Tuesday, December 14, 2010

post thursday in london

(by peter hallward)

Shortly after Thursday’s vote, a policeman hit one of my current MA students on the head with his truncheon. He said it felt like he was struck by a solid metal bar. After being bandaged by other students and released from the kettle on account of his obvious injuries, police medics took a quick look at him, and checked that his eyes were still responding to light. According to my student, they recommended that he make his own way to his local hospital in North London, where he received stitches.
At least a dozen of the students I work with didn’t escape the kettle so quickly, and were among the thousand or so people who were eventually forced back on to Westminster Bridge shortly after 9pm, without water or toilets, without information or explanation, in the freezing cold and wind, long after the media had gone home. They were then crowded together for a couple of hours between solid lines of baton-wielding riot police. Many students say they were beaten with truncheons as they held their open hands high in the air, in the hope of calming their attackers.
“I was standing at the front of the group with nowhere to go,” Johann Hoiby, a Middlesex philosophy student, told me. “My hands were open and visible, when a riot police officer, without provocation, hit me in the face with his shield, screaming ‘get back’ when I clearly couldn’t move. The most terrifying thing was the fact that everyone was screaming that people were getting crushed, yet the police kept pushing us backwards when we had nowhere to go.”
Around the same time, one of Johann’s classmates, Zain Ahsan, was “hit in the abdominal area with a baton; I shouted back at the officer that my hands were in the air and I was being pushed by the people behind me.”
My Kingston students say they saw people having panic attacks, people seized up with asthma, people who fell under the feet of the crowd.
“The fact that there were no deaths on that bridge”, one says, “is a true miracle.”
Some students claim that they were then kicked by police as they were slowly released, single file, through a narrow police corridor. Everyone was forcibly photographed, and many of the people detained on the bridge were then taken away for questioning.
The story of one Middlesex undergraduate who used to sit in on my MA classes, Alfie Meadows, is already notorious. He received a full-on blow to the side of his skull. My partner and I found him wandering in Parliament Square a little after 6pm, pale and distraught, looking for a way to go home. He had a large lump on the right side of his head. He said he’d been hit by the police and didn’t feel well. We took one look at him and walked him towards the nearest barricaded exit as quickly as possible. It took a few minutes to reach and then convince the taciturn wall of police blocking Great George Street to let him through their shields, but they refused to let me, my partner or anyone else accompany him in search of medical help. We assumed that he would receive immediate and appropriate treatment on the other side of the police wall as a matter of course, but in fact he was left to wander off on his own, towards Victoria.
As it turns out, Alfie’s subsequent survival depended on three chance events. If his mother (a lecturer at Roehampton, who was also “contained” in Parliament Square) hadn’t received his phone call and caught up with him shortly afterwards, the odds are that he’d have passed out on the street. If they hadn’t then stumbled upon an ambulance waiting nearby, his diagnosis could have been fatally delayed. And if the driver of this ambulance hadn’t overruled an initial refusal of the A&E department of the Chelsea and Westminster hospital to look at Alfie, his transfer to the Charing Cross neurological unit for emergency brain surgery might well have come too late.

just published!

kulturprojekte berlin discussed last night

I wasn't there last night for health reasons but are things heating up in Berlin?

An open discussion on the projected “Leistungsschau junger Kunst aus Berlin” (achievement show of young artists from Berlin)

Until December 17, all Berlin based artists are requested to submit their portfolios in order to apply for the “achievement show of young artists from Berlin”, scheduled for summer 2011. 600.000 Euros from the state budget will be spent for research, curators and a catalogue – more money for the production of the show and the construction of a mobile exhibition hall in the area of Humboldthafen still has to be raised by Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH.

The idea of an “achievement show” suggests an understanding of art which is based on efficiency and effectiveness and uses the innovative potential of current artistic production for political interests. It seems that Mayor Klaus Wowereit tries to obtain arguments for the realization of “his” Kunsthalle by the sheer mass of submissions and the curatorial star-assembly for this “inventory” project – just on time for the elections in 2011.

