Negotiating Equity Curated and tutored by Renée Ridgway and n.e.w.s. contributorsRenée Ridgway Guests: Stephen Wright, Prayas Abhinav, Nancy Adajania, Geoff Cox, Branka Curcic, Simon Ferdinando, Ranjit Hoskote, Kristian Lukić, Ni Haifeng, Alfredo Cramerotti, Nishant Shah, Ruangrupa Negotiating Equity investigates curation as artistic practice, investigating experimental and conceptual art practices under physical as well as virtual conditions. Negotiating Equity draws upon theories of fairness in questioning divergent value systems and asserts that these terms of engagement imply rethinking the political, economic and social conditions of art. Negotiating Equity tests artistic models amongst students, curators, artists, art critics and writers from around the world. The nature and format of this project favors cooperative endeavor, while considering the implications of self-curation. Drawing upon a wide range of artistic and art-related practices, some off the radar, undocumented and under-theorized, others representative of art historical paradigms, we examine various exhibition and presentation models along with addressing and finding other audiences, virtual or otherwise, implicitly or explicitly challenging dominant regimes of spectatorship all too often considered self- evident. In 2010-2011 Art after Space concentrated on all the manifold possibilities of space as more than just a place, including the collaboration with Srishti School of Art and Design and CEMA (Centre for Experimental Media Art) in Bangalore, India. CEMA (Centre for Experimental Media Art) Websites: http://negotiatingequity.net/ http://spacethefinalfrontier.net/ http://northeastwestsouth.net/
2009-2010 DAI at Delft Show the project in Delft, which was a given when I was invited to teach at DAI The project focused on in-situ, site specific projects, exhibitions, interventions DAI participants could use the space for a certain amount of time, engage with the local public 2010-2011 Art after Space Investigated the manifold definitions of space: the space of collaboration, space of reflection, public space, political space, virtual space, mediated space / the space of media, territorial space, temporal space, inter- subjective space and even perhaps extra-terrestrial space, were departure points. Space The Final Frontier: Dutch Art Institute / ArtEZ teams up with Srishti and CEMA in Bangalore, India Mission I: Indexing the Shadow Worlds of Bangalore March 4-18, 2011 an expansive trans-spatial /trans-local investigation into the notion of 'space. Students, artists, curators, architects, cultural producers, sociologists, algorithm theorists, and urban geographers will embody the practices of collaboration and self-curation, which are central to this participation. Seminars, lectures and interactive events will include technological and aesthetic means of mapping, algorithm theory and reflections on the future of search. http://negotiatingequity.net
Negotiating Equity: Archive, Database, Research looks this year not at the word equity as real estate, nor certain types of space, but equity in the sense of fairness, in terms of access, sharing, transparency, investment, authorship and copyright, attribution and poaching. It will explore how the unique position of the artist can play a pivotal role in organizing networks composed of databases that influence not only our working processes but behavior. Constant in Brussels with Femke Smelting, Nicholas Maleve and Seda Gürses will provide an overview of this discourse. Ultimately we will question how do we use these archives and databases in order to carry out and construct our own research methodologies as visual artists? We will reflect upon the position of producer, as well as that of the user. Use, usage and usership in the words of n.e.w.s. contributor Stephen Wright who will also discuss this in relation to the online platform Aaaarg.org. Libraries were once organized by Dewey decimal systems, reflecting the categorization of previous hierarchies and are usually considered offline and accessible as a type of public space. In academia, cultural studies and recent artistic practice, Aaaarg.org is the online library where people upload scans of books and download what they need or want to read via a proxy server and is controversial because of copyright infringement. Archive, Database, Research We begin with the archive, a technical term for Michel Foucault used in his book The Archaeology of Knowledge whereby this physical offline archive designates the collection of all material traces left behind by a particular historical period and culture. According to Foucault, the archive is neither that sum of all texts that a culture preserves nor those institutions records, it is rather a system of statements and those rules of practice that shape the specific regularities of what can and cannot be said, for example rendering colonial archives as both documents of exclusions and as monuments of power. In historical terms any archive is worth preserving because it is a composite view of often overlooked areas of life accumulated over a period of time and once these things are dispersed this view (because it was composite) is lost forever. As an example of the early history of the democratic technology that is coming to play a critical role as a social catalyst in our time, archives are woefully undervalued and considered, except perhaps as curiosities and as art. Much akin to the obsessive documentation and archiving of colonial powers, individual accumulation is made possible by modern technology. According to Seth Sigelaub as articulated by Alberto Alberro, the secondary documentation has become the work of art.
