Wednesday 12.09.09 — Christian de Lutz and Regine Rapp — Screening and Presentation — Art Laboratory Berlin

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Date/Time: 09/12/2009 12:00 am

Wednesday 12.09.09 — Christian de Lutz and Regine Rapp — Screening and Presentation — Art Laboratory Berlin
1. About This Wednesday
2. Cordoba, El-Andalus, Meta Content, and Sarajevo/Love Virus
3. About Art Laboratory Berlin
4. SEIZED and Creative Rights. On Appropriation, Copyright and Copyleft
5. Chances of Crisis. The Berlin “off scene” in 2009-2010: possibilities on the periphery
6. About Chris de Lutz and Regine Rapp
7. Useful links
1. About this Wednesday
What: Screening, Presentation, and Discussion
When: Wednesday 12.11.09
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
When: 7:30
Who: Free and open to all
This Wednesday night, we are pleased to have Christian de Lutz and Regine Rapp join us from Berlin. The evening will begin with a screening of videos and projections by Christian de Lutz, and then a presentation and discussion by Chris & Regine Rapp on several recent projects at the space Art Laboratory Berlin, which they co-founded in 2006 and continue to direct.
This evening should offer not only the chance to discuss production in the context of self-organized exhibitions, but also the art traffic between New York/U.S. and Berlin. This is relevant as recent Art Laboratory Berlin projects have worked in relationship to critical discourses around art and the law in the U.S. and elsewhere, including the Steve Kurtz case which will be familiar to many from past events or firsthand involvement.
2. About Cordoba, El-Andalus, Meta Content, and Sarajevo/Love Virus by Christian de Lutz
Screening of Cordoba (9’58”) and El-Andalus clips (5’48”)
Screening of two video works about peripheral geo-cultural areas and the impact of migration in contemporary Europe. Both videos were filmed in southern Spain, and deal with that areas long tradition as a cultural periphery between Europe and North Africa. The videos also explore the link between text and image via use of text collages based on the internet.
The video Cordoba was filmed in the Mesquita of Cordoba, a cathedral which was originally a 9th century mosque. Filmed at an irregular speed setting, the static architecture, a series of marble arches, contrasts to the figures of tourists who appear as ephemeral wraith-like blurs. A women’s voice, speaking English with an Iranian accent, recites a text collage based on excerpts of blogs written by migrants from the Near East. The themes are homesickness, melancholy, estrangement and the experiences of Muslim immigrants in the west.
A related work, El-Andalus clips, is made up of five short clips, all under two minutes. The clips exist as stand alone works, or together. Three include recitations of a text collage similar to that of Cordoba. The narrator stumbles across the English text. Combinations of takes and breakdowns are used as an editing device for the visual images, collected excerpts of footage from southern Spain – the ruins of a Moorish fort, the view across the straits of Gibraltar, architectural details from Alhambra – which refer to Europe’s old cultural connection to the Near East. Image and text, unrelated in origin, combine and influence each other’s form to elicit new meanings and relations.
Screening of projections Meta Content (ca. 2 min) and Sarajevo/Love Virus (ca. 2 min)
Two short projections made for both gallery, architectural (and in the case of the latter) web use.
In producing the images for this work I altered seven black and white photographs that I had taken of the Macedonian capital Skopje, first inverting them to appear as negatives, then adding a green tint. The effect resembles that of military night vision images – an effect that connotes paranoia and militarism. These images are then overlaid with HTML text from a web page discussing the use of the internet by Macedonian nationalists. The page comes from a website by the Czech new media scholar Denisa Kera, examining the use of the internet by Balkan nationalists. What I found so special about her writing on Macedonia was her observation that Macedonian nationalists spent much less time on advancing their own national myths, than on discussing the national myths of neighboring countries, which they saw as a threat. This ‘mythophobia,’ as she called it, was the inverse of traditional nationalism. This inverse being a parallel to my altered, inverted images.
The HTML text contains both the content (i.e. text) of the page and the coding (which expresses font, spacing and other details of the web page). Spread over seven works, the digital content and form are fragmented, and the viewer sifts through the information (both in the photographs and the text) like an archaeologist.
