Dissent Without Modification, Grace Ndiritu

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, writing on June 16th, 2021
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Dissent Without Modification (Bergen Kunsthall), written by Grace Ndiritu, is a research book composed of interviews with radical and progressive artists and thinkers, who started their education and careers in the 1990s. Some are well-known, some are not. They are African, European, and American women working as painters, photographers, performers, hackers, activists and educators, among other roles such as Lisha Sterling, Monster Chetwynd and Kathrin Böhm.

What connects these brilliant women together, now in their late thirties, mid forties, early fifties and sixties; is that the decade of the 1990s had a culturally significant impact on their politics, career and personal life choices. The decade represented a creative coming of age for them all and their lives changed forever. The consequences of those changes are still reflected in their distinctive thoughts and practices today.

The long format interviews that comprise Dissent Without Modification are casual, meandering, philosophical conversations with a wide ranging appeal. Each person’s character is slowly revealed within a backdrop of humour, while touching on many serious universal and global subjects. Topics include pedagogy, race relations, neo-paganism, sexual violence, class warfare, interracial marriage, ecological feminism, contemporary slavery, activism, extreme tourism, African politics, terrorist practice in Western democratic states, and much more.

Dissent Without Modification illuminates the 1990s in a new way, and regards it as a pivotal point in the lineage of today’s grass-roots politics and cultural ferment. on show. The book recalls the Seattle Riots against the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement; the recent televisual phenomenon Catfish recalling MTV’s Real World and the spread of the Occupy movement and the birth of Black Lives Matter through the recent Ferguson and Missouri uprisings. Dissent Without Modification offers first-hand perspectives on the 1990s as the decade “when shit went bad and which we never recovered from,” – to quote Hank Moody, the cantankerous main character of Californication, cult TV show.

At last in Dissent Without Modification Grace Ndiritu takes readers on a circular, revealing expedition into the recent past, sharing its impact with a new generation of readers.

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Inflamed Invisible – Collected Writings on Art and Sound, 1976–2018, David Toop

Posted in art, books, music, Theory, writing on June 15th, 2021
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A rich collection of essays tracing the relationship between art and sound.

In the 1970s David Toop became preoccupied with the possibility that music was no longer bounded by formalities of audience: the clapping, the booing, the short attention span, the demand for instant gratification. Considering sound and listening as foundational practices in themselves leads music into a thrilling new territory: stretched time, wilderness, video monitors, singing sculptures, weather, meditations, vibration and the interior resonance of objects, interspecies communications, instructional texts, silent actions, and performance art.

Toop sought to document the originality and unfamiliarity of this work from his perspective as a practitioner and writer. The challenge was to do so without being drawn back into the domain of music while still acknowledging the vitality and hybridity of twentieth-century musics as they moved toward art galleries, museums, and site-specificity. Toop focused on practitioners, whose stories are as compelling as the theoretical and abstract implications of their works.

Inflamed Invisible collects more than four decades of David Toop’s essays, reviews, interviews, and experimental texts, drawing us into the company of artists and their concerns, not forgetting the quieter, unsung voices. The volume is an offering, an exploration of strata of sound that are the crossing points of sensory, intellectual, and philosophical preoccupations, layers through which objects, thoughts and air itself come alive as the inflamed invisible.

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Liban, Yan Morvan

Posted in Artist Book, books, photography on June 14th, 2021
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If you think you have understood the wars in Lebanon, you can certainly say that you have not understood anything. Recalling that the territory is smaller than the Ile-de-France will give a framework, a space wedged between Israel and Syria. Abandoned by the French to the Christians with the injunction to tolerate the Muslim communities, in exchange for which the country will experience an economic golden age. Then comes the geopolitical stratum, the Palestinian camps in Jordan, a real state within a state, which after Black September will cause an influx of 400 000 refugees on Lebanese soil. The support for the cause of the fedayeen by communist and socialist organisations, which saw a mixture of community, clan, religious and ideological conflicts. To this we must add the numerous foreign hands, even countless, the Cold War and decolonization, more than elsewhere the interests are complex. Then, above all, there are the people and the worst kind of war, the fraternal one, which knows no limits, the civil war. Revenge becomes the systematic operating mode, one-upmanship the rule, pride and dignity the basis of a moral code. Whoever claims to be strong enough to propose peace is murdered. By whom? For what? Everything becomes blurred. Everything is subdivided. The factional war. The Lebanon wars.

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The Text, Nora Amin

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, writing on June 13th, 2021
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In her long poem “The Text”, Nora Amin uses a surrealistic form of poetic writing to deconstruct gender roles, sexual trauma and patriarchal authority, while composing a humane story of creation.

This book is the result of a collaboration between Amin, the visual artist Katharina Marszewski, and the graphic design studio Eps51. Marszewski responded to “The Text” by creating cryptic drawings that reveal the movements central to Amin’s choreographic poetry. Bilingual script and artwork interpenetrate in Eps51’s unique design, which allows readers to determine the reading direction of the book, depending on their preferred language (Arabic / English).

“The Text” is accompanied by an afterword by Christian Junge, scholar of Arabic literature.

