Saturday, December 20, 2008

Of birds and the onlookers responsibility:a few words on a video by Koerner Union

I don't remember how I found the video below. It popped up, and I watched, curious, then mesmerized, then disturbed, then - disgusted.
I decided not to post it on New Art. So as not to encourage something I find incorrect, or rather - wrong.
After a while I came back to see it, and watched the whole thing again. And I thought: who am I to judge this? After all, didn't I watch it with curiosity, and watch the whole thing, twice? Why can't I show what's disturbing me, bringing it forward to this public forum, so everyone can make her own mind?
But first, let me warn you: in my opinion, animals were being hurt in the making of this work. If you want to be absolutely sure you don't participate in any way in the popularity of this work, do not see the film below.

I would not resist if I were you. Maybe I would do it for the sake of something (it's a scary skill, thinking up good reasons). But I would be there, peeking in. Maybe not until the end. But then, it doesn't matter, does it? Does it?
The question of the onlooker, his power and his role in the process of creation, might often be used in contemporary art - but very seldom is it addressed in-depth. What is our responsibility? Can shutting our eyes be a good way of "appreciating" and yet disliking the work? Can I refuse something without knowing what it is? What do we know about the work we see above? About the conditions of its creation? Should I even be posting this without that knowledge?
See this strange video, also directed by Körner (Koerner) Union. (Be patient.)

Now, the astonishing part with the hen makes me question my own assumptions. Was my judgement too simplistic, also in the other case? Maybe this is just a short moment, or maybe it's all a trick, maybe the birds are not bumping against the mirror, shocking against it violently, thinking there is space where a solid mirror remains? Maybe it was all digitally manipulated or they were trained, or something? Or maybe I'm being hypersensitive?

Relax, now.

Here are a few untortured animals, in a wonderful picture by Isabella Rozendaal.
No, this is no antidote to these moral dilemmas. But it's an appeasement: the gentle distance. Rozendaal is someone who appreciates " the remarkable and humorous things she encounters in real life". And a way of approaching reality which plays with the idea of "amateur" photography, so we feel like this is almost too easy, and yet, remarkably appealing.

Yet, after all this, let's make a circle, and go back to Korner Union, with a video that somehow makes one think of the pictures above, with simple stories that are just slightly off (and a great song by Don Cavalli)...

But my favorite thing by Korner Union is quite minimalistic I suppose and maybe it's just this mood, tonight, with all the snow melted away, thawed and relaxed and, well, it's a page I found on their soon-to-be-active site. It also takes part in the game of hide-and-seek between the onlookers and the people-who-show-as-things-we-like. And it's simple.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Changing the focus

Halima Bashir meeting with George Bush.
In some cases, getting to a more aesthetic experience means moving away from the knowledge, choosing to forget the information we might have. Here we have a picture that has a very good, rational explanation: an African political activist fears for her life, so in order to remain entirely anonymous, she drapes herself entirely. The cause, peace in Darfur, is very noble, Halima Bashir's story (you have the link above) is shocking.
But this same picture can be seen differently. Here we have the president of the USA in conversation with the Unknown, the absolute Stranger. Here is a confrontation of the American/Western values, aesthetics, mode of functioning (notice the microphones!), attitude (the gesture! the gesture!) with the ghost of another world. It is a beautiful picture, and the most outstanding thing about it is - it's a readymade.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Twisting and turning (with a little help from electricity)

Daito Manabe is a funny guy.

But he also knows his business. This is no accidental work, as Manabe is a serious artist and very serious programmer. While looking through his work, I came across a video fragment of a stunning performance where he was in charge of programming (more specifically, of "sound/oscillation/programming"), a work called true, directed by dumb type's Takayuki Fujimoto. And, as expected from the co-creator of one of the most outstanding multimedia performance groups ever, this is... well, prepare to be amazed.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

From teaching to curating

I have been giving some video/art workshops recently, as part of the Stranger Festival process (produced in Poland by Kultura Miejska).
I am quite astonished by the quality of the work my students made. Below are three examples of work I find particularly interesting. The Stranger Festival might not be the ideal place for them, but after a little post-production, I will be sending them to galleries and festivals. It really makes me think of creating a sort of a production system with workshops and then promotion of selected works, like a curator/producer...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Somewhere Between Here and Nowhere

Still from Under Discussion, a video by Allora & Calzadilla (great interview with them here)

Excerpt from Tine Van Aerschot's first production, I have no thoughts and this is one. The actress is Forced Entertainment's Claire Marshall.
Another excerpt and a short bio here.


Related Posts with Thumbnails