Suzanne Ciani

Unsound Festival

April 2 2014
6:32 PM

Poland’s most challenging and amorphous festival of contemporary experimental music and cross-border artistic creation—Unsound—is returning to New York from the 2nd until the 6th of April. This annual event, which was initiated in 2003 in Krakow, has since entered the international scene with a number of editions around the world. It’s not only the selection of artists, but also the carefully crafted curatorial themes and multimedia commissions that earned the festival its global reputation. Unsound New York is an introduction to this year’s themes—focusing on synaesthesia and multi sensory experience. Audio Visual Arts gallery in New York will present Ephemera—an installation combining scent, sound and visual elements. Sounds from Ben Frost, Tim Hecker and Steve Goodman (Kode9) will be presented with olfactory Noise, Drone and Bass compositions prepared by Geza Schoen and accompanied by visuals from Manuel Sepulveda (Optigram) and Marcel Weber (MFO).  The festival will also feature commissions and live shows from Demdike Stare, Suzanne Ciani, Huerco S.Copeland, Evol, Wilhelm Bras, Hubert Zelmer and many more. In partnership with WIRE Magazine, Unsound New York has complied a CD—Tunnels—which features participating Polish and international artists and will be available to subscribers with the April issue of WIRE. In September and October this year, Unsound will take place in London and Krakow, expanding even further on the theme of synaesthesia and launching its new Ephemera fragrances. (Agnes Gryczkowska)

Unsound Festival in New York will run through April 6.

Gasworks Billboard for Mouthfeel by Maryam Jafri, 2014
Photo by Richard Forbes-Hamilton

The Civilising Process
at Gasworks, London

April 1 2014
3:00 PM

Patrizio Di Massimo‘s “The Lustful Turk,” incorporating painting, drawings, sculptures and wallpaper, was the first in Gasworks’ year-long series of exhibitions, events and online commissions, The Civilising Process. The programme in its entirety is based on German sociologist Norbert Elias’s seminal book, The Civilising Process (1939), which, in essence, examines the genealogy of civility, manners and acceptable social conduct in the Western world. The programme seeks to explore the historically fabricated perception of Western European culture and the various forces of civilization and de-civilization by which it has been influenced, including with the etiquette of the Royal Courts of the Middle Ages, the subjugation of the European citizen’s body, and the colonization of non-Western countries and its effect on Eurocentric ideas of civility. “Late Barbarians,” the second show in the series, brings together works by Juan Downey, Lili Dujourie, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Matts Leiderstam and Chris Marker to question notions of corporeal memory and historical speculation, taking its title from one of Elias’s own assertions that mankind’s future descendants may consider the life we live now to be barbaric and medieval. “Late Barbarians” continues with the programme’s third show “Mouthfeel,” which constitutes Maryam Jafri‘s first London solo show. Until May 18 Jafri presents Mouthfeel (2014), a newly commissioned short film, and Product Recall: An Index of Innovation (2014), a new photo-text work exploring the politics surrounding the industrial production of processed food. (Nick Warner)

Richard Ayode, The Double, 2013, UK
Photo by Dean Rogers

New Directors/New Films
New York

March 18 2014
6:25 PM

True to its title, New York’s annual New Directors/New Films festival is dedicated to finding what’s new and next in international cinema. Now entering its forty-third year of screenings, the showcase holds a longstanding reputation as a kind of proving ground for emerging filmmakers, having introduced audiences to debut works by the likes of Spike Lee, Todd Solondz, and Steven Spielberg. Presented jointly by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, this year’s program —running from March 19-30— is characteristically diverse in both subject and style, with twenty-seven features and thirteen shorts culled from twenty-nine countries. Among the most promising titles are Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), a post-noir horror film whose depiction of a young vampire stalking her prey on strange urban streets serves as a none-too-subtle metaphor for the current political state in Iran; Return to Homs (2013), Talal Derki’s beyond-intimate account of the ongoing Syrian civil war; and the brooding, beautiful A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (2013) by Ben Russell and Ben Rivers, which shadows a silent protagonist —played by Lichens frontman Robert A.A. Lowe— whose search for personal utopia finds him joining an Estonian commune and fronting a Norwegian black metal band before ultimately embracing the solitude of a remote Finnish forest. (Christopher Schreck)

Edward Said

“An Introduction to Radical Thinkers” at ICA, London

February 25 2014
3:00 PM

An Introduction to Radical Thinkers” is the second series of events held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, and undertaken with Verso Books for the launch of the latest set from their “Radical Thinkers” collection. With the aim of bringing theory to a broader audience outside of the academy, the ICA invites a variety of speakers to introduce the writing of Gillian Rose, Max Stirner, Edward W. Said, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, and Sheila Rowbotham from 21 January–18 March 2014. Among the speakers, writer Federico Campagna and post anarchist thinker Saul Newman presented Stirner’s defence of individualism in The Ego and His Own (1845) on 4 February; on 18 February academic Shahidha Bari elucidated Said’s analysis of identity in his final book, Freud and the Non-European (2003); and professor and editor Steffen Böhm will present Laclau and Mouffe’s influential text Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (1985) on 4 March. Sharing a similar approach to Stirner, but arguing for a plurality of political spaces, Mouffe and Laclau discuss “radical democracy” in the book’s fourth and perhaps most compelling chapter, stating that “[…] the project for a radical and plural democracy, in a primary sense, is nothing other than the struggle for a maximum autonomization of spheres on the basis of the generalization of the equivalential-egalitarian logic.” (Anja Isabel Schneider)

