Sunday Night — 11.21.04 — Nataša Petrešin & Darius Ziûra– Presentation / Discussion /Drinks

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Sunday Night — 11.21.04 — Nataša Petrešin & Darius Ziûra– Presentation/Discussion/Drinks
1. About this Sunday Night
2. About Darius Ziûra
3. About Nataša Petrešin
4. Darius Ziûra — Near life experiences — text by Raimundas Malasauskas
5. Potentiality of a Cultural Resistance — interview by Nataša
6. Art as Next Terrorist Suspect — text by Nataša
1. About this Sunday Night
What: Presentation / Discussion
When: 6:30pm, Sunday November 21st, 2004
Where: 16 Beaver St. NY, NY 4th Floor
Who: Open to all (As Always)
We are pleased to invite you to what should be one of the better Sunday evenings in recent memory. We will depart from our ordinary format in a few ways.
A. Sunday instead of Monday.
B. We will actually have Darius’s video set up in the space beginning at 6:30, people are invited to come at that time, drink, watch, relax and we will begin the talk/presentation at 7:30.
C. We want to encourage people who can, to bring something to drink or eat, like cheese, bread, olives, greens and other simple snacks.
Continuing our e have invited Nataša (Ljubljana based curator and writer) and Darius (Vilnius based artist) to talk about their work and present some materials they have been involved with recently. There is plenty of information about each of our guests below so please have a look.
With regard to the subject of Nataša’s talk, she will be talking about the issues of utopian legacy in Slovenian contemporary conceptual art, focusing on issues of resistance, self-sustainability and alternative knowledge production in the work of Marko Peljhan and his ongoing project Makrolab, Marjetica Potrc, Dragan Zivadinov and most recent project East Art Map by the collective Irwin as well as draw upon the larger context of the political potential of the art production.
2. About Darius Ziûra
Darius Ziûra lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania. This year, he has shown his work in Violence of Tone, gallery W139, Amsterdam, Manifesta5, Others are Me, gallery Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, Poland, and re:source(performances), Art In General here in New York.
3. About Nataša Petrešin
Nataša Petrešin (b. 1976, Ljubljana) is a freelance curator and critic.
She graduated in Art History and Comparative Literature at the University
of Ljubljana. She has been publishing articles on contemporary and new
media art in catalogues and in NU: The Nordic Art Review/Stockholm,
Springerin/Vienna, Arco Magazine/Madrid, Acoustic Lab Reader/Riga,
Frakcija/Zagreb, Framework/Helsinki, Printed Project/Dublin,
Artelier/Bucharest and online review ARTMargins.com (Santa Barbara). In
2004 she selected together with Bojana Kunst the Slovene participants at
the exhibition ‘Breakthrough’, Den Haag. In 2003 she has worked as
assistant curator at the exhibition ‘In the Gorges of the Balkans’, Museum
Fridericianum, Kassel, curated by René Block. In 2002 she has participated
at the Curatorial Training Programme at De Appel Foundation in Amsterdam,
where she co-curated the final project of the programme, ‘Haunted by
Detail’. In 2001 she has been assistant of curator of the Slovene pavilion
at 49th Venice Biennial. She has curated exhibitions, ‘Our House Is A
House That Moves’ (2003, Pavelhaus, Laafeld/Austria; 2004, Škuc Gallery,
Ljubljana), ‘Open Beats’ (with Dunja Kukovec, Bezigrajska gallery,
Ljublana; 2003), ‘You Are Not Alone’ (2002, Pavelhaus, Laafeld/Austria),
‘Sound in Art’ (2001, Gallery Priestor, Bratislava) and a series of
electronic sound art events ‘RE-LAX’ (2001-2002, Ljubljana, together with
new media artist Marko Peljhan). In 2002 within the frame of Peljhan’s art
organisation Projekt Atol, she co-founded the label for experimental
electronic music, ‘rx:tx’. Since 2002 she is a member of the jury for
intermedia arts at the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia, since
2004 the jury’s president, and since 2000 a member of the Slovene Society
of Aesthetics. In 2004 she organized together with Gregor Podnar the
conference about cultural policies and art market in Central and South
Eastern Europe (Museum of Modern Art and Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana). Since
2004 she is a contributing editor of ARTMargins.com.