We want to take this cultural-political maneuver as an occasion to openly discuss what we have learned from two years of Temporäre Kunsthalle, how artists react on this and other “open calls”, what it is that marks the contemporary art scene in the city – institutionally as well as on other levels –, what it is missing and how it can be supported sustainably.

With, amongst others: Ulf Aminde, Stéphane Bauer, Arno Brandlhuber, Helmut Draxler, Matthias Einhoff, Katharina Fichtner, Jörg Franzbecker, Marc Glöde, Cristina Gomez Barrio, Erik Göngrich, Elín Hansdóttir, Gabriele Horn, Philip Horst, Susanne Husse, Annette Maechtel, Doreen Mende, Wolfgang Meyer, Lise Nellemann, Anh-Linh Ngo, Marie-José Ourtilane, Katia Reich, Natascha Sadr-Haghigian, Ines Schaber, Florian Schmidt, Tanja Schomaker, Marina Sorbello, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Olaf Stüber, Felix Vogel, Scott Weaver, Antje Weitzel, Thomas Wulffen, Lena Ziese.

Initiated and moderated by Ellen Blumenstein and Florian Wüst.

Press release Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH from October 26, 2010:

New version of the Artists Open Call from November 25, 2010:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

sweet anticipation @ salzburger kunstverein

We all love the anticipation of looking forward to something special. And, in the same way, we love a story that makes us hang on every word until we find out what happens. What if we think of an exhibition as a gesture of inventing a story or stories composed of different works, images, objects and references? And what if we think of an exhibition space as the narrative basis to create a multilayered experience generating anticipation, imagination, and mystery?

“Sweet Anticipation” sets out to explore how to play with the idea of narrative in the form of exhibition making, may it be a thriller, fantasy, or love story. Formed around layers of incomplete narratives and fragments of anticipation, the exhibition wonders about the collective and personal imaginaries at work when we devise our own follow ups, actively taking part in shaping the flow of narratives. As a supplement to the exhibition, a reading space of favorite narratives selected by the members who applied to take part in “Sweet Anticipation,” the staff, and the curator will take place to mark the sphere for the collective imagination of the Salzburger Kunstverein. (Övül Durmusoglu)

Artists: Cäcilia Brown, Katharina Gruzei,
Elisabeth Junger / Severin Weiser, Matthias Klos /
Dagmar Buhr, Marianne Lang, Sina Moser /
Joyce Rohrmoser, Katherina Olschbaur,
Bernd Oppl,Petra Polli, Markus Proschek,
Anja Ronacher / Robert Gruber, Elisabeth Schmirl, Andy Scholz, Christopher Steinweber, Beate Terfloth, Kay Walkowiak

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


From the Old School of Capitalism to the New School of Capitalism: December at Workerspunk Art School! 13-15.12!!!

In addition to the events with Zelimir Zilnik on 13.+14.12, we will coorganize a presentation on 15.12 of a book edited by Gal Kirn of the original Workers Punk University in Ljubljana (of which we are a proud Chinese fake rip).

Full announcement below.

This means there will be 3 days of activities in a row from Dec 13th to Dec 15th.

13.12 Screening of "OLD SCHOOL OF CAPITALISM", Sputnik Südstern with Zelimir Zilnik and Q+A, 19h.
The Old School of Capitalism is rooted in the first wave of workers revolts to hit Serbia since the advent of capitalism. Desperate workers bulldoze through factory gates and are devastated to discover the site looted by the bosses. Eccentrically escalating confrontations, including a melee with workers in football shoulder-pads and helmets and boss and his security force in bulletproof vests, prove fruitless. Committed young anarchists offer solidarity, take the bosses hostage. A Russian tycoon, a Wall Street trader and US VP Biden's visit to Belgrade unexpectedly complicate events that lead toward a final shock. Along the way, the film produces an increasingly complex and yet unfailingly lively account of present-day, in fact, up-to-the-minute struggles under the misery-inducing effects of both local and global capital.

