9. September - 16. October:

THE IMAGINARY REPUBLIC

HÉLÈNE FRICHOT
LUIS GUERRA
MARIANNE HEIER
GEORGIA KOTRETSOS
BRANDON LABELLE
MARYSIA LEWANDOWSKA
DIEGO ROTMAN
LISE SKOU

PART 1:
9. - 18. September
Kotretsos, Guerra, Heier, LaBelle

PART 2:
22. September - 16. October
Frichot, Lewandowska, Rotman, Skou, Heier

The Imaginary Republic looks at questions of public life and civic culture in today’s global environment, and considers how ongoing economic, social and political unrest has led to an intensification of grass-roots initiatives, artistic activism, alternative instituting and forms of commoning.

As a network of related participants, the project develops through shared methods and modes of experimental pedagogy, critical togetherness, public and creative instituting, and looks to identify through their expressions possibilities for political imagining. The political imagination is posited as a tool for problematizing and negotiating contemporary crises, enabling an understanding of public assembly as being founded upon intensely creative and psychic labors that equally contain secret desires, generative noises, breaks in identity and community, and assemblages of deviant knowledge.

In his book, Disagreement, Jacques Rancière identifies two sides to the governmental, what he calls “the political” and “the police”. As he states, often what we imagine as “the political” is only a mode of policing. Such a dichotomous view, while providing an important perspective, may overlook the more nuanced, in-between articulations found in grass-roots movements, civic cultures, radical dreaming, unlikely friendships and acts of (non)work, the daily rituals and encounters between neighbors and strangers, as well as the deep poetics of relating to what is not yet, through which agency and collective actions find their future footing.

The exhibition at Tag Team Studios, divided into two editions, brings together works, propositions, and documents that consider relations between individual determination and social and institutional structures. Questions of art and economy, biopolitics and vacancy, transience, piracy and infrastructures of the poor are brought forward as critical and creative arenas of struggle.

The exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Partisan Café, and includes three evening events with participating artists:

Marianne Heier, Brandon LaBelle / September 8th – 17:00h
Marysia Lewandowska, Lise Skou / September 23rd – 17:00h
Diego Rotman, Brandon LaBelle / September 24th – 17:00h

Organized with support from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design.

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Luis Guerra, THAT WHICH IS NOT
Five photographic prints, 2016

In 2015 Guerra was invited to Stuttgart to develop the second part of a larger project named “Anarchistory of Action”. For 2 months he worked and exhibited at the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart. During that time, he developed THE ACT. This work consisted, basically, in writing a philosophical essay on non-performative action. THE ACT finally was exhibited as 300 pamphlets in a cardboard box, 10 grey cardboard folders with different texts, all of them being part of the research, and a book: Lenin’s Was Tun? For the present exhibition he is presenting a new appearing of THE ACT, this time as THAT WHICH IS NOT. All the images are part of the original pamphlet published in Germany. Here they work as a displaced diary of an action that never took place.

Luis Guerra (1974) is a visual artist and philosopher. He lives and works in Barcelona, Spain, and is Guest Professor at EINA University School of Design and Art, Barcelona, a tutor at Metafora International Art School of Barcelona, and a Fellow Researcher (2015-2016) at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. Among others, his work has been exhibited at Antoni Tapies Foundation, Kunstverein Stuttgart, Museum of Contemporary Art of Chile. He has been supported by Santander-Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (2016); Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg grant, Germany (2015); Barcelona Producció (2012); DIVA The Danish International Visual Arts Council (2009); The Canada Council for the Arts (2009).

Marianne Heier, A Historic Opportunity
2 posters and selected documents from Eva Lange’s archive of Kunstneraksjon ’74

In A Historic Opportunity Heier presents documents from the archive of Eva Lange, gathered from the campaign Kunstneraksjon ’74, where a group of politically engaged Norwegian artists demanded that the state government improve the social and economical conditions for artists.

During the exhibition, two posters are available for the audience to take home. One shows the three resolutions that Kunstneraksjon ’74 put forward to the government. The other shows the article “Det som er oss” (“What is us”), originally printed in Morgenbladet May 2015. The text is a transcript of a speech Heier made in the atelier of Edvard Grieg at Ekely in Oslo, the 1st of May 2015. Here she makes her own statement about what it is to work as an artist.

Marianne Heier (b. 1969) lives and works in Oslo. In her work she often explores hierarchic relations and power structures. With a critical and humorous touch she turns things we often think of as ’common sense’ upside down, to let other interpretations and possibilities emerge. The result may be presented as performances, texts, installations, or spatial interventions. Questions related to economy and the circulation of value are central in her work, with the inherent power of the gift as a recurrent theme.

