‘Unearthing the Banker’s Bones’ is a work that mobilises tropes from science fiction as a means of examining contemporary anxieties surrounding environmental change, migration and globalisation.
The act of presenting a speculative view of the future as a means of deconstructing the present has long been a staple of science fiction. ‘Unearthing the Bankers Bones’ references the dystopian speculations of Octavia Butler and Mary Shelly as key examples of the literary projection of contemporary anxieties into an imagined future.
The project is comprised of an installation of three large-scale synchronised video projections alongside sculptural objects displayed in exhibition vitrines.
Each projection is composed of an evolving collage of filmed, drawn, painterly and animated elements through which we are taken to a series of reference points within classic science fiction texts. This journey is revealed through the literary reflections of an anonymous narrator who describes the emergence of an illusive hooded ‘trickster’ figure, eventually given the name ‘Surmanakin’ in reference to the work of the ‘Islamo-futurist’ poet Jalaluddin Nuriddin. Depicted as a shape-shifting Android, this ‘trickster’ figure acts as a time travelling cypher weaving a pathway through the contemporary social and political landscape. In the course of this journey this ‘trickster’ encounters another illusive allegorical figure know only as ‘The Banker’ It is from this character that the work takes its title.
Filmpoem 34/ The Shipwright’s Love Song
I spent some time with Jo on her narrow boat, Tinker, and recorded Tinker’s sounds, alongside her moving through the water. This is a male voiced poem, so I was persuaded to read it. I shot it last month on Kodak Ektachrome Super8, which is now so rare as to be prohibitively expensive. This will be the last filmpoem for a little while as Luca, Chris and I concentrate on partnering Felix Poetry Festival for next year’s Filmpoem Festival, alongside working with Absent Voices in Greenock and delivering Filmpoem Children’s Workshops in schools throughout the land. Busy times for Filmpoem!
This film was made with the support of the Poetry Society, the Canal & River Trust and Arts Council England.
The Watchers No.1-5, 2014, Five channel digital video w/ audio, Installation View ‘Virgin With a Memory’, Cornerhouse, Manchester Courtesy of Cornerhouse, Manchester
Sophia Al Maria is an artist, writer and filmmaker. She studied comparative literature at the American University in Cairo, and aural and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. For the past few years, she has been carrying out research around the concept of Gulf Futurism. Her primary interests are around the isolation of individuals via technology and reactionary Islam, the corrosive elements of consumerism and industry, and the erasure of history and the blinding approach of a future no one is ready for. She explores these ideas with certain guidebooks and ideas including, but not limited to, Zizek’s The Desert of the Unreal, As-Sufi’s Islamic Book of the Dead, as well as imagery from Islamic eschatology, post humanism and the global mythos of Science Fiction.
Her work has been exhibited in various institutional shows around the world, including Biennale of Moving Images, Miami, USA (2017); Axis Mundi, High Line Art, New York, USA (2017); No to the Invasion: Breakdowns and Side Effect, CCS Bard Gallery, NY, USA (2017); Mondialite, Villa Empain Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium (2017); The New Normal, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing China (2017); Seeds of Time, Shanghai Project, Shanghai, China (2017); Transmissions from the Etherspace, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain (2017); Paratoxic Paradoxes, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece (2017); Eternal Youth, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA (2017); Black Friday, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, USA (2016); Repetition, Villa Empain, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium (2016); Imitation of Life at HOME, Manchester (2016); In Search of Lost Time, The Brunei Gallery, London (2016); 89plus: Filter Bubble, LUMA Westbau, Zurich, Switzerland (2015); 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience, New Museum, New York, NY, USA (2015); Common Grounds, Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany (2015); Extinctions Marathon: Visions of the Future, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (2014); Virgin with a memory, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (2014); Do It, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK (2013); The 9th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2012); For your Eyes Only, St. Paul Street Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand (2012); Dowse Museum, Wellington, New Zealand (2012); Genre Specific Xperience, New Museum, New York, NY, USA (2011); Bendari & the Bunduqia, Waqif Art Centre, Doha, Qatar (2007) and We Few: A Comic Palindrome, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2005). Her writing has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Five Dials, Triple Canopy, and Bidoun. In 2007, she published her first autobiographical novel, The Girl Who Fell to Earth (Harper Collins Perennial).She was invited to participate in the 2016 Biennial of Moving Images in Geneva, Switzerland. The artist has also participated in the Inhabitation residency at Villa Empain, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels (2016).
