Archive for May, 2008

„It’s good to be in motion!- es ist gut unterwegs zu sein!“

WEG (A_WAY) is a 3 channel video installation by the Argentinian Leipzig-based artist Guillermo Fiallo Montero. In it the artist takes on his own nomadic condition as a person of the world in between Buenos Aires, Leipzig and London – where he was born, where he develops his artistic practice and where he finds a way to survive – to create a work which reflects about today´s fragmentation of the human being in a capitalistic context. Weg is a “metafilm” which leaves us with the responsibility of what to make out of these images in movement which apparently show nothing else but people in motion themselves and hardly interacting with one another. Facing this stage, we see nothing but feet of people deeply engaged in their life and objectives, some walk in a relaxed way, others are like marching puppets or mesmerized soldiers. As an environmental video installation, Weg says a lot about the anonymous condition surrounding us, as everyone seems concentrated in some sort of fight for survival, ignoring everybody else or networking only with a purpose in mind. As viewers, our static gaze over this continuously changing and symbolic landscape showing urban movement in its most abstract form, leads us to think about the rapid change of values we undergo today, how fleeting meaning has become and how valid our objectives really are. What is it that keeps us on the move? What is it that keeps us so busy?

Weg is a poetic and aesthetic formulation inquiring how vain our efforts sometimes are, how these are mostly determined from the outside and how we don´t even realize it. Montero is forcing us here to stop and watch ourselves. In the process we end up asking those very same questions Philosophy has long posed and kept us busy with: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?
In an age were all concepts and certainties have exploded and are nothing but pragmatic compromises only valid as long as they work, Weg urges us to consider the sense of things, how can art and life be possible in a time where everything keeps evolving endlessly and despite of us.

As an artist and a witness to this hectic ongoing state of affairs, Montero not only pays a tribute here to his very own personal displaced condition but encourages us to try to understand the motivations behind our own motion, to consider how useless, vain, ridiculous or manipulated they sometimes are. We cannot help noticing the different shoes and their brands, trying to grasp the people, the city where the scene might have taken place. With this film, Montero is showing us exactly how we´ve move on from a condition “I think therefore I am” to a condition “I desire therefore I am”, except if we did become closer to understand how everything is a machine and how machines are made to connect, the problem lies today in the fact that our desire is being driven for us. “Weg” confronts us with how our wishes are being determined for us and dictated from an external capitalist/ consumerist structure which has invaded all domains of our life. Social context, history, family and experience have become nothing but blurred concepts, collaborating along with the major machinery of domination taking over ever since.

Ambitious in its formulation, Weg manages furthermore to explore how the concept of identity and nationality have become diffuse. Where or what is home today? The concept of belonging, the same way as the concept of being, is no longer nowhere to be localized and has been replaced for a condition that finds itself in permanent negotiation and exchange and can assume multiple roles and perspectives according to time and place. Posing various and pertinent questions and showing the crossroad we find ourselves in today, Weg speaks of a dilemma which deeply characterizes us today and which Hegel has already formulated when saying: „Wenn ich mich finde, verliere ich die Welt. Und wenn ich die Welt finde, verliere ich mich.“

WEG (A_Way)
Guillermo Fiallo Montero
3 channel video installation, 2007
Sound and samples by Marek Brandt
@ the Festival of Contemporary Art Varna 2008

May 24, 2008 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

Egen

Sitting next to me is Egen, who is also skyping. He is filling his two day gap between the end of a visit to his girlfriend in Europe and his return to Iraq where he works as a prisoner guard, he tells me. Egen is twenty two years old but nevertheless one of his tasks is to prevent Iraqis from committing suicide in prison. He tells me how one must watch over suicidal prisoners in their solitary confinement cells every ten minutes and not the usual half an hour.
I look into his naive eyes, and my political opinion regarding war in Iraq becomes less urgent before the real person and his history sitting and addressing me in a very quiet and kind way.
He is telling me how he interrupted his studies in a normal college to take on this job, against his parents´ advice, and how this will allow him to pay for the rest of college and concentrate on studying without having to work aside. I ask him if he wants to pursue a career in the Military once he goes back home, he says he just wants to go back to being a civilian, finish his studies and get a degree.
In some sort of very weird way we´re close in the sense that we´re both trying to survive and yet so apart for our choices to accomplish just that are radically different. I try not judge him tonight.