Sarajevo/Love Virus
Since I first started working with the net I’ve been fascinated by source code, and especially the use of nonfunctional language in source code by programmers and hackers. This is especially common in virus code. When I first came upon a reference to the programmer Khaled Mardam Bey in the source code of the ‘love virus’ I instantly and subliminally connected the name with Sarajevo, a city I photographed intensively in Spring and Summer 1996. This work was shown as part of the Projectaveis project in this year’s Mercosul Biennale in Brazil. It functioned both as a web piece and as a projection at the biennale.
Discussion of works in context
Like Metacontent and another projection, europa, I would be interested in seeing these either projected or shown on a large screen in an urban area in a way connected the content with architecture and urban space. I’m also interested in discussing the implications of various forms of ‘virtual text’ whether it be content such as that found on the web, or code and using it in a new context (i.e. artwork) to investigate how technology is changing social, cultural and political options.
3. About Art Laboratory Berlin
Art Laboratory Berlin was founded just over three years ago by an international group of artists and art historians, to fill what we saw as a gap in the ever more commercialized Berlin art scene. The space functions as an alternative space for exhibitions, seminars, performances, talks. A special stress has been based on interdisciplinary work. It is located in the Wedding section of Berlin where a unique group of over 20 non- commercial art spaces has come in to existence over the last few years.
4. SEIZED and Creative Rights – The Recent Exhibitions
SEIZED by Critical Art Ensemble & Institute for Applied Autonomy
This Autumn Art Laboratory Berlin became the sole European venue for the exhibition SEIZED, which documents and deconstructs the FBI raid on Prof. Steve Kurtz’s house in Spring 2004 and the four-year legal battle that ensued. In addition to the exhibition we published a dual language version of the original catalogue with an additional essay, and also screened Lynn Hershmann’s film about the case, Strange Culture.
Creative Rights. On Appropriation, Copyright and Copyleft
The current show is an exploration of the collision between contemporary art practice and copyright law. The project includes an exhibition with four positions, a reading room with additional information, including an exploration of two cases: Shepard Fairey vs AP and Patrick Cariou vs Richard Prince. A workshop with a German lawyer specializing in copyright also took place on 28 November. The exhibition showed works by Azin Feizabadi, Gilbert & George and Christian de Lutz, as well as a portion of Triple Candie’s David Hammons. An Unauthorized Retrospective.
6. At the verge: The Berlin “off scene” in 2009-2010: possibilities on the periphery
While the current financial crisis has hurt the commercial scene in Berlin, its affect on funding for off spaces is also being felt – something that will probably become more severe as the German and Berlin governments cut back on funding. At the same time the crash of European Real Estate bubbles, may have bought the Berlin scene some time. Berlin has become a mecca for aspiring artists, due to low rents and vibrant cultural scenes. But the established locations (e.g. Hamburger Bahnhof, KW, Temporäre Kunsthalle, NBK) tend to focus on established artists and trends. Off spaces outside the center are emerging to take up the slack.
7. About Christian de Lutz and Regine Rapp
Christian de Lutz, visual artist from New York, working in photography, new media, video and installation. His artworks deal with social, political and cultural themes, particularly in Europe, and especially the themes of migration and cultural borderlines. He has collaborated with artists and institutions in Germany, Spain and Southeast Europe as well as exhibiting in Europe, the USA and Japan.
Regine Rapp, art historian, is writing her PhD thesis in the spatial aesthetics of Installation Art of the 1990s at the Humboldt University, Berlin. Further fields of specialisation include image and text as well as Russian modern and contemporary art. She has worked in a number of museums worldwide, and currently gives lectures and tours at the Berlin State Museums. She is a member of the International Association on Word and Image Studies (IAWIS).
8. Useful links and readings to download
Website and blog for Christian de Lutz



Art Laboratory Berlin



Other resources for the off scene in Berlin






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