Performances, happenings, events, discussions are all captured by different mediums and these become the work of art, nowadays exemplified by photographs, digital images, sound files, videos and podcasts, which are uploaded onto websites for dissemination. This accumulation of material has expanded into a major growth of personal archives. Artists accumulate material and then they present it, footage itself or a photograph of a previous installation of the same material. These images can also be altered, airbrushed, appropriated. Where is the work of art? Where is the document? Are there no works of art anymore, only documents? Sophie Berribi will discuss the position of the Equivocal Document in relation to the archive. Oral testimonies confront the physical archive by presenting facts and through this online dissemination via databases, i.e. websites, they are shared with many more people. Public spheres revolve around manifold onlineimagined communities, exchanging resources and enabling collaboration, which both encompass the archive as a construction of power as a containment for that information. This "new media" activism was based on the insight that the long-held distinction between the 'street' (reality) and the 'media' (representation) could no longer be upheld. On the contrary, the media had come to infuse all of society. David Garcia and Eric Kluitenberg discuss this in their book Tracing the Ephemeral: Tactical Media and the Lure of the Archive. Power generates resistance. Looking at how archives have been structured in the past, as factual information and as a way do organise data hierarchically. One thing to remember is that Foucault uses the term much differently than we do today and drawing from various aspects of his own research, Simon Ferdinando will highlight Foucault's analysis of the body and subject within and generating the archive and the archival. We build personal archives and share them. Nowadays we have accessibility to texts and documents and archives previously unheard of. These archives of texts, images, audio bites form what could be called databases. Lev Manovich in his seminal text, Database as symbolic form, The Database Logic defines database as a structured collection of data. Different types of databases hierarchical, network, relational and object-oriented use different models to organize data. They appear as a collections of items on which the user can perform various operations: view, navigate, search. The user experience of such computerized collections is therefore quite distinct from reading a narrative or watching a film or navigating an architectural site. Manovich refers then to databases as new symbolic forms of a "computerized society" and as a new way to structure our experience of ourselves and of the world. The world appears to us as an endless and unstructured collection of images, texts, and other data records, it is only appropriate that we will be moved to model it as a database. But it is also appropriate that we would want to develop poetics, aesthetics, and ethics of this database. Prayas Abhinav with his gaming works and Tina Bastajian with her Archival Afterlives articulate answers to some of these questions concerning the database.
The Archival Impulse by Hal Foster describes how artists move through the archive and deluge of information, as a filter, distillation, saving this and discarding that for all kinds of subjective reasons. With regard to the relationship between archiving, experts and knowledge production, the focus here is then on the lack of an archive, whats missing or its fragmentary state of existence. Names and contributions? How do we use these resources? As storage becomes cheaper and cheaper we are able to store more and more data. This can take the form of images, texts, videos, sound files but also personal information about ourselves. How do we control our raging archival impulse, navigate the database or conduct research? Through the action of search, which is an inherent part of research. N.e.w.s. is conducting research about search. In rethinking research in relation with social, economic, technological, political, industrial and cultural contexts in the contemporary art world we will investigate the impact of technology on modes of representation, on our new forms of aesthetic experiences and our socio-political organizations. This profound impact of information technology on our personal as well as social and culturally lives is not well understood. Brian Holmes will elaborate more on this within his Eventwork. Research also refers to an ever-increasing interest in artists current drive towards research-based activities,the artist-researcher in other words. Sarat Maharaj will elaborate on the relationship between art&research. What does it mean to be one and what previous movements, actions or professions does this positioning draw upon? From DIY to Doctorate, we will explore a Genealogy of Research-Based Art Practice with Saskia van der Kroef. To summarize: Archives, databases and research lend themselves to platforms for creating, viewing, discussing and learning about experimental practices at the intersections of art, technology and social change. The question remains why, where and how we can construct spaces for dialogue and social interaction.