Sophia is the author of Virgin With A Memory and The Girl Who Fell To Earth and has also guest edited an issue of the experimental art-writing journal The Happy Hypocrite, entitled Fresh Hell.
The artist currently lives and works in London, UK.
Between Distant Bodies, 2013, Video Installation on 2 cuboglass TVs, Installation view at Frieze 2013
The Three Gorges
The Three Gorges of the Yangzi River are one of China’s most celebrated natural wonders. The area attracts thousands of tourists each year who come on ships to gaze at bizarre rock formations, spot poems that have been carved into cliff walls and learn about China’s ancient history. This area is thought to be the cradle of Chinese culture. Its original appearance has been altered – or “edited” – in recent years through the construction of a dam that has increased the flow of the river. Besides producing an enormous amount of electric energy this intrusion into nature’s creation improves ship navigation on the main river and makes smaller tributaries passable for the first time. Despite the inundation of cultural heritage sites and of traditional villages and towns – forcing millions of people to relocate – tourism agencies have predicted an increase in tourist numbers. We, as humans, alter our landscapes so that they better fit our purposes and our liking. This raises questions about our understanding of the natural world in centuries and millenniums to come. Will we reconsider and try to preserve it in its original form, will we change it so it better serves our causes, or will it vanish altogether, as a result of our growing needs for space and resources, to become a memory conveyed solely in a virtual world, where it can be edited as we please, to be glorified or mocked in an exaggerated super-nature.
My video installation takes a playful view at these future perspectives, while at the same time provoking thought about our self-righteousness to rule over our planet, use, exploit and adapt the natural world to satisfy the outrageous needs we have acquired to secure our extravagant lifestyles.
Videorenga: linked verses in which each verse is part image, part text.
Footage via the Prelinger Archives at archive.org: old home movies, authors unknown. Sound: Corsica_S (Tim Kahn), recorded in southeastern Oregon, via freesound.org (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial).
Text, concept, editing etc. by Dave Bonta. Aside from the soundtrack, the videopoem is available for remix and distribution under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licence. (See the remix by Marie Craven: vimeo.com/117679174 )
Blogged: vianegativa.us/2015/01/native-land/ An excerpt:
Haiku, as we now call it, developed from a tradition of Japanese linked verse (renga), specifically haikai no renga or renku. These were multi-author, collaborative improvisions in which each two adjacent verses could be read as if they were two stanzas of a longer poem. Displaying the Japanese aesthetic preference for asymmetry, verses of 17 mora (sound units akin to syllables) alternate with verses of 14 mora. Native land attempts to do something vaguely similar, stitching together videohaiku of unequal lengths, with lines in intertitles completing a verse (videopoetic unit) begun with the preceding shot. But each line or couplet could also be read as the first part of a verse concluding with the shot that followed it. Realizing that this ambiguous connectivity might easily be lost on a first-time viewer, I decided to make two versions of the sequence, cleverly titled “obverse” and “reverse.”
Native land deviates from Japanese linked verse tradition in two significant ways: it doesn’t have multiple authors, and it’s too thematically unified. The second deviation might be a direct consequence of the first, actually. Had it been made by two or more people, it would be less likely to bear the stamp of a single poet’s didactic concerns. I would argue that it does contain a strong element of multi-authorship, though, inasmuch as I sourced the video footage from six different anonymous home movies in the Prelinger Archives, presumably shot by (at least) six different people.
