Date(s) - 13/06/2019
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
CrossSections is designed as an interdisciplinary platform for explorations into artistic research, dialogue, and production. The project employs an open format to reflect upon “process” with the intent to articulate critical reactions to the political, economic, and social disturbances facing us today. Over the course of three years (2017–2019), with the participation of 19 artists, diverse scholars and cultural workers, various meetings, workshops, exhibitions, performances, talks and book launches are being held in three cities: Vienna, Helsinki, and Stockholm.
Developed and curated by Basak Senova, CrossSections aims at discussing and sharing diverse realities, conditions, and strategies in different geographies. By placing the artistic production at the center of its research and plot, it is being shaped by the cumulative interdisciplinary input and data through meetings, residencies, performative presentations, and publications in the course of three year.
The partners of the project are Kunsthalle Exnergasse – WUK (Werkstätten und Kulturhaus) in Vienna; iaspis – the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists, Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, and NFK – The Nordic Art Association in Stockholm; Nya Småland in different locations in Sweden; HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme and Academy of Fine Arts – University of the Arts Helsinki in Helsinki; Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia in Tallinn; and Press to Exit Project Space in Skopje. CrossSections is primarily supported by its partners. The project and associated book are generously supported by the Saastamoinen Foundation.
UNTERTAGÜBERBAU – PART 2
Nikolaus Gansterers video work combines elements of animated film, cartoon films, live drawings, performance, and studio work. The hypnotic flow of images, like a maelstrom generates a dynamic temporo-spatial structure formed by poetical efficacies that dissolves the boundaries between the inner and outside world, between night and day, and unveils deeper layers of perception. Untertagüberbau # 2 (which is part of a 3 channel video work) is both model and ruin, a non-place and utopia – a drifting ground full of references and connotations.
THE OWLS, THE QUEEN AND THE MAQUETTISTE
Benji Boyagian and Behzad Khosravi Noori
The project juxtaposes three clock towers in their territoriality’s, built between the late 19th and early 20th century in Tehran and Jerusalem, as subjects of comparative analysis. By means of collage and storytelling, the work narrates and fictionalizes the story of the three clock towers in relation to colonial history, architecture and middle eastern geopolitics. Factual and fictional historiography mesh into an absurd tale about the repetition of the patterns of history.
Ramesch Daha designed 100 m long and 7.5 m high prison wall to seize this dark chapter of the detention center. She transferred excerpts from the prisoners’ registry entries dated from 1944 and 1945 as oversized blueprints on the wall.
In the 1940’s, it was common practice in Austria to cancel the names of those detained, after serving their sentences. The artist copied these pages with all the original colour of the blueprints. Daha magnified and painted them on the wall by applying a special technique.
Through site-specific, visual inquiries Marcus Neustetter probes real world dynamics
such as forced migration and lost identities with intuitive, process driven artistic tools.
In this performative installation he draws and then scrambles a map to reconfigure
contested territories. Accompanied by the static sound of an FM radio, a visual map
of personal notes and a ladder, he attempts to reassemble his drawing and make
sense of his own perspective.
“Racists Half-price!” was a performance which required an exceptional engagement of the spectator in the public space. The performance took place at Granite Square in Riihimäki on 1st of July in 2017.
Otto Karvonen and his assistant were selling strawberries in the market place of a small town in Finland. They offered a special campaign deal by selling half-price strawberries only to the customers that considered themselves as racists. Therefore, in order to buy half-priced strawberries, one had to declare her/himself publicly as a “racist”. It was an offer quite hard to resist…
THE CITY IS WAITING 2018
How can we – from a contemporary perspective – recall and update the largely forgotten social reforming history of the VHS Ottakring? And in accordance with the interdisciplinary working method of Gertrud Kraus, how can we understand dance as a specific poetic space in which art forms, times and images can be recombined and new relations and cross-references created?
The starting point is a performance of the dance piece The City is Waiting by dancer and choreographer Gertrud Kraus on the – still existing – theater stage of the adult education center Ottakring in Vienna in 1933. Socio-politically interested and increasingly under pressure because of her Jewish background, Kraus developed as one of the few exponents of expressive dance choreographies that showed political commitment. Her choreography The City is Waiting, based on a fairy tale by Maxim Gorki, is re ecting both the fears and fascination of a boy – she herself dances – in the big city. The Volksheim Ottakring (today Volkshochschule Ottakring) was founded in 1901 and – using the slogan: The Knowledge for All – was of great cultural and political importance, especially in the interwar years.