Archives How are these used in artistic production What is the future of the archives? Archives that are now public and accessible Simultaneously we are creating archives How will these personal archives be categorised, taxonomized and structured? Will they be made searchable?
As we see, the Atlas was a highly dynamic project: it changed, travelled, was used to design exhibitions, and remained, until its very end, a work in progress. There were other problems that made the work on the Atlas an infinite endeavour. Warburg was a technophile. He was interested in telecommunication, the press and travelling; all these new technologies enabled new forms of travelling, but also prolonged the old idea of migration that connected civilizations from the beginning. Technology, for example in the form of printing,was also the direct link between Dürers engravings and the 28 telephones in his avant-garde library building. He had already written an article entitled Airship and submarine in medieval imagination that suggested that former societies had anticipated what he called vehicles of thought and imagination that we dispose of today. Images were their vehicles. http://www.educ.fc.ul.pt/hyper/resources/mbruhn/ Aby Warburg
Archival Activism, Lucy Lippard Our goal is to provide artists with an organized relationship to society, to demonstrate the political effectiveness of image making, and to provide a framework within which progressive artists can discuss and develop alternatives to the mainstream art system. PAD/D Mission Statement Q. What is the Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D) Archive? A. Political Art Documentation/Distribution, an artists' collective conceived by Lucy Lippard in 1979, was active through 1988. Its archive was organized by Barbara Moore and Mimi Smith and was donated to the Library in 1989. PAD/D's stated goal was: To provide artists with an organized relationship to society, to demonstrate the political effectiveness of image making, and to provide a framework within which progressive artists can discuss and develop alternatives to the mainstream art system. The Archive focuses on the decade 1979–90, with some material dating from the early 1960s. The collection is composed of two sections: files and posters. Files are organized by names of persons, groups, and exhibition spaces as well as by topics and PAD/D administrative categories. The files are catalogued individually in DADABASE. See also How can I find Political Art Documentation/Distribution Archive materials in DADABASE? The poster collection includes works relating to ACT UP, Allen Ginsberg, Angry Arts, Art Workers Coalition, Barbara Kruger, Coalition for a People's Alternative in 1980, Dona Ann McAdams, Elizabeth Kulas, Greg Sholette, Guerrilla Girls, Heresies, Jerry Kearns, Keith Haring, PAD/D, Printed Matter, Terminal New York, War Resisters League, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, and others. Prior arrangement is required; please contact the Library. For a brief history of PAD/D, see The Museum of Modern Art Library Bulletin, n.86, Winter 1993/94.
Database How are these used in artistic production What is the future of the archives? Databases that are now public and accessible Simultaneously we are creating databases How will these personal databases be categorised, taxonomized and structured? Will they be made searchable?
Research What does it mean to conduct research? Position of the artist as researcher (my text) How does one use and incorporate archives and databases in ones work? How can one access images and documents? How does one find what one is looking for (search)?
Paul Otlet He dreamed of a "mechanical, collective brain" and his complex system for indexing information could be considered an analog version of Google. Belgian lawyer and librarian Paul Otlet died in 1944, poor and disillusioned. But his work is now being looked at in a whole new light. The world's first search engine is made of wood and paper. Specifically, it consists of rows of dark brown cabinets about as tall as a person, filled with boxes of index cards. "Sixteen million index cards," notes Jacques Gillen, laying one hand on a cabinet handle. Gillen is an archivist at the Mundaneum, the institution that operated this gigantic catalogue in the 1920s. Inquiries came into Brussels by letter or telegram, as many as 1,500 of them a year, and the answers were then found by hand, a process that sometimes took weeks. The project was something like a paper Google, but developed decades before the Internet and without the benefit of computers. Belgian librarian Paul Otlet created the Mundaneum. A trained lawyer from a wealthy family, Otlet wanted to map out the world's knowledge and preserve it in his wooden cabinets. He envisioned collecting all of the books ever published and interlinking them using an archival system he developed himself. Gillen, the archivist, fishes an index card out of a box. From the jumble of numbers written on the card, he can decipher dozens of pieces of information about the book to which the card refers. Many modern researchers agree that with this archival system, developed around the turn of the last century, Otlet essentially invented hypertext, the network of links that help us navigate around the Internet today. "You could call Otlet one of the original minds behind the Internet," Gillen says, placing the card back in its box.