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Earth Café, Claire Hungerford

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, writing on June 12th, 2021
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Earth Café is an interactive culinary flipbook for all ages. The book invites the reader to scramble and rearrange dishes from around the world, revealing an expansive* glossary of invented culinary creations. It offers a new knowledge of food: its locality, substances, accidents and boundaries are suddenly as fluid as the imagination itself.

The 35 dishes that make up the book– chimichurri, hamburger, chorizo, spumoni, etc.– are sourced from around the world and defined (using words and images) in very simple terms. Most typically, an adjective or flavor + a predominant ingredient + a category of dish.

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Sustainable Societies for the Future, Stephanie Cristello, Kirse Junge-Stevnsborg (Eds.)

Posted in art, books, Motto Books, writing on May 3rd, 2021
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How do we create ideas, paths, and actions for a more sustainable world? How can art function as a catalyst for change? The project Sustainable Societies for the Future is founded on some of today’s most complex and urgent challenges. This publication, released on the occasion of the concurrent exhibition on view at the Malmö Art Museum and a number of seminars and events, directly addresses issues surrounding how cities and human settlements can be transformed into inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable environments.

The statements in this book feature individual and collective contributions by artists and scholars from the Nordic and North American art scenes to awaken discussion, reflection, and perspectives that reflect sustainable pathways for the world. Designed by Olga Prader, the navigation of each text is conceptually categorized through a visual lexicon that follows the mission of the 11 Global Goals set out by the UN, including biodiversity, housing, and gender equality, health and safety, and environmental justice, among other key issues.

We are at a point where sustainability alone is not sufficient. As the pages within Sustainable Societies for the Future suggests, contemporary art can serve as a key speculation into how issues of ecological challenges, access to and preservation of natural resources, social exclusion, balance of economy, forms of protest, and collective responsibilities can be approached via a political and social lens.

The exhibition Sustainable Societies for the Future runs at Malmö Art Museum from 1 February to 23 May 2021.

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Fieldnotes Issue 1, Bella Marrin (Ed.)

Posted in books, magazines on April 26th, 2021
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Fieldnotes Issue 1 – the third thing – spring 2021

A quarterly print journal publishing new writing and artworks with a focus on practices that work between disciplines and against type. There is always a third thing between two things that are known; we are interested in whatever there is between translations/transitions, things-in-progress, converging genres, methods of excavation and formal innovation. The purpose of the journal is to provide a test site for ideas and research; a space for experimental modes and new prototypes.

The first issue of Fieldnotes contains new work by Lauren Berlant & Kathleen Stewart, Wytske van Keulen, Zara Joan Miller, Estelle Hoy, Rob Halpern, Ana Vaz & Ben Rivers, Matthias Connor, Wythe Marschall, Sarah Mangold, Patrick Keiller, Helen Marten, Lulu Wolf, Emily Hunt Kivel, Amparo Dávila trans. Audrey Harris & Matthew Gleeson, Ulrike Almut Sandig trans. Karen Leeder, Malcolm Bradley & Juliette Pépin, David Manley, Eloise Lawson.

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An Elaborate Gesture of Pastness: Three Films by Dani Gal – Motto Books; Blood Mountain Projects

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, Motto Books on April 10th, 2021
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The publication delves into Dani Gal’s trilogy produced between 2011 and 2018. Each film approaches the complexities of historical accounts between ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ in the context of German, Jewish and Arab histories from a different ‘blind spot’ in historical knowledge. Cinematic tools are applied to illuminate and stage these undocumented aspects of real historical events.

Contributions from Sabeth Buchmann, Burcu Dogramaci, Noit Banai and Sa’ed Atshan are accompanied by visual and literary material and references from Gal’s extensive research practice.

Night and Fog (2011) is a re-enactment of the night of 31 May 1962, based on an interview Gal made with Michael Goldman-Gilad, a Holocaust survivor and Israeli police officer, who had undertaken the secret mission of scattering the ashes of Adolf Eichmann into the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea after he was captured in Argentina and brought to trial and executed in Israel.

As from Afar (2013) is a fictionalised account of a meeting between Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to bring Nazi criminals to justice, and Albert Speer, the chief architect of the Third Reich, using the letters they exchanged throughout the 1970s as a basis for the dialogue.

White City (2018) revolves around the complex character of Arthur Ruppin, a German Jew and one of the founders of the Zionist Settlement who promoted co-existence with the Palestinians before the establishment of the State of Israel; the film traces his visit to the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart, and his 1933 meeting with Hans F. K. Günther, the leading German eugenicist of the time who became a major influence on National Socialist race theory.