Adult education centers were an important hub of education and knowledge transfer and played a unique role in the popularization of avant-garde art and culture beyond the bourgeois salons.Adult education centers were an important hub of education and knowledge transfer and played a unique role in the popularization of avant-garde art and culture beyond the bourgeois salons.
Schwebendes (Hovering) was realized as part of a series called Another Place’s Presence / Place of Another Presence and takes as its point of departure a series of photographs of the interior of the ruinous Istanbul Opera House at the time of the Gezi Park movement in 2013. The modernist cultural building—which has stood empty for years and is threatened with demolition—has become a symbol of the failed utopia of a secular society.
While thousands of demonstrators protest at the Taksim square, in front of the opera house against the repressive policies of their government, individual people are inside engaged in dialogues, activists are preparing political banners to be attached to the glass façades, or are photographing the masses of people through the windows.
This former stage functions as a spatial and historical interstice and the photographs of the scenes in the opera house are filmed and “staged” by young students of a multimedia school. Through their model-like character, the (image) materials utilized suggest a rehearsal, in which alternates between performance and demonstration.
The dialogue between the young people during the recordings form the actual speech act of this work, as a possible collective meaning-making in which the separation of private/subjective and political/societal is suspended.
RELOCATING THE MEDITERRANEAN
Operation Sunken Sea
Heba Y. Amin
Invested in the power of technology to generate a new future for humankind, Operation Sunken Sea initiates a large-scale infrastructural intervention unparalleled in scale: a new era of human progress will be initiated through the draining and rerouting of the Mediterranean Sea to converge Africa and Europe into one supercontinent. The operation promises to bring an end to terrorism and the migration crisis, provide employment and energy alternatives and confront the rise of fascism, all of which pose profound existential threats to our future. The project instills a fervent movement towards technocracy which take a proactive stance towards the reparation of Africa and the Middle East by relocating the Mediterranean Sea within the African continent.
Referencing and expanding upon early twentieth century techno-utopian visions, Operation Sunken Sea is an ongoing research project and intervention by Heba Y. Amin that investigates significant transformations in territorial constructs and their impact on new geopolitical alliances and global politics. By shifting the paradigm in a time of neo-fascist necropolitics, the project responds to the contemporary moment of political uncertainty in Europe, the unrest and collapse of nationstates in the Middle East and the neo-liberal failure of globalization in Africa. The operation — mimicking languages of fascist regimes — instigates a new vision for Africa and the Middle East by pinpointing what could be attained by and for those most affected by the wars waged for oil, resources and power in the last century.
A living forest. 2018-2099
Sonic Independence is an artwork where a living forest is planted at the border of Finland and Russia with the intention of teaching the growing plants how to play music.
I want to discover a way to enable all the plants in a forest to participate in social construction and political decision making. We humans easily condition animals and plants to answer some questions about their likes and dislikes, but we have so far never seriously asked them how they think we should organize society together? How they feel that they should participate in the construction of society and civilization and the creation of a legal and moral framework with us humans.
In the process of teaching plants how to play music I am constructing several different musical instruments that work on this line that reveals the transfer of decision making power between myself, a human, and the forest.
DIAGRAM OF TRANSFER NO. 1
The film presents a series of images and occasional sounds; there are sets of images, correspondences, movements that resemble each other. The words Nostalgia, Violence and History, or (corresponding) Memory, Hope and Technology are intersected and interrupted by their own dreams, or mutations and deformations, the images of the destruction of books and other memory devices, and the twin practice of piecing together again the fragments, in search of a redeeming knowledge, a kind of soul, that would be a past turned inside out, a sun that never set.
The film originally was made as a comment, a kind of stop button, on an earlier work, “When the Sun Sets It’s All Red, Then It Disappears” (from 2008), which, in its turn, took Jean-Luc Godard’s “La Chinoise” (from 1967) as its starting point to examine the dreams and hopes and misfortunes related to the 1968 student revolt and its representation and present significance for the “left”. Regarding the role of the images and the way they are regarded or presented as constituting a whole — between the system of discipline and that, advancing, of control — one can detect a link to Gilles Deleuze’s “Postscript on the Societies of Control” in the film.