Polyartist: An Interview with Richard Kostelanetz
By Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
February 27, 2012
Richard Kostelanetz is an exceptionally prolific artist and writer.He began publishing essays in the 1960s, including a much-reprinted critique of identity politics in American art, “Militant Minorities,” which originally appeared in theHudson Review in 1965. Since then he’s gone on to create avant-garde art in a variety of genres. He’s written more than 100 books; he also makes prints, produces work for the radio waves and the theater, and works with tapeloops (audio) and pixels (video). He’s completed artist residencies in places as diverse as New York, Stockholm, and Jerusalem.
He’s been called the “king of the avant-garde,” perhaps because two seminal texts in the field bear his name; Kostelanetz authored A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes, and edited Avant-Garde Tradition in Literature. In recent years, he’s come to perceive Jewishness as a subtle theme woven throughout his oeuvre. In this interview, we spoken about polyartistry, Jewish identity and what makes Sephardic culture unique, the avant-garde, and what relevance he hopes can be found in his work. Though he stops short of drawing a direct connection between Jewishness and the avant-garde, I can’t help seeing a link. The avant-garde pushes the growing edge of culture, skating comfortably past the edge of what’s comfortable or mainstream.
There may not be a causal relationship between Jewishness and an avant-garde sensibility, but Jewish communities have given rise to some terrific avant-garde work. Or maybe Jews just tend to be comfortable outside the mainstream, which is often where the most interesting creative work flourishes and finds its home.
Your written work ranges from lengthy essays to single-sentence stories. When you begin a new piece, do you have a sense for its ideal size or form? How do your works take shape?
Sometimes I begin with an extreme constraint regarding length. Epiphanies, Openings & Closings, and then Complete Stories were all no more than a single sentence long; my micro fictions are no more than three words long; my Miniature Aphorisms are no more than four words long. Recently I’ve produced several kinds of poems with only one word. I like constraints for forcing me to produce radically different work.
Your Seven Jewish Short Fictions consist of strings of numbers artfully arranged. How did that piece come into being? Was it an intentional gesture toward the Jewish hermeneutic tool of gematria?
I’ve long respected the radical principle that truly Jewish art should observe the proscription against graven images. That’s the point implicit in telling a story entirely in numbers while suggesting a wealth of experience such as rise and decline, accumulation and dispersal, or any other way you choose to read those numbers arrayed. One unusual quality of our films about the Great Jewish Cemetery of Berlin is that no talking heads appear, though people are heard on the soundtrack. The visual theme is that the gravestones in a cemetery tell a more important story than any faces. Gematria is too obscure for my taste. In general, I’m opposed to obscurity in art and writing. My work tends to be simple, if different.
Installation View at Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, 2015
Multi-channel video installation, 20mins 32secs.
The Mourning Class series is a set of video performances that explore mourning rituals and address the role of performance in grieving. The first in the series is Mourning Class: Nollywood. This piece arose from Zina Saro-Wiwa’s interest in Nollywood and the African emotional landscape. The close-up of crying face is a classic nollywood trope. A trademark of the genre. The sobbing female figure, a grieving widow, a repentant woman of the night, the dutiful, but put-upon, wife, the performance of pain – close up – forms the emotional backbone of Nollywood film.
For this installation, each actress was asked to sit in front of the camera – baring their shoulders and covering their heads – and cry when prompted by Zina. They needed to produce real tears and engage with the camera as much as possible during the process, turning their emotions into a true performance as well as a test of endurance. The work explores the role of performance in expressing grief, drawing the viewer into the territory between the emotive and the emotional. The minimal, ghostly sound leaving room for the viewer to engage with the physical performance of grief. The lack of narrative and context but direct engagement of the subject also draws out the viewer’s own personal narratives engineering a form of catharsis.
Mourning Class: Nollywood has been shown at Location One Gallery, The Pulitzer Foundation, The New Museum, NYC for Transition 50, Museum of Art and Design, NYC, Arles Photo Festival and was chosen for the back cover of The Progress of Love catalogue.
