Once upon a time in London

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-27 15:07:37

0NelliotttheendisathandYC17463.jpg
Elliott Erwitt, Hyde Park. 1978

Another London, an exhibition which opened a few weeks ago at Tate Britain, reminded me of my schooldays. I was 12 and started to learn english and about the English in illustrated text books. There were the bobbies, the bowler hats, Big Ben and the changing of the guard, the red buses, the red phone boxes, the smog. Clichés that screamed Great Britain for foreigners. When i first visited London, i looked for them. I didn't spot any bowler hat but, hey, i went to Piccadilly Circus to 'see the punks'!

Another London is a collection of pictures taken in London by foreign photographers between 1930 and 1980. Either many of them read the same text book as me or they were hired to fill its pages with their images.

But the show is no postcard pictures party. It is less about the parks and monuments than it is about the Londoners. The photographs selected in the exhibition depict the social history of the city in black and white. I guess i'll never cease to be amazed by the photos of Shoreditch before the hipsters and by the sartorial audacity of Londoners (though i can't imagine anyone nowadays loitering around town with 'Destroy London" written on the back of their leather jacket.)

Here are some of the images you can see at Tate Britain. In no particular order:

0a5knorrrichon6584578993_2028869777_n.jpg
Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Roxy 4 from the Punk series 1976 © Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon

0aaaRoxy_1.jpg
Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Roxy 2 from the Punk series, 1976

aVortex_6.jpg
Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Vortex 6 from the Punk series, 1976

0asaaDestroy.jpg
Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, from the Punk series 1976 © Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon

0NeilKenlock.jpg
Neil Kenlock, "Keep Britain white" graffiti, Balham, 1972. Courtesy: Neil Kenlock; Autograph ABP

0alvanderberg1116584668993_1493378625_n.jpg
Al Vandenberg, Untitled 1975 © 2012 Al Vandenberg

0aalvandernbergcassette_al-vandenberg.jpg
Al Vandenberg, Untitled, circa 1980

0higstreetkensington.jpg
Al Vandenberg, High Street Kensington, 1976

This one wasn't in the show, i found it looking for photos by Al Vandenberg:

0newwaveamee8s9s9.jpg
Al Vandenberg, Fulham Broadway, 1980s. The Victoria and Albert Museum

0mariodebiasiLondon-1975-014.jpg
Mario di Biasi, London, 1975

0amikeeghanpiccadilly.jpg
James Barnor, Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus, London, 1967

0aaqueensguardsmarching4_DSC1185.jpg
Bruce Davidson, Queen's guard marching, 1960. Courtesy: Bruce Davidson; Magnum Photos


0Bishopsgate-road-Paddingt-008.jpg
Wolfgang Suschitzky, Bishopsgate Road, Paddington, London, 1934

0Near-Monument-Station-Lon-009.jpg
Wolfgang Suschitzky, Near Monument Station, London, 1938

0From-St-Pauls-1942--008.jpg
Wolfgang Suschitzky, From St Paul's, 1942

0bragainpricesD64x734.jpg
Lutz Dille, Untitled, 1961

0arcaids600064x752.jpg
Lutz Dille, Untitled, 1962

0aSunday-Petticoat-Lane-Mar-001.jpg
Dorothy Bohm; Petticoat Lane Market, East End, London, circa 1960

0Bohm__Petticoat_La_2279320i.jpg
Dorothy Bohn, Sunday, Petticoat Lane Market, London, c 1960

0marketabreadwoman993_1653870162_n.jpg
Markéta Luskacová, Woman and man with bread, Spitafields, London 1976 © Markéta Luskacová

0arcartierbresson05DC-939_470x604.jpg
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Waiting in Trafalgar Square for the coronation parade of King George VI, 12 May 1937 (more in May 12th, Coronation of King George VI)

0robertfrank-cityoflondon1951.jpg
Robert Frank, City of London, 1951

The photographs come from a collection created over 20 years by Eric and Louise Franck. Most of them were donated by the couple to the Tate. I hope that means that Tate is going to pay even more attention to photography in the coming years.

Another London is at Tate Britain until 16 September 2012.
Photo on the homepage: Milon Novotny, Middlesex Market, 1966.

Read more »

Once upon a time in London

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-27 15:07:37

0NelliotttheendisathandYC17463.jpg
Elliott Erwitt, Hyde Park. 1978

Another London, an exhibition which opened a few weeks ago at Tate Britain, reminded me of my schooldays. I was 12 and started to learn english and about the English in illustrated text books. There were the bobbies, the bowler hats, Big Ben and the changing of the guard, the red buses, the red phone boxes, the smog. Clichés that screamed Great Britain for foreigners. When i first visited London, i looked for them. I didn't spot any bowler hat but, hey, i went to Piccadilly Circus to 'see the punks'!

Another London is a collection of pictures taken in London by foreign photographers between 1930 and 1980. Either many of them read the same text book as me or they were hired to fill its pages with their images.

But the show is no postcard pictures party. It is less about the parks and monuments than it is about the Londoners. The photographs selected in the exhibition depict the social history of the city in black and white. I guess i'll never cease to be amazed by the photos of Shoreditch before the hipsters and by the sartorial audacity of Londoners (though i can't imagine anyone nowadays loitering around town with 'Destroy London" written on the back of their leather jacket.)

Here are some of the images you can see at Tate Britain. In no particular order:

0a5knorrrichon6584578993_2028869777_n.jpg
Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Roxy 4 from the Punk series 1976 © Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon

0aaaRoxy_1.jpg
Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Roxy 2 from the Punk series, 1976

aVortex_6.jpg
Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Vortex 6 from the Punk series, 1976

0asaaDestroy.jpg
Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, from the Punk series 1976 © Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon

0NeilKenlock.jpg
Neil Kenlock, "Keep Britain white" graffiti, Balham, 1972. Courtesy: Neil Kenlock; Autograph ABP

0alvanderberg1116584668993_1493378625_n.jpg
Al Vandenberg, Untitled 1975 © 2012 Al Vandenberg

0aalvandernbergcassette_al-vandenberg.jpg
Al Vandenberg, Untitled, circa 1980

0higstreetkensington.jpg
Al Vandenberg, High Street Kensington, 1976

This one wasn't in the show, i found it looking for photos by Al Vandenberg:

0newwaveamee8s9s9.jpg
Al Vandenberg, Fulham Broadway, 1980s. The Victoria and Albert Museum

0mariodebiasiLondon-1975-014.jpg
Mario di Biasi, London, 1975

0amikeeghanpiccadilly.jpg
James Barnor, Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus, London, 1967

0aaqueensguardsmarching4_DSC1185.jpg
Bruce Davidson, Queen's guard marching, 1960. Courtesy: Bruce Davidson; Magnum Photos


0Bishopsgate-road-Paddingt-008.jpg
Wolfgang Suschitzky, Bishopsgate Road, Paddington, London, 1934

0Near-Monument-Station-Lon-009.jpg
Wolfgang Suschitzky, Near Monument Station, London, 1938

0From-St-Pauls-1942--008.jpg
Wolfgang Suschitzky, From St Paul's, 1942

0bragainpricesD64x734.jpg
Lutz Dille, Untitled, 1961

0arcaids600064x752.jpg
Lutz Dille, Untitled, 1962

0aSunday-Petticoat-Lane-Mar-001.jpg
Dorothy Bohm; Petticoat Lane Market, East End, London, circa 1960

0Bohm__Petticoat_La_2279320i.jpg
Dorothy Bohn, Sunday, Petticoat Lane Market, London, c 1960

0marketabreadwoman993_1653870162_n.jpg
Markéta Luskacová, Woman and man with bread, Spitafields, London 1976 © Markéta Luskacová

0arcartierbresson05DC-939_470x604.jpg
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Waiting in Trafalgar Square for the coronation parade of King George VI, 12 May 1937 (more in May 12th, Coronation of King George VI)

0robertfrank-cityoflondon1951.jpg
Robert Frank, City of London, 1951

The photographs come from a collection created over 20 years by Eric and Louise Franck. Most of them were donated by the couple to the Tate. I hope that means that Tate is going to pay even more attention to photography in the coming years.

