WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION
Courtesy, unless otherwise noted: the artist
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
*1985 in Amman, lives in Beirut
Rubber Coated Steel, 2016
HD video, 21’
In May 2014, Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank (Palestine) shot and killed two teenagers, Nadeem Nawara and Mohamad Abu Daher. The human rights organization Defence for Children International contacted Forensic Architecture, a Goldsmiths College-based agency that undertakes advanced architectural and media research. They worked with Abu Hamdan to investigate the incident. The case hinged upon an audio-ballistic analysis of the recorded gunshots to determine whether the soldiers had used rubber bullets, as they asserted, or broken the law by firing live ammunition at the two unarmed teenagers. A little over a year after Abu Hamdan completed his report, he returned to the case of Abu Daher and Nawara in his video Rubber Coated Steel. The video acts as a tribunal for these serial killing sounds. It does not preside over the voices of the victims but rather seeks to amplify their silence, fundamentally questioning the ways in which rights are being heard today.
A.S.I. group (Ehsan Fardjadniya)
*1980 in Kermanschah, lives in Amsterdam
Hinterland, after ‘Stage for Tragedy’, 2017'
(Interpretation of Alexandra Exter’s drawing for a constructivist setting for a tragedy, 1924)
Euro pallets, dimensions variable
Opposed to the concept of closed borders and nation-states, A.S.I. group invites visitors of the exhibition to use the stage over the course of the show: to think aloud, rehearse, meet in the format of the open mic sessions. During the opening evening, a live performance titled I Must Seek Refuge Again will take place on stage.
*1970 in Mechelen, lives in Brussles
Summer Thoughts, 2012-ongoing
Installation, dimensions variable
Courtesy: the artist and Jan Mot
Summer Thoughts is a long-term research project that originated in an invitation from A Prior Magazine to react to dOCUMENTA 13 (Kassel, 2012). Inspired by the tapestries of Norwegian artist Hannah Ryggen (1894–1970), Sven Augustijnen responded in the form of a letter to curator Marta Kuzma.
The series of letters spanning the period from 2012 until today, along with newspapers, photographs, books, and other archival materials, bring together temporalities, personalities, and topographies. They constitute a layered network of references, associations, personal experiences, cultural occurrences, and political events happening in the time of writing.
Summer Thoughts questions the present state of crisis in Europe as not merely an economic or political one, but as a moral and cultural challenge marked by the twisted meaning of democracy and freedom, personal responsibility, and, as a consequence, fertile ground for the resurgence of far-right movements.
Ella de Búrca
*1986 in Dublin, lives in Brussels
Roof Without Walls (Defiance), 2017
Concrete floor tiles cast from concrete roof tiles, dimensions variable
We have entered the era of post-peace, to which the past posts pieces of itself. One such communiqué, inscribed on a humble roof tile, silently declares: “DEFIANCE.” This, along with the “Saorstát Éireann” logo, was assiduously inscribed on all products of Irish labor during the economic war that immediately followed Ireland’s liberation proper, in 1938, from 800 years of British occupation.
Ireland refused to repay debt that had been forced upon it by Britain as a condition of leaving the United Kingdom. Britain responded to this turnaround by choking Irish trade with obscene import duties, effectively paralyzing the fledgling Irish economy. Understanding economic servitude to be the complete anathema to political independence, the Irish labor classes strove on, bearing their agony with pride, carving “DEFIANCE” into all they created: the republic was finally free, financially and ideologically, from all colonial influence.
Caught gratefully lapping debt from the heels of bureaucratic madams in EU pleasure dungeons, how should Ireland’s present-self respond to a love letter received from its past, which is dedicated to a creature so wholly unlike itself? And how the tables have turned as British DEFIANCE prepares to leave the EU’s single market, subverting the power play, or repeating history as farce. In this work, Ella de Búrca examines the legacy of political idealism by recasting the roof tiles as floor tiles and placing them on the ground, for your feet to stamp down.
*1982 in Amsterdam, lives in Amsterdam
And He Knew That Someone Who Had Witnessed These Things Might Be Too Stunned to Speak, 2016 - 2017
16 mm projection, 3’’ Loop; video, 17’ 56’’, Loop, framed letter, 26 x 31 cm, image on forex, 277 x 250 cm
This installation deals with how the claim to an impossibility of 'witnessing' the Holocaust is retained through political speech. Why are notions like 'the unimaginable' and 'the unthinkable' activated whenever politicians speak about the Holocaust?