The Dinner Party, 1974-1979
Judy Chicago’s original concept for The Dinner Party was multi-faceted in that her goal was to introduce the richness of women’s heritage into the culture in three ways; a monumental work of art, a book and a film because she had discovered so much unknown information. The work of art, that was eventually housed at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, consists of a series of Entryway Banners, the ceremonial table representing 39 important historical female figures, the Heritage Panels, which elucidate the contributions of the 999 women on the Heritage Floor, and the Acknowledgement Panels that identify Judy Chicago’s assistants and collaborators. Together, these components celebrate the many aspects of women’s history and contributions.
Through an unprecedented worldwide grass-roots movement, The Dinner Party was exhibited in 16 venues in 6 countries on 3 continents to a viewing audience of over one million people. The Dinner Party – which has been the subject of countless books and articles – is now permanently housed in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum where it draws thousands of visitors from all over the globe.
Christine de Pisan plate, china paint on porcelain, 15 inch diameter
Ethel Smyth plate, china paint on porcelain, 14 inch diameter
Installation View of Wing Three, featuring Margaret Sanger and Natalie Barney place settings
Installation View of Wing Three, featuring Virginia Woolf and Georgia O’Keeffe place settings
The Undertain Museum
A visual exploration of Olafur Eliasson’s large-scale interactive installation, “The uncertain museum” at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. Eliasson’s work explores the relationship between spectator and object. “When preserving the freedom of each person to experience something that may differ from the experience of others, art will be able to have a significant impact on both the individual and society,” said Eliasson. The installation is part of the museum’s permanent collection and will be on display until September 30, 2012.
Film & Assembly: D.L. Anderson
Text: The Nasher Museum of Art
Featuring: American Dance Festival faculty member Gwen Welliver and her composition lab students,
Soundtrack: “Symphony of The Planets 2” | Recordings from the Voyager spacecraft | NASA (http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2009/09/15/symphonies-of-the-planets/)
Olafur Eliasson, The uncertain museum, 2004. Steel, painted wooden floor, wire, motors, glass/mirror disks, spotlight, projection foil, 9 feet, 8 inches high x 14 feet, 7 inches diameter. Purchase, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University Fund for Acquisitions and funds provided by Blake Byrne, T’57, Monica M. and Richard D. Segal, Mr. and Mrs. J. Tomilson Hill, and Bill and Ruth True. 2006.4.1
The Weather Project
Tate Modern Installation
Your rainbow panorama, 2006-2011 – ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark, 2011
The Mapping Journey
The Museum of Modern Art
This exhibition presents, in its entirety, Bouchra Khalili’s The Mapping Journey Project (2008–11), a series of videos that details the stories of eight individuals who have been forced by political and economic circumstances to travel illegally and whose covert journeys have taken them throughout the Mediterranean basin. Khalili (Moroccan-French, born 1975) encountered her subjects by chance in transit hubs across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Following an initial meeting, the artist invited each person to narrate his or her journey and trace it in thick permanent marker on a geopolitical map of the region. The videos feature the subjects’ voices and their hands sketching their trajectories across the map, while their faces remain unseen.
The stories are presented on individual screens positioned throughout MoMA’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. In this way, a complex network of migration is narrated by those who have experienced it, refusing the forms of representation and visibility demanded by systems of surveillance, international border control, and the news media. Shown together, the videos function as an alternative geopolitical map defined by the precarious lives of stateless people. Khalili’s work takes on the challenge of developing critical and ethical approaches to questions of citizenship, community, and political agency.
Moroccan-French artist Bouchra Khalili discusses notions of borders and displacement with Emma Gifford-Mead, Lisson Gallery’s Head of Exhibitions. The talk was held on the occasion of Khalili’s first solo exhibition in the UK at Lisson Gallery London (27 January – 18 March 2017). Video by Laura Bushell.
Constellation Series – silkscreen prints
Moroccan-French artist Bouchra Khalili was born in 1975, in Morocco.
Raised between Paris and Casablanca, she later studied Cinema at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, and
Visual Arts at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts, Paris-Cergy.
She lives and works between Paris and Berlin.