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HaFI 014 – Harun Farocki: Hard Selling – Reframed by Elske Rosenfeld, Harun Farocki, Elske Rosenfeld, Doreen Mende

Posted in books, Motto Books on March 31st, 2021
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“I also don’t know the five new federal states and, if I want to film there, I have to have a leading figure. It is the profiteer, development aid worker and missionary all in one. He breaks into the accession area from the West in army strength. The film is about such a salesman.” –– Harun Farocki, 1990/91
HaFI 014 publishes a typescript and archival materials related to the television film Hard Selling (1991) by Harun Farocki. For this unfinished project, Farocki documented an Adidas sales training in East Berlin in 1990. In the period after July 1991 he accompanied a West German Adidas salesman on his trade tour through Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Thus, Farocki explored the operational details of introducing the logic of free market in a country formerly trained in planned economy. Although the broadcast of Hard Selling was announced in the program booklet of the DFF—the successor to GDR television—for 13 November 1991, it did not take place. The TV-station was dissolved six weeks later.

The artist Elske Rosenfeld follows the film stills, fragments of conversations and announcement texts of Farocki’s Hard Selling. She mobilizes the figure of the “window” as a frame to transpose the languages and gazes at shop windows, screens and trainers into a poetic-analytical editing. In the resulting text/image essay Rosenfeld updates her ongoing archive of gaze-images. An editorial note by Doreen Mende introduces HaFI 014.

Elske Rosenfeld, born 1974 in Halle/S. (GDR), works in different media and formats. Her primary focus and material are the histories of state-socialism and its dissidences, and the revolution of 1989/90. Documents and archives are starting points for organising spaces in which these hi/stories can come to be present. Her ongoing project “A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures” investigates how political events manifest and come to be archived in the bodies of their protagonists.

„Auch kenne ich die fünf neuen Bundesländer nicht und muss, wenn ich dort filmen will, eine Leitfigur haben. Es ist der Geschäftemacher, Entwicklungshelfer und Missionar in einem. Er bricht in Armeestärke vom Westen aus in das Beitrittsgebiet ein. Im Film geht es um einen solchen Verkäufer.“ –– Harun Farocki, 1990/91

HaFI 014 publiziert ein Typoskript sowie Archivmaterialien, die im Bezug stehen zu dem Fernsehfilm Hard Selling (1991) von Harun Farocki. Für dieses nicht zuende gebrachte Projekt filmte Farocki im Jahr 1990 eine Adidas-Verkaufsschulung in Ost-Berlin. In der Zeit nach dem Juli 1991 begleitete er einen westdeutschen Adidas-Vertreter auf seiner Handelstour durch Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. So erforschte Farocki die operativen Details der Einführung der Logik des freien Marktes in einem ehemals planwirtschaftlich organisierten Land. Obwohl die Ausstrahlung von Hard Selling im Programmheft des DFF – dem Nachfolger des Fernsehens der DDR – für den 13. November 1991 angekündigt ist, kam es nie dazu. Der Sender wurde sechs Wochen später aufgelöst.

Die Künstlerin Elske Rosenfeld folgt den Filmstills, Gesprächsfragmenten und Ankündigungstexten von Farockis Hard Selling. Die Figur des „Fensters“ (im Sinne von frame) dient ihr als Instrument, um die Sprachen und Blicke auf Schaufenster, Bildschirme und Turnschuhe poetisch-analytisch zu montieren. In ihrem Text/Bild-Essay aktualisiert Rosenfeld ihr fortlaufendes Archiv von Blick-Bildern. Eine editorische Notiz von Doreen Mende führt in HaFI 014 ein.

Elske Rosenfeld (geb. 1974, Halle/S.) forscht als Künstlerin, Autorin und Kulturarbeiterin zur Geschichte der Dissidenz in Osteuropa und zu den Ereignissen von 1989/90. Ausgehend von historischen Dokumenten und Archiven organisiert sie Räume, in denen diese Geschichte/n gegenwärtig werden können. In ihrem aktuellen künstlerischen Forschungsprojekt “A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures” untersucht sie den Körper als Austragungsort und Archiv politischer Ereignisse.

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Dancing in Connewitz, Peter Woelck

Posted in art, Artist Book, books on March 30th, 2021
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After studying photography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig, Peter Woelck worked as a professional photographer in the GDR for various companies and magazines. Moreover, he independently created a vast amount of artistic works, especially in the field of portrait and architectural photography. Photographs of the construction of the Berlin Television Tower, cityscapes of Leipzig, and intense portraits from the 60s through the 80s document how life used to be in a country that no longer exists. On the other hand, there are photographs from the post-reunification period, during which Woelck repeatedly tried to establish himself as a freelance advertising photographer. Thus, the pictures also tell of a break in the photographer’s biography, the kind of experience that affected many people of his generation.
The book documents the attempt to bring the eclectic diversity of the archive into a sequence of images that does not strive for a photo-historical classification but rather allows a specific and subjective narration to emerge from today’s perspective.

The book includes texts by Wilhelm Klotzek, Woelck’s son, who not only co-manages the estate in collaboration with the Laura Mars Gallery but also artistically deals with the legacy, by writer and publicist Peter Richter, and by curator Bettina Klein.

“Dancing in Connewitz” was published in 2014 on the occasion of a second exhibition of Peter Woelck’s photographs, “PeWo’s Bericht zur Lage der Jugend” (Laura Mars Gallery, Berlin), and was supported by the Stiftung Kunstfonds with funds from VG Bild-Kunst.

 

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