The presented footage consists of fragments of Special Film Project 186, assigned by US Army Air forces to a crew of cameramen and movie directors – mostly from Hollywood – with the task of producing “the most complete and comprehensive propaganda color film of the war ever made.” Primarily devoted to documenting the Allied aerial bombing campaign on Germany, a few reels of film depict the consequences of Nazi terror in the Buchenwald concentration camp in April 1945. Rather than showing these scenes, the focus is on German citizens of the nearby town of Weimar that are being forced by the US army to walk through Buchenwald promptly after its liberation. Declassified in the 1960’s, the final release of these film reels marks a significant moment in which Holocaust discourses began to emerge throughout the West.
Also on display is a press photograph of the exhibition “Lest we Forget” (June 30—July 14, 1945, Library of Congress, Washington DC) featuring visitors standing in front of an image taken in Buchenwald.
Significantly, Barack Obama repeatedly made reference to these documents during his presidency. The work reveals how representations of the Holocaust are activated through political speech to shape dominant views on the past and the present.
On “The last Face“ And Other Images, 2017 – ongoing
photogpraphic prints, book, dimensions variable
Borrowing its title from the wooden sculpture Das letzte Gesicht (The last Face), this collection of visual documents shares a material history via the so-called Goethe Oak.
In 1937 when Buchenwald concentration camp was erected, the forest was cleared away by the SS, and only one oak tree remained of its flora. Legend had it that Goethe rested under that tree, and thus the camp was built around it. In August 1944, US Air Forces bombed the armament factory located directly next to Buchenwald, leaving the camp intact. Of this bombing – and its planning – aerial images exist. As artist Harun Farocki argued, there is a complexity revealed in the very production of these type of images, an intrinsic link between the logics of war and photography: the same plane that drops bombs is equipped with a camera. Both involve a privileged position of enlightenment (Aufklärung): “to be able to see, one can remain at a distance of its object.”
Spreading flames from the bombing caused the Goethe Oak to catch fire and the SS ordered the tree to be felled. Bruno Apitz than carved the death mask out a piece of the destroyed oak and smuggled it out of the camp.
Reassembled into a new constellation, the documents on display become acts rather than things. They reveal some of the interests and logics underlying the waging of war from World War II till the present day.
*1976 in Istanbul, lives in Istanbul
The Flag, 2006
two-channel video installation, 8’ 54’’
The Flag is the second part of Köken Ergun’s video series about the state-controlled national day ceremonies of the Turkish Republic. Shot during the “April 23rd Children’s Day,” which marks the establishment of the new Turkish Parliament and the official demise of the Ottoman Empire back in 1920, this split-screen film documents a pompous, patriotic performance devised by elders to be performed by children. Hosted by the mayor and governor of Istanbul, with the participation of a high-ranking general, the ceremony features poems and oaths read out loud by primary school students. Here, patriotism becomes a hard-lined nationalism. One of the texts, “The Flag,” is recited passionately by a girl who vows to “destroy the nest of any bird who doesn’t salute [her country’s] flag in flight” and to “dig the grave of anyone who doesn’t look at the flag the way [she does].”
*1962 in Roeselare, lives in Brussels and New York
Blue Orchids (Blaue Orchideen), 2016
Courtesy: Der Künstler und Historic England Archive1940 Fox Photos
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
In Blue Orchids, Grimonprez creates a portrait diptych of two experts situated on opposite ends of the same issue: the global arms trade. The stories of Chris Hedges, the former war correspondent of The New York Times, and Riccardo Privitera, a former arms and equipment dealer at Talisman Europe Ltd (now dissolved), provide an unusual and disturbing context for shocking revelations about the industry of war. While interviewing Privitera and Hedges for Grimonprez’s recently released feature-length film Shadow World, it became clear that the two men were describing the same anguish but from paradoxical perspectives. One has dedicated his life to unmasking lies and the other has built his life on lies. Making use of both their personal and political histories, Grimonprez gradually reveals the depths of trauma and duplicity, situating the arms trade as a symptom of a profound illness: greed.