Constant Verbindingen/Jonctions? December 1,2,3,4 2011 Brussels is the bi-annual multidisciplinary festival organised by Constant. Since 1997, Verbindingen/Jonctions combines high-, low- and no-tech strategies from utopian, contemporary, traditional and tribal cultures, free software, feminism and queer theories. V/J is an occasion to explore the space between thinking and doing, and the festival is always a mix of activities. It is an occasion to invite radio makers, artists, programmers, academics, Linux users, interface designers, urban explorers, performance artists, technicians, lawyers and others to experience each others practice, and to share their interests with a broad public of visitors. V/J13 is an online festival, connecting several local 'festival-hubs' that are distributed over the globe. V/J13 is a plea for the web as a public forum. It is time to re-activate our imagination about what the web could be. We will revisit early experiments and invent new ones to test out in practice what they (could) mean and how they can be (re-)appropriated for cultural and critical usage. Can we after Hadopi, Acta, the mass Googlommoration of webservices, still speak of such a thing as a public virtual space? What about rights to co-decide? Organic growth? Real participation? After Facebook, SecondLife, Twitter, Youtube, are we meant to believe that 'sharing' and 'friends' are just euphemisms for data trade, concentration of capital and monopolism, What does a public virtual space mean for art, for sharing creative processes? The 13th edition of Verbindingen/Jonctions is a research into the context in which these processes take place, into the threats, potentials and still unknown aspects of it. In dialogue with colleague organisations who share our concern for the future of the open Net, we will investigate what it means to bring a work into the public (virtual) domain. What is a 'public' work? How for example do you organise its 'freedom', or its right to be adapted, used, adaptation, commonly owned, or its share-ability? Is it, as the Telekommunisten claim, necessary to posses the means of production? Or are other material matters needed to built hardware parts, such as rare metals or patented technologies or human strength in abundance? Is knowledge of the basics of electricity required to gain control over the electronic tools we work with? Does employing data encryption instruments stimulate free traffic of data ?
Stephen Wright- Usership http://northeastwestsouth.net/stephen-wright Theses on Usership 1. The past ten or fifteen years have witnessed the emergence of a new category of political subjectivity: that of usership. It's not as if using is anything new -- people have been using tools, languages and odd and sundry goods and services (not to mention mind-altering substances) since time immemorial. But the rise of 2.0 culture and user-generated value, as well as democratic polities whose legitimacy is founded on the ability of the governed to appropriate and use available political and economic instruments, has produced active "users" (not just rebels, prosumers or automatons) whose agency is exerted, paradoxically, exactly where it is expected. 2. Usership represents a radical challenge to at least three deeply entrenched conceptual institutions in contemporary society: spectatorship, expert culture, and ownership. That is, it challenges hegemonic assumptions of relationality in the aesthetic, the epistemic and the ontological realms. Modernist artistic conventions, premised on so-called disinterested spectatorship, dismiss usership (and use value, rights of usage) as inherently instrumental -- and the mainstream artworld's physical and conceptual architecture is entirely unprepared to even speak of usership, even as ever more contemporary artistic practices imply a different regime of engagement than that described by spectatorship: a regime at once more extensive and more intensive. Usership represents a still more deep-seated challenge to ownership in an economy where surplus-value extraction is increasingly based on use: how long will communities of use sit by as their user- generated value is privatized? In the artworld and other lifeworlds, it is expert culture -- whether it be the publishing industry, or the city hall's design office -- which is most hostile to usership: from the perspective of expertise, use is invariably misuse. But from the perspective of users, everywhere, so-called misuse is simply... use. Of course, usership is a something of a double-edged sword, which is precisely what makes it interesting to consider. The challenge would seem to be to imagine a non-instrumental, emancipated form of usership.
