Critical Exploits showed how a new generation of artists, designers and engineers are taking a highly critical approach to the development and use of the engineered systems and infrastructures that we increasingly rely on for daily life
The artist uses live art, interventions and new media to investigate social and political systems; and to find his position in and to these larger systems.
Some of his projects involved outsourcing the production of a written constitution for the UK to China and having 1,000 dolls voice it, using the price of an African financial index to control lightning in a Berlin art center, testing certain hypotheses about social behaviour in a dinner party. And building an outdoors spiral staircase for cats.
Historian Garrick Hileman, sociologist Nigel Dodd and financial activist Brett Scott reflected on the question “Is Bitcoin the new gold?” Shaking up online and offline worlds, the online currency Bitcoin has increased its ‘value’ at immense speed in the last year. Being immune from government interference and private manipulations, it has been celebrated as a new alternative currency by some and condemned as source of unpredictable risk by others
The main preoccupation of the exhibition is not the militant commentaries behind artworks but the effect that political values and social movements have had on the production modes, aesthetics and communication of visual culture. As such Art Turning Left stands out from other shows dedicated to political art or activism
Much of Treister’s recent work maps ways that human intelligence and military intelligence currently interact and work on each other. She explores how in a world increasingly determined by pervasive technologies and the demands of the military and security arms of government and state, new relations between the observer and the observed have been established and new subjectivities formed
Unseen is the way Doherty used to work when had to remain as inconspicuous as possible to the British military that kept a close watch on Northern Ireland.
Unseen are also the memories of violence, control and conflicts that are lurking in overcast landscapes and dark city corners. There’s always something in his images that seem to conceit and conspire. At least that’s what the viewer suspects because Doherty is a master of making them paranoid
Drawing on the work of a diverse group of contributors, from art historians, anthropologists, and political theorists to artists, filmmakers, and architects, Sensible Politics situates aesthetic forms within broader activist contexts and networks of circulation and in so doing offers critical insight into the practices of mediation whereby the political becomes manifest
The Reposition Matrix is an investigation into the military-industrial production and trading networks of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (also commonly referred to as Drones). The workshop aims to reterritorialise the drone as a physical, industrially-produced technology of war, and consequently explore how this affects our understanding of the covert drone campaigns in the Middle East
Under the Shadow of the Drone is a life-size depiction of a Reaper drone, one of a number of such weapons in service with US and UK forces. The Reaper is used for surveillance and bombing missions, in the declared war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the illegal wars of assassination taking place in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Such wars are made possible by the invisibility of drones to most people
In Tarnac. Le chaos et la grâce, Joachim Olender explores a police and judicial blunder that hit France in November 2008 when a group of policemen wearing black balaclavas stormed into the small village of Tarnac and arrested a group of people who were later accused of being far-left terrorists plotting to overthrow the state
Illustrations of an alternative world where bespoke sports events replace traditional warfare as a means of solving seemingly chronic conflicts. Each sport is designed to reflect the cultural and geopolitical characteristics of the opposing sides, in this case North Korea vs South Korea + Japan + USA, and India vs Pakistan
The Ostkreuz agency was founded when what was probably the most important border in the history of Germany–the Berlin Wall–disappeared. Two decades later, the agency’s photographers set out on a search for today’s frontiers. Their pictures tell of discovering a state identity in South Sudan; they portray groups of indigenous peoples battling for their land in Canada and gay people in Palestine seeking exile in the enemy country of Israel. The focus is always on people: how do boundaries influence their everyday lives, and how do they shape their lives along those that surround them?
On Thursday i was in Turin and visited For President at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. The timely, informative and a tad star-struck exhibition examines the American election campaigns, its calculated emotional moments, theatrical strategies and incestuous relationship with media. Part of the show is also looking at the interest Italy (and with it, the rest of Europe) is having for the American event, from a very brief article on page 3 of a daily newspaper in 1868 to the current front pages
Our society is governed by all sorts of systems and structures that organise and steer life. No system, however, whether political, judicial, economical, socio-cultural or spatial, can comprise life in its entirety. Every system has gaps, leaks and ambiguities.
