that is, the mores and conventions that govern public life. The philosopher shows no respect for rank and inherited privilege and is unaware of anyone’s high or low birth. It also does not occur to the philosopher to join a political club or a private party. As Socrates concludes, the philosopher’s body alone dwells within the city’s walls. In thought, they are elsewhere.
This all sounds dreamy, but it isn’t. Philosophy should come with the kind of health warning one finds on packs of European cigarettes: PHILOSOPHY KILLS. Here we approach the deep irony of Plato’s words. Plato’s dialogues were written after Socrates’ death. Socrates was charged with impiety towards the gods of the city and with corrupting the youth of Athens. He was obliged to speak in court in defense of these charges, to speak against the water-clock, that thief of time. He ran out of time and suffered the consequences: he was condemned to death and forced to take his own life.
A couple of generations later, during the uprisings against Macedonian rule that followed the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.E., Alexander’s former tutor, Aristotle, escaped Athens saying, “I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy.” From the ancient Greeks to Giordano Bruno, Spinoza, Hume and right up to the shameful lawsuit that prevented Bertrand Russell from teaching at the City College of New York in 1940 on the charge of sexual immorality and atheism, philosophy has repeatedly and persistently been identified with blasphemy against the gods, whichever gods they might be. Nothing is more common in the history of philosophy than the accusation of impiety. Because of their laughable otherworldliness and lack of respect social convention, rank and privilege, philosophers refuse to honor the old gods and this makes them politically suspicious, even dangerous. Might such dismal things still happen in our happily enlightened age? That depends where one casts one’s eyes and how closely one looks.
Perhaps the last laugh is with the philosopher. Although the philosopher will always look ridiculous in the eyes of pettifoggers and those obsessed with maintaining the status quo, the opposite happens when the non-philosopher is obliged to give an account of justice in itself or happiness and misery in general. Far from eloquent, Socrates insists, the pettifogger is “perplexed and stutters.”
Of course, one might object, that ridiculing someone’s stammer isn’t a very nice thing to do. Benardete rightly points out that Socrates assigns every kind of virtue to the philosopher apart from moderation. Nurtured in freedom and taking their time, there is something dreadfully uncanny about the philosopher, something either monstrous or god-like or indeed both at once. This is why many sensible people continue to think the Athenians had a point in condemning Socrates to death. I leave it for you to decide. I couldn’t possibly judge.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The interviewees were asked to start the conversation with their opinions regarding 'difference'. While tête-à-tête travelled in and around Solitude, the conversations drifted along personal histories of why we make art, ideologies of architecture and urbanism, fundamentals of fashion, conception of cultural policies and politics of inclusion and exclusion among many things. Selim Birsel recorded the whole process in which his piece is transformed by catalyzing these talks spatially and mentally.
Selim Birsel (*1963 in Brussels/Belgium) studied visual arts in Ecole Beax-Arts Grenoble/France from 1985-1991 and in Institut des Hautes Etudes en Arts Plastique, Paris (IHEAP) 1990-1991. He lives, works as a visual artist and professor at Sabanci University in Istanbul / Turkey. During his stay at Solitude, Selim Birsel worked in collaboration with the curator, writer Ovul Durmusoglu on the Tête-à-tête: in Solitude project.
Exhibition opening: Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 8pm
The exhibition is on view from Wednesday, May 12, 2010 to Saturday, July 3, 2010
Hours: Tues-Thurs 10am-noon & 2–5:30pm, Fri 10am-noon & 2-4pm, Sat–Sun noon–5:30pm
'Show and Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material' is an enlightening reference for all those interested in both group and collective working processes, research-based exhibition-making and experimental projects that respond to social and political issues, the role played by critical space in neighbourhoods, and the negotiations between political and aesthetic action. Organised by former group members, and in keeping within Group Material's employed methods and aims, the book charts the origins, processes, developments, projects and contexts of the group's activities, and draws heavily from Group Material's archive, including original documents, photographs, drawings, correspondence, artefacts, anecdotal information and texts.
The event will take place at Kargadoor, Oudegracht 36, Utrecht. After the booklaunch, you are welcome to join us at Casco for some drinks and a view of the current exhibition of Ei Araka.We would appreciate it if you could let us know wether you intend to join us on this evening, by contacting Paul Verhoeff firstname.lastname@example.org.