Some web links (texts, projects):
4. Darius Ziûra — Near life experiences — text by Raimundas Malasauskas
Darius Ziura – Near life experiences
Darius Ziura (b. 1968) lives in works in Vilnius. However his work is either strictly commercial and life sustaining1, or ephemeral and life-like. On its own hand the artist’s living could be rather modeled in terms of psychospace than geography. Thus quite often the works of Ziura remain invisible and non-objectified for others – and since he (like everyone else) is the other for a certain funda-mental processes of the mind, some of the work possibly remain unnoticed for himself. The notion of intentionality and conceptual framing becomes rather relevant here – a few months ago Darius Ziura has stopped talking to anyone and kept silent for 2 months and one day. This did develope almost exactly along the plan, which was to keep silent and not to talk to anyone (neither to members of his family) up to two months. The absence of oral communication did not mean complete self-isolation – Ziura was present in different social situations testing the ways of communication devoid of one of its central elements – speech. At the same time he had a chance to delve into his inner speech-free-scapes. According to the artist, ‘The action had a usual structure of any mental trip with ascending, long peak and descending. Sometimes I used to go to cinema with video camera having no tape inside, just to help me to avoid immediacy. At the end it was much more interesting to start to talk than it was to quit’. However the period of silence was not specifically documented or anyhow transformed into art – it had remained silent. Nevertheless it had affected Ziura’s (and his friends’) experience and had possibly gave light to his further explorations.
On one hand, Ziura’s artistic practice functions as a soft tool of liberalisation and as a testing ground for alternative ways of experiencing reality. The entrance and escape, muteness and communication, recording and deletion appear simultaneously. In comparison to his silence period, one could remember Ziura’s recent retrospective trip to the village where he had spent his childhood. He came back there with video camera to get in touch with each inhabitant of the village (80 persons in total) for one minute via the lens. The technological device functioned as a mediator with his past and currently very distant social strata. On the other hand, these explorations quite often have incarnated into highly iconographic artifices like Mould (1998), made out of coins collected from the fountain, or The Dead Water (1995), which was made out of wax of candles collected in cemeteries by the artist. Despite their minimalist shapes, these Space Odyssey 2001-like objects remain as a signifier of broader phenomena impossible to describe rationally – in art historical sense they have more to do with John McCracken than Donald Judd.
The category of xenocrony (Frank Zappa) as strange synchronisation of different elements would probably be the best in describing Ziura’s working method. While addressing various fundamental issues – possibility of unmediated experience and communication, memory, different ways of perception, real and unreal time, the limits of experience and altered states of consciousness, Ziura combines elements of different esthetical systems, ideologies and psycho-techniques. In Film (2000) shot during the summer on the seaside of Lithuania the quest for transcendence meets anti-ideological impulse in amateur-voyeurist scenes. Although he films the unfilmable and represents the unrepresenatable, many episodes of the film very soon become ambiguous or politically incorrect: naked adolescent girls playing in sand, imbecile guy battling the water, body of the drowned man laying on the shore or semi-private striptease for noueveux riches. ‘It seems to be a background music, it is like listening to a wallpaper, (It’s Tomorrow Already LP, Irresistible Force) – we hear the soundtrack of the film.
The intersectional zones where psychospace meets topography is Ziura’s favorite domain. In Another Space (installed at Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, 1998-1999), his largest installation up to date, the artist tried to create a zone where channels to unmediated and real phenomena would be laid out. In pragmatic terms it functioned as a chill out room or collective floatation tank with video and slide projections and Ziura’s texts. An equipment to communicate with the artist, who spent one month with headphones and the microphone out of the main room, was installed to make the situation even more intimate/detached.
‘The another space came out of my imagination’ – Darius Ziura mentioned then2. Apparently the idea of the zone or the threshold of the real has been located in psychogeography. However recently Ziura’s ‘subjective idealism’ has been transforming into virtualism. The desire to make a division and create physical TAZ becomes obsolete, since the real is virtual.
1 – The artist often maintains his life making portraits of people on the streets.
2 ¬ – The idea of the another space was further extended in Ziura’s private apartment on the second floor of the big building in Vilnius, where two trucks of sand were brought in order to create an area where notions of Zone of Burroughs and Tarkovski could possibly meet.
5. Potentiality of a Cultural Resistance — interview by Nataša
Nataša Petrešin
The transparency of the power, public revealing of its many veils, forms, mechanism and influences, is one of the tendencies of every resistant movement, activist or engaged artistic position or gesture. Within the liberal-democratic societies, the civil disobedience and demonstrations are accepted up to a certain level. The ability to create moments in which power could at least be temporary unmasked, seems to become difficult. In opinion of many activism stimulators, from Julia Kristeva to Critical Art Ensemble, the contemporary activism feeds itself with the nostalgia of revolt from the 60ies, represents the past as the present and affects with a weakened capacity to strike upon the corporation-oriented globalised politics. Kristeva speaks about the diluted and altered possibility of revolt that has mutated together with technological society in which the forbidden (or critical, problematic) either doesn’t exist or has become more complex so that one wouldn’t know where to start to revolt. For our society of control it is characteristic that economy and mechanisms of power are breaking into the bare life through which our life potential becomes indivisible from the capitalist tools and production. The products of our work do not deliver tangible, material results anymore, but generate the social relationships themselves, the communication, networks and common knowledge, what Negri and Hardt call immaterial labour. How is it therefore in such a situation possible to create effective strategies of resistance and encourage the potential of the transformation?