Another London is at Tate Britain until 16 September 2012.
Photo on the homepage: Milon Novotny, Middlesex Market, 1966.

Read more »

Interview with 'We Colonised the Moon'

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-24 10:50:11

0aWCTM_001.jpg
Space Maintenance / Lost in Space, 2012. Installation view at EB&Flow, London

Time machines, false memory, earthly landscape, moon rock gardening, flying saucers, lunacy, galactic adventures and the occasional rabbit. That's the world sketched by Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser. Roughly speaking, Sue is a printmaker and Hagen is a 'New New Media' artist but together they are more than the sum of their parts, they are We Colonised the Moon.

The work of WCTM is clever and nonsensical, dreamy and rooted in techno-scientific experiments. It is driven by its own logic. I'm not sure that the interview below is going to lift the whole mystery behind their work but i certainly had a lot of fun in the attempt.


Authentic Goods from a Realistic Future, at EB&Flow, London

Hello Sue and Hagen! I discovered your work a year ago, when you were showing '101 Harmless Scientific Experiments To Try At Home' at the Acme Project Space in London but you've obviously worked on many ideas and projects right after that. What are you up to this Summer?

Sue: This summer we have had two shows running, at EB&Flow in London and Villa Rosenthal in Germany. The shows are both mostly dealing with work we have done together over the last couple of years. Most recently we have been working on ideas about astronaut training and space maintenance, shooting a lot of videos and building moon rocks out of authentic moon dust simulant.

Hagen: This is definitely the direction we are focusing on now. Installation, video projection, artefacts, movement and performance. We started more 2D for sure because we came together through making graphic work, we continue to make prints but most of the time we're working on installations now.

0aWCTM_002.jpg
Taste of the Universe, 2012. Villa Rosenthal, Jena

You come from different backgrounds. Sue is involved in printmaking and illustration while Hagen used to work mostly with video and conceptual art. How did you two get to work together?

Sue: Pure accident. We literally bumped into each other at a bus stop in Norway. Hagen was in a residency programme at the Nordic Artists' Center in Dale (NDK) and I was visiting to make a short illustration project about forests and star constellations there.

0aperformerCTM_003.jpg
At NKD, Norway, 2008

papierrondCTM_004.jpg
At NKD, Norway, 2008

Hagen: It all started a bit like RUN DMC and Aerosmith working together as studio neighbours.
When I met Sue I had just finished a DIY particle collision experiment in my studio. Whilst the first beam of the Large Hadron Collider was fired I was riding my bike in circles over wet paint for ages until I was hell dizzy!

0aamontagneWCTM_005.jpg

montagneverteWCTM_006.jpg
Idyllica (Nordica)

Sue: Dale is surrounded by the most amazing Norwegian mountain and fjord landscapes. We made an expedition to Sognefjellet, a Photoshop perfect wilderness, and had endless discussions about how reality is constructed. In the process we discovered some shared interests. We both had backgrounds in science and media. My parents were chemists. Hagen was a junior astronomer in an observatory close to Heidelberg in Germany. I worked for a spell in advertising and multimedia. Hagen had been an art director for a design agency.

Hagen: Through endless hikes and talks about The Clangers, YPS, Blue Peter, Particles, Heinz von Foerster, Constructivist epistemology and so on somehow we came to the point where we thought it could be an interesting idea to work on a project together.

Sue: The ideas we generated during this trip were so fun that I definitely wanted to work like this more. And it was obvious Hagen had absolutely no idea about printmaking!

Hagen: True. I thought only about my little A4 laser jet. Oh boy :) But she convinced me the quick cartoon style sketches I make for my works would work really well as silkscreens. So this is how a nature encounter, theory, two different illustration styles, childhood interests, professional skills and ink became the starting point for our collaboration ... and even our name WE COLONISED THE MOON is made in Norway. Out of this small joint illustration / print project it became now an ongoing and growing collaboration since 2008.

0M_007lapins.jpg
Approved for all Ages, 2008-2010

You've '(re-)created' the smell of the moon in at least two exhibitions. How did you do that? How much of the result is the fruit of your imagination? Is this a pleasant smell?

Sue: Astronaut Charlie Duke, the tenth man to walk on the moon, said it was not unpleasant. The Apollo astronauts were drawn from the military. I think they knew what they were talking about when they likened the smell to gunpowder. Naturally this is their frame of reference but that's how we all interpret sensory information. I like the smell of burnt matches myself.

Hagen: No one can smell the moon directly of course. The vacuum in space prohibits this. But this gritty tacky meteor bombarded dust on the surface gets on to their spacesuits and back into the LEM. Then there is this massive reaction with oxygen and moisture. The loose molecules go off like firecrackers and generate the smell they experienced.

Sue: So, we had the smell synthesised by Steve Pearce, a chemist who is an international aroma expert in the UK. He makes flavours and smells commercially for his own company and had been approached by NASA some years ago to work on the smell of space for astronaut training.

Hagen: What's attractive to us about this phenomena is the strong link between smell and memory and the association with place, whether it's real or imagined is actually the crux the work we make hangs on.

Sue: Curator Caro Verbeek from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam knew we were working on the idea of space aromas and asked us to make a piece for her for the event "Do It Smell It" on olfactory art in 2010. We came up with the idea of a scratch and sniff postcard from the moon. A momento from a place most people will never go. A fictional memory.

0aWmoonCTM_008.jpg
Moon Scratch Sniff, 2010

Hagen: Then in 2011 for a commission from The Arts Catalyst and FACT Liverpool we created an installation for the exhibition Republic of the Moon. Visitors could enter (on own risk) a film-set like test chamber. Periodically an astronaut resprayed an array of "authentic" moon rocks with synthesised lunar aroma. As longer you stayed in the environment as more you got pollinated with moon smell. After you left, the smell travelled for several hours with you on your clothes out into the city.

Sue: At the moment we are also doing a lot of "Live Moon Smellings" using helium balloons and pins! We have enough smell left to pollinate an area twice the size of the Olympic stadium.


Enter at Own Risk, 2011 at FACT, Liverpool

What's behind the name We Colonised the Moon?
Do you feel bound to do certain types of works that involve science, space because of it? If, for example, you'd decide to develop vegan cooking projects one day, would you do it under a different name?

Sue: I guess it's really a kind of band name. A comment one of us made when we saw how lunar the glacier region we visited in Norway looked. It just stuck.

Hagen: The truth is the name comes from an encounter with an electricity pylon. Surrounded by this pristine wilderness the pylon looked like the first man made structure on a virgin planet -- which more or less then created the idea that this might be what it looks like when we start to colonise the moon.

Sue: So no, we're not necessarily all about science or space or pylons. We just started there.

0WpylonesCTM_014.jpg
The WCTM Pylon, somewhere around Sognefjellet, Norway, 2008

By the way, Hagen can you tell us what are the scope, objectives and functions of the Institute of General Theory?

Hagen:

The Institute of General Theory is a project of indeterminate duration, for anything. It operates in an undefined area, in the grey zone where there is no distinction between fiction and science, art and craft, independent work and self exploitation; between game, experiment and paid work, between experimental and studio space, or between museum and university.
Jean-Baptiste Joly, Akademie Schloss Solitude, 2007.