Sophie Berribi- Equivocal document According to Sophie Berribi the document's use in photography as an art form in contemporary art has usurped the document as a stable fact, valued as pure content. Instead the photographic document is only read as content, pulled out of the archive, using the conventions of presentations of documents and their discursive practice to which they are attached. The circulation of information and the very nature of knowledge is brought into question and through this critical process the equivocal quality of the document, rather than its unquestionable evidence, surfaces. In other words, the equivocal document is a reaction against truth and testimony. In what Hito Steryl refers to as the 'Documentary Turn', works that appropriate a documentary style explore these issues. Or with Rabih Mrouré questioning of how to express truth through fiction, how to use archived documents to actively forget instead of remember. Links have been made since the turn of the last century that combine 1930's historical and sociological documents with conceptual art of the 1970s, along with the borrowed images that are reworked and represented. Without emphasising the 'fake' or mockumentary, reconstructing images, whether analogue or digital either can refer to the history of photography itself, or a narration of tracing global economies for instance. The equivocal document then has the form of the document yet transgresses its conventions, its content not factual information. Berribi: 'the document has stolen the work of art. So has the aura of the photograph disappeared within the document? If we are to agree with Benjamin that photos only have auras at the beginning and loose it through the industrialisation process what happens when the document is removed from its 'archive'? We no longer look at them for information, instead we contemplate them.
Simon Ferdinando- The Subject/Body/Archive Recently, art practice seems to have developed a devotion to the Archival. Hal Foster proposes An archival impulse as the working terrain of many contemporary artists, who roam through it, whereby the materialization of historicity and a gathering of data and information contains those things that are found yet readymade, factual yet fictive, public yet private. Yet Foster is doubtlessly aware that the word impulse is inevitably tied to the body, bringing its messy spasms, forces, subjectivity and abjection into the orderly world of the archive. The Subject/ Body/ Archive In the 1960s a number of thinkers began to propose radical new roles for the subject and terms such as poly- vocality, rhizome, difference and desire became linked to the subject. Lacans mirror stage seemed to reflect Jimmy Hendrix purple haze, and the body without organs spread its gleaming surface everywhere. But what does this retrospective, patchouli-scented vision of a heterogeneous overflowing subject actually have to do with the archive? (the very model of order) Philosophers in particular remain suspicious of this tricky subject and its attendant archive/ body. Where did it come from, how did it get in? It is often dismissed in favour of the object whose compact qualities indicate the possibility of systematic exploration, validation, and ultimately truth. Thus it is starkly opposed to the subject that seems to emerge as a sort of clamorous, messy, Freudian remnant, recasting the object as body, forever announcing both this bodys glorious identity and its crisis. This condition is explored beautifully in Maddening the Subjectile by Jacques Derrida and Mary Ann Caws. In contrast Michel Foucault uses archive as a technical term in The Archaeology of Knowledge, designating the collection of all material traces left behind by a particular historical period and culture. The Museum of Ordure and the Guillotine However Foucault greatly admired the works of George Bataille the librarian (who hid Benjamins notes for the Arcades Project from invading German forces). Bataille was a prophet-maudit, a man who exemplified (and exalted) the collision of order and formlessness. This seminar explores examples from the famous journal Documents, and in turn considers the work of the Godfather of British performance art Stuart Brisley, placing his Museum of Ordure beside Batailles entry for museum in the Critical Dictionary [Documents 5] where it is paired with the Guillotine.