'Come Alive!' is a series of discursive events organised for Casco's twentieth anniversary, that looks into the social and artistic initiatives and movements of the recent past and their related historiographical processes, alongside Casco's own.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
We seem to be so connected to each other and to everywhere, so why do we still need cultures to be transferred and exchanged in our global world? A prolific writer and lecturer working on multiculturalism among many other things, Kenan Malik, says the separation of cultures, the production of difference become even more of a mass product than an expensive Starbucks latte in global times. Does contemporary art have an educational mission here in the process of transfer and exchange? In this state, can we really work as artists, curators, writers without being read through our identities, our backgrounds, where we come from? We are all involved in this process of difference production in the cultural field.
To see culture production as separate from politics is naive. The affinities have become even stronger as the potential of culture in the accumulation of global capital is discovered. The examples range from the proliferation of biennials around the world promoted by city administrators and bureaucrats to European Cultural Capital projects and to the construction of the island of Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi hosting the new Guggenheim and Louvre museums. For some theorists, globalization is more a narrative than a reality that organizes not only our history but also our contemporary life. As a clear and coherent process, it is ideology. For this reason, the above mentioned questions cannot be answered without touching on the issues of contemporary, globalization ideology, the critiques of multiculturalism, the production of difference as an ideological tool.
In an article written as reaction to the discussion of accepting sheriat as a viable law form for Muslim people in Britain, Kenan Malik wittily clarifies a large picture of the difference discourse led by multiculturalists. While saying humans as culture bearing creatures they are to view as social, transformative beings; humans having to bear a particular culture disavows such a transformative capacity: “It implies that every human being is so shaped by a particular culture that to change or undermine that culture would be to undermine the very dignity of that individual.” He argues that multiculturalism becomes no less than old-fashioned than racism in this respect.
Malik’s view presents one side of the picture while a very recent referendum in Switzerland banning the constructions of minarets clarifies another. 57 percent is a victory for the rightist Swiss People’s Party and another small religious party who proposed inserting a single sentence banning the construction of minarets to the constitution that guarantees the freedom of religion. An article in the New York Times says “The result came after a controversial campaign that played aggressively on the same fears of Muslim immigration and the spread of Islamic values that already resonate in other European countries.” One of the aggressive strategies used by SPP was an interactive computer game called „Minarett-Attack”.
10.05 – 05.06.2010
Açılış Opening: / 18.30
KORİDOR Konuşması Talk: / 16.00
İstiklal Caddesi, Nuri Ziya Sokak No 7 Beyoğlu İstanbul
Salıdan Cumartesiye - From Thursday to Saturday 14.00 - 18.00
BAS, sanatçı kitapları sergi ve konuşma serisine 1988-1995 yılları arasında oluşumunu sürdürmüş olan sanat ve felsefe gönderisi "KORİDOR GÖNDERİ-YAPIT"ın arşiv sergisiile devam ediyor.
İlk kez sekiz sayının bir arada sergileneceği bu arşiv 10 Mayıs - 5 Haziran 2010 tarihleri arasında BAS’ta görülebilecek.
KORİDOR, 1988 -1995 yılları arasında Yılmaz Aysan, Alparslan Baloğlu, Serhat Kiraz,Ahmet Öktem, Ergül Özkutan tarafından Zerrin İren Boynudelik koordinatörlüğünde hazırlanan bir “gönderi-yapıt”tır. Türkiye’de 80’li yılların sonundan 90’ların ortalarına kadar çıkan kendinden örgütlü bu sanat-felsefe gönderisi varlığını süreli izleyicilerinin desteği ile sürdürmüştür. Sanatçıyla izleyici arasında doğrudan bir iletişim kurma yöntemi geliştirmeye çalışmıştır. Başlangıçta yılda dört kez çıkması amaçlanan KORİDOR, zaman içinde abone sayısına göre hazırlanan yıllık bir gönderi-yapıt olmuştur.
KORİDOR arşivi, aralarında Oruç Aruoba, Canan Beykal, , Aydan Murtezaoğlu, Ahmet Müderrisoğlu, Faruk Ulay gibi pratikleri birbirinden farklı birçok sanatçı tarafından gerçekleştirilen basılı malzeme, ses kaydı, çeşitli nesne yapıtların yanı sıra inceleme, çeviri ve derlemelerin “dosyalandığı“ KORİDOR Örnek Sayı (1988), KORİDOR 1 (1989), KORİDOR 2(1990), KORİDOR 3 (1991), KORİDOR 4 (1992), KORİDOR 5 (1993), KORİDOR 6 (1994),KORİDOR 7 (1995)’den oluşmaktadır.
