Anyways, as I’m travelling through different temporalities and topics, I’ll switch back to the life in the Fortress. Writing a blog is a weird experiment in terms of timing and temporalities. Once my dear friend choreographer Julian Weber asked me if watch a performance or visit an exhibition differently if I will write about it. My answer was: “of course! The senses are more vibrant.” Therefore, at the end of everyday, I’m incredibly exhausted, because of being in the mode of the wanderer. My mind constantly listens to its surroundings, while the sentences are being formed.
This week two new classes have started: Joanna Warzsa's I can't walk like this. Addressing the question of curatorial ethics. and Irina Nakhova's The nude: interpretation in painting. The students are presenting exhibitions that they find ethically problematic such as The Turn in Vienna or the Sydney Biennial 2014 funded by Transfield and the boycott by some artists such as Ahmet Öğüt and Renzo Martens.
Yesterday, Varda Caivano proposed the class also to work collaboratively from time to time by using this opportunity of being together in a studio. What attracted my attention during their feedbacks was the relation to storytelling in the sense that how a note, sketch or work is presented as the final piece.
On the first day of the class, Caivano handed a questionnaire. It seems the artist’s focus is more on what these questions trigger rather than giving direct answers.
What is a painting?
Where does a painting come from?
How is a painting made? How do I arrive to the work?
What is a painting made for?
What does painting do?
What does painting do to me?
What does painting do to others?
When is a painting born?
When is a painting finished?
Where does painting go?
How is the life of a painting?
Charlott Weise, the co-teacher, answered two of the questions that I’ve chosen. Inevitably, Bacon became a part of the conversation as I was so interested in the text on Deleuze and Francis Bacon that the class has discussed last week. Coming soon!
Now, I'm in the Kaserne, where Public Space class by Feld72 is taking place. In the storage-garage like space, architects and artists from various fields contemplate on the way bodies experience the streets.
Last week, as a part of the text Storytelling, I’ve posted an image of the piece Untitled (Ass) (2007) by Larry Jonhson. During a Skype meeting with the curators Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutamba in the class of Alya Sebti, I remembered how theorist Lee Edelman interpreted this image in the book Sex, or The Unbearable (2014).
“…But the comedy, however dark, implicit in normativity’s violence lies, as Johnson’s image shows, in the reduplication of negativity by the violence meant to erase it. The result…is that perverse enjoyment (the penetration or stimulation of the ass) and the reaction against it (the effort to erase the asshole as the site of enjoyment) can look exactly the same.” (p. 32)
Grosse and Mutamba in conversation with Alya Sebti and her class mentioned their attempt to re-narrate art history from an African approach/perspective. Their aim is to facilitate excess to information through time and create a new way of reaching to art history by using new terminologies rather than being trapped in the categorizations of the white art historians. As Sebti later described, their tactic is never to reject the existence of such a canon, rather using, say, maybe the same words by taking a critical distance and re-evaluating it. Reminiscent of the duality of the eraser in Johnson’s work, it is is a calm yet vigorous transgression within the existing norms. Another method to unlearn and delink…
Last Friday we visited the open studios of Alya Sebti’s and Ben Katchor’s classes. Although the disciplines were different from each other, performativity was in the core. Students of the curating class Curating/Translating the Polyphony of Voices created stations that I’d like to call ‘thought installations’, which you could talk to them about what they have discussed throughout the week. In a way, the act of sharing ideas transformed into a performance. The students of the class Comics in Performance performed their stories via using the techniques such as shadow theater.
Normally I write essays, reviews, flash fiction and some poem-like texts. So, I was reading online posts such as “how to write a great blog post” etc. In several sources, number 1 is to find a title that would attract attention. Therefore, I desperately try my best this time. What could be a better title than the one that includes the words p0rn0graphy, Pokemon, Pieta and Prada?