Lida Abdul, What We Saw Upon Awakening, 2006 (video still)
Courtesy of the artist; and Giorgio Persano Gallery

Dhaka Art Summit

February 6 2014
3:00 PM

This year Dhaka becomes a vibrant hub for contemporary art once again. The second edition of the Dhaka Art Summit (from February 7-9) will focus on the South Asian region, hosting thirty-three local and international galleries, each one exclusively showing works by South Asian artists. DAS is a major non-profit platform for art, whose main gist is its program consisting of five exhibitions curated by local and international curators; fourteen solo art projects by, among others, Rana Begum, Shilpa Gupta, Runa Islam and Jitish Kallat; a city-wide public art project by Raqs Media Collective; special talks; and screenings of experimental films and performances. DAS was conceived by the Samdani Art Foundation to support museum-quality exhibits in Bangladesh, the development of South Asian art and international artistic exchange. Indeed, this year’s edition focuses on exchange: institutional, personal and local. This is manifested, for example, in the project Meanwhile Elsewhere (ইতিমধ্যে অন্যত্র) by the Raqs Media Collective. In this public art project, 160 road signs and billboards across the capital of Bangladesh will show faces of clocks inscribed with words in the Bengali language. The words and phrases relate to each other, contradict each other and form an extensive urban poem that can be read countless ways, thus confronting us with our perception of time and duration. (Maaike Lauwaert)

Hajime Sorajama, Untitled (Human), 1991

Several Flames

February 2 2014
1:02 PM

Founded by Kaleidoscope‘s editor-in-chief Alessio Ascari and gallerist Federico Vavassori, Several Flames is an independent curatorial platform taking on different forms, such as exhibitions, live events and publications. Their approach is distinguished by an omnivorous approach to visual culture and a focus on the visionary power of art, embracing various generations and bringing overlooked stories to surface. During this very weekend, within the context of new Malibu art fair Paramount Ranch, Several Flames is kicking off in Los Angeles with a two-person exhibition, “Power Ballads,” juxtaposing the work of Hajime Sorayama and Max H. Schneider. Sorayama (b. 1947 in Ehime, Japan; lives and works in Tokyo) is a legendary Japanese illustrator known for his precisely detailed, hand-painted portrayals of voluptuous robotic women, obtained through an astoundingly artful use of the technique of airbrush painting. Schneider (b. 1982 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works) is an American artist whose drawings, aquariums, and tapestries, characterized by a seemingly endless register of detail, poetically simulate the textures and surfaces of the natural world.
In addition to their participation in Paramount Ranch, Several Flames has recently been invited to take over “Art Residency,” a curatorial series in Dazed & Confused magazine, whose final installment appears in the current February issue. The first edition of their annual almanac, an image-based publication designed by Omar Sosa and revolving around the dichotomy of real and surreal, will be published in Spring 2014.

John Einar Sandvand, Garbage dump in Phnom Penh; and William Cho, Marina Bay Light and Water Show.
Artwork by The Laboratory of Manuel Bürger

Transmediale Festival, Berlin

January 28 2014
3:00 PM

As an aesthetic phenomena, “post-digital” describes the humanization of technology, a fusion of embodied media and the augmented reality of biological, spiritual, kinesthetic, prosthetic and cyber experiences. This year’s edition of Berlin’s Transmediale festival (29 January–2 February) is dedicated to the post-digital afterglow and seeks to find the potential of our post-digital trash. With approximately two hundred participants, the festival includes screenings, conferences and performances, and delves into such topics as self run web tools, digital detritus and its valuable data (Afterglow of the Mediatic’s  series), digital versus analogue image production (Luther Price’s Utopia) and performance rituals in which cybernetics merges with low-tech (MSHR’s Birch Cooper with Brenna Murphy). Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the official host of Transmediale, presents two exhibitions. “Art Hack Day Berlin” pairs artists working in technology with hackers working with art. The works in the exhibition are the uncertain outcome of a forty-eight-hour work session undertaken by more than 70 artists before the opening night. “Critical Infrastructure” is a survey of our global resources, reserves of materials and energies in workshop format, between international artists and Berliners. Those already anticipating Transmediale can partake in Vorspiel—a one week prelude to festival in galleries, clubs and independent project spaces. (Marta Jecu)

Gohar Dashti, Untitled, 2013
Courtesy of the artist; and Officine Dell'Immagine Gallery, Milan

Art Stage Singapore

January 17 2014
5:06 PM

From January 16-19, the 4th edition of Art Stage Singapore presents over 100 participants from blue chip galleries such as White Cube and Perrotin to younger and more experimental spaces such as Gallery 9 (Sydney) and Nanzuka (Tokyo). This year, the fair introduces the inaugural edition of Platforms: curated, museum-like exhibitions showing newly commissioned projects that highlight art from countries and regions such as Southeast Asia, India, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia and Central Asia. Curators of Platforms include the Chinese independent curator Huang Du, Director of the Australian 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Aaron Seeto, Indian artist and independent curator Bose Krishnamachari, Chief Curator at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo Mami Kataoka, Korean curator and art critic Kim Sung Won, and Taiwanese independent curator and collector Rudy Tseng. The fair’s slogan “We Are Asia” is clearly manifested in this selection as well as in the fact that 80% of the participating galleries are Asia Pacific-based. An education and fringe program accompanies the fair, including artist talks, guided tours and panel discussion, partly organized in collaboration with institutions like LASALLE College of The Arts and the NTU Center for Contemporary Art and covering topics such as media arts in Southeast Asia, activist artists working in public space, and regional differences. (Maaike Lauwaert)

Older posts