Umělec magazine 2006/1 >> For or About - Or a Question: Who am I? List of all editions.
For or About - Or a Question: Who am I?
Umělec magazine
Year 2006, 1
6,50 EUR
7 USD
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription

For or About - Or a Question: Who am I?

Umělec magazine 2006/1

01.01.2006

Alina Serban | info | en cs

I digress upon a pressing question: Who am I? When discussing the most recent Istanbul Biennial, there are manifold reasons to ask. Not only does the question introduce the issue of local identity and critical regionalism; in a deeper sense, it addresses the transgression process of cultural forms, and the borderless situation in which these forms appear and co-exist.


A hallmark of current contemporary cultural dynamics is the phenomenon of the appropriation of ideas, meanings and values from one context to be transferred and received in another. The translation of cultural production seems to be a common method to enter into discourse, in which the idea of relocation is part of a strategy to respond to diverse social eruptions, political disagreements, cultural failures or modifications of urban identities.
But it does seem that, after continuous debates about issues local and global, the intellectual game of “moving situations” and “movable concepts” has begun to be somewhat repetitive. Fatigue. Exhaustion. New ways to gaze and problematize the present situations had to develop.
This question arose spontaneously after I had diligently followed the itinerary of the 9th International Istanbul Biennial. I was overwhelmed by contradictory emotions. I was frustrated, unable to immediately find any adequate answer to this question. But lingering was a provocation offered by that conceptual frame--a provocation understood within the notion of “shifting identity.” Meandering from one point or another, I accepted a temporary identity, adopting the position of the native.
The experience of mapping identity, mapping controversial geographies may very well have been within the script proposed to us by the two curators. It did not seem so much the idea of being mapped per se, as an attempt to engage the works in a dialog with various aspects of the city itself.
Istanbul was the theme, and the event was created especially “for” and “about” that city. Trying to observe the new organic structure of the city, the curators proposed alternative meanings to the verb “to experience.” The scenography that was invoked sought to situate art in the city, and to encounter the inner city by creating an interaction point between the two, rather than apply formalist solutions to some local or (g)local issues. As such, the verb “to experience” appears appropriate for the entire site of the biennial, with the curators seeking action and reaction from the public and local community. But the interaction, of the sort that was desired, did not reach the intended dimensions. Characteristic of the event in its entirety was a lack of aggressiveness, a subtle balance between the idea of “being in situ” and “acting in situ.” In some parts of the whole show two parts seemed to be finding the adequate reciprocity, and determining the inner experience of the city.
Considering the large number of biennials, one must take into account curatorial ethical statements and to inquire about the real potential for any biennial to be a generator of attitudes that might influence social contexts. It is then inevitable to ask whom the curator is addressing today, and, most importantly, what is the relevance of the curatorial gesture. Perhaps such questions are perceived as simplistic, but they need to be put forward in order to distinguish theoretical approaches, practices, and the intrinsic logic of choosing cultural perspectives and the artworks associated. Curatorial discourse can also be a direct consequence of issues raised by a context. Indeed, locality seems to be an important aspect of discourse production. Istanbul, as such, is a vivid place confronted with diverse political, social, ethnical, and urban issues.
The difficult aspect of the curatorial proposition is the interest for creating new venues intermingled within the city fabric, presenting to the viewer a nervous attempt to separate such venues from the urban context. There is also a risk taken to present new, less known, artistic positions. Another suggestion worked with by curators was to pay attention to contrasting situations, bringing works into the biennial context that don’t directly address the theme proposed.
Many of them worked toward an answer to the question: Jakup Ferri’s videos, Phil Collins’ re-recorded pieces after The Smiths 1987 album The World Won’t Listen, Ola Perhson’s Hunt for the Unabomber, and Serkan Ozkaya and David Malijković’s video installation Scene for a New Heritage.
Renegotiating the terms where culture and urban structure cross - Topography, Context, Light and Tectonic Form - some pieces are able to inscribe the character of the city, to stress the ambiguity between "opened" and "closed" regionalism. Such is the case of Halil Altindere’s video Miss Turkey, the work of Karl-Heinz Klopf, Mind the Steps and Nedko Solakov’s installation Art &Life (in my part of world).
In some cases the challenge to the artist was a success – the work having the capacity to incorporate in its vision the intimate identity of the city and tradition, but there are examples where long quotations or simply visual documentation of the urban existence did not succeed in offering to the viewer awareness of the inner city. On the contrary it seems that some pieces are perpetuating these clichés and couldn’t escape the general perspective.
Some artists were focusing on describing the current state of destruction of traditional culture, others are renegotiating a past (the video Billboard Istanbul Biennial 1995 of Maria Eichhorn) and some interesting pieces are talking about the idea of cultural appropiation and resistance (Yael Bartana’s video, Wild Seeds), about political and social changes suffered by the city (Dan Perjovschi, Istanbul Drawing).
If “for” and “about” suggests the causal relations constructed between the art response and the city’s new urbanity and social life, the questions of “who” and “about” seem to be the main point which the curators wanted to emphasize. The idea is that we are not dealing with an abstract notion of context, but with a particular dynamic one, thus the personal or individual form of reaction being the approach desired. In this way the notion of “shifting identity” provokes us to better understand the paradigmatic processes which are produced today inside a “planetary city”, as the curators suggested.