Decision for performing activist actions, either direct or non-violent ones, mass protests, riots, civil disobedience, hacktivism or artistic interventions, derives from the deep ethical awareness about the indeterminacy and potentiality of our common existence, from a kind of belief in change in the Deleuzian sense of process of becoming. Giorgio Agamben talks about the potentiality, a quality that each of us owns, as »the mode in which the passage from potentiality to act comes about. The only ethical experience is the experience of being one’s own potentiality, of being one’s own possibility, exposing in every form one’s own amorphousness and in every act one’s own inactuality. The only evil consists in the decision to remain in a deficit of existence, to appropriate the power to not-be as a substance and a foundation beyond existence; or to regard potentiality itself, which is the most proper mode of human existence, as a fault that must always be repressed.« Brian Massumi, the theoretician of movement and affect, understands the potentiality as »a swarm of potential ways of affecting or being affected that follows along as we move through life. We always have a vague sense that they’re there. That vague sense of potential, we call it our ‘freedom’, and defend it fiercely… Freedom always arises from constraint — it’s a creative conversion of it, not some utopian escape from it.« The activists often feel the pressure that emerges when there are attempts to define with concrete linguistic or law determinations the potential or the capacity of society’s transformation that lie in the core of each revolt. The questions like how will a society look after activism succeeds, or a recent question posed by Slavoj Žižek about how a multitude in power would function, are conscious un-understanding of activist tendencies (and in Žižek’s case a naughty comment).
The possibility of subjective and collective resistance as the basis of freedom within a political aesthetisation of the everyday, the realization of tactical gestures within flexible and mutant systems of late global capitalism, performativity of activism and of direct action in public, politicality, communication and responsibility from the side of the producers of meaning as well as the receivers of artistic and activist events, relative autonomy and the freedom of the individual, have all been the issues that in the conversation for Maska magazine Brian Holmes, Claire Pentecost, Marko Peljhan and Igor Zabel talked about.
Brian Holmes is an art critic, sociologist and theoretician of resistance. He was born in San Francisco and lives and works in Paris. With his sharp and immense knowledge about the activist strategies in the field of contemporary art he is researching the relations between art, tactical media, political economy and activism. He is a member of the editorial board of the French review Multitudes and regularly contributes to the magazines Springerin, Parachute and Brumaria. He collaborates with the art activist collective Bureau d’études and is one of the founders of the organisation for the research of autonomous knowledge Université Tangente in Strasbourg. He is the author of the book Hijeroglifi budu?nosti: umjetnost i politika u doba umreženosti (Zagreb, 2002).
Claire Pentecost is an author, artist and professor in the art department for photography at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. In her work she uses different media and investigates imaginary and institutional structures. Her last projects questions the ownership of knowledge, specifically in the field of science, and the corporate control over the production and distribution of the food on the global level. She has collaborated with Critical Art Ensemble at the project Molecular Invasion (Autonomedia, 2002). Since the court process against Steve Kurtz, the founding member of Critical Art Ensemble, began this spring, Claire took over the public relations regarding the course of events. After the lecture of Brian Holmes about the crisis cartographies (at Moderna galerija, Ljubljana), Claire lectured together with Brian (at Metelkova, Ljubljana) about the absurdity and terrifying consequences of the court process against CAE.
Marko Peljhan is one of the most successful Slovene conceptual artists, critically acclaimed in the international art context and in Slovenia for his complex projects that include tactical use of new technologies and reveal the mechanisms of definitions of the legal and illegal, and the relations between the immaterial power devices and the individual creativity and activity. With his project-in-progress Makrolab and art organisation Projekt Atol that are based upon the accumulation of knowledge, collaboration between the artistic and scientific fields, collective action and performativity, Peljhan is reaching the realization of the dreams of the transgressive utopian legacy. Since 2002 Peljhan teaches at the University of Santa Barbara.