After I graduated in 2001 at Merz Akademie Stuttgart, the Institute of General Theory became, besides my daily agency design job, my independent playground for experimental projects. Then, when I became a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2005 the Institute turned into my full time artistic career. It's my operational format and combines pretty much everything I am interested in since early childhood until today in a professional dilettante way.

aaaaageneraltherorCTM_010.jpg
Institute of General Theory, 2007, at Hall Farm, Vermont, USA

I have another question for you, Hagen, your short bio says that your "artistic practice is exploring the gaps and connections between art and science to create New New Media." I sometimes write about the connections between art and science so i'm interested in your mentioning of the gaps between them? What are the most interesting/fascinating gaps between art and science? And should they remain gaps or should they somehow be made to disappear?

0aWschemaCTM_011.jpg

Hagen: Working with scientists is mostly fun and generates often interesting results for both sides. But academic artistic research makes me grumpy! There is a lot of art-science-art, science-art-science that takes itself way too serious that even tumbleweed would stop to roll. New New Media is Post Artistic Research, liberated from University fantasies about how things should be done according to the most recently developed textbooks.

Sue: I grew up with the Clangers and Blue Peter and a DIY attitude to life. What I like about the way Hagen operates is I can walk right in and join in without worrying if we do it right. Misunderstanding is actually even productive.

Hagen: In the last couple of years there is so much sophisticated theory that it is sometime hard to see the art behind it. I am not saying my own work is not based on mountains of theory but I like to offer the observer first an enjoyable view and if he wants he can go and discover as much more as he wants in my landscape and not the other way around.

Sue: This suits me too. I think theory like technology should not be the thing you notice first.

0aorangesuitCTM_012.jpg
101 (Mostly) Harmless (Almost) Scientific Experiments to Try At Home (video)

Last summer, you were showing 101 (Almost) Harmless (Mostly) Scientific Experiments to Try at Home in London. Could you share some of them with us?
And explain us how we could replicate one or two of them home too?

Hagen: Haha! The biggest experiment was definitely being holed up together for two months in ACME Project Space, a studio in Bethnal Green. Two options, homicide or art.

Sue: Indeed! Normally we work together on and off for say a couple of weeks max at a time and in between the work goes on online. This was altogether a different experience.

Hagen: The project was inspired actually by a children's book on science from the 1950s I think. You know the kind of thing. Make Your Own Atomic Bomb in 5 Easy Lessons.

Sue: What people want to get up to in the privacy of their own homes is their business. Mostly I guess it does not involve black holes but I think amateur science is a great tradition which should be encouraged. So we decided to tackle anti-gravity with an electric hoist, built our own design for a future satellite disguised as an asteroid and began a campaign against cosmic rays.

Hagen: From what I learnt the Scottish Enlightenment seems to have taken place mostly in the pubs of Leith. I have no problem with that. Dilettantism was always a powerful driving force for progress and only in recent times has it become this negative aftertaste. I am very happy to be a professional Dilettante!


101 (Mostly) Harmless (Almost) Scientific Experiments to Try At Home

Any upcoming projects, exhibition, residency, public presentation you could share with us?

Sue: The next thing we are definitely participating in this year is a special three day "Kosmica" festival at Laboratorio Arte Alameda with curator Nahum Mantra in Mexico City. "Republic of the Moon" will also travel on from Liverpool too and some more actions are in the pipeline.

Hagen: Also in September my latest work as the Institute of General Theory, "A Bucket full of Particles" will be part of On Dilettantism a wonderful show curated by Frank Motz at Halle 14, at Spinnerei in Leipzig, Germany.

... and of course ... (say it loud now!) ... NO COSMIC RAYS!

0WCosmicraysTM_013.jpg
NO COSMIC RAYS, 2012

Thanks Sue and Hagen!

Authentic Goods from a Realistic Future is at EB&Flow, London until 1st September, 2012
Coming up:
On Dilettantism, Halle14, Spinnerei, Leipzig will open on 15th September and run till 18th November, 2012. It does look like a wonderful show indeed.
Kosmica Mexico will land at Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, from 27th to 29th September, 2012
"Space Adventures #1" at Villa Rosenthal closed a few days ago.

Read more »

Interview with 'We Colonised the Moon'

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-24 10:50:11

0aWCTM_001.jpg
Space Maintenance / Lost in Space, 2012. Installation view at EB&Flow, London

Time machines, false memory, earthly landscape, moon rock gardening, flying saucers, lunacy, galactic adventures and the occasional rabbit. That's the world sketched by Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser. Roughly speaking, Sue is a printmaker and Hagen is a 'New New Media' artist but together they are more than the sum of their parts, they are We Colonised the Moon.

The work of WCTM is clever and nonsensical, dreamy and rooted in techno-scientific experiments. It is driven by its own logic. I'm not sure that the interview below is going to lift the whole mystery behind their work but i certainly had a lot of fun in the attempt.


Authentic Goods from a Realistic Future, at EB&Flow, London

Hello Sue and Hagen! I discovered your work a year ago, when you were showing '101 Harmless Scientific Experiments To Try At Home' at the Acme Project Space in London but you've obviously worked on many ideas and projects right after that. What are you up to this Summer?

Sue: This summer we have had two shows running, at EB&Flow in London and Villa Rosenthal in Germany. The shows are both mostly dealing with work we have done together over the last couple of years. Most recently we have been working on ideas about astronaut training and space maintenance, shooting a lot of videos and building moon rocks out of authentic moon dust simulant.

Hagen: This is definitely the direction we are focusing on now. Installation, video projection, artefacts, movement and performance. We started more 2D for sure because we came together through making graphic work, we continue to make prints but most of the time we're working on installations now.

0aWCTM_002.jpg
Taste of the Universe, 2012. Villa Rosenthal, Jena

You come from different backgrounds. Sue is involved in printmaking and illustration while Hagen used to work mostly with video and conceptual art. How did you two get to work together?

Sue: Pure accident. We literally bumped into each other at a bus stop in Norway. Hagen was in a residency programme at the Nordic Artists' Center in Dale (NDK) and I was visiting to make a short illustration project about forests and star constellations there.

0aperformerCTM_003.jpg
At NKD, Norway, 2008

papierrondCTM_004.jpg
At NKD, Norway, 2008

Hagen: It all started a bit like RUN DMC and Aerosmith working together as studio neighbours.
When I met Sue I had just finished a DIY particle collision experiment in my studio. Whilst the first beam of the Large Hadron Collider was fired I was riding my bike in circles over wet paint for ages until I was hell dizzy!

0aamontagneWCTM_005.jpg

montagneverteWCTM_006.jpg
Idyllica (Nordica)

Sue: Dale is surrounded by the most amazing Norwegian mountain and fjord landscapes. We made an expedition to Sognefjellet, a Photoshop perfect wilderness, and had endless discussions about how reality is constructed. In the process we discovered some shared interests. We both had backgrounds in science and media. My parents were chemists. Hagen was a junior astronomer in an observatory close to Heidelberg in Germany. I worked for a spell in advertising and multimedia. Hagen had been an art director for a design agency.

Hagen: Through endless hikes and talks about The Clangers, YPS, Blue Peter, Particles, Heinz von Foerster, Constructivist epistemology and so on somehow we came to the point where we thought it could be an interesting idea to work on a project together.

Sue: The ideas we generated during this trip were so fun that I definitely wanted to work like this more. And it was obvious Hagen had absolutely no idea about printmaking!