The artists in the exhibition Mind the System, Find the Gap seek out these gaps. They set forth from this intermediate position to unveil, circumvent or criticise ruling systems and structures
One of the current interests of the Office involves an ‘overt research’ that attempts to build up an alternative and experimental knowledge source about the UK’s “Dark Places”, the labs and facilities of advanced technological development which are often (purposefully or not) concealed, secret or inaccessible to the public
The Cold Coast Archive project investigates and explores human beings’ efforts to preserve civilization and defy the inevitability of its demise. We look at the vault as a whole: its practical, political, historical and symbolic structure, its arctic location, as well as its infrastructure and cultural nuances, with all the research concentrated at this site, as a backdrop to explore the human relationship to time between now and eternity
There’s an exhibition featuring sci-fi, history, video games, homosexuality, soap operas, censorship and a powerful sense of humour at Cornerhouse in Manchester right now. The show is called Subversion and it questions and knocks around whatever assumption you might have about an homogenous ‘Arab world’, whatever image politicians and the media might have given you about its culture and identity
The film that inspires you to google your name again….
My name is Janez Janša is a documentary film about names and name changes, focusing on one particular and rather unique name change that took place 5 years ago, when three artists officially changed their names into the name of the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša
‘ZOO, or the letter Z, just after Zionism’ starts at page number 437 of ‘The Atlas of the Conflict’ and continues into a fascinating exploration of ideas, snapshots and associations, that could be raised once seeing a white donkey tied with a rope, covered with beige tape and being transformed into a zebra by a beautiful Palestinian boy
You might never have heard of Abkhazia and that’s probably because only a handful of countries regard it as an independent state.
Abkhazia broke away from Georgia after a short, violent civil war in ’92-’93 and only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and the atoll of Nauru recognised it as independent state in 2008.
The artists spent four years witnessing and documenting the country’s attempts to repopulate with new immigrants a country that is ravaged by the war, almost empty and in great economic distress
Jeremy Deller does art outside galleries. It thrives in ‘low culture’ and it is usually ambitious, socially-engaged and unexpected. Indeed, most of his career is built on looking for art in the most unpredictable places, working with the public or with people who have particular knowledge or skill but who wouldn’t otherwise be associated with the contemporary art world. They include unemployed miners, brass bands, a campaign banner maker, fans of Depeche Mode, a glam rock wrestler, experts in re-enactments, etc. He even collaborated on an art project with nightclub owner and trendsetter Peter Stringfellow
Hexen 2.0 charts the coming together of diverse physical and social sciences in the framework of post-WWII US governmental and military imperatives. The art works represent Suzanne Treister’s research into the development of cybernetics, the history of the Internet, the rise of Web 2.0, mass intelligence gathering and the interconnected histories of the counterculture. Through her work she explores the implications of new systems of societal manipulation and the development of a ‘control society’ alongside historical and current responses to advances in technology
Yesterday evening i went to Foto8 in London again for the screening of How to Start a Revolution, a documentary tracing the global influence of Gene Sharp’s work. Sharp believes that non-violent struggle has a greater chance of success than violent resistance, because violence is typically the most powerful weapon used tyrannical regimes and they will always have the upper hand. His booklet From Dictatorship to Democracy provide a list of 198 “non-violent weapons”, including mock awards, alternative communication system, wearing of symbols, pray-in, boycott of elections, withdrawal of bank deposits, consumers’ boycott, renouncing honours, etc.
Weaponized Architecture is an examination of the inherent instrumentalization of architecture as a political weapon; research informs the development of a project which, rather than defusing these characteristics, attempts to integrate them within the scene of a political struggle. The proposed project dramatizes, through its architecture, a Palestinian disobedience to the colonial legislation imposed on its legal territory
The Nigerian photographer is one of those rare photo-reporters whose work is shown in newspapers as well as in art galleries around the world (you can check his photos right now in the Oil Show at HMKV in Dortmund). He was in London to discuss the Oil Rich Niger Delta series and his new book Delta Nigeria – The Rape of Paradise on the oil exploitation in the Delta region of his country
War veterans are homeless people too. They might go back to a house after the war, they might have a roof over their head but it doesn’t feel like home anymore. They are traumatized to various degrees and feel like they’ve become strangers to the place where they used to live. They don’t function like they used to. They have been conditioned to be constantly on alert, to react on the spot to any unexpected light, move, noise, etc. They can’t turn off that aggressive instinct when they go back to civilian life
Heath Bunting gives insight into the networks at play that constitute an identity, like banks, health care and education. By using these different networks Bunting creates new synthetic identities. In his ‘Identity Bureau’ one can purchase official and legal UK identities
Architecture of Fear explores how feelings of fear pervade daily life in the contemporary media society. The cause of fear seems interchangeable and constantly fluctuating. Shifting from one thing to the next, often relating to invisible or indirect phenomena’s (terrorism, viral diseases, pollution, financial crisis), anything has the ability to become a potential threat. Rather than an immediate emotional strategy for survival fear is becoming a constant low level feeling in the background that gives rise to a new global infrastructure based on security, prevention and risk-management
This morning i left London unimpressed by the Frieze art fair and took the train to Manchester. The lady at the hotel reception manages to wear two sets of fake eyelashes on top of each other, the weather is lovely and i’m following Creative Tourist’s recommendation to embark on a Manchester Weekender, three days of celebration of art, literature, music and performances. First stop, On the March – An exhibition of banners made by Ed Hall
Z33 in Hasselt, Belgium, has just opened an exhibition with a very promising title. Architecture of Fear explores how feelings of fear pervade daily life in the contemporary media society.