Igor Zabel is one of the visible contemporary art curators in Slovenia, and has worked since many years as a senior curator in Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana. In the international art world he is very well known for his critical thinking about the art system and the artistic and curatorial positions within it. Among others, he was the coordinator of Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana, and last year he curated the exhibition Individual Systems within the 50th Venice Biennial. Together with Viktor Misiano he is the editor of the international review for contemporary art Manifesta Journal. He is author of several books, editor of many exhibitions catalogues and translates literature works and theoretic texts. In his essays he is precisely researching and valuating the relations between the political or the engaged and the aesthetical in art.
Nataša Petrešin: I would like to start our talk about the possibilities of the resistance today with the quotation of Julia Kristeva, taken from her interview/book Revolt, She Said (Los Angeles, 2002). She says that “Modern revolt doesn’t necessarily take the form of a clash of prohibitions and transgressions that beckons the way to firm promises; modern revolt is in the form of trials, hesitations, learning as you go, making patient and lateral adjustments to an endlessly complex network. That doesn’t prevent prospective ideologies from appearing to satisfy the psychological need for ideals and seduction. But we know better now where to put them in their rightful place, as actors in the Spectacle. If we don’t keep the possibility of performing the resistance in art open, there is nothing left to do but to submit to the all- encompassing power.” My question would be where from does each of you start to grasp with these issues of the possibility of the resistance today, and what are your sources of inspirations to continue to revolt or to resist? Would you agree on Kristeva’s quotation?
To continue reading the rest of the interview, please visit:
6. Art as Next Terrorist Suspect — text by Nataša
Due to an overall danger of various forms of terrorism, paranoia as a state-of-the-art has developed after 9/11 into an actual reality of the globalised world, the one which is burdened by the past colonial, social and psychological exploitation of the inferior or minor layers of society and by the ever-present cultural and capital hegemony of the First World over the Third World. What is happening before our eyes, which are pinned to the mass media and the World Wide Web, seems like the most tasteless and worst case scenario, yet we all participate in it. The narrow-mindedness of the most powerful states that still decide the fate of most geopolitical situations on our planet includes searching for scapegoats. The search allows them to avoid (and for how long?) all real, effective and realisable solutions, ones that in any case are not in their interests. Dr. Steven Kurtz, the founder of the art collective Critical Art Ensemble and associate professor at the art department of the University of Buffalo, and Dr. Robert Ferrell, Kurtz’s collaborator and professor of genetics at the University in Pittsburgh, charged with mail and wire fraud in a federal court arraignment in Buffalo this spring, are such scapegoats in an absurd and terrifying court process. The trial, which is actually only now beginning, brings forth catastrophic consequences to the freedom of creativity and artistic expression, to unrestrained artistic and interdisciplinary research, and to the right of all individuals and lay audiences to knowledge concerning the biopolitical mechanisms that directly steer the course of bare life.
Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) is an art collective consisting of five activists coming from the fields of computer graphics, performance, photography, film, video and text art. Since the foundation of the collective in 1987, they have been one of the key elements in international theoretic discourse and artistic activist practice, civil disobedience, resistance and the basic right to knowledge. The group has been exploring the kinships between art, science, technology, political activism and critical theory. Their artistic mission involves interventions, introducing the potential of tactical media, capital and power in the information society. Most recently they have revealed the strategies, interests, dangers and manipulations with which hermetically sealed scientific circles and the escalating development of the biotechnological industry are misleading the public. Critical Art Ensemble has defined the role of the artist as one according with the transforming nature of engaged art. They see the artistic position and function as an operation by a public amateur within a system of transparent financial support for the arts and visibility in the public domain. Working as a collective for many years, they have created performative, interactive and participatory projects, advocated the methodology of and necessity for interdisciplinary research and published five books.
In recent years, CAE has unfailingly demystified the strategies of the biotechnological industry in their participatory projects, wherein they develop practical models and situations where the audience can confront its own fear of science: “By interacting with us and our models [where the audience can develop harmless transgenic bacteria, raise bacteria found within their bodies and take them home, or observe the process of identifying genetically modified organisms in the most common food products] they hopefully developed some understanding of the potential risks involved in the positive use of transgenic organisms.” Acting out the role of amateur biotechnicians and scientists, the collective’s own term for their performative methodology is “contestational biology initiative”. This format has allowed them to investigate the methods, equipment and databases of the professional scientific sphere in search for answers to politicised questions about the representation and control of food products that the biotechnological industry has achieved under the supervision of multinational companies. In these projects, analogical to their earlier critical projects about the Internet, tactical media and hacktivism, Critical Art Ensemble have succeeded in establishing their main thesis about the necessity and right of all individuals to information, about “knowledge as a commons which is as vital as the air that we breathe.”.
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