Eva Lange (b. 1944) lives and works at Hvaler outside Fredrikstad in Norway. She works with painting, drawing, etching, mosaic and glass. Politically engaged from an early age she was a founding member of Kunstneraksjon ’74, which through uncompromising negotiations with the Norwegian State constructed the unique funding system for Norwegian cultural life still mostly in function today.

Georgia Kotretsos, Hollowgraphs
Six photographic prints; 2012 – 2016, dimensions variable

Kotretsos states: “It all started when an unprecedented influx of apartments and houses appeared on the market for rent or/and for sale as the economic crisis was reaching its peak, and households were condensing. Right then, I began visiting listed vacant apartments in Athens in search of how our social reality was being domestically morphed and recorded inside the ‘home’. I have sat in more than sixty homes for several hours at a time over the past 4 years. Definitely, it is not my intention to use the work as social and political commentary but I am rather concerned with the relation between the artist and her/his social context, the artists’ place within history, and wider historical events as such in present tense. The seemingly areligious, ahistorical, apoetic, amusical homes appeared at first to be static and petrified. Nonetheless, never turned my gaze away, even when I emotionally struggled being in those enclosed highly aestheticized meditative private spaces. But I persevered to the point they took the place of an authentic contemporary Athenian ‘museum’ in my conscious by following the fortune of domesticated artworks. The presence and the absence are “of“ one and the same thing. It is through memory that form to the literal passage of time is given, as well as to the fleeting evidence of historic and cultural change in present tense right before our eyes.” 

For this exhibition, Kotretsos shows 6 of the 26 photographs Hollowgraphs consists of today. This is an ongoing work.

Georiga Kotretsos (b. 1978) is a visual artist and researcher based in Athens, Greece. She moved to South Africa in her early teens while the abolition of apartheid was underway. Kotretsos holds an MFA Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a Full Merit Scholarship (2004) in the United States and a BFA Degree from the Durban Institute of Technology, in KwaZulu Natal, (2000) in South Africa. With her work, she critiques the conformity of seeing by studying, proposing and practicing liberating and anarchic approaches of looking at art in an effort to support that seeing is site-specific and spectatorial emancipation the source of our art knowledge. Through her research-based practice, she encourages speculative approaches on how knowledge is and/or could be produced.

Brandon LaBelle, The Pirate Machine
Construction, audio, video; 2016

The work takes shape as a make-shift shelter, or clubhouse, for the gathering of a small group of visitors, friends or strangers. Constructed out of wood and cardboard, the structure provides space for hanging out together, and for viewing a video work of the artist undertaking a banal and steady action: laying out blankets onto the floor of his studio, the artist grabs whatever objects, trash and items he can find, placing them one at a time onto the blankets. The objects begin to form a strange, or rather dissident collection, maybe even a museum capturing or suggesting what LaBelle calls the “lowliest matters of capital output”. The video integrates a voice-over scripted and spoken by the artist, a voice that speaks of loneliness and migration, of making do and stealing, and of the possibilities found in territories of the night and the periphery for new formations of unlikely community.

Brandon LaBelle (1969) is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. He develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, often working collaboratively and in public. Recent works include “The Living School”, South London Gallery (2016), “The Stranger Seminar”, Liquid Architecture, Melbourne (2015), and “Second Culture Session”, Tel Aviv University (2015). He is the author of Lexicon of the Mouth: Poetics and Politics of Voice and the Oral Imaginary (2014), Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian (2012), Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life (2010), and Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (2006; 2015). He is professor at the Bergen Academy of Art, and a member of the Errant Bodies collective, Berlin.

Hélène Frichot, COMMUNIQUÉ No. 1 & 2
Notes to the Imaginaries.

Hélène Frichot is an Associate Professor and Docent in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, KTH, Stockholm. She leads the Critical Studies in Architecture research and pedagogy division. Between 2004-2011 she held a tenured academic position in the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University. Her research examines the transdisciplinary field between architecture and philosophy (while her first discipline is architecture, she holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Sydney, 2004). Hélène draws predominantly on the philosophical work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, alongside other poststructuralist as well as feminist thinkers. Her published research has ranged widely from commentary on the ethico-aesthetics of contemporary digital architecture operating within the new biotechnological paradigm, to the role of emerging participatory and relational practices in the arts, including critical and creative spatial practices. She considers architecture-writing to be her mode of practice. Recent publications include: co-editor with Catharina Gabrielsson, Jonathan Metzger, eds. Deleuze and the City (Edinburgh University Press, 2016); co-editor with Elizabeth Grierson, Harriet Edquist, De-Signing Design: Cartographies of Theory and Practice (Lexington Books, 2015); co-editor with Stephen Loo, eds, Deleuze and Architecture (Edinburgh University Press, 2013); with Helen Runting, ‘Welcome to The Promenade City: A Gentrifictional Cartography of Stockholm in the Postindustrial Age’, in Architecture and Culture: Journal of Architectural Humanities Research Association, Bloomsbury, 2016.