Documents Documents is a War Machine. (In the sense coined by Deleuze and Guattari) It was also an archive and a remarkable subject in itself that emerged from a remarkable collaboration among certain key figures in the avant-garde of the arts and the sciences, such as Michel Leiris, Robert Desnos and Karl Einstein and above all, Georges Bataille. Issue # 1 offers the general headings of Doctrines, Archeology, Beaux-arts and ethnography. Over a mere fifteen issues it offered articles on the Slaughter houses of La Villete, Pablo Picasso, Chinese archaic bronzes, the horse as depicted in Celtic coinage, the Blackbirds negro dance review, Hollywood, human sacrifice (Van Goghs ear) and photos from a petit bourgeois wedding. Documents was a crucial proving ground for developing the paradoxical heterogeneous enquiries Bataille would pursue for the rest of his life. Documents therefore still retains its belligerent challenge to the laziness of the contemporary world as it did more than eighty years ago.
Stuart Brisely Stuart Brisley and the Museum of Ordure ordure a. Excrement, dung; obscenity, foul language. The work of the seminal British performance artist Stuart Brisley poses some distinctive questions of physicality, (much in common with Foucaults eternal Power/Resistance complex) the subject, and classification: the archive as our own bodies and those bodies ground within mechanisms that continuously confuse structure (the object) and the archive/subject. Since the late 1960s Brisley has generated an unrelenting confrontational body of work and work as body, recasting the body in abjection, radiance and crisis, recalling Batailles drive into the dark bloody recesses of the body; the subject beyond thought.
Tina Bastajian is a Los Angeles born film/media artist and currently a PhD researcher at the University of Amsterdams School for Cultural Analysis where she is a member of the Imagined Futures (iFut) research group, which interrogates the triangulation of the avant-garde, the academy and popular applications of media technology. Her research has focused on strategies of documentation, alternative preservation tactics and re-presentation of filmic performative works (i.e. Expanded Cinema), as well as uncovering dis-locative or accented tendencies in locative media. She is interested in the afterlives produced: performative, archival, and documentary elements as new connections surface with the passage of time and through the migration of sound and image. Themes of the fragment, translation, the trace and returns are also intrinsic to her own work within experimental, exilic and diasporan film. She has recently completed an interactive DVD-ROM, Coffee Deposits: Topologies of Chance (Netherlands/Turkey), an interactive documentary installation, with geo-spatial "post-scripts" in-situ, funded by the European Cultural Foundation.
Saskia van der Kroef- Artistic Research http://metropolism.com/ From DIY to Doctorate: Towards a Genealogy of Research-Based Art Practice Artistic research is the still ambiguous but commonly used term for an ever-increasing research interest in art practice. At the same time the term emerged internationally within the art world following the reforms in advanced art education, generally known as the Bologna Process. Here, the notion became primarily associated with methodological and epistemological concerns, clouding, as a result, the art-historical context of artists current drive towards research-based activities, as well as reducing to some extent, in my opinion, the attention for individual practices, especially for those that exist outside of institutional structures. In my lecture I would like to explore some of the manifestations and possible origins of the artist- researcher: to counterbalance, in a way, the issues topicality. Looking at art from the 1960s to the present, I will connect these exemplars both with each other and with current strands of discourse on the subject, thus proposing a genealogy of various forms of research-based art practice. Saskia van der Kroef is editor of Metropolis M. She studied at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (MA, 2006) and the Vrije Universiteit (MPhil, 2011).
Brian Holmes-Eventwork (Archival Activism) http://brianholmes.wordpress.com/ Through his blog, lectures, books and the Continental Drift project, he teaches us how to activate the archive, through investigation, research and by modes of doing- activism in Post-Fordistic society Eventwork: An attempt to not aestheticize living forms, but to restructure them 4 keys proponents: investigation, participatory art, networked communications of mass media, collaborative coordination of these practices These form a convergence of art, theory, media and politics! With 'eventwork grassroots have gone urban, our disciplines create the societies. The entire edifice of speculative, computer managed, gentrifying, militarized, over-polluted, just in time debt driven neoliberal globalization has taken form since the early 80's as way to block the institutionalized changes that were set into motion by the social movements of the 1960's and 1970's. He questions the archival: how are these remember and sustained?