|The Mousetrap Book
|// Date: Thu., May 8, 2008
// Time: 19:00
// Free admittance
// Language: English
On occasion of the presentation of The Mousetrap Book: On dealing with institutions in contemporary curatorial practice, Gdansk, 2007:
General Public presents a discussion on potentialities of different institutional structures, in conjunction with a thematic screening. The event is a discursive update of the publication, which has been published in 2007 as the edited version of a workshop of WYSPA - Institute of Art, Gdansk.
Discussion // The authors of the publication Nina Möntmann (Hamburg, KKH/Stockholm), Barbara Steiner (GfZK, Leipzig), Thomas Wulffen (Berlin) and co-editor Aneta Szylak (WYSPA, Gdansk) discuss questions like What are the qualities of different institutional patterns? Which limits include definitions like anti- or post-institutional? Which kind of agility does institution allow? Which kind of visibility is produced? The aim of the panel is a controversial and productive discussion based on diverse perspectives toward ‘institution’: By its specific objectives, the venue – General Public – provides a reflective frame of critical cultural production and institution as collaborative networking. The point is, to scrutinize different institutional conceptions and expectations towards organised structures in order to avoid simple classifications (e.g. ‘institutional critique’) both from curatorial as well as institutional practice.
Screening // Videos and films by Chris Evans, Judith Hopf/Deborah Schamoni, Hiwa K., Saskia Holmkvist, William Hunt, Edward Krasinski, Valerie Tevere, and Carey Young look microscopically at neuralgic points and production conditions within institutional settings. The selection of the works reports about a variety of possibilities to act and to reflect. The investigations consider expectations, role behaviour, transference processes, activity dynamics as well as space as material or as a place of function.
The Mousetrap Book and further publications are available during the event from a book table of pro-qm.
Organised by Doreen Mende and the Members of General Public.
Supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Berlin.
The publication is part of a project in the frame of Büro Kopernikus, an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
Valerie Tevere When I say ..., 2000, 17 Min
'When I Say' is one of many projects by Valerie Tevere that focuses on the active participation of inhabitants within the spatial framework of their city. The piece is conceived as an analytic response to contemporary ideas of urban and cultural theorists which focus on the public right to the city and the individual right to narrate one's own experiences within it. It is a performative video work that uses popular psychology – word association – to prompt dialogue around particular sites in New York City. The sites are systematically chosen based upon their geographic location, publicity, and contestation. Tevere addresses pedestrians with the question 'When I Say .. Brooklyn Museum / City Hall /Times Square / The Subway/ South Bronx ... you say ...' upon which people respond with their own experiences, feelings, or descriptive interpretations of that site. The irony and humor inherent in the construction of the work avoids the sometimes didactic elements of practices which combine aesthetics and documentation. (from www.walkinginplace.org)
Saskia Holmkvist In Character, 2008, 9 Min.
Saskia Holmkvist's recent film 'In Character,' which is a complementary one to her film 'Role Control,' develops a narrative that explores ideas of credibility, social strategies and the way we engage in role-playing in certain situations of conflict. Saskia Holmkvist's work into an investigation of the factors that define and control power relations and how these relations can be negotiated. The work asks questions about the fine line between dialogue and the demonstration of power, both at the individual level and in the political arena. In the films Saskia Holmkvist has made use of staged situations and actors who, in the course of the films, gradually swap positions and force the conversation over a boundary where the dialogue changes meaning and forces the viewer towards a new interpretation of the situation. (from www.saskiaholmkvist.com)
Judith Hopf/Deborah Schamoni Elevator Curator, 2006, 20.27 Min.