I’m going to visit it on Thursday but in the meantime i thought i’d ask one of the participating artists, Jill Magid, to tell us about the work she is showing at Z33 and more generally about her experience with impersonal power structures (police, intelligence agencies, security systems, etc.) which, whether they contribute to it or fight it, are part of this ‘architecture of fear.’
‘The Intel – Cyprus Merger’ showed how the world’s first merger of a country and a corporation might be possible, and advantageous for both parties. Moreover through the execution of due diligence, stakeholder engagement and communication, how such a merger could be enacted responsibly, and in the best interests of both, or how at least it might appear so
The exhibition presents the provocative idea that art and journalism are two sides of a unique activity; the production and distribution of images and information. The exhibition brings to the surface how images and information are communicated, and the aesthetic principles used in the act of transmission
This book explores the current interrelationship between art, activism, and politics. It presents new visual concepts and commentaries that are being used to represent and communicate emotionally charged topics, thereby bringing them onto local political and social agendas in a way far more powerful than words alone. It looks at how art is not only reflecting and setting agendas, but also how it is influencing political reaction
Currently on view at Tate Modern’s Level 2 Gallery, Out of Place features four artists who explore the relationship between dominant political forces and personal and collective histories by looking at urban space, architectural structures and the condition of displacement
This book investigates this urge for the pure, but also advocates a much deeper need for the impure, not to reinstate a new organicism or back-to-nature movement, but to trace progression to a point where all modernist values reverse, where technology becomes an agent for the impure and the imperfect. Technology, long an agent for homogeneity and purity, is now turning into one for heterogeneity and global contingency
Guantanamo: If the light goes out illustrates three experiences of home: at Guantanamo naval base, home to the American community; in the camp complex where the detainees have been held; and in the homes where former detainees, never charged with any crime, find themselves trying to rebuild lives. These notions of home are brought together in an unsettling narrative, which evokes the process of disorientation central to the Guantanamo interrogation and incarceration techniques. It also explores the legacy of disturbance such experiences have in the minds and memories of these men
Arctic Perspective uses media art and the research of artists to investigate the complicated, global, cultural, and ecological interrelations in the Arctic, and to develop concepts for constructing tactical communications systems and a mobile, eco-friendly research station, which will support interdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations
The exhibition brought together Israeli artists who explore the daily struggle to define and stretch the boundaries of the territory. Obviously, the word ‘territory’ in Israel comes with tense references to occupied stretches of land such as the ones in the West Bank and the Gaza strip. The term also evokes Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, check points, separation walls, disputed borders, forced evictions, etc. The artists in the exhibition, however, approach territory in a more private context
Over 500 maps and diagrams provide a detailed territorial analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, explored through themes such as borders, settlements, land ownership, archaeological and cultural heritage sites, control of natural resources, landscaping, wars and treaties. A lexicon provides a commentary on the conflict from various perspectives. As a whole, the book offers insights not only into the specific situation of Israel-Palestine, but also into the phenomenon of spatial planning used as a political instrument
Since the early days of photography, critics have told us that photos of political violence – of torture, mutilation, and death – are exploitative, deceitful, even pornographic. To look at these images is voyeuristic; to turn away is a gesture of respect. With “The Cruel Radiance”, Susie Linfield attacks those ideas head-on, arguing passionately that viewing such photographs – and learning to see the people in them – is an ethically and politically necessary act that connects us to our modern history of violence and probes our capacity for cruelty