*1973 in Zhdanovka, lives in Muzychi
One Man's Meat Is Another Man's Poison, 2017
Drawn map based on interviews about the Second World War conducted by the artist in Saint Petersburg from January to February 2017
This new work commissioned for Post-Peace falls in line with the artist’s earlier research, which looks at the contemporary history of Maidan and the subsequent war in Ukraine though a personal perspective of a participant of these events. The artist herself was an active supporter of Maidan, while her mother lives in the middle of the conflict territory. In her drawings and performances, Kakhidze confronts the public with discontent with media representation and confusion through absurd mythologies that are being created in front of our eyes.
born 1981 in Damascus, lives in Ramallah
The Day We Saw Nothing in Front of Us, 2015
Series of scratched photographs, 100 x 66 cm
Courtesy: the artist and Lawrie Shabibi Gallery
This photographic series is of Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine. The Israeli settlements are scratched out of the photo, revealing not only the possibility of an iconoclastic future, but the materiality of the image itself, whereby violence can be enacted upon the violence depicted—the construction of the landscape as an image, and the violence embodied in its layers.
*1985 in Kaliningrad, lives in Amsterdam
Post Fairy Tale, 2016
HD-video and installation, 15’ 55’’
Post Fairy Tale is an experimental documentary film based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s fairy tale “Klein Zaches, genannt Zinnober” (Little Zaches Called Cinnabar, 1819). It is filmed in the city of Königsberg (formerly part of the Kingdom of Prussia), today the city of Kaliningrad (Russian Federation enclave on the Baltic sea), the birthplace of Immanuel Kant, E. T. A. Hoffman, and the artist herself. 70 percent of the city was destroyed during World War II and not rebuilt until now. Landscapes that appear in the film are those “remains” of Königsberg.
The film is based on three storylines. The first one is active, the dynamic fairy tale; the second one focuses on passive observation of life, a poetic capturing of reality. The third unit is virtual reality, specifically the social reality of Facebook, which Matyunina compares with contemporary magic spells and fairy tales, represented through typography and sound.
In a time when the term post-truth has won its position as Word of the Year 2016 according to Oxford Dictionaries, the moral of Hoffmann’s fairy tale teaches us to become aware of mere appearances and to always look for grounded reasons and explanations. Matyunina questions the function of self-representation and the social media in today’s life, where it is so easy to refer to reality as fiction and to turn fiction into reality.
*1985 in Havanna, lives in Athens
Moments that Shaped the World I, II, III, IV, 2012–2015
Series of video sketches in 4 chapters, respective duration: 2’ 45’’, 4’ 49’’, 3’ 36’’, 5’ 54’
These are the first chapters in a series of videos where the juxtaposition of image and sound modifies perception and suggests new meanings.
Moments that Shaped the World I – Havana-Berlin juxtaposes the long shot of a street in La Habana, taken recently, and the audio archive from CNN live broadcasting the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. This simple disjunction between image and sound suggests the persistence of an ideological system which already fell apart in certain parts of the world but still conditions life in Cuba.
Moments that Shaped the World II – Primavera Sound contrasts images from a popular music festival in the city of Barcelona and the audio archive of the manifestations and street protests of the M-15 movement, which marked the most recent sociopolitical events in Spain. The video suggests certain frustration toward political protests which are in the end reduced to mere spectacle.
Moments that Shaped the World III – The East Is Red shows images of flickering neon lights in contemporary and developed China, contrasting with audio of an extract from a song entitled “The East is Red” about Chinese communism, sung by Raúl Castro in 2008. It aims at portraying the irony of past ideals to build an ideological future path as compared to the country’s actual blooming of capitalism.
Moments that Shaped the World IV – Never Ending Story is an emotional story found by the artist on YouTube in the summer of 2015, during the Greek debt crisis. It is told by a German tourist, whose luggage was lost by an air company on her way to Greece. The woman is very unhappy: she had to spend two days of her vacation without her favorite things, and in some cases was even forced to buy new ones. The contrasting video consists of fragments featuring economic disaster in Greece, revealing the fragility and failure of so-called “European values.”