01.01.2006

Comments

There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

Wicked / Interview with Jim Hollands Wicked / Interview with Jim Hollands
“A person must shake someone’s hand three times while gazing intently into their eyes. That’s the key to memorizing their name with certainty. It is in this way that I’ve remembered the names of 5,000 people who have been to the Horse Hospital,” Jim Hollands told me. Hollands is an experimental filmmaker, musician and curator. In his childhood, he suffered through tough social situations and…
Nick Land – An Experiment in Inhumanism Nick Land – An Experiment in Inhumanism
Nick Land was a British philosopher but is no longer, though he is not dead. The almost neurotic fervor with which he scratched at the scars of reality has seduced more than a few promising academics onto the path of art that offends in its originality. The texts that he has left behind are reliably revolting and boring, and impel us to castrate their categorization as “mere” literature.
The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s
The editors of Umělec have decided to come up with a list of ten artists who, in our opinion, were of crucial importance for the Czech art scene in the 1990s. After long debate and the setting of criteria, we arrived at a list of names we consider significant for the local context, for the presentation of Czech art outside the country and especially for the future of art. Our criteria did not…
An unsuccessful co-production An unsuccessful co-production
If you know your way around, you might discover that every month and maybe even every week you stand the chance to receive money for your cultural project. Successful applicants have enough money, average applicants have enough to keep their mouths shut, and the unsuccessful ones are kept in check by the chance that they might get lucky in the future. One natural result has been the emergence of…
ArtLeaks
27.07.2014 19:39
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
Read more...
out - poetry
THC Review and the Condemned Past
THC Review and the Condemned Past
Ivan Mečl
We are the fifth global party! Pítr Dragota and Viki Shock, Fragmenty geniality / Fragments of Charisma, May and June 1997. When Viki came to visit, it was only to show me some drawings and collages. It was only as an afterthought that he showed me the Czech samizdat publication from the late 1990s, THC Review. When he saw how it fascinated me, he panicked and insisted that THAT creation is…
Read more...
prize
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
Read more...
birthing pains
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Zuzana Štefková
Expanding the definition of “mother” is also a space for reducing pressure and for potential liberation.1 Carol Stabile The year was 2003, and in the deep forests of Lapák in the Kladno area, a woman in the later phase of pregnancy stopped along the path. As part of the “Artists in the Woods” exhibit, passers-by could catch a glimpse of her round belly, which she exposed especially for them in…
Read more...
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
21 cm x 29,7 x 0,7 cm / 20 pages / couv. sérigraphiée 4 pass. couleur / offset / 500 ex
More info...
10 EUR
11 USD
Toxic Pfarding, 1995, acrylic painting on paper, 33 x 21 cm, framed
More info...
470 EUR
537 USD
15 x 21 x 2 cm / 160 pages / offset / 1000 ex
More info...
20 EUR
23 USD
28 x 43 cm, Pen & Ink Drawing
More info...
558 EUR
637 USD

Studio

Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...
 

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts

DIVUS NOVA PERLA
Kyjov 36-37
407 47 Krásná Lípa

 

Gallery, Bookshop and Cafe
open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am to 10pm

and on appointment at shop@divus.cz, +420 606 606 425
 

 

Divus Perla
Gábina Náhlíková, gabina@divus.cz, +420 604 254 994


Divus Publishing
Ivan Mečl, ivan@divus.cz, +420 602 269 888



Design, Pre-Press and Printing Studio Divus
studio@divus.cz


Magazine Umělec
Palo Fabuš, umelec@divus.cz


Cafe & Bookshop Perla
shop@divus.cz, +420 606 606 425

DIVUS LONDON
Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom

news@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

 

DIVUS BERLIN
berlin@divus.cz


DIVUS WIEN
wien@divus.cz


DIVUS MEXICO CITY
mexico@divus.cz


DIVUS BARCELONA
barcelona@divus.cz

DIVUS MOSCOW & MINSK
alena@divus.cz

DIVUS NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
Divus We Are Rising National Gallery For You! Go to Kyjov by Krásná Lípa no.37.