Bouchra Khalili’s work in video, mixed media installations, photography and prints, combines a conceptual approach with a documentary practice to explore issues of clandestine existences, and political minorities.
In her work, she articulates language, subjectivity, discourse and speech, transitional territories and transit zones, investigating the interrelation between contemporary migrations and colonial
history, physical and imaginary geography.
Her work has been shown extensively around the world, including recently at Intense Proximity – La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2012) ; The 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) ; The MoMA as part of the film exhibition « Mapping Subjectivity » (New York, 2011) ; The 10th Sharjah Biennial (2011) ; The Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon, 2011) ; The Liverpool Biennial (2010) ; The Studio Museum, New York (2010) ; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2010) ; INIVA, London (2010) ; Gallery 44, Toronto (2010) ; The Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid (2009) ; and The Queens Museum of Art, New York (2009), among others. In 2012-2013, she is commissioned by The New Perez Miami Art Museum to produce an artwork for the inauguration of the museum in december 2013.
Artist Yayoi Kusama’s interactive Obliteration Room begins as an entirely white space, furnished as a monochrome living room, which people are then invited to ‘obliterate’ with multi-coloured stickers.
Over the course of a few weeks the room was transformed from a blank canvas into an explosion of colour, with thousands of spots stuck over every available surface.
TateShots produced this time-lapse video of the Obliteration Room covering the first few weeks of its presentation at Tate Modern in 2012. It was first conceived as a project for children, and was first staged at the Queensland Art Gallery in 2002.
Marcel Broodthaers (Belgian, 1924–1976) worked primarily as a poet until the age of 40, when he turned to the visual arts. Over the next 12 years, his work retained a poetic quality and a sense of humour that balanced its conceptual framework; for his first solo exhibition, he encased unsold copies of his latest poetry book, Pense-Bête (Memory aid, 1964), in plaster, turning them into a sculpture. Broodthaers continued to invent ways to give material form to language while working across mediums—poetry, sculpture, painting, artist’s books, printmaking, and film. From 1968 to 1972, he operated the Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles (Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles), a traveling museum dedicated not to his work as an artist but to the role of the institution itself and the function of art in society. In the final years of his life, Broodthaers created immersive “décors,” large-scale displays in which examples of his past work were often unified with objects borrowed for the occasion. This exhibition—the first Broodthaers retrospective organized in New York—will reunite key works from all aspects of his art making to underscore the complex trajectory of his career, which despite its brief duration proved enormously influential to future generations of artists.
Un jardin d’hiver II
For the Décors series, Broodthaers inhabited the role of sceneographer, creating disquieting theatrical compositions using domestic objects. ‘Un Jardin d’Hiver’ parodies a traditional museum or gallery space modelled on the late 19th-century palm court, once popular in wealthy European homes. A descendent of the Wunderkammer, the palm court marked the transition of private collection to public museum. Broodthaers’ assembly of potted palms, framed images of different categories of animals (elephants, camels, insects, exotic birds), and antique display cases clearly tie the installation to that period of colonial conquest, characterised by a passion for collecting and classifying unusual objects from around the world. Yet, the room also evokes a tired, modern museum space – in one corner a television monitor displays a closed circuit film recorded by a surveillance camera. Installed amongst the plants and a few rows of chairs, the monitor mimics the coupling of decorative decoy and surveillance that so often marks banal spaces that hover between public and private, such as waiting rooms, offices or lobbies. The potted palm, once an exotic symbol of power, by the mid-1970s had become the most commonly available type of decoration used everywhere from banks to cafes. In another corner, a neglected red carpet hints nostalgically at former glory and ceremony.
90 tonnes of steel reinforcing rods straightened by hand after being mangled in 2008 quake
world map, 2006
2000 layers of fabric
Coloured Vases, 2015.
Twelve han dynasty (206 bc – 220 ad) and four neolithic (5000–3000 bc) vases with industrial paint. Dimensions variable. Private collection, Private collection, Collection of Lisa and Danny Goldberg Photo Royal Academy of Arts, London © Ai Weiwei.