Elevator Curator is an ironic-trenchant, slapstick-like reflection on the hectic-global art world, exemplified with its protagonists: curators and artists. Judith Hopf parodies a stressed "Jet Set" curator who wants to get from the Istanbul airport to the "European Art Center". The video is full of sideswipes towards the neurotic aspects of the art system, e.g. their appearance in biotopes like "high-bred" cultural exchange programmes as well as within the widespread self-exploitation for the "beauty", the "true", and the "good", which sometimes spookily pop up and rattles the chains. En passant, it exposes latent jingoistic and colonialistic aspects of a Western-dominated art systems (on account of the difficult communication and the long taxi drive, the curator shirtily spits: "They will never make it into the EU"), though, stronger than that it reveals the psychological pressure to produce. (Cosima Rainer)
Chris Evans The Freedom of Negative Expression, 2007, 1.30 Min
In 'The Freedom of Negative Expression,' co-written with Tirdad Zolghadr and Will Bradley, Evans engages in a dialogue with a key figure in 1960s British Constructivism known for her uncompromising views on the establishment's misuse of the arts, and conversations in which, among other things, the productive potentials of negativity and political paranoia are at stake. We see a trailer for a film featuring an anarchist having a telephone conversation with a disembodied voice identified as a member of the British Constructivist movement. With some determination, they discuss the possibility of making a work that can rise above reflecting the circumstances of its own production. An image of the work that they will collectively produce suddenly segues into view, accompanied by a dramatic excerpt of Wagner's 'Faust Overture'. The image looks like a sculpture of two shafts of lightning emerging upwards from the – an impossible reversal.
Hiwa K. Cooking With Mama, web cast event for World Chat 7080 at Wyspa Institute of Art in 2006, 13 Min.
'Cooking with Mama' is a web cast event in which I am cooking with friends according to the instructions of my Mother, living in Iraq, who is giving them on a video messenger. Depending on the group, I am translating her Kurdish into German or English. The pattern is that she shows and tells what to do, I translate, and then we follow her instructions and show the results of all phases of cooking for evaluation. I also introduce my friends to her and translate small conversations between her and my friends. Finally, we eat together. The screening will show the part, which connected three places: mama's home, Wyspa Institute of Art in Gdansk and the art academy in Mainz-Germany. (from www.youtube.com)
Carey Young Optimum Performance, 2003, 14.35 Min
'Optimum Performance' is a video documenting a performance piece of the same name created by the artist for the Whitechapel Gallery in London. 'Optimum Performance' features an actor dressed as a businessman, who delivers a rousing but satirical motivational speech to the Whitechapel's gallery audience as if they are group of his own professional colleagues. Focussing particularly on the example of the Underwood typewriter company, references to the Duchampian tradition can be sensed within the speech that points to the interchange between the use-value and art-value of manufactured objects appropriated as ready-mades, and their context between art and everyday life. The piece has a self-reflexive core – a performance designed to enhance performance – but can be interpreted simultaneously as a functional tool designed to manipulate the abilities of the audience and as a subtle critique of the institutions and systems of the art world. (from www.careyyoung.com)
Edward Krasinski Three Rooms (Part with Edward Krasinski), 1983, 6.20 Min. Directed by Malgorzata Potocka for Polish TV.
'Three Rooms' was originally produced for Polish TV to document the way in which a work of art is presented in and with the exhibition space, thus, showing the artistic transfer from an invisible idea or a two-dimensional work in space. The small space we see, which was solely constructed for that purpose in reference to the standard White Cube, was set up in the TV studio. Three Polish artists – Jan Dobkowski, Ryszard Winiarski, and Edward Krasinski – answer the task in different ways; most conceptual but poetic does Krasinski tell a spatial story. For him, the space becomes a three-dimensional screen to structure spatial environments as a stage for his objects and selected views. When he applies his famous blue tape on walls (19mm in width, positioned at 130 cm in height), the white cube appears as same particular as the urban environment.
William Hunt The impotence of radicalism in the face of all these extreme positions, 2007, 9.30 Min.
The video ‘The impotence of radicalism in the face of all these extreme positions ' documents a performance by William Hunt within a White-Cube-like setting at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin. It is not the first time that Hunt sings and plays the guitar to shift the scopes between music and visual arts, and between "high-" and "popular culture". While using the spatial appearance of a standardized exhibition space, Hunt plays not only the guitar– eventually with his parents' idol Bob-Dylan in mind – but exhausts the usual codes of the male, rocking superstar. The admirable guitarist on stage turns upside down into a self-defined human apparatus re-combining single components of a complex cultural set, contradicted by an improvised machinery. Hence, the staged performance introduces a strategy to demonstrate both an acceptance of institutional frameworks, though under a huge physical effort, and a refusal to serve trained expectations on the side of the viewer/listener.
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