KORİDOR, basılı malzeme, süreli yayın, sınırlı sayıda yapıt kavramlarını sorgulamış, yapısı ve işleyiş biçimi itibariyle, Türkiye güncel sanatında kendinden örgütlenmeye önemli bir örnek olmuştur. Bu kapsamda tüm KORİDOR ekibi ıs Cumartesi günü bu döneme ve kollektif üretime ilişkin deneyimlerini konuşmak için BAS’ta bir araya gelecekler.
Sizleri bu sergi ve konuşma aracılığıyla KORİDOR’da olmaya davet ediyoruz.
BAS, Banu Cennetoğlu tarafından 2006'da başlatılan, sanatçı kitabı ve basılı malzemeye odaklı oluşum ve mekandır. BAS The Marmara Hotels and Residences, Foundation for Art Initiatives, BEK, Ofset Yapımevi, İstanbul Sanat Araştırmaları Derneği, ve Yavuz Parlar tarafından desteklenmektedir.
BAS is pleased to host the second event of the series of archival exhibitions and talks:KORİDOR 1988 – 1995, from 10 May to 5 June 2010.
KORİDOR is a mail art collective from Turkey that was active between 1988 and 1995. It was conceived and realized by Yılmaz Aysan, Alparslan Baloğlu, Serhat Kiraz, Ahmet Öktem, Ergül Özkutan under the coordination of Zerrin İren Boynudelik.
A very important example of self-organization in Turkish Contemporary Art, KORİDOR was also an interesting model for questioning the notion of “limited “ edition and dissemination, the idea of periodical and the production on demand.
Originally it was planned to be distributed quarterly, but in practice it turned out to become an annual production. KORİDOR has produced eight issues between 1988 and 1995: KORİDOR Sample Issue (1988), KORİDOR 1 (1989), KORİDOR 2 (1990), KORİDOR 3 (1991),KORİDOR 4 (1992), KORİDOR 5 (1993), KORİDOR 6 (1994), KORİDOR 7 (1995).
By “filing” printed matter, audio recordings, found objects and critical texts from art history, each KORİDOR contained local and international works of several artists coming from very diverse practices such as Oruç Aruoba, Canan Beykal, Daniel Buren, Aydan Murtezaoğlu, Ahmet Müderrisoğlu, Faruk Ulay…
The complete KORİDOR archive, including its eight issues will be displayed together for the first time at this exhibition.
A talk will take place at BAS, where the KORİDOR artists will be present and share their experiences about the collective.
BAS is an artist run space in Istanbul initiated by Banu Cennetoğlu where artists’ books and publications are collected, displayed and produced. BAS is supported by The Marmara Hotels and Residences, BEK, Ofset Yapımevi, Foundation for Art Initiatives and Yavuz Parlar.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Rodeo is very happy to announce a duo show by Can Altay (b.1975, Ankara) and Iman Issa (b.1979, Cairo).
While being invited with existing works that have been shown before, both artists' works are about cities of today and the intention is a dialogue between their work. But at the same time each work is given its own space.
Issa's Triptych series (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6) from 2009, is a group of six beautiful wall installations comprised of photography, video objects and texts. They are images of places she collected in New York and restaged; settings that occurred through a personal psychological process in order to reveal personal associations. As Issa says "At one point I realized that what might have attracted me to these spaces was that they reminded me of others…. In trying to be as precise as possible, I realized that the certainty with which I was able to construct and produce these images did not translate to my final photographs, that I no longer recognized my constructions."
The Triptychs surround Altay's sculpture that sits in the centre of the room. Deposit (Spring Deficit: After , After Hammons, and after the politics of white noise), is a mirror table that functions as a fountain and instead of water it circulates sand. A huge speaker becomes the foundation of the sand dune that moves and shakes according to the rhythm of the score. A fountain has obvious art historical references from to but also the Ottoman courtyards where fountains were used as sound blockages for secret sayings to stay unheard and diplomacy to flourish. A fountain in the Middle Eastern desert is rarely one of water; most common liquid flows are of oil. The mirror may be seen as a symbol for the new shiny world of Dubai, the way the western world loves to hate it and the spectacle that we are all while surrounding it looking at ourselves through its existence.