Hagen: True. I thought only about my little A4 laser jet. Oh boy :) But she convinced me the quick cartoon style sketches I make for my works would work really well as silkscreens. So this is how a nature encounter, theory, two different illustration styles, childhood interests, professional skills and ink became the starting point for our collaboration ... and even our name WE COLONISED THE MOON is made in Norway. Out of this small joint illustration / print project it became now an ongoing and growing collaboration since 2008.

0M_007lapins.jpg
Approved for all Ages, 2008-2010

You've '(re-)created' the smell of the moon in at least two exhibitions. How did you do that? How much of the result is the fruit of your imagination? Is this a pleasant smell?

Sue: Astronaut Charlie Duke, the tenth man to walk on the moon, said it was not unpleasant. The Apollo astronauts were drawn from the military. I think they knew what they were talking about when they likened the smell to gunpowder. Naturally this is their frame of reference but that's how we all interpret sensory information. I like the smell of burnt matches myself.

Hagen: No one can smell the moon directly of course. The vacuum in space prohibits this. But this gritty tacky meteor bombarded dust on the surface gets on to their spacesuits and back into the LEM. Then there is this massive reaction with oxygen and moisture. The loose molecules go off like firecrackers and generate the smell they experienced.

Sue: So, we had the smell synthesised by Steve Pearce, a chemist who is an international aroma expert in the UK. He makes flavours and smells commercially for his own company and had been approached by NASA some years ago to work on the smell of space for astronaut training.

Hagen: What's attractive to us about this phenomena is the strong link between smell and memory and the association with place, whether it's real or imagined is actually the crux the work we make hangs on.

Sue: Curator Caro Verbeek from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam knew we were working on the idea of space aromas and asked us to make a piece for her for the event "Do It Smell It" on olfactory art in 2010. We came up with the idea of a scratch and sniff postcard from the moon. A momento from a place most people will never go. A fictional memory.

0aWmoonCTM_008.jpg
Moon Scratch Sniff, 2010

Hagen: Then in 2011 for a commission from The Arts Catalyst and FACT Liverpool we created an installation for the exhibition Republic of the Moon. Visitors could enter (on own risk) a film-set like test chamber. Periodically an astronaut resprayed an array of "authentic" moon rocks with synthesised lunar aroma. As longer you stayed in the environment as more you got pollinated with moon smell. After you left, the smell travelled for several hours with you on your clothes out into the city.

Sue: At the moment we are also doing a lot of "Live Moon Smellings" using helium balloons and pins! We have enough smell left to pollinate an area twice the size of the Olympic stadium.


Enter at Own Risk, 2011 at FACT, Liverpool

What's behind the name We Colonised the Moon?
Do you feel bound to do certain types of works that involve science, space because of it? If, for example, you'd decide to develop vegan cooking projects one day, would you do it under a different name?

Sue: I guess it's really a kind of band name. A comment one of us made when we saw how lunar the glacier region we visited in Norway looked. It just stuck.

Hagen: The truth is the name comes from an encounter with an electricity pylon. Surrounded by this pristine wilderness the pylon looked like the first man made structure on a virgin planet -- which more or less then created the idea that this might be what it looks like when we start to colonise the moon.

Sue: So no, we're not necessarily all about science or space or pylons. We just started there.

0WpylonesCTM_014.jpg
The WCTM Pylon, somewhere around Sognefjellet, Norway, 2008

By the way, Hagen can you tell us what are the scope, objectives and functions of the Institute of General Theory?

Hagen:

The Institute of General Theory is a project of indeterminate duration, for anything. It operates in an undefined area, in the grey zone where there is no distinction between fiction and science, art and craft, independent work and self exploitation; between game, experiment and paid work, between experimental and studio space, or between museum and university.
Jean-Baptiste Joly, Akademie Schloss Solitude, 2007.

After I graduated in 2001 at Merz Akademie Stuttgart, the Institute of General Theory became, besides my daily agency design job, my independent playground for experimental projects. Then, when I became a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2005 the Institute turned into my full time artistic career. It's my operational format and combines pretty much everything I am interested in since early childhood until today in a professional dilettante way.

aaaaageneraltherorCTM_010.jpg
Institute of General Theory, 2007, at Hall Farm, Vermont, USA

I have another question for you, Hagen, your short bio says that your "artistic practice is exploring the gaps and connections between art and science to create New New Media." I sometimes write about the connections between art and science so i'm interested in your mentioning of the gaps between them? What are the most interesting/fascinating gaps between art and science? And should they remain gaps or should they somehow be made to disappear?

0aWschemaCTM_011.jpg

Hagen: Working with scientists is mostly fun and generates often interesting results for both sides. But academic artistic research makes me grumpy! There is a lot of art-science-art, science-art-science that takes itself way too serious that even tumbleweed would stop to roll. New New Media is Post Artistic Research, liberated from University fantasies about how things should be done according to the most recently developed textbooks.

Sue: I grew up with the Clangers and Blue Peter and a DIY attitude to life. What I like about the way Hagen operates is I can walk right in and join in without worrying if we do it right. Misunderstanding is actually even productive.

Hagen: In the last couple of years there is so much sophisticated theory that it is sometime hard to see the art behind it. I am not saying my own work is not based on mountains of theory but I like to offer the observer first an enjoyable view and if he wants he can go and discover as much more as he wants in my landscape and not the other way around.

Sue: This suits me too. I think theory like technology should not be the thing you notice first.

0aorangesuitCTM_012.jpg
101 (Mostly) Harmless (Almost) Scientific Experiments to Try At Home (video)

Last summer, you were showing 101 (Almost) Harmless (Mostly) Scientific Experiments to Try at Home in London. Could you share some of them with us?
And explain us how we could replicate one or two of them home too?

Hagen: Haha! The biggest experiment was definitely being holed up together for two months in ACME Project Space, a studio in Bethnal Green. Two options, homicide or art.

Sue: Indeed! Normally we work together on and off for say a couple of weeks max at a time and in between the work goes on online. This was altogether a different experience.

Hagen: The project was inspired actually by a children's book on science from the 1950s I think. You know the kind of thing. Make Your Own Atomic Bomb in 5 Easy Lessons.

Sue: What people want to get up to in the privacy of their own homes is their business. Mostly I guess it does not involve black holes but I think amateur science is a great tradition which should be encouraged. So we decided to tackle anti-gravity with an electric hoist, built our own design for a future satellite disguised as an asteroid and began a campaign against cosmic rays.

Hagen: From what I learnt the Scottish Enlightenment seems to have taken place mostly in the pubs of Leith. I have no problem with that. Dilettantism was always a powerful driving force for progress and only in recent times has it become this negative aftertaste. I am very happy to be a professional Dilettante!


101 (Mostly) Harmless (Almost) Scientific Experiments to Try At Home

Any upcoming projects, exhibition, residency, public presentation you could share with us?

Sue: The next thing we are definitely participating in this year is a special three day "Kosmica" festival at Laboratorio Arte Alameda with curator Nahum Mantra in Mexico City. "Republic of the Moon" will also travel on from Liverpool too and some more actions are in the pipeline.

Hagen: Also in September my latest work as the Institute of General Theory, "A Bucket full of Particles" will be part of On Dilettantism a wonderful show curated by Frank Motz at Halle 14, at Spinnerei in Leipzig, Germany.

... and of course ... (say it loud now!) ... NO COSMIC RAYS!

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NO COSMIC RAYS, 2012

Thanks Sue and Hagen!

Authentic Goods from a Realistic Future is at EB&Flow, London until 1st September, 2012
Coming up:
On Dilettantism, Halle14, Spinnerei, Leipzig will open on 15th September and run till 18th November, 2012. It does look like a wonderful show indeed.
Kosmica Mexico will land at Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, from 27th to 29th September, 2012
"Space Adventures #1" at Villa Rosenthal closed a few days ago.

