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When things settle down a bit, I hope to make my way through missed posts. Thanks so much for the acknowledgement! Have a Merry Christmas. Thank you so much Pat for the mention. And a very Merry Xmas to you and family. You are among my favorite bloggers. See you in the coming New Year 20l4. Have a great Christmas Pat — looking forward to reading more of your posts in the new year — after the break I will come back to this post and check out some of your followers blogs.

Hope you are having a joyous Yule Pat. Thank you for the shoutout! Hope all is well with you, too! What do you do to relax? Read books? Comments RSS. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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Sign me up! The Squirrelbasket It's a ragbag stuffed full of words and pictures — mainly about nature, nostalgia and design…. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site is about the knowledge of different categories such as education, , health, mobiles, and tourism. Something for Everyone Lets go on this Art Literary journey together!

Skip to content. Share this: Pinterest. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. Site Title. Insightful Geopolitics Impartial Informative Always. Dating Dating Tips for Everyone. Motivation Motivation as a lifestyle. The book was published on its th anniversary, and as it went by completely unnoticed we were curious to see if we can trigger a discussion through. From the curatorial point of view one of our main concerns was how to deal with anniversary of the book of such powerful ideological and political connotation and we decided to problematize it in the existing local context.

Thus, the Manifesto functioned as a strong trigger to initiate a public debate on the issues of recent history and the exhibition in the end questioned wide range of social issues, focusing on complex relations between art and economy. At the time we started to work on the exhibition we were still mostly in our twenties. Working together was a great and formative experience.

From the beginning we were aware that collaboration enables us to do things that none of us individually would be able to do: create and influence new spaces and modalities of art production, thus challenging the environment of ossified and closed art institutions in Croatia. That exhibition established most of the aspects of our future curatorial approach: collective way of working, close partnership of different organizations, establishing links between different generations of artists as well as building the exhibition around social and political issues which we feel are being swept under the carpet We did a modified version, on the occasion of the rd anniversary of the Communist Manifesto, in Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna in We are still looking forward to the possible opportunity to do another Communist Manifesto exhibition on another anniversary.

Your further projects as Broadcasting project, dedicated to Nikola Tesla, Normalization, Normalization: dedicated to Nikola Tesla and others, dealt with local daily politics, pointing out the cultural policy dominant in Croatia during the 90s. Can you tell us something more about those projects? What are in your opinion the specific roles of the curatorial practice in relation to the production of meaning and knowledge at work in the exhibitions and projects?

For our curatorial work of key importance is articulating sensitive social issues, especially in relation to the local context. The exhibition Normalization: dedicated to Nikola Tesla, presented in Gallery Nova in , in a certain non committed way served as a closure and a case study of our long — term investigation of different aspects of normalization processes we have been facing recently.

Nikola Tesla — was a controversial genius scientist; he was a Serb from Croatia who died as American citizen.

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In the past decades he has been claimed and disowned by Croats, Serbs, Yugoslavs and Americans. Both of our projects dedicated to Nikola Tesla were also a reaction to the fact that during the 90s in Croatia his Serb origins seriously damaged his cult status as a scientist. Because of the Broadcasting project we did in ,. We received about 50 proposals from artists, journalists, architects, scientists, designers, students, philosophers, writers etc.

We also set up an archive material that made visible dramatic raptures in public reception of Nikola Tesla and its broader social and political background throughout the last 50 years. The gallery has an important avant-garde tradition from the 60s and 70s and under your direction it has become a platform for supporting critical local and international artistic production.

What are in your experience the difference and gap between the institutional and independent curatorial activities and positions?

We see ourselves as an independent and selforganized team but also as a micro-institution that tries to create institutional space that is more sensitive to the actual needs of the local scene. Being opened and aware of changes of possible answers with time and changing circumstances is — we think — part of our responsibility. We can still see many institutions in Croatia not being aware of that, so there is not enough recognition not only of the experiences of the previous generation but also of current attempts of independent initiatives. Beside the legacy of socialism and its consequences you are focusing on the unsolved questions of Croatian modernism.

How have you started to search for new terms of discourse, for new readings of modernism in Croatia in postwar period? The case of Yugoslavia is especially interesting, not only as the only socialist country that cut off relations to the Eastern bloc, as well as relaxing ideological barriers and opening up to the West culturally, but also as a cultural space in which parts of the communist political and cultural elite recognized correspondences between the universalism of modernist art and the universalism of socialist emancipation.

That does not mean that modernist artists were necessarily Party men. In modernist abstraction enlightened communist consciousness saw closeness to universalism of modern emancipatory politics. Those artists were not modernist because they were communists following Party line, but as modernists they were necessarily leftist, anti-fascist, socialists, and communists.

The point is not to neutralize or reconcile contrasted views on modernism, but to understand them within dynamics of their relations, to see contradictions as inherent to modernism itself, and to explore their specifics in given cultural space. The ideological battle over modernism in socialist Yugoslavia and its legacy and importance today is exactly that which can not be left to institutions, that needs to be taken over and invested with new meanings. You are working as collective since nine years. What about collective curating?

Is it also a way of productive and perfomative criticism of social institutions and politics?

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What we call collective curating in our case is actually connected with the motivation to continue to develop what was spontaneously achieved throughout the experience of the first project. As Djuro Seder, member of the Croatian group Gorgona said in , The collective work cannot be foreseen as a form, only as an effort.

Titled simply Istanbul, it was modest in its ambition — no grand narratives or portentous themes. The attempt to critically rethink the format of biennials is an inevitable challenge for every curator. Your previous curatorial experiences and approaches will certainly guide you in the conception of the 11th Istanbul Biennale. Although is maybe too early, can you tell already something about some core projections which you regard as most important in the process of the exhibition taking its form?

What about the relationship to the city of Istanbul, to its local historical and political content? At this stage the 11th Istanbul Biennale is an open research focused on the examination of the status of the Istanbul Biennale in both local and international contexts, connected to a set of political and social issues associated with the wider. Traducere de Alex Moldovan.

This research tends to become public in the attempt to also activate the two-years period between biennial exhibitions in the process of creating a possibility for sustained collaborations with existent independent cultural initiatives and programs. The format of the exhibition itself is understood as a possibility of transient and temporary, yet ambitious plans for long-term communication and establishing new international platforms for artist and cultural workers from supposedly shrinking but still corporeally very real geographical margins. Even if today one feels that there is no region excluded from the international art circuit, there still remains the issue of control, the unresolved and continuing play of inclusion and exclusion.

In that