14.12 DRAMA-DOCU-DRAMA - workshop on docudrama with Zelimir from 18-21h at West Germany, Büro für postpostmoderne Kommunikation- Skalitzer Straße 133 - Zentrum Kreuzberg - Berlin. We´ll screen "Crni film" and clips from "Kenedi comes home" and other works to talk about Zilniks unique form of having protagonists improvise characters based on themselves.

15.12 "NEW SCHOOL OF CAPITALISM" - discussion and book presentation on postfordism (which is the New School of Capitalism, arguably) at 19h. venue tba shortly.
Babysitting provided. (Volunteers are definitely welcome!)

Workers Punk Art School and b_books kindly invite you to the discussion *NEW SCHOOL OF CAPITALISM*, which will take place on Wednesday, 15th December, at 19h Berlin. The discussion will focus and elaborate on some theoretical and practico-political moments from the recently released book Post-Fordism and its discontents, edited by Gal Kirn and designed by Žiga Testen and Nina Støttrup Larsen, financially supported by Jan van Eyck Academy (Maastricht), Peace Institute (Ljubljana) and b_books (Berlin). *Simultaneously, baby-sitting will be organized for all precarious workers (upstairs in the bar*) that want to join the event.


Part I

19.10-19.25: Introduction: political lessons from post-fordist analysis by Gal Kirn (fellow at ICI-Berlin)
The analysis of design process of the book and reflections of fordist and post-fordist moments of the design-publication process by Žiga Testen, Nina Støttrup Larsen and Cornelia Durka.

> Part II

Shock workers as "refuse of all classes"
Exhausted and organised. Is there a politics of precarious labor? by Katja Diefenbach (b_books)

venue tba

> The event will be moderated by Boris Buden (cultural theorist)

The events with Zelimir Zilnik are coproduced with interflugs and eipcp.

'Why are we here?' - Attempt #1

I have come to this city regularly since 2005. And I have always had good reasons to come; exhibitions, workshops, studio visits, good friends and easy moods. A good friend always underlines that Berlin is an artists' city. Now that I “officially” live here, I am questioning what it does mean to live here as a curator; how to analyze what is going on in this city where many contemporary art related people reside and work from. So I decided to take some occasional short notes about the things happening and perform some writing exercises of my readings to formulate better how I am thinking and feeling about the ‘current’s of contemporary art here, and also trying to understand why we are all here.


Absalon retrospective opened in KW last Saturday. Most of the works he made are there, exhibited on all floors. Making a retrospective is always a hardcore business. An in this case the question is how to retrospectively curate an oeuvre that started to develop itself around radical transformations of dwelling, aiming to intensify the private space of living mentally and spiritually? The exhibition feels more like an inventory or an attempt of collecting together. The radicalness of Absalon’s designs, hanging between monadic and nomadic, becomes repetitive, loses its almost disturbing feeling of plainness. Wouldn’t it be great for example that the cellules were distributed over a couple of locations inside and preferably outside KW? Then people would be able to experience the sense of solitary dwelling in different surroundings, just like the artist himself who started to model and spread these cellules to six cities to be able live in his idealized, personal space when he travels?

Another fact I am still questioning is that all the models brought together were painted the same hue of white of the exhibition spaces. And it seems like they have been recently painted over. I don’t know if there was a set of instructions left by Absalon for the display of these pieces. But something felt wrong, all around surrounding white made me lose my point of reflection. The space has memory and institutions can perform that memory, not only archive it, such as learning from the artists they show, the exhibitions they make. I am thinking of Renata Lucas’ subtle and puzzling gestures in and out KW just shown recently (the way she used the material of the building, the way she connected inside and outside) and of Ahmet Ogut’s unforgettable gesture performed for 5th Berlin Biennial, a completely asphalted ground floor. Such gestures make us question the nature of the surrounding we are in and imagine their and our further possibilities. In this respect, the retrospective, though having the merit of bringing most of the produced work, small models and sketches together, unfortunately tames and domesticates Absalon’s phenomenologically devised challenges to use and function in everyday living.

#2 "Why thinking in Turkish can be a good catalyzer in Berlin?" soon