(Wow, the software of the blog just gave an error: "Illegal content found: blacklisted word "p0rn0" ! Seriously? Therefore, I've changed the word and used "zero" instead of 0. Otherwise I'm not allowed to post images.)
Well, my intention was to continue on yesterday’s blog, however today, I’ve decided to share my observations and some news. I'm feeling Weltschmerz and I don't want to bitch about heteronormative neo-liberal nation states, but other bizarre encounters.
Yesterday, the conversation between Nora Schultz and Alya Sebti took place at Galerie 5020. During the conversation around the notions of center-periphery, getting rid of the norms in the language and some doubts about the importance of education, a new(ish) term upcycling was brought up. The video below by Nora Schultz will help you to understand the story behind:
After the talk, the director Hildegund Amanshauser announced the first Stammtisch of the Academy: Bar Mediterraneo. There is no direct translation of "Stammtisch". According to Wikipedia it is '"an informal group meeting held on a regular basis, and also the usually large, often round table around which the group meets. A Stammtisch is not a structured meeting, but rather a friendly get-together."
Then I arrived my small room at the Mozart Studenthenheim and saw the small carpet of my neighbor's that made me think: What are the criterias of calling somewhere home, especially in the times we are going through? What if it is just a word on a carpet?
Oral story telling is an ancient tradition that has been being performed from Ancient India to China, from Northern Africa to Europe. Throughout the history various performance styles have been generated. At the old square Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh, every evening oral story tellers set up their installation with ostrich eggs, feathers, all kinds of spices and objects to present a one-man-live-act of the story… Yesterday, Ben Katchor gave another example from Japan called Kamishibai – a frame box attached to a bicycle holds the stacked up drawings that is narrated by the performer (please check the post of the previous day to watch the video). Puppet theater or Hacivat and Karagöz from Ottoman Empire are other examples of performing stories.
Alya Sebti and the students discussing case studies
How to look at things to form a narration, which words to use and how to place them in the work have been discussed in the classes The Notion of Subject Matter (Ahlam Shibli), Comics in Performance (Ben Katchor) and Curating/Translating the Polyphony of Voices (Alya Sebti). For instance, if you would like to tell a story with a camera, how do you do it? Would you imagine a photo book with texts or would you prefer not having informative texts at all? How would you perform the text alongside the drawings or where exactly would you position the text? The class of Sebti travels around similar concerns from a theoretical perspective by focusing on unwritten histories of othereds and finding the words to describe neglected cultures in the spaces of contemporary art.
Before moving forward with the conversations at Sebti’s class, I would like to mention the comic The Imaginary War Crimes Tribunal performed by Katchor at Museum der Moderne Salzburg the other day – originally published on Metropolis Magazine – depicting a game addict. The game is based on shooting ‘Arabic men’ randomly, who are all considered as enemy without exception. All of a sudden, the so-called enemy points the gun back to the game player and he dies (I mean that is the complicated part of the story: is it real or virtual?). The story continues with the after effects of this death. Some months ago, Democracy Now published an interview with researcher Lydia Wilson about the interviews that the researcher conducted with imprisoned ISIS members in Kirkuk, Iraq. Although not approving ISIS’s position, Wilson pointed out a very important aspect of what is going on in Iraq and Syria, reminiscent of the comic of Katchor’s:
“There was this driving anger against Americans, against the occupation—but not in terms of this ideology that we see coming out of the ISIS official publications or through social media. It was anger—it was much more personal. It was much more about their own childhoods and adolescences, that they had been blocked from having a normal life because, as they saw it, of the American occupation.”
So, may we say that the gaze and anger is turning back to where it is originally coming from? Can the methodology of undoing be another way of dealing with power? How about re-writing and re-narrating or unpacking the luggage and re-packing with a new order as Ferdiansyah Thajib from the collective KUNCI explained during a Skype meeting with Sebti’s class? What Larry Johnson's Untitled (Ass) (2007) has to do with it?
To be continued….
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