Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alan Badiou

Here is yet another video on another Frenchman and philosopher, Alan Badiou, and this is just hilarious: an interview between Badiou and Stephen Sackur, a BBC reporter, on a program called HARDtalk on March 24 2009. Badiou and the reporter discuss the global financial crisis, and clearly they are on different pages, perhaps even different planets.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What Makes Images Unacceptable?

A lecture given by Frenchman, Jacques Rancière, at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, February 28 2008. The lecture is titled "What Makes Images Unacceptable?" and clarifies the idea of "dissensus" central to one of his forthcoming texts (see post below).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Francis Alÿs

Still from "Paradox of Praxis 1" (1997)

Still from "Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic" (2005)

Francis Alÿs' video "Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic" (2005) was screened on Wednesday at the Beirut Art Center, as part of a film program curated by New Yorker, Beth Stryker.

For his film Alÿs recreated Jerusalem’s Green Line, originally drawn by Moshe Dayan on a map with a green pencil in 1948.

The film shows
Alÿs whilst carrying a leaking tin of green paint along the Green Line. As Jim Quilty has noted, Alÿs was carrying a small tin, so he had to refill it every 200-300 meters. While Alÿs and his paint dribble attracted the odd perplexed glance from passing pedestrians, the nearby Israeli security services didn't seem bothered.

Alÿs also showed the film to numerous activists and intellectuals including from Israel and Palestine, and recorded their comments. In addition to showing the video of Alÿs performance, Stryker also showed the video of the commentaries by three respondents: the
Palestinian anthropologist, the Beir Zeit University professor Rima Hemami and the dissident Israeli architect Eyal Weizman.

Regarding "
Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic" Alÿs has stated: Can an artistic intervention truly bring about an unforeseen way of thinking, or it is more a matter of creating a sensation of "meaninglessness" that shows the absurdity of the situation? Can an artistic intervention translate social tensions into narratives that in turn intervene in the imaginary landscape of a place? Can an absurd act provoke a transgression that makes you abandon the standard assumptions on the sources of conflict? Can those kinds of artistic acts bring about the possibility of change? In any case, how can art remain politically significant without assuming a doctrinal standpoint or aspiring to become social activism? For the moment, I am exploring the following axiom: Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jacques Rancière

French man, Jacques Rancière is set to release four new books over the next 6 months.

The titles for the books are:

"Aesthetic Unconscious" - to be released January 2010 by Polity which so far has gotten great reviews.

"Aesthetics and its Discontents" is being released by Polity, in October or so 2009.

"Dissensus: on Politics and Aesthetics" - which is a collection of essays and is published by Continuum, to be released February 2010

"The Emancipated Spectator", the follow up to "Future of the Image" is being released by Verso, November 2009.

Also, The Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy are calling for papers for a Symposium and Special Issue on Jacques Rancière – Guest Editor: Joseph J. Tanke, for more information go here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Roger Ballen

South African photographer Roger Ballen is having several exhibitions this year in New York, Shanghai, Berlin, Melbourne, Auckland and more.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ai Weiwei

“Why are you so concerned about society? That is always the question. And my answer is simple: Because you are an artist, you have to associate yourself with freedom of expression.”
Ai Weiwei
30 or so police officers raided a hotel room in Sichuan last week, where Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, was staying. Weiwei had travelled to Sichuan to testify at the trial of the activist Tan Zuoren. The police officers however, successfully detained Weiwei and prevented the artist from testifying.

Zuoren was charged with "subversion" for collecting information pertinent to the deaths of the school children, after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. A project which Weiwei has also been involved in.

Weiwei and Zuroen have been involved in tackling the Chinese Government's opacity regarding the school children's death.

The Chinese Government repeatedly refused to release a list of the names of the dead school children.

Weiwei compiled his own list, assembled from his independent investigations into the Sichuan earthquake.

Weiwei's list named 5, 194 school children.

According to reports, Weiwei's list prompted the Government to release a student death toll, May 2009.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dimitri Vrubel

Dimitri Vrubel, The famous kiss between Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and east German leader Erich Honecker, East Side Gallery

Berlin: East Side Gallery

We are nearing the 20th year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, November 9 1989. For the occasion, the Russian artist Dimitri Vrubel is restoring his mural, which is located on the eastern side of the Wall. The mural was originally created in the midst of the Cold War, and is now a relic. In the present, and its restored state, the mural signals to the way in which contemporary artists often find alternative ways to memorialise contemporary history.

It will be interesting to see the unveiling of Vrubel's mural.

The mural has suffered, it was left vulnerable to the deteriorating effects of the open weather and Berlin's omnipresent graffiti tags. Another threat to the existence of the mural, and indeed the East Side Gallery, has been big business' relentless desire to expand and build.