Read more »

dpr Barcelona - Looking for 'gaps in the thinking'

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-23 13:41:12

A few months ago, i interviewed Léopold Lambert about Weaponized Architecture, an architectural project and research that explores the power of architecture as a political weapon. The concept is illustrated by historical precedents, interviews and essays but it is also exemplified by a very precise situation: the impact of the Isreali occupation on the Palestinian built environment, in particular in the West Bank.

8a0_wa01.jpg

At the time of our conversation, Léopold was about to turn his research into a book. The publication is finally out (both in paperback and as an expanded mobile book) and its title is Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence.

It's a lovely book and one that constantly surprises the reader by the depth of the research, the thought-provoking facts and ideas brought to light, by the photos, the maps and by the graphic novel that closes the book.

I'm not going to review it. Instead, i'll take the fact that it recently landed inside my -always grateful- letterbox as an excuse to talk to Ethel Baraona Pohl and César Reyes Nájera who are both architects, bloggers and heads of dpr-Barcelona, the publishing house for Weaponized Architecture.

dpr-barcelona specializes in architecture and design books. Each of their publication is the result of a creative exchange between publisher, author or designer and the collaboration of academic experts that make most complete the overview about each project. Showing a clear innovative way to bring the contents to the public, our projects transcend the boundaries between time and space from conventional publications, approaching to those which are probably the titles of architecture in the future.

What i most admire in dpr-barcelona is that the publishing house is never afraid to question architecture, expand debates nor take risks with the way their books are presented and enjoyed.

8a0_wa101.jpg

8a0_wa05.jpg

I'm copy pasting below some extracts from my online conversation with Ethel and César, it took place just before the book was out, hence the use of the future tense:

What i most admire about dpr-Barcelona is that you don't seem to avoid politically challenging subjects. For example, when you chose to publish Situation Room, Weaponized Architecture, Un Atlas de Cartografías Radicales (the Spanish edition of An Atlas of Radical Cartography.) How do you select the books you are publishing and in some cases even translating? Do you pick up just what interest you as architects at a particular moment or do look for 'gaps' in the market?

We prefer to refer to them as gaps in the thinking. As architects we have been mostly educated through images more than ideas. Our task attempts to revert this situation by the contents we share and by the way we spread them. Coincidentally most of key issues we're facing now as civilization deals with political and economical challenging subjects. Under this scenario architects, liberated from their aesthetics constrains, could genuinely learn and collaborate with socially useful projects and ideas. We build our editorial task in that direction.

0aaa60_portada1.jpg
Situation Room, by Pablo de Soto and hackitectura

0aaaradicalcartogr2_1.jpg
Un Atlas de Cartografías Radicales by Lize Mogel & Alexis Bhagat

Why did you chose to publish Léopold Lambert's thesis for example? How did you come across his research?

Our relation started as most of the connections done in the "network": We noticed and follow Leopold's work since he was editing the blog Boiteaoutils. We found quite interesting mostly all of the issues he deals at the blog and finally we got in touch in 2009 to publish his project Kili No Nara in our blog. From there our connection was going beyond the blogroll, so when we published Lost in the Line, we realized that it was part of a bigger project: Weaponized Architecture.

While exploring the research done by Léopold, we realized that it was a job worth spreading to a different level. Placing its research and proposal in the West Bank, Lambert expands politically the field of architecture narratives, integrating design as a weapon within the scene of the Palestinian struggle. Here we see an act of architectural disobedience, a way to resist an establishment using architecture as a weapon with all its political implications.

0aaasegregated0_6.jpg

0aa8urbiciddde0_4.jpg

How did you turn a thesis into a book? Does this involve a lot of editing, reformulating, reformating? Or did you manage to stick as closely as possible to the original text?

Even its origin is a thesis, when you go into the research and the structure proposed by Léopold, then you realize that naming it "a thesis" is just a formalism. Lambert shows in this work a clear intention of going further and works on the subject as an author committed to the subject studied. That is a sort of implication that goes beyond the limits of Academia.

So, our intervention as publishers has been minimum given that both the contents and the complete layout has been done by the author. We have done minor format adaptation for printing purposes and our main task was focused in supplementing with a publishing strategy aimed to expand the message as wider as possible by means of mobile-book version and the addition of Augmented Reality experience to some contents of the printed version facilitating multi-platform interaction to make more powerful [if possible] Léopold's commitment.

The book will have a free expanded-mobile version, which means that almost all the contents, but adapted to the logic of mobile devices (enhancing immediacy, brevity, and simplicity) will be published for free under a CC license expanding the content of the physical book. The interaction with Augmented Reality will be part of this mobile-book.

8a0_waar02.jpg

The book includes interviews with blogger Bryan Finoki and with Palestinian lawyer, novelist and political activist Raja Shehadeh and will be published both in paperback and as an expanded mobile book, with Augmented Reality [AR] interaction, so the content itself will be expanded through mobile devices.

ostintehlineh5pf33.jpg
Léopold Lambert's "Lost in the Line" visual essay, part of the book WEAPONIZED ARCHITECTURE: The Impossibility of Innocence

Related entries: Book review: Atlas of the Conflict. Israel-Palestine, Open City: Designing Coexistence - Part 2, Refuge, Decolonizing Architecture - Scenarios for the transformation of Israeli settlements and Welcome to Hebron.

Read more »

dpr Barcelona - Looking for 'gaps in the thinking'

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-23 13:41:12

A few months ago, i interviewed Léopold Lambert about Weaponized Architecture, an architectural project and research that explores the power of architecture as a political weapon. The concept is illustrated by historical precedents, interviews and essays but it is also exemplified by a very precise situation: the impact of the Isreali occupation on the Palestinian built environment, in particular in the West Bank.

8a0_wa01.jpg

At the time of our conversation, Léopold was about to turn his research into a book. The publication is finally out (both in paperback and as an expanded mobile book) and its title is Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence.

It's a lovely book and one that constantly surprises the reader by the depth of the research, the thought-provoking facts and ideas brought to light, by the photos, the maps and by the graphic novel that closes the book.

I'm not going to review it. Instead, i'll take the fact that it recently landed inside my -always grateful- letterbox as an excuse to talk to Ethel Baraona Pohl and César Reyes Nájera who are both architects, bloggers and heads of dpr-Barcelona, the publishing house for Weaponized Architecture.

dpr-barcelona specializes in architecture and design books. Each of their publication is the result of a creative exchange between publisher, author or designer and the collaboration of academic experts that make most complete the overview about each project. Showing a clear innovative way to bring the contents to the public, our projects transcend the boundaries between time and space from conventional publications, approaching to those which are probably the titles of architecture in the future.

What i most admire in dpr-barcelona is that the publishing house is never afraid to question architecture, expand debates nor take risks with the way their books are presented and enjoyed.

8a0_wa101.jpg

8a0_wa05.jpg

I'm copy pasting below some extracts from my online conversation with Ethel and César, it took place just before the book was out, hence the use of the future tense:

What i most admire about dpr-Barcelona is that you don't seem to avoid politically challenging subjects. For example, when you chose to publish Situation Room, Weaponized Architecture, Un Atlas de Cartografías Radicales (the Spanish edition of An Atlas of Radical Cartography.) How do you select the books you are publishing and in some cases even translating? Do you pick up just what interest you as architects at a particular moment or do look for 'gaps' in the market?

We prefer to refer to them as gaps in the thinking. As architects we have been mostly educated through images more than ideas. Our task attempts to revert this situation by the contents we share and by the way we spread them. Coincidentally most of key issues we're facing now as civilization deals with political and economical challenging subjects. Under this scenario architects, liberated from their aesthetics constrains, could genuinely learn and collaborate with socially useful projects and ideas. We build our editorial task in that direction.

