‘State of Palestine’, Khaled Jarrar, 7th Berlin Biennale @ KW, April 26th, 2012

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Governmental documents serve the explicit correlation of identity and affiliation. Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar uses these attributes as samples for alternative models of identity and anticipates the existence of a state, which until now is mere utopia. He created a stamp with which he stamps passports of travelers and pedestrians in Ramallah, Berlin, Paris and other cities since 2011. About 240 participants carry a stamp of the State of Palestine in their passport until this day challenging the Israeli border regime. Jarrar undertook his first stamping action at the central bus station in Ramallah for people arriving from the checkpoints. When he goes abroad, he uses any occasion to mark people’s passports and thereby develops a campaign based on nonviolent resistance. These stamps represent a sovereign independent country and opposition to the violent fragmentation of the Palestinian territory. Those who agree to have the stamp put into their documents sustain claims for Palestinian sovereignty and perform an individual political coming out which defines one’s position.

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A community of supporters grows. Official documents become a manifestation of citizen’s disobedience. And if you have a stamp, you might run into trouble: your entrance to Israel might be denied by border control at the Ben Gurion checkpoint, or you might be sent back to your country of origin. We even know of Israeli passports that have been cancelled due to the unauthorized stamp. Together with the 7th Berlin Biennale, Jarrar also produces postage stamps from Deutsche Post, which have a Palestine Sunbird and the inscription “State of Palestine” printed on them. Over 20,000 have been made so far. Used on letters and postcards, they have circulated worldwide.

Jarrar’s passport and postage stamps tell the story of a state-to-be. But reality goes against him and other Palestinians. Instead of continuing again and again the discussion about a one- or two-state solution, using these stamps is a simple gesture that helps to create normality. Text by Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza

Text source http://www.berlinbiennale.de/blog/en/projects/state-of-palestine-by-khaled-jarrar-18201

‘Structural Studies’, June-14 & Toshihiko Mitsuya @ DAZ, April 18th, 2012

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A collaboration between ‘June-14 Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff’ and Toshihiko Mitsuya, architects and artist, study various structures created from 0.02mm aluminum. The designs test the limits of the thin material given various kinds of loading and shape. Everyone knows aluminum foil as light and thin. It is composed only of surface, no thickness. However, it gets very hard if pressed and, moreover, it can form sensitive details, which cannot be done with clay or stone. The shapes tests the limits of the material, the seven works presented: 

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1. Door to Your Garden

2. Wall Between Us (unstable) 

3. Pillow

4. Tower Calling Your Mobile

5. Post to Lean Against

6. Curtain That We are Alone in

7. Column Supporting You and Me

In the second week of the exhibition architect and artist Alexander Schweder La will add works to the show that explore the question of architectural strength from a moister perspective. As a counterpoint to the thin becoming strong posited by June-14, Schweder La’s experiments with rot expose the frailty of the architecture that we desire to be permanent.

Text source: http://www.daz.de/sixcms/detail.php?object_id=&area_id=34&id=5867827&template_id=46&lang=en

ReFunct Media #4 @ LEAP, April 13th, 2012

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ReFunct Media is a multimedia installation that (re)uses numerous “obsolete” electronic devices (digital and analogue media players and receivers). These devices are hacked, misused and combined into a large and complex chain of elements. To use an ecological analogy they “interact” in different symbiotic relationships such as mutualism, parasitism and commensalism.

Voluntarily complex and unstable, ReFunct Media isn’t proposing answers to the questions raised by e-waste, planned obsolescence and sustainable design strategies. Rather, as an installation it experiments and explores unchallenged possibilities of ‘obsolete’ electronic and digital media technologies and our relationship with technologies and consumption.

LEAP (Lab for Electronic and Arts and Performance) presents ReFunct Media #4, a collaborative project by Benjamin Gaulon (IE/FR), Niklas Roy (DE), Karl Klomp (NL),  Tom Verbruggen (NL) and Gijs Gieskes (NL).

In the slide show: Trash with attitude (object, in the slide show correspond to the picture that contains a display and machine with word FUCK YOU lighted-on) and Electronic Instant Camera (combination of analogue B&W videocamera and thermal receipt printer, pics from people in the opening located in the wall) by Niklas Roy, Crackle Canvas by Tom Verbruggen (it is a painting that produces sounds: circuitboards, speaker, knobs, switches, wood and canvas), Hypnotoad (hardware version of youtube video of Hypnotoad-character from TV series futurama)  and GVS1b by Gijs Gieskes (viewfinder used as display and small security camera that films the person operating the GVS1b so it samples themselves) .