Marysia Lewandowska, Counter Production
2016. Film Loop with Sound.

The footage of drumbeating, filmed in 1929, drawn from the Cinemateca Portugesa archives, comes with a time code marking its own duration. The silent presence of the familiar repetitive gesture invites us to recover from memory the missing sound, while the recorded chords flood the scene at random intervals. This new work, specially conceived for the gallery entrance, examines the gesture of “counter-production” so as to grasp a less certain status of contemporary artistic production. Referencing past and current counter-cultural movements, a looped film acts as a reminder, a warning and an invitation to reflect on the role artworks can play in addressing urgent political questions. Filmmaker Alexander Kluge described “counter-production” as an aesthetic strategy designed to articulate a mode of “counter-control” using individual experiences to infiltrate dominant structures. With thanks to Cinemateca Portugesa, Lisbon and Open Music Archive, London.

Marysia Lewandowska is a Polish-born artist based in London since 1985 who through her collaborative projects has explored the public function of archives, collections and exhibitions. She has been collaborating with Neil Cummings between1995 and 2008. The Value of Things (Birkhauser/August 2000) Capital (2001) Tate Modern. Enthusiasm (2004-2006) CCA Warsaw, Whitechapel Gallery, London, Kunst-Werke, Berlin, Tapies Foundation, Barcelona. Screen Tests (2006) The British Art Show 6. Generosity Broadcasting House (2006) Kunsthaus Graz. Post-production (2008) Manifesta7 Bolzano. Museum Futures: Distributed (2008) Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Tender Museum (2009) Muzeum Sztuki, ?ód?. Women’s Audio Archive (2009). How Public is the Public Museum? (2010) Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Open Cinema (2012) with Colin Fournier, Guimaraes European City of Culture. (2013) Architecture Triennale, Lisbon. (2014) Shanghai Exhibition Histories Distributed Osage Foundation, Shanghai. (2015) Triple C. Editing the Century for the Vienna Biennale at the Museum Angewandte Kunst (2015). Her solo exhibition Re-Negotiation was at Artspace, Auckland, NZ (2015) Comment is Free project celebrated 40 years of the Institute of Modern Art (IMA) in Brisbane, Australia (2016). Everything and Cinema Island at K11 HK (2016). She is co-editor with Laurel Ptak of Undoing Property? Sternberg Press (2013). Between 2003-13 she was Professor at Konstfack, Stockholm and 2014-16 Professor of Art in the Public Realm at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. Most recently she has completed a residency at the Asia Art Archive and is currently preparing together with Esther Lu Made in Public, a collection of writing and artists’ projects in collaboration with Taipei Contemporary Art Centre.

Diego Rotman, The Eternal Sukkah Project & Bawadi
Notes and Documents of a project developed by the Sala-manca group (Lea Mauas and Diego Rotman) in collaboration with Itamar Mendes-Flohr and Yeshaiahu Rabinowitz in parallel with an eco-tourism project developed by the Jahalin Bedouin Community.

Leading up to the 2014 Sukkot holiday, a holiday that commemorates the Exodus and the dependence of the Jewish people, a group of artists decided to delve into the sukkah’s charged meaning in the Israeli context and highlight the temporary nature of the sukkah structure and its associations with exile, thus evoking associations not only with Jewish history but also with the Israeli context. The artists decided to focus on Sukkot as a festival commemorating the biblical Jewish refugee camps bringing to the city of Jerusalem an "authentic" and contemporary house from a refugee camp from today’s Israel/Palestine. The artists traveled to the unrecognized Bedouin village of Khan-Al-Akhmar at the Judean Desert in the Palestinian (occupied) territories to meet members of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe. The artists proposed to purchase one of their tiny houses, dismantle it, and reassemblie it as a sukkah in West Jerusalem transporting a piece of one "hidden" reality into another location, where a hidden reality would be made visible. The ephemeral and illegal refugee was rebuilt and used as a Jewish Sukkah for the Jewish Holidays of Sukkoth. A year later the piece was sold to the Israel Museum as an art piece, and the Bedouin community paid half of the amount. The “Eternal Sukkah” became part of the Museum’s art collection and it is being exhibited presently. 
The Bedouin-Sukkah, as an expression of the (im)possible Jewish-Bedouin hybrid identity heritage proposed by the artists in collaboration with the Bedouin community was purchased and canonized by the Israel Museum. This act was defined by a major Israel journalist as an historical act, and as the "first official recognition" of the Bedouins in Israel. A Rabbi of the Rabbis for Humans Rights movement described it a kosher Sukkah that totally transforms the mitzvah—emotionally, socially, politically—into the most religious act he has ever felt. A right-wing former parliament member referred to it as a "deplorable action" done by the Israel Museum that crossed the red line in collaborating with illegal groups against the State. The process of transformation of a Bedouin home into a Jewish sukkah, and this Bedouin-sukkah into an art piece that became a symbolic ethnographic piece of heritage, placed the Israel Museum in the opposite role it plays as a "non-political" institution. The representation of the local identity and the Jewish heritage accepted a new possibility of a hybrid heritage. The Museum played a major role, not only in showing a house from a refugee camp in the centre of Israel discourse—that is already a strong act—and not in showing a Judaized Bedouin Sukkah, but in the canonization of an ephemeral and illegal house, in recognition of the unrecognized Bedouin community and furthermore in accepting the proposition to express an alternative discourse of hybrid and multicultural heritage that, since the 1930s, has been constantly rejected in the dominant public discourse in Israel.