0aaa60_portada1.jpg
Situation Room, by Pablo de Soto and hackitectura

0aaaradicalcartogr2_1.jpg
Un Atlas de Cartografías Radicales by Lize Mogel & Alexis Bhagat

Why did you chose to publish Léopold Lambert's thesis for example? How did you come across his research?

Our relation started as most of the connections done in the "network": We noticed and follow Leopold's work since he was editing the blog Boiteaoutils. We found quite interesting mostly all of the issues he deals at the blog and finally we got in touch in 2009 to publish his project Kili No Nara in our blog. From there our connection was going beyond the blogroll, so when we published Lost in the Line, we realized that it was part of a bigger project: Weaponized Architecture.

While exploring the research done by Léopold, we realized that it was a job worth spreading to a different level. Placing its research and proposal in the West Bank, Lambert expands politically the field of architecture narratives, integrating design as a weapon within the scene of the Palestinian struggle. Here we see an act of architectural disobedience, a way to resist an establishment using architecture as a weapon with all its political implications.

0aaasegregated0_6.jpg

0aa8urbiciddde0_4.jpg

How did you turn a thesis into a book? Does this involve a lot of editing, reformulating, reformating? Or did you manage to stick as closely as possible to the original text?

Even its origin is a thesis, when you go into the research and the structure proposed by Léopold, then you realize that naming it "a thesis" is just a formalism. Lambert shows in this work a clear intention of going further and works on the subject as an author committed to the subject studied. That is a sort of implication that goes beyond the limits of Academia.

So, our intervention as publishers has been minimum given that both the contents and the complete layout has been done by the author. We have done minor format adaptation for printing purposes and our main task was focused in supplementing with a publishing strategy aimed to expand the message as wider as possible by means of mobile-book version and the addition of Augmented Reality experience to some contents of the printed version facilitating multi-platform interaction to make more powerful [if possible] Léopold's commitment.

The book will have a free expanded-mobile version, which means that almost all the contents, but adapted to the logic of mobile devices (enhancing immediacy, brevity, and simplicity) will be published for free under a CC license expanding the content of the physical book. The interaction with Augmented Reality will be part of this mobile-book.

8a0_waar02.jpg

The book includes interviews with blogger Bryan Finoki and with Palestinian lawyer, novelist and political activist Raja Shehadeh and will be published both in paperback and as an expanded mobile book, with Augmented Reality [AR] interaction, so the content itself will be expanded through mobile devices.

ostintehlineh5pf33.jpg
Léopold Lambert's "Lost in the Line" visual essay, part of the book WEAPONIZED ARCHITECTURE: The Impossibility of Innocence

Related entries: Book review: Atlas of the Conflict. Israel-Palestine, Open City: Designing Coexistence - Part 2, Refuge, Decolonizing Architecture - Scenarios for the transformation of Israeli settlements and Welcome to Hebron.

Read more »

The apples literally infected with knowledge

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-22 13:16:30

The most unusual objects are lost on the London tube: breast implants, human skulls, false teeth and braces, a jar of bull sperm, stuffed puffer fish, etc. And every year, a surprisingly high number of artworks are left on the underground trains. Charlotte Jarvis recently lost an apple 'contaminated' with synthetic DNA encoding for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The artist contacted Transport for London but they never found it. If ever you've picked up and eaten it, there's no need to be worried, the fruit is neither harmful to your health nor illegal.

0a7bonarpbre62_10435c697b.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by James Read

0a7pomme9cd192_c.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by James Read

The apple was part of Blighted by Kenning, a bioart piece Jarvis developed in close collaboration with The Netherlands Proteomics Centre (NPC), a research center located in Utrecht that studies proteome, the 'set of proteins expressed by a genome, cell, tissue or organism'.

"We bio-engineered a bacteria so that its DNA encodes for the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Charlotte explains. "We then extracted the DNA and sprayed it onto the surface of the apples."

Some of the fruits were then sent to genomics laboratories around the world for participating scientists to sequence the DNA, find the message hidden within and send back a translation.

The apples are currently exhibited in a former dairy converted into an art space called The Big Shed in Suffolk. The gallery is now filled with a small orchard but only one of the apples hanging on the one of the trees has been 'contaminated'. The show also includes a billboard visualising The Declaration of Human Rights expressed as a protein, films of the NPC scientists talking about their work and eating the fruit, the documents that institutes have sent to the artist and the NPC after sequencing the apples but one of the most fascinating part is the wall covered with a wall of correspondence detailing the process of making the project.

0a7letrres703e3543e.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by James Read

Charlotte uploaded some of the letters online. The exchange might be of interest to artists, curators, reporters wanting to work with life sciences: the legal restrictions in developing or simply exhibiting 'bioart' works, the misunderstanding and challenges encountered from the very moment the project was first articulated, etc.

0a7ensembl8573d0d4a.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by James Read

Video interview with some of the NPC researchers:

0a7videos8be4bc3571.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by James Read

12m by 3m billboard showing visualisations of The Declaration of Human Rights expressed as a protein:

0a7adn5dc1b15.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis

One the opening night, Charlotte Jarvis ate one of the 'forbidden fruits':

0alaperformancepommme.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by John East

0aaaaaspirales02c9bd649.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by James Read

Don't Panic has interviewed Charlotte Jarvis about Blighted by Kenning.
I took a few images when i visited the show.

The exhibition Blighted by Kenning, curated by Clemency Cooke, runs until the 26th of August at The Big Shed in Stanny House Farm, High Street, Iken, Suffolk. The project will be exhibited at various locations in the Netherlands later this year.

Read more »

The apples literally infected with knowledge

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-22 13:16:30

The most unusual objects are lost on the London tube: breast implants, human skulls, false teeth and braces, a jar of bull sperm, stuffed puffer fish, etc. And every year, a surprisingly high number of artworks are left on the underground trains. Charlotte Jarvis recently lost an apple 'contaminated' with synthetic DNA encoding for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The artist contacted Transport for London but they never found it. If ever you've picked up and eaten it, there's no need to be worried, the fruit is neither harmful to your health nor illegal.

0a7bonarpbre62_10435c697b.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by John East

0a7pomme9cd192_c.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by John East

The apple was part of Blighted by Kenning, a bioart piece Jarvis developed in close collaboration with The Netherlands Proteomics Centre (NPC), a research center located in Utrecht that studies proteome, the 'set of proteins expressed by a genome, cell, tissue or organism'.

Grown near The Hague, the city that hosts the International Courts of Justice, the apples were bio-engineered so that they have The Universal Declaration of Human Rights encoded into their DNA sequence.

Some of the fruits were then sent to genomics laboratories around the world for participating scientists to sequence the DNA, find the message hidden within and send back a translation.

The apples are currently exhibited in a former dairy converted into an art space called The Big Shed in Suffolk. The gallery is now filled with a small orchard but only one of the apples hanging on the one of the trees has been 'contaminated'. The show also includes a billboard visualising The Declaration of Human Rights expressed as a protein, films of the NPC scientists talking about their work and eating the fruit, the documents that institutes have sent to the artist and the NPC after sequencing the apples but one of the most fascinating part is the wall covered with a wall of correspondence detailing the process of making the project.

0a7letrres703e3543e.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by John East

Charlotte uploaded some of the letters online. The exchange might be of interest to artists, curators, reporters wanting to work with life sciences: the legal restrictions in developing or simply exhibiting 'bioart' works, the misunderstanding and challenges encountered from the very moment the project was first articulated, etc.