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 Video above: ReFunct media v4 exhibition-installation. The video is a walk through the installation.

Corrupt.Movie- B.Gaulon (fragment 25 secs). This single channel video is the collection of uploaded images on corrupt.recyclism.com since 2005. The total lenght of the video is 1h 11min 45 sec and includes 107175 images uploaded by thousands of different people from 2005 to 2011.

The opening exhibition included a live performance from TokTek(NL) and VJ MNK (Karl Klomp (NL)): 2 min excerpt in the video above.

Exhibition 14.04.-04.05.2012 

Benjamin Gaulon is a researcher, artist and has a broad experience of acting as art consultant, public and conference speaker and art college lecturer. His work focuses on planned obsolescence, consumerism and disposable society.  He has previously released work under the name “recyclism”. He is currently leading Data 2.0 (Dublin Art and Technology Association), he  co-founded the  IMOCA (Irish Museum of Contemporary) Art in 2007 and is lecturer at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.Since 2005 he has been leading workshops and giving lectures in Europe and US about e-waste and hardware Hacking / Recycling. Workshop participants explore the potential of obsolete technologies in a creative way and find new strategies for e-waste recycling. His research seeks to establish an inter-disciplinary practice and collaborations by creating bridges between art, science and activism, and by doing so, shifting the boundaries between art, engineering and sustainable strategy.

Niklas Roy, born 1974 in Nurnberg, lives in Berlin since 1999 where he initially served as visual effects supervisor in the film industry and later studies Visual Communication at the University of the arts. Since then he has worked successfully as a freelance artist.The core of his work ranges from complex mechanics refined over electronics to purely virtual computer code that manifest themselves in objects, installations and performances.

Karl Klomp (‘79 – NL) is a media artist, vj and theater technician. His research focuses on live audiovisual expressions and interfacing with a fascination for glitch-art, hyper kinetic audio visuals and glitch grabbing. He deals with video circuit bending and hardware interfacing out of obsolete video devices. Together with Tom Verbruggen (Toktek) they play live audio-visual performances (toktek vs mnk).

TokTek (aka Tom Verbruggen) is a Dutch artist who designs and deconstructs his own electronic instruments, giving his music a unique character and allowing him to improvise live on stage with the help of a joystick – the central piece in his live equipment. Behind TokTek stands musician and  visual artist Tom Verbruggen, who aside from building his own instruments is an improviser: synths, toys and computer become instruments.His eclectic electronic style has been described as illogical hardware bending, where the outcome creates dramatic live compositions, which break down into delicate and tender sound moments.In one of his incarnations, he performs with VJ MNK (Karl Klomp) – a video artist that hacks/bends video equipment like videomixers.

Gijs Gieskes, an educated industrial designer, he now most enjoys re-appropriating tools for new purposes, making inventive hardware projects; such as his Feedback video log, Strobo VJ machine or PCB hand-painted circuit board. His work and live performances are a fantastic example of where hardware hacking can take you.

‘Stolen Fantasy’, Reyle & West @ Schinkel pavillion, March 23rd, 2012

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Franz West and Anselm Reyle have the ultimate living room set in the exhibition named Stolen Fantasy in the Schinkel pavilion. For two years, the two artists were sending back and forth unfinished works of art , each one working on a piece (West with his penchant for soft flowing fragments, Reyle with his smooth-colored paint industry look) until one of them decided that the work were ready.  In this unique collaboration object originated from metal-edged elements, rock-like formations or structures are resembled to functional pieces of furniture. The glass building they filled with pieces resulted in psychedelic colors curtains, crazy reading lights, abstract sculptures as well as deformed side tables, chairsmade of ply wood, glass and paper mache, miniature paintings and wall paintings resulted in an organic unity…  Other than usual in galleries, the pieces can be touched and even used.

The opening was so crowded that it was impossible to photograph the pieces without any human surrounding them…

25.04 – 17.06.2012

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This is how the Schinkel pavillion looks like without Reyle and West intervetions.

Text translated and modified from original in german in: http://www.artnet.de/magazine/fotostrecke-anselm-reyle-und-franz-west-im-schinkel-pavillon-berlin/ 

Komplexraum #1, Henrik Strömberg & Ivan Seal @ General Public Projektraum, March 22nd, 2012

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Trophies, shells, collections, masks, clocks, ornaments, mirrors, feathers, sausages, tin foil, tails and other objects.

