Tempelhof airport, Berlin, 23 May 2010, in English
Javier Telléz: One flew over the Void (2005), 11.30 min
Kate Cooper/Richard John Jones (Commissioned by: Goldin+Senneby): Looking for Headless, 28 min
Sharon Hayes: Ten minutes of collective activity (2003), 10 min
Chantal Akerman: Saute ma ville (1968), 12.30 min (tbc)
Igor Grubic: East Side Story (2008), 2-channel, color, 14 min
Dan Graham: Death by chocolate: West Edmonton Shopping Mall (1986-2005), 8 min
This evening starts from THE KNOT´s interest in the public sphere, its structures and the exploration of different strategies in relating to space. BLOW UP MY TOWN borrows its title from the first movie by the Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman (Saute ma ville, 1968), and expands the topic by investigating the relation between the individual and differing notions of space – public space, as well as political, social, or economic space.
In general, the idea of space is connected to a concrete/visible location and the possibility of relating to it. BLOW UP MY TOWN, though, deals with the difficulties to locate, and in the subsequent effort to define and handle a specific kind of space at all.
The maybe most memorable image for this relation is contributed by Venezuela born artist Javier Telléz: One Flew Over the Void (Bala Perdida) (2005) documents Téllez’s ‘self-organized circus’ of patients from Mexicali’s CESAM mental health center, who march against the exclusion of the mentally ill from public. The procession culminates in the shooting of the human cannonball David Smith over the Mexico-U.S.border, therewith critiquing American immigration policy and making the politicality of this zone visible. The documentary Looking for Headless (2008-10) by Kate Cooper/Richard J. Jones (commissioned by Goldin+Senneby) tries to track down the real people that hide behind the financial construct of an offshore company, while 10 Minutes of Collective Activity (2003) examines the particular configuration of audience collectivity and examines the intersection of history, memory and space: Sharon Hayes videotaped an audience of 22 people watching archival footage of a 10-minute speech from the 1968 Democratic National Convention held in Chicago.
Chantal Akerman’s Saute ma ville (1968) focuses the delusive feeling of security of private space by illustrating the gradual slide of a young woman into schizophrenic disconnection from reality, in which her private surrounding turns awkward and foreign. The project East Side Story (2006-08) by the Croatian artist Igor Grubic refers to the violent attacks by citizens against the first Gay Pride celebrations in Belgrade (2001) and Zagreb (2002). Grubic invited dancers and choreographers, some of whom took part in the Gay Pride celebrations, to reinterpret the documented events using public spaces in Zagreb, often the original locations. Dan Graham's video Death by Chocolate (1986-2005), finally, draws on nearly twenty years' worth of footage shot in the bizarre yet familiar arena of the shopping mall. The resulting work provides a coldly beautiful view of mall culture: its architecture, its consumer public and its unique aesthetic world, and a corollary to Graham's interest in the public spaces of corporate capitalism.