0a7ensembl8573d0d4a.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by John East

Video interview with some of the NPC researchers:

0a7videos8be4bc3571.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by John East

12m by 3m billboard showing visualisations of The Declaration of Human Rights expressed as a protein:

0a7adn5dc1b15.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by John East

One the opening night, Charlotte Jarvis ate one of the 'forbidden fruits':

0alaperformancepommme.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by John East

0aaaaaspirales02c9bd649.jpg
Blighted by Kenning, an installation and performance by Charlotte Jarvis. Photo by John East

Don't Panic has interviewed Charlotte Jarvis about Blighted by Kenning.
I took a few images when i visited the show.

The exhibition Blighted by Kenning, curated by Clemency Cooke, runs until the 26th of August at The Big Shed in Stanny House Farm, High Street, Iken, Suffolk. The project will be exhibited at various locations in the Netherlands later this year.

Read more »

Manifesta 9 - Poetics of Restructuring

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-21 10:01:11

Previously: Manifesta 9 - The Age of Coal.

Let's head back to the mine for a quick review of the 9th edition of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art which is held this Summer in the former Waterschei coal mine in Genk, Belgium.

While floor one and two were focusing on the history of the exploitation of coal in the Limburg region and in the rest of the "western world", the top floor of the crumbling art deco industrial building is filled with contemporary artworks that address de-industrialization and post-industrialization. As you can expect, many of the works come with a sense of doom similar to the one experienced by local communities when the mine closed in 1987. The artists selected for the biennial confront issues such as the dematerialisation of production, new forms of labor, the loss or transformation of social ideologies, the challenges of creating energy, counterfeit luxury goods and the parallel economy it generates, etc. Unfortunately, post-industrial practices are more than the pretext for an art exhibition, they also crucial motors of the current socio-econo-political climate and they are affecting or will soon affect the life of every single visitors.

0JITRIK Magdalena 011f8aa5a1c.jpg
Magdalena Jitrik, Revolutionary Life, 2011-2012

0a7charbonc75ed.jpg
Manifesta 9 Preview & Opening. Photo Manifesta

0u7thonik21cf846.jpg
Manifesta 9 (Graphic Design by thonik). Photo Manifesta

One of the most impressive and colossal pieces in the show is Carlos Amorales' Coal Drawing Machine which draws what looks like elegant electronic circuits continuously throughout the run of the exhibition. Well maybe not 'continuously' because it wasn't turned on when i visited. Long strips of print-outs are cut and hung from the ceiling to form a delicate and fascinating maze.

_AMORALES Carlos 07ff5.jpg

0a7amorales03f4cd.jpg
Carlos Amorales, Coal Drawing Machine, 2012

The machine receives transmissions from an unseen and unknowable source but instead of synthetic toners or dyes, the machine draws with charcoal. The Coal Drawing Machine questions the tension between the hand made quality of the traditional coal drawings and the fact of these being industrially produced by a machine.

A couple more images because that machine was one of the highlights of the show for me:

0a7vert_dbff170ed6.jpg

apaper851c.jpg
Carlos Amorales, Coal Drawing Machine, 2012

Some of the artists took the walls, corridors, floors and other architectural elements of the Watershei building as the point of departure of their intervention. They did it so unobtrusively and delicately that visitors run the risk of walking by them or over them without even realising it. Takes these three artworks for example:

Rossella Biscotti's Title One: The Tasks of the Community is part of the floor of the exhibition space and you're free to traipse all over it. The material use comes from a disused nuclear power station in Lithuania. On December 31, 2009, despite popular resistance and economic consequences, Unit 2 of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant was closed under pressure of the European regulatory bodies. As part of the dismantling process, materials from the site were put up for auction as what the Ignalina plant's website described as "unnecessary property." Biscotti attended two public auctions, acquired lead and industrial copper cables, and used them for her installation. The lead is part of the floor-based sculpture, the copper was recycled into new electrical wires to supply electricity to the show. These gestures allude to the climate of social concern around the role of nuclear energy in post-Cold War Europe, but they also create a short circuit between distant social processes that typically remain opaque to the citizenry, physically inserting art, its institutions and audiences into the complex life cycle of the productive system.

7aaaarossellaled06e93_z.jpg
Rossella Biscotti, Title One: The Tasks of the Community, 2012

Nemanja Cvijanovic's work The Monument to the Memory of the Idea of the Internationale starts with an unasuming music box that will remain silent unless a visitor comes closer and activate its handle (the contemporary art world calls that 'interactivity'.) The instrument plays the Internationale anthem. The music is picked up by a microphone, travels to the speakers in another room where it is in turned picked up by other microphones, etc. The music ends up being played outside by a big pyramid of speakers. The revolutionary anthem gains in volume as it travels through the site but somehow, some of its power also gets diluted in the process. Video.

0a7manivelle21d6d0cd.jpg
Nemanja Cvijanovic ́, Monument to the Memory of the Idea of Internationale, 2010

_CVIJANOVIC Nemanja 03f5_z.jpg
Nemanja Cvijanovic ́, Monument to the Memory of the Idea of Internationale, 2010

0a7lesbassses062b304_z.jpg
Nemanja Cvijanovic ́, Monument to the Memory of the Idea of Internationale, 2010

Oswaldo Maciá collaborated with a perfumer to fill a dark and humid corridor with a smell that is meant to evoke failure. But because Maciá's installations also make use of sounds to synaesthetic experiences, he didn't just create a smelly corridor, he made an 'auditory olfactory composition.' There is a sound element to his work and it nods to the rise of heavy (and noisy) machinery of the Industrial Revolution. The sounds of five different anvils being struck by hammers in distinct echo in the corridor across ten separate channels of sound arranged along the corridor.

_MACIA Oswaldo 01e_z.jpg
Oswaldo Maciá, Martinete, 2011-2012

Manifesta might have a one and only focus (industrialisation in all its pre-, post and de- forms) and a unique venue but its breadth runs wide. Hopefully, i'll find more time in the coming days to come back to it. If i don't, here's a shortlist of the works i discovered:

Maryam Jafri's short video Avalon is a remarkable mix of documentary and fiction film.

The story begins in an unspecified Asian country where an entrepreneur (whose face is concealed) describes how he founded a clandestine, million-dollar business that exports fetish wear, with a small start-up investment from his father. The women who work as seamstresses in his small factory believe that they are sewing body bags for the US Army, straight jackets, and accessories for circus animals, though they do have their doubts. The video continues with testimony from an educated textile designer who found herself unwittingly designing for a business with which she does not personally identify, a white collar professional man who is open about his sexual identity and finally, from a woman who performs role play services using the paraphernalia in question.

Based on archival research, observations, and interviews, the video investigates the relationships between entrepreneurship, labour, use value, and the production of both commodities and subjectivities in the current global cultural economy.

0a7avalon6fdb4.jpg
Maryam Jafri, Avalon, 2011

0a7avalonf9eb0818.jpg
Maryam Jafri, Avalon, 2011

_IMarco30-0850.jpg
Maryam Jafri, Avalon, 2011

Claire Fontaine's work The House of Energetic Culture is an adaptation of the neon that once overlooked the House of Culture in Pryiat--nowadays a ghost town located within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The sign that was once a symbol of modernity, comfort and culture acts now as a reminder of the blessings and dangers that progress brings upon society.

_CLAIRE FONTAINE 02.jpg
Claire Fontaine, The House of Energetic Culture, 2012

Tomaž Furlan's Wear series of strange contraptions and performances gently deride the routines of modern workers. Their work -whether in office or factories- might be assisted by technology but it is nevertheless as alienating, repetitive and disrespectful of the human body as ever. Video.