*1973 in Van, lives in Istanbul
Erika and the Night, 2016
Full HD-Video, 13’ 28’’
Ögrenci stays in Erica Schlik’s house in Munich. Eighty-four years old, Erika soliloquizes and refreshes her memory at night. Ö?renci spontaneously decided to follow her with the camera.
The particularities of daily life—its chance encounters, surprises, routines, repetitions, memories, habits, and coincidences—form the content and materials of Ögrenci’s practice. Her investigation into these details demonstrates how knowledge and experience inherited from history may be transferred into our behaviors and attempts to shape our environments.
The artist is interested in the way in which communication tools and media such as television act as mediators for remembering and forgetting. Ögrenci accumulates material for her video works by capturing the moving images that influence her in daily life, with a photographer’s instinct. From this perspective, the artist’s house, the streets, the countries where she travels and the people she meets, the activist movements she participates in, online news, social media and so on, form an archive from which she creates her works. Erika and the Night is the first short film made by the artist.
Dorian de Rijk
lives in Amsterdam
Winging It, 2015
Full HD-video, 2’ 43’’
Winging It is a short visual essay on slow motion hysteria in New York City that explores to what extent fear is ingrained within our support structures. Sixteen years after 9/11, the embodiment of fear continues in NYC.
On the street you can find billboards urging you “to make an emergency plan with your kids.” Winging It shows Wall Street and Ground Zero between 3 and 4 a.m. This is one of the most tightly controlled and painstakingly secured areas of the United States, and the financial center of the so-called “Western world.” In the heart of NYC, security guards are sleeping at their desks in the big marble halls of major rating agencies. Consumed by the system and probably having these jobs as a means to keep afloat, the guardians are helpless to protect it. In this paranoid climate, the voice of Taylor Swift speaking on Good Morning America sounds like an appeal for subversion.
On the subway people are reminded of the terror threat via the following audio message: “Stay alive, stay alert. It’s your life and that of the ones around you.” How do you build your life when fear has taken over the environment? How could you expect someone to stay alert 24/7? And what exactly are we to stay alert for? What is the function of fear and to what extent can it be used as a tool of power? Is the fear a justification for populist appeals to drain the swamp or fuck the system, made on both sides of the political spectrum?
lives in Amsterdam
Ayhan ve ben (Ayhan And Me), 2016
HD-video, 13’ 48’’
Freedom of expression is certainly one of the basic characteristics of a peaceful and healthy society. The repression of it is inevitably connected to a dictatorial regime. In order to maintain power, every “enemy” has to be defeated—not only physically, but also psychologically. Censorship by the regime might lead to censorship by the cultural institutions that can become arbitrary, case-specific, and self-imposed.
At the same time, the degree of repression and the freedom of expression are both defined by the state according to whom that repression is exercised on. Some people get censored, and through their expression might also be recognized, while some others may receive harsher punishment, even death, because their expression is not recognized as part of the field of freedom of speech. This video essay examines the limits of visibility and freedom of expression in the cultural sphere in relation to other spheres in society. It explores the questions: “What can be seen and what can be shown?,” “What are the filters of the visible?,” and “What is the role and power of images under repression?” The artist uses diverse sources from different media, focusing on the context of and a specific case in Turkey. It is a personal journey in the world of images and speaks about artistic expression when faced with censorship, as well as the value of life under repression.
Kirk Kere Söylersen … (If You Say It Forty Times …), 2017
HD video, 5’ 05’’
Sound: Sergio González Cuervo / Translation: Asl? Özgen Tuncer, Sevil Tunaboylu, Fatos Irven, Titles: Selj & Sinan
The work investigates the mental state of political amnesia by looking at the media images in Turkey, mainly of public figures claiming amnesia in order to avoid charges or threats. Some are part of the mafia / state / drug-and-arms traffic triangle, and they should not know what they know; others can only explain their acts (like their support of the Kurdish people during a live TV show) by claiming to not be mentally present in those moments. On the other hand, there are people who claim to never forget anything and they keep talking. As they keep talking, they lose visibility and have to claim it via other channels than mainstream media. The video oscillates between personal amnesia toward the public amnesia, through the cracks created by people who keep remembering and reminding. Ayhan Cark?n from the video Ayhan and me is one of these figures, but he claims to never forget anything.
