The editorial team of e-flux journal #26 N, underlines a fundamental paradox by bringing the old question "What is art?" as it must be left open. And this engagement emerges with a big ending statement as "art at its best does not provide answers and solutions; it creates problems." On view works by Heba Amin, Yane Calovski, Sanja Ivekovic, Christine Schorkhuber, Kamen Stoyanov.
curated by Gülsen Bal
In articulation of the creative process and what formulates the creative strategies and the creative moment of thinking differently; the editorial team of e-flux journal #26 N, underlines a fundamental paradox by bringing the old question “What is art?” as it “must be left open.“ And this engagement emerges with a big ending statement as “art at its best does not provide answers and solutions; it creates problems.”
At all events, this reading intends to show the problematic of the practical questions with political implications that is linked with the concept such as “becoming subjects.” To that extent, using Ranciére’s term of “creating concepts”, yet following the connection between hegemony and micropolitics which accounts, in part, for his insistence on the articulation of the ‘regimes’ of art in terms of the productions of subjects, we can characterise this as a highly significant transformation in its manifold modalities.
However in the present context, it is equally important to understand “the hegemony and micropolitics are not mutually exclusive perspectives, but instead refer to one another.” This aspect touches on an almost paradoxical complication of this argument which a politics can emerge, both theoretically and practically. Also, from there, we need to return to the possibilities of ‘thinking the political’ in which what constitutes the political domain, to what and where is ‘the political subject.’
I would say these relational processes arise here to explore all modes of representation as well as all paths of production, in which the possible is engendered. This causes us to explore the uneasy relations and interdependencies of forces to propagate in the eventualities as it appears, to engage in rethinking of identifying a specific conjunction of the new outlines to whatever microscale possible. Where, then, do the 'politics of art' rest in this obvious paradox?
In this stance, the critical moments of a plurality of questions become countenance, where the question of the political opens up within the creative practice. This sets new kinds of creative connections while introducing an experimental dynamic in which the current relational powers to be problematised, in which “art becomes aware of the limits of its power, it is pushed toward a new political commitment by the weakening of politics itself.” This signals, for me, the possibility of a new type of politics centered in the question of what is in the ‘can’?
Voices from the Revolution, 2011
2 Channel Video, various duration
On January 27th, 2011 Egyptian authorities succeeded in shutting down the country's international internet access points in response to growing protests. Over one weekend, a group of programmers developed a platform called Speak2Tweet that would allow Egyptians to post their breaking news on Twitter via voicemail despite internet cuts. The result was thousands of heartfelt messages from Egyptians recording their emotions by phone. This experimental film presents selected speak2Tweet messages prior to the fall of the Mubarak regime on February 11, 2011 and juxtaposes them with the abandoned structures that represent the long-lasting effects of a corrupt dictatorship. It attempts to depict the harsh reality of the physical state of the city and addresses the role that the urban infrastructure plays in instigating unrest amongst its inhabitants. The project reveals the hopes and fears of a people who have yet to discover the outcome of their revolution within the context of their crumbling surroundings.
Hollow Land, 2009
Video essay, 8.13 min. - Courtesy of the artist and Zak Branicka Gallery (Berlin)
Hollow Land is an art project that Macedonian artist Yane Calovski developed during his first stay on IJburg. Caught in a moment of flux, identified still with unfinished and suspended structures, IJburg is a location that could easily be appropriated as a film set where the entire production could happen without disturbing the ‘normality’ of the already existing life. The project has a strong performative character, structured as an exploration and incorporating writing, performing and filming of an original script, producing printed materials, music score, and finally taking the film apart and distributing it in various forms and contexts. Calovski’s work is a “conspiracy inflicted - self defining drama” revisiting characters of his previous film projects and inserting them in the social space of IJburg to provoke an interactive form of exchange with the socio-political and economic subterfuge on the island. Reflecting both on the ideology of self-realisation and identifying with urban codes and what it postulates, the script charts an unorthodox map of fused elements and theories, concluding that the illusion of the politically projected concept of new urbanity overpowers the reality of social expectation.
Nova Zvijezda (New Star), 1983
Collage, mixed media - Courtesy of Kontakt,The Art Collection of Erste Group
As eminently stated as Iveković’s work “deals with the collapse of socialist regimes and the consequences of the triumph of capitalism and the market economy over living conditions, particularly of women”, especially 90’s onwards. However, this transpires as though limiting the scope on how we address the issue in particular with what “the triumph of capitalism” means. This is linked with another question: what forms the counter-strategies to globalised forces towards excessive decline of the boundaries between geopolitical and economic conditions in which we place the new artistic capacities? And that frame, the place where one takes a stand, is in its reflection to critical questioning when one considers her practice “as deeply politically committed and historically relevant then as now.”
In Nova Zvijezda (New Star), Iveković brings the collective social codes of symbolic and real representations onto surface, while concerned with history as it is with the present in which the possible engendered that goes beyond nationalistic consensual ideas, its form of power as well as culturally identifiable judgement. Yet, this is not simply an issue with what forms its dynamics; it being the case that “the politics of art in this regime rests on this founding paradox.”
speaking walls, 2010
Installation, mixed media
The installation speaking walls takes a closer look on street marking in Budapest, basically focussed on the technique of stencilling. Small pieces of artificial wall with stencils from the streets of Budapest are shown in an exhibition space, headphones are plugged in the mural piece. Several people speak about backgrounds, stories and personal perspectives of the particular motives, street art and society in general: Street artists, Activists, the owner of a design shop, a classical painter and different passants have been interviewed. Like the transferred mural pieces of an antique building to an anthropological museum, the dislocated walls are witnesses of a specific situation and environment. As streets are a main public zone of urban communication and political discourse, the marking of the walls there is a way of (semi)permanent participation.
The intentions are different and reach from plain aesthetical fun to the need of posting social messages and criticising the system. The speaking walls of Budapest reflect politics, social structure, culture and way of living in contemporary Hungary.
Guys, this is not LA, but it is a cool place too!, 2010
Light box, 120x80cm
In Guys, this is not LA, but it is a cool place too!, Kamen Stoyanov deals with cultural specific conditions reflecting various socio-political themes. In revealing the space of current relations, the photographic work In Guys, this is not LA, but it is a cool place too! allows us to engage of a space that identifies the transitional conditions and the flows where the present geopolitics as well as cultural shifts that are as profound and evident in today’s factual daily life.
To the fore in mapping out ‘subject-positions’ which set its cultural syntheses rooted in differential structures, Kamen reframes a different register where we witness ‘another truth’ to come to life. This requires exploring alternative discursive space towards accepting the difficult relationship between the present complex relational powers and interpretations of current creative connections.
Image: Kamen Stoyanov, production stll
Opening: 24 January, 19.00 pm
Zentrum für Kunstprojekte
Lassingleithnerplatz 2 - Vienna
Open Friday, Saturday 13.00 - 18.30 and open for the rest of the week days by appointment only.