0a7furlandc04_z.jpg

_FURLAN Tomasz 0.jpg
Tomaž Furlan, Wear series, 2006-2012

0a0paolo025299.jpg
Paolo Woods, Chinafrica, 2007

_BOOM Irma and PIJNAPPEL Johan0157.jpg
Irma Boom & Johan Pijnappel, Thoughts on a Think Book, 2012- 1991

_CAIN Ben 0119.jpg
Ben Cain, Work in the Dark, 2012

_SCHLINGELHOFF Bea 0234.jpg
Bea Schlingelhoff, I'm Too Christian for Art, 2012

_HÜNER Emre 03f3.jpg
Emre Hüner, A Little Larger than the Entire Universe, 2012

0aavisiblesolutiond2bbd3eed.jpg
Visible Solutions, LLC

7aaaa3night4fe456a.jpg
Manifesta 9 Preview & Opening. Photo Manifesta

Manifesta 9, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, is on until 30 September, in Genk, Belgium.

Read more »

Manifesta 9 - Poetics of Restructuring

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2012-08-21 10:01:11

Previously: Manifesta 9 - The Age of Coal.

Let's head back to the mine for a quick review of the 9th edition of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art which is held this Summer in the former Waterschei coal mine in Genk, Belgium.

While floor one and two were focusing on the history of the exploitation of coal in the Limburg region and in the rest of the "western world", the top floor of the crumbling art deco industrial building is filled with contemporary artworks that address de-industrialization and post-industrialization. As you can expect, many of the works come with a sense of doom similar to the one experienced by local communities when the mine closed in 1987. The artists selected for the biennial confront issues such as the dematerialisation of production, new forms of labor, the loss or transformation of social ideologies, the challenges of creating energy, counterfeit luxury goods and the parallel economy it generates, etc. Unfortunately, post-industrial practices are more than the pretext for an art exhibition, they also crucial motors of the current socio-econo-political climate and they are affecting or will soon affect the life of every single visitors.

0JITRIK Magdalena 011f8aa5a1c.jpg
Magdalena Jitrik, Revolutionary Life, 2011-2012

0a7charbonc75ed.jpg
Manifesta 9 Preview & Opening. Photo Manifesta

0u7thonik21cf846.jpg
Manifesta 9 (Graphic Design by thonik). Photo Manifesta

One of the most impressive and colossal pieces in the show is Carlos Amorales' Coal Drawing Machine which draws what looks like elegant electronic circuits continuously throughout the run of the exhibition. Well maybe not 'continuously' because it wasn't turned on when i visited. Long strips of print-outs are cut and hung from the ceiling to form a delicate and fascinating maze.

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Carlos Amorales, Coal Drawing Machine, 2012

The machine receives transmissions from an unseen and unknowable source but instead of synthetic toners or dyes, the machine draws with charcoal. The Coal Drawing Machine questions the tension between the hand made quality of the traditional coal drawings and the fact of these being industrially produced by a machine.

A couple more images because that machine was one of the highlights of the show for me:

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Carlos Amorales, Coal Drawing Machine, 2012

Some of the artists took the walls, corridors, floors and other architectural elements of the Watershei building as the point of departure of their intervention. They did it so unobtrusively and delicately that visitors run the risk of walking by them or over them without even realising it. Takes these three artworks for example:

Rossella Biscotti's Title One: The Tasks of the Community is part of the floor of the exhibition space and you're free to traipse all over it. The material use comes from a disused nuclear power station in Lithuania. On December 31, 2009, despite popular resistance and economic consequences, Unit 2 of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant was closed under pressure of the European regulatory bodies. As part of the dismantling process, materials from the site were put up for auction as what the Ignalina plant's website described as "unnecessary property." Biscotti attended two public auctions, acquired lead and industrial copper cables, and used them for her installation. The lead is part of the floor-based sculpture, the copper was recycled into new electrical wires to supply electricity to the show. These gestures allude to the climate of social concern around the role of nuclear energy in post-Cold War Europe, but they also create a short circuit between distant social processes that typically remain opaque to the citizenry, physically inserting art, its institutions and audiences into the complex life cycle of the productive system.

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Rossella Biscotti, Title One: The Tasks of the Community, 2012

Nemanja Cvijanovic's work The Monument to the Memory of the Idea of the Internationale starts with an unasuming music box that will remain silent unless a visitor comes closer and activate its handle (the contemporary art world calls that 'interactivity'.) The instrument plays the Internationale anthem. The music is picked up by a microphone, travels to the speakers in another room where it is in turned picked up by other microphones, etc. The music ends up being played outside by a big pyramid of speakers. The revolutionary anthem gains in volume as it travels through the site but somehow, some of its power also gets diluted in the process. Video.

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Nemanja Cvijanovic ́, Monument to the Memory of the Idea of Internationale, 2010

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Nemanja Cvijanovic ́, Monument to the Memory of the Idea of Internationale, 2010

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Nemanja Cvijanovic ́, Monument to the Memory of the Idea of Internationale, 2010

Oswaldo Maciá collaborated with a perfumer to fill a dark and humid corridor with a smell that is meant to evoke failure. But because Maciá's installations also make use of sounds to synaesthetic experiences, he didn't just create a smelly corridor, he made an 'auditory olfactory composition.' There is a sound element to his work and it nods to the rise of heavy (and noisy) machinery of the Industrial Revolution. The sounds of five different anvils being struck by hammers in distinct echo in the corridor across ten separate channels of sound arranged along the corridor.

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Oswaldo Maciá, Martinete, 2011-2012

Manifesta might have a one and only focus (industrialisation in all its pre-, post and de- forms) and a unique venue but its breadth runs wide. Hopefully, i'll find more time in the coming days to come back to it. If i don't, here's a shortlist of the works i discovered:

Maryam Jafri's short video Avalon is a remarkable mix of documentary and fiction film.

The story begins in an unspecified Asian country where an entrepreneur (whose face is concealed) describes how he founded a clandestine, million-dollar business that exports fetish wear, with a small start-up investment from his father. The women who work as seamstresses in his small factory believe that they are sewing body bags for the US Army, straight jackets, and accessories for circus animals, though they do have their doubts. The video continues with testimony from an educated textile designer who found herself unwittingly designing for a business with which she does not personally identify, a white collar professional man who is open about his sexual identity and finally, from a woman who performs role play services using the paraphernalia in question.

Based on archival research, observations, and interviews, the video investigates the relationships between entrepreneurship, labour, use value, and the production of both commodities and subjectivities in the current global cultural economy.

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Maryam Jafri, Avalon, 2011

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Maryam Jafri, Avalon, 2011

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Maryam Jafri, Avalon, 2011

Claire Fontaine's work The House of Energetic Culture is an adaptation of the neon that once overlooked the House of Culture in Pryiat--nowadays a ghost town located within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The sign that was once a symbol of modernity, comfort and culture acts now as a reminder of the blessings and dangers that progress brings upon society.

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Claire Fontaine, The House of Energetic Culture, 2012

Tomaž Furlan's Wear series of strange contraptions and performances gently deride the routines of modern workers. Their work -whether in office or factories- might be assisted by technology but it is nevertheless as alienating, repetitive and disrespectful of the human body as ever. Video.

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Tomaž Furlan, Wear series, 2006-2012

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Paolo Woods, Chinafrica, 2007

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Irma Boom & Johan Pijnappel, Thoughts on a Think Book, 2012- 1991

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Ben Cain, Work in the Dark, 2012

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Bea Schlingelhoff, I'm Too Christian for Art, 2012

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Emre Hüner, A Little Larger than the Entire Universe, 2012

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Visible Solutions, LLC

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Manifesta 9 Preview & Opening. Photo Manifesta

Manifesta 9, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, is on until 30 September, in Genk, Belgium.

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