Born 1970, Tangier, Morocco, lives and works between Paris and Tangier. Mounir Fatmi constructs visual spaces and linguistic games. His work deals with the desecration of religious objects, deconstruction and the end of dogmas and ideologies. He is particularly interested in the idea of death of the subject of consumption. This can be applied to antenna cables, copier machines, VHS tapes, and a dead language or a political movement. His videos, installations, drawings, paintings and sculptures bring to light our doubts, fears and desires. They directly address the current events of our world, and speak to those whose lives are affected by specific events and reveals its structure. Mounir Fatmi’s work offers a look at the world from a different glance, refusing to be blinded by the conventions.
Mounir Fatmi’s work directly addresses the current events in our world and speaks to those whose lives are affected by restrictive political climates. “Survival signs” can also be seen as cultural signs, images, objects, experiences, and their connections and relationships to our everyday life. Is our society fluid, open and accepting, or the opposite? Several of the works in the exhibition teeter along a fine line of interpretation; are they revealing moments of construction or destruction, lightness or darkness? The artist presents his works as signs of survival; elements that allow him to resist and understand the world and its changes.
More Wrong Things
A site specific multi-channel video installation. The installation activates the entire gallery space with fourteen video monitors suspended from the ceiling within an extended tangle of wires, cables and cords. Video loops seen on the monitors present a compendium of “Wrong Things”, juxtaposing Schneemann’s visual archives of personal and public disasters. These elements are composed in relation to the beams, conduits and pipes which define the distinctive architectural aspects of the White Box gallery space. This work also responds to current trends of costly fabrication and refined presentation. A wall of recent Iris prints further integrates sources of more wrong things.
“Schneemann is a miner of the hidden, the unseen, the stolen and misappropriated.” —Bruce McPherson (from the introduction to More Than Meat Joy)
Formally trained as a painter and emerging in the early 1960s world of experimental film, music, Judson Dance Theatre and happenings, Carolee Schneemann has transformed the very definition of art, especially with regard to discourse on the body, sexuality, and gender. Schneemann addresses archaic visual traditions, pleasure wrested from suppressive taboos, and the dynamic relationship between her body and the social body. The range of her work has been substantial and broadly influential: from painting and assemblage to films and installations, from solo improvisations to large group ensemble pieces, from starkly bare stagings to multi-media and multi-sensory extravaganzas.
Play Back (of Irène)
2009-2011 / video installation presented on Hantarex monitors / 15-channel video 2’58’’ – 1 channel divided into 8 channels / colour / sound / synchronised / loop / site architecture
Eight videos constitute a fragmentary narrative, complemented by the deconstruction of one of them presented on another eight monitors. One of them shows a sound video form of the story of Irène, the work’s protagonist, who survived a terrible climbing accident. This shattered and reassembled story/destruct, told from the beginning and backwards, thus distorting narrative linearity, deconstructs what remained in memory at a critical moment. The installation’s rhythm is determined by the colours of a broken rainbow appearing on the screens. The projection is rhythmised by sequences of colour reappearing every 2 minutes and 58 seconds. The other images are black-and-white, often turned upside down, speeded up or slowed down. The monitor blocks suspended freely in space at 1.65 metre height (Irène’s eye level), the sounds and colours reappearing at set intervals, together build a performative and affective space.
Search Engine Vision “ISIS” explores the semiotic shift of language as transient definitions that form organically Online. The first half of the piece starts with one thousand videos of the “Isis goddess”, as a result of a YouTube search. The search already contains the terrorist organization ISIS, however, when the search is pure “Isis” a new group of one thousand videos emerges that starts to deconstruct the Goddess ISIS semiotically and in form.
Japan’s contribution to the 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia is an exhibition by artist Chiharu Shiota entitled “The Key in the Hand”. Curated by Hitoshi Nakano, the Berlin-based Chiharu Shiota created a large-scale installation with the whole exhibition space filled with red yam. Attached to the end of each piece of yam, suspended from the ceiling, is a key. There are also two boats on the floor beneath the yam and the hanging keys.