Transitional Magnetism verses about the sense of touch and the need of getting a grip with the hands. Exploring the ways of making visible the necessary skills to be acquired to engrave an image on a copper plate, the pieces interrogate the obscure nature of the trace left by the hands and tools looking back to the work of master printers such as Jean Cousin, Abraham Bosse and José Ribera. Inspired by the statement of Charles Bell which says that “the brain receives more trustworthy information from the touch of the hand than from images in the eye”, the artist questions whether touch furnishes the brain a different kind of sensate information than the eye, hence the urge of using them. The project is displayed in the format of installation combining prints and different elements that relate to the basis of the etching technique.
TIMES OF DILEMMA
“Times of Dilemma” makes use of the tradition of Għana for creating contemporary Għana dialogues addressing current conflicts. In July 2017 transparadiso organized two workshop sessions, for which we launched an open call for participation. They invited authors, Għana-singers (Għannejja), activists and experts from diverse backgrounds to discuss the contradictory interests between economical prosperity and regaining communal values and how to rediscover qualities, (hidden) potentials and poetics for living together.
For the performances by the Għannejja transparadiso conceived two large megaphone-sculptures, offering a dialogical sound transfer of 320 meters between St. Michael’s Counterguard, next to St. Roche Chapel and the only public land on the mostly privatized Manoel Island, which will be transformed into an exclusive new urban development for the rich. The dialogue from the two locations now addresses a plague of today, namely uncontrolled urban development in Malta.
“Times of Dilemma” was part of “The Island is What the Sea Surrounds” curated by Maren Richter in the frame of Valletta 2018 – European Capital of Culture.
Every time we experience loss of something associated with our collective history, whether a document, a building or a person, we feel that we’ve lost our footing both in the present and the future. It is a disconcerting, disorienting and ultimately, debilitating experience.
‘FORMER CITY’ formed the basis of ‘UNDICIPLINED: CONSTRUCTION OF AN ARCHIVE’ (2017-), a research project focusing on the potential future of the physically destroyed archive of the former Institute for Town Planning and Architecture in Skopje (ITPA) in April 2017.
It captures the actuality of archive’s absence framed by its own fragmentation, discontinuity, contingency and multiplicity of possible associations.
Spare Face is guided by research into such topics as modernist architecture, science fiction and cryogenics. The video is a montage composed largely of stock footage and juxtaposes existing free and bought architectural models with imagined and built virtual environments. The animation looks at the material structure of digital video and the technological possibilities of new media.
Spare Face considers the shift in notions of mortality as technology advances. Organ processing leads to the commodification of flesh away from the united body. Through cryogenics death becomes a process not a terminal event, ‘an extension of consciousness’. It is this boundary, on the knife-edge of death and the keen-edge of technology that the artist uses to blur the line between medical innovation and speculative fiction.
Mirror Mirror is a timelapse video piece created in the basement of the Natural History Museum in Vienna in mid-2016. Over a period of 5 days a photograph was taken every minute capturing Dermestes maculatus (carrion beetle) frenetically feasting on the flesh of a gasping Tyto alba (barn owl). Manipulation of this footage has resulted in video piece together with a sound component, created collaboratively by meditating on the sounds of humans mourning by South African composers and vocalists Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Xolisile Bongwana.
Mirror Mirror explores relationships between body and mind, the body of the owl and its relationship to flesh eaters, a process of flesh-devouring flesh. Lace’s observations of nature continue to feed into her fascination with processes and mysteries of life, death, destruction, and seduction. This installation conjures up the lunacy of hunger and entrapment – even desire and highlights the dank underbelly of gestation simultaneous to decomposition. Antithesis is always a certainty – as daunting as the human condition. And these transient and transitional carriers of life culminate in altars for the dead. Lace is centrally concerned with the theme of transition, giving form to mired and illuminated thresholds. Neither complex nor simple, she attempts to strip her thoughts of ‘flesh’ thereby intensifying the material and the void.
Image: Basak Senova
Poster Design: Peter Putz