This exhibition uses the notion of the "threshold of law" to describe a "ghost town" or a "black hole", wherein laws and legislations are freely interpreted in order to undermine, devalue, isolate and alienate groups of marginalised people in society. On show is solely video work, focusing on two different artistic approaches: firstly, the documentary, and secondly, the methodology used by artists for the re-appropriation of facts and documents by creating independent scenarios. Curated by Nada Prlja.
curated by Nada Prlja
Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson
Tanja Ostojić David Rych
Due to the current world crisis, we are living in a time of dramatic changes, wherein the conventional notion of "country" and the established state power, modifies itself and results in the re-shifting of social, governmental and economic priorities. The conventionally most powerful (or capitalist) countries are facing economic downfall, resulting from the general panic due to individual loss: loss of property, jobs, stability, etc. The first in line to be "swept away", as a result of this crisis, are people who are marginalised - whether economically, ethnically or religiously - the people who are, in a certain way, alienated from the system they inhabit. Societies non-acceptance of (im)migrants, has resulted with the social isolation, or invisibility of this marginalised group of individuals.
A strong reaction to this situation is noticeable in artistic production, especially through the socially/politically engaged practices of recent years, in the form of protectiveness toward alienated, or otherwise displaced groups of individuals in society. One could ask - what causes this artistic reaction? Is it a set of new governmental legislations? Or, are the artists reacting to the unwritten/unlegislated rules that haunt and humiliate this group of "stateless subjects", on a daily basis?
In his book, "State of Exception", Giorgio Agamben points out that the state of exception is not a specific kind of law; rather it is a suspension of the juridical order itself, it defines law's threshold or limit concept1 This exhibition, (im)migrants with(in), uses the notion of the "threshold of law" to describe a "ghost town" or a "black hole", wherein laws and legislations are freely interpreted in order to undermine, devalue, isolate and alienate groups of marginalised people in society.
The exhibition aims, through examples of the artistic response to this established situation in contemporary society, defined by the afore-mentioned "threshold of law", to give a voice (at times, even a singing/shouting voice) to this group of "invisible people".
The work represented at Open Space is solely video work, focusing on two different artistic approaches: firstly, the documentary, where the life stories of the 'aliens' are told from the position of a "first person" narration (Ostojić/Rych, Ramadan); and secondly, the methodology used by artists for the re-appropriation of facts and documents by creating independent scenarios (Castro/Ölafsson, Lim). Those two different modes of expression within the video medium, have led this exhibition to make an investigation of the medium of the video itself. In other words, it leads the exhibition to test the importance of the representation of reality within it, by questioning the degree to which documentary practices could/should activate additional scenarios and individual interpretations of reality.
This issue and other related research questions will be debated during the discussion, which starts at 5pm in Open Space, followed by the Opening Reception.
1 State of Exception, Giorgio Agamben, University of Chicago Press, Chicago&London, 2005, pp. 4.
Talk/Discussion: 21 March 2009, 17.00 - 18.30 at Open Space
Tanja Ostojić, Khaled Ramadan, Gülsen Bal and Walter Seidl
with an introduction by Nada Prlja
Opening march 21, 2009
Open Space - Zentrum fur Kunstprojekte
Lassingleithnerplatz 2 - Wien
Open by appointment only, admission free