May 21, 2008 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

Andreas Gursky. Architecture

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The widely famous and Leipzig-born photographer Andreas Gursky, known for his large scale digital photographs is exhibiting in Darmstadt until the 26th October.

The selection, which contemplates various cities and ranges from 1988 up to the present, is emblematic in highlighting Gursky´s program -to build an encyclopedia of globalisation. Gursky´s pictures problematize how architecture shapes people´s life by having a decisive influence in their social and cultural structures.

Taking on Oscar Niemeyer´s Brasilia for instance, as the icon of modern architecture with a social and utopic program behind, Gursky´s “Plenarsaal II” (1994), comments on the way we are actual living in and with those full-with-promises-of-a-better-future spaces.

“99 cent” (1999), one of my favorite photos, showing a common supermarket where its colorful products coexist with multi various advertising signs in a maniac order – for it is consciously programmed -, humorously joins the vision of our present consumerism rush, with a strange surveillance tone derived from our present technological condition and a modernist aesthetic principle.

Be it in a devoid of people dry landscape in an historically-charged Cheops or in Sao Paulo´s metropolis where people stand and wait for their transport just a moment before everything changes, the grid is a recurrent motive in Gursky´s works. Sometimes it is achieved through a sort of digital collage technique which contributes to the whole idea of fugacity and change defining our life today and which the works pay attention to.

While comparing an empty “Prada Store” (1997) with the “Chicago Board of Trade II” (1999), we are confronted with dramatic stillness and rapidity, both photographs underlying how fleeting and fictional today´s values are. Taming the extreme entropy and acceleration of our present age, Gursky´s work poses pertinent questions about how do we attribute value and meaning to things, how do we try to impose order to our apparently chaotic world and how spaces not only reflect but influence our social and economic structures more than we´re ready to admit.

Andreas Gursky. Architecture
May 11th to September 7th, 2008
Institut Mathildenhöhe

Opening May 10th, 2008

May 17, 2008 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

Claudia

I was alone and having some sort of dinner in a foreign city when Claudia came in. She wanted to use the toilette and to have a vodka. She was thrown out of the bar by a stupid German waiter only because she was foreign and worse, a woman looking for a drink! In what is supposed to be one of the finest and prime cities of modern developed Germany, she was shoved out of the bar by two idiot fat waiters for absolutely no reason, except she was a woman asking for a drink in English. I saw her trying to explain rationally and show that she had the money to pay for a stupid drink, but she was simply pushed away by the waiters and forced out in the most primeval way.
I could not believe my eyes, and I rose in protest paid to leave and never to return again.
I´ve followed her and we came into conversation. She was crying, and I told her that stupid people are to be found everywhere, though she couldn´t understand how such a thing could ever take place in Europe.
I asked her if she wanted to have a drink with me somewhere, and we´ve just spend the last four hours together, talking openly as perfect strangers that will probably never meet again usually do. Claudia has proven me that my heart is still in the right place, that I can recognize a fighter, an equal, from distance.
What an horrible situation yet a lovely coincidence that brought us together. It turns out that we have a lot, a real lot in common. In between countries, just leaving something behind for a new and saner start, having to work our way through by ourselves without the usual typical support.

We laid our cards on the table and realized how much alike we are, even in making the same mistakes or in looking into things the same way, and that´s probably why I was drawn to speak to her in the first place. Claudia just got a job in Bangladesh working for a German/ American organization that fights for human rights and works in order to diminish poverty in undeveloped countries. She has spend her last 18 years in America though she is Latin American, studying and working. She did her Post-doc in Washington D.C. She is a extreme intelligent mature good looking woman and tonight she was simply looking to have a drink.

I am so proud of these encounters, these moments of passage, when you recognize nomads just like yourself, when people treat you back as you always treat them, with no fear, trusting… In these moments a miracle happens: you see your uncertainty turn into relief and your doubt become your own believe, you feel how great the love you have in you is.
It may be that you´ve been hurt, it may be that you´ve even made a fool of yourself but, you survived and you are here to tell the story, more alive than anyone else simply because you´ve always stayed truthful to yourself.

May 16, 2008 at 12:16 am Leave a comment

EYE DRUM

May 2, 2008 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

MoMA video art (3/21/08)

May 2, 2008 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment


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