For the upcoming exhibition at General Public, Henrik Strömberg and Ivan Seal have delved into complexities regarding recollection and invention. Collecting and re-collecting form a route into Strömberg’s world as he warps a shell collection into trophies for forgetfulness, medals for rememberance and objects for getting lost in. Indeed the reflections, transparencies and delicate balancing inspire a child’s eye for wonder or Alice’s curiosity. Following rabbits down holes is often what Ivan Seals work requires. Passages into rooms filled with objects, half lit and equally understood; yet these rooms are located in the artist’s memory. However this memory is not to be trusted and we find that the objects Ivan brings back from his grandparents house have transformed into fantastical things glued together with different pasts and invented stories.

From 24. 03. to 05. 04. 2012 

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‘Stop being so attractive I can’t get anything done’, Marlie Mul @ Autocenter, March 16th, 2012

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A group of women each with a large inflatable cigarette stripped to their back, in North London 2011, addressing any smoker in sight to quit their habit. The overturn of the smok-ing ban in The Netherlands for bars under size of 72m2; a nostalgic gesture to what has been described as “the atmospheric heritage” of smoking. The low-profile emergence of the outdoor (public) smoking pole, a singular stainless steel hollow pole with unremarkable appearance, comes in a comfortable standing height size or is installed on exterior walls at standing height.

The artist in the text provided in the exhibition analyses the history of smoker in Europe, since the first smoker, the Spanish Rodrigo de Jerez who brought the tobacco plant from the American Indians to Spain and was imprisoned for his sinful habits during 7 years in which smoking had caught on. Little by little westerners took control over the tobacco plant and also over the Native Americans of course.

With industrialization, the smoking in factories, warehouses, shops and offices possibly started to take place to counter the monotonous, sluggish work of modern age. First of all was mainly a male thing and the smoking of cigarettes was considered as an individualized, mild and transient habit. The 1920’s introduced the cigarette for women as a symbol of freedom, equality and personal choice.

Over the 20th century… in industrial countries the cultural meaning of women’s smoking as it relates to gender relations has moved from a symbol of being bought by men (prostitute), to being like men (lesbian/mannish/androgynous), to being able to attract men (glamorous/heterosexual).

The smoking of tobacco was linked to lung cancer in the 1950’s. The 1970’s formed the end of the baby boom and led to an emphasis on quality rather than quantity of the population. The construction of smoking as a public health problem. Science and media strongly interacted in these issues. The Saatchi & Saatchi anti-smoking campaign from 1973 introduced the links between smoking and losing sexual attractiveness, wrinkles, smoking in pregnancy, addiction and poor health.

After this, the presentation of tobacco smoking as an act of freedom (to smoke) allows one to “blame” the smoker. “The public smoker takes away my freedom to be a non-smoker”. Smoking becomes a spatial issue. The right to breathe smoke-free air at the 1980’s is still a choice based on aesthetical factors rather than on proven health risks.  The loss of complete tobacco’s freedom in the 1990’s.

The debate over whether there is a moral difference between directly causing harm to someone and allowing harm to come to that person. The smoke for the smoker and the smoke for the non-smoker. Mainstream/side-stream; the acknowledgement of the existence of both direct and indirect smoke. Second hand smoke is the conception of connected rather than disconnected bodies.

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Text source: summary from hard copied text provided in the exhibition, Marlie Mul

‘Erase/Rewind’, Julia Horstmann @ Galerie Christian Nagel, March 9th, 2012

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The ambivalence of modernity. Elegant forms with critical potential, Julia Horstmann, refers in her work on the architectural modernism, grid structures and their proportions, their ideal space and materials.Utopia or nightmare? Promise of a better, more well-ordered world, or destruction of developed structures to expand the monitoring and control of the individual?

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Modernism, with its many unfulfilled promises or nonsense,  has become an ambiguous field for investigations and a variety of interpretations. Urban planners and architects, sociologists and philosophers, and artists such as Julia Horstmann fathom their aesthetic and spiritual heritage.

Julia Horstmann is subtler than a direct reference to very specific political situation. The focus of her sculptures, wall objects, silhouettes, wall paintings and installations always question the impact of architectural characteristics in human feelings and behavior patterns.

Text source: Free translation from german by myself from http://www.kunstmarkt.com/pagesmag/kunst/_id203173-/ausstellungen_berichtdetail.html?_q=%20