Diego Rotman is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and researcher . He is one of the members of the Sala-Manca group, a group of independent Jerusalem-based artists that creates in different fields: performance, video, installation & new media since 2000. Sala-manca’s works deal with poetics of translation (cultural, mediatic and social), with textual, urban and net contexts and with the tensions between low tech and high tech aesthetics, as well as social and political issues. The Sala-Manca groupis Lea Mauas and Diego Rotman, artists born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who live and work in Jerusalem. Rotman also co-direct with Mauas the Mamuta Art and Research Centre at the Hansen House in Jerusalem and has a post-doc position at “Da’at Hamakom”: Centre for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Lise Skou, TRADE TEST SITE - An independent trade based project

We are not a capitalist society on earth.
We are mutual aid societies ravaged by capitalism.

– Rebecca Solnit

Trade Test Site is an artistic research project experimenting with the economy in food production, trade and labour. It consist of 3 interlinked parts: Exchange Library Store and Café, Trade Test Site Imprint and a Public Program of workshops and discussions inviting a wide range of economists, artists, and scholars working within the field of economy.

EXCHANGE LIBRARY STORE AND CAFE
Exchange-Library is a membership run store and café. Here everybody can exchange their homemade food with other anything in the store including Exchange-Library produced food products.

To be a member:
Members pay a fee of 5 € per months. For this amount they can borrow and use all our production facilities and equipment - for example a grain grinder, butter churns, apple presses and much more. Besides, we host monthly production days and courses for all our members in home-production and cottage industries – for example a course in producing fermented food such as Kefir and Kombucha. Members can take home what they produced – or of course exchange it for other products already in the store.
The commodities used for production are grown, picked or harvested by Exchange-Library members at our picking tours. This can be Apples picked up in the rural landscape, tomatoes grown in a members green house or a member bringing home lemons from Italy grown in his mother’s garden.

Business strategy for Exchange-Library:
1.Membership fees goes to creating paid jobs for all members.
2.All members share the same wage.
3.Members rotate in all the different job positions in the enterprise - including positions of responsibility.
4.Any possible surplus is creatively shared or redirected into higher wages or put towards creating new jobs for members or courses.
5.Decisions are discussed at weekly assemblies.

TRADE TEST SITE IMPRINT
Publishes smaller booklets and series of short essays representing research, ideas, and proposals from scholars and artists on contemporary life lived in the throes of global capitalism. We wish to present creative opinions and approaches as to how we, as a culture, might come to inhabit different economic realities.

For the initial publication - Your Money or Your Life –, we are reprinting Katherine Gibson’s contribution to the exhibition “Trade Show” (2013-2014) curated by Kathrin Böhm and Gavin Wade. “Trade Show” explored culturally based economic experiments and practices and different approaches to the concept of trade. Curator Kathrin Böhm contributes the second book with an essay on her project Company, a community-based economic experiment in creating a sustainable drinks industry on the outskirts of London. Marxist-feminist scholar, Kathi Weeks discusses the precarity of waged labor in the third book in the series, with her article “The Problems with Work.” Artist, Kate Rich’s text on Feral Trade, her ongoing hand-delivered grocery business, which trades goods over social networks, concludes the series.

Please take a book, enjoy, and if you share your book with a friend be sure you trade her for something else.

Lise Skou (b 1966) is a visual artist and researcher based in Denmark. She holds a MFA from Funen Academy of Fine arts in (DK. 2004) and Whitney – Independent Study Program (New York, US. 2002-2003). Besides she holds a BA in History of Art and Litterature fro the University in Aarhus.


Lise Skou 


Luis Guerra 


Marianne Heier