*1982 in Berlin, lives in Amsterdam
Agendas And Containers, 2016
Plexiglass, carpet, mesh fabric, dimensions variable
Peace can be established in many ways. The end of a bloody war may once have signified peace, but the well-defined battlefields and treaties suggested by history would seem to provide flawed, even illusory sets of criteria for understanding the shape of contemporary conflicts. Despite our updated and sanitized image of modern warfare, brutality has not vanished; it has in fact flourished through new and elaborate methodologies in step with ever more sophisticated approaches to image management. New paradigms of warfare would even seem to be at work in a wider variety of institutional sectors. John Perkins in his 2004 book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, for instance, suggests that international bodies such as the World Bank can be implicated in the violent displacement of sovereign governments. Agendas and Containers is a collage of fragments from official international institutions. Tasked with the establishment and maintenance of global peace, they serve as a point of mediation between nation-states. Through the dislocation and recombination of the iconic visual identities of these international bodies, a hybrid spatial continuum is staged. With the semblances of both blockbuster movie set and metropolitan construction site, the work discloses a certain illusionist character of our notions of sustainability and peace.
*1979 in Gliwice, lives in Warsaw
What We Think that They Think that We Think... (Freedom Club), 2012 – ongoing
The collection of visual and textual cross-evidence complied by the artist on the two pinboards is just a tiny part of his long-term Freedom Club project.
FC was an abbreviation on a letter that scientists and corporate executives in the US could potentially receive in their mailboxes between 1978 and 1995. Freedom Club was founded by Theodore John “Ted” Kaczynski, better known as the “Unabomber,” who apparently remains its sole member. A prodigy mathematician, Harvard graduate, and professor at Berkeley, he retreated into the woods in search of primitive life and from there carried out sixteen letter-bomb attacks. The confused investigators were exhausted looking for a large group of people. Only because of the publication of the “Unabomber Manifesto” (1995) in the press did Kaczynski’s brother recognize his writing and report it to the police. With his radical actions, the Unabomber tried to turn society’s attention to the deadly effect of the Industrial Revolution, gradually destroying local, human-scale communities, suppressing individual freedom, irreparably damaging nature, and potentially leading to the extinction of humankind in general.
Heterogeneous at the first glance, the ensemble is “para-documentation” of what FC could have been, a record of a failed investigation that connects hints into the conspiracy around the existence and operation of the Freedom Club before and after Kaczynski’s arrest in 1996.
Three double manuscripts, each divided into two books, serve as this project’s “iconology.” Titled What We Think that They Think that We Think (right) and What They Think that We Think that They Think (left), the books should be browsed simultaneously to propose a juxtaposition of two fictive realities.
*1984 in Moscow , lives in Moscow
High-Energy Objects, 2015–2017
Audio installation, series of objects, imaginary model of Apophis asteroid 99942, brass
sound: Körpa Klauz
The notion of High-Energy Objects appears in a MH17 preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board and relates to a destructive agent which has been the cause for the air disaster over the war zone in the East Ukraine. In this context, High-Energy Objects represent an abstract and yet extreme hazard, which is always very concrete. They don’t exist, and at the same time they exist everywhere. High-Energy Objects can be found, for instance, in the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History (Museum am Löwentor) or in the jewelery shop Jan Hofmann at Königstraße.
What other objects contain a lethal potential? How can we evaluate the amount of insecurity within social relations and objects from the surrounding reality?
The soundtrack that accompanies the object is an improvisation by Stuttgart-based rapper Körpa Klauz, commissioned by the artist.
*1983 in Tula, lives in Vienna
For Humans By Humans, 2015–2016
Research project: posters and foam objects
Graphic design: Richard Zazworka
Objects, devices, and strategies aimed at influencing the behavior of people in ways that benefit particular social groups. Unwanted behavioral problems, uncomfortable people, abnormal lifestyle, antisocial behavior which can be unacceptable for “normal” people. Cities become better at hiding poverty, circumstances of economical crisis, introducing systemic society rules through urban design and architecture. The problem remains, but it’s being rendered into a fancy shape of the invisible. Such tools as design and architecture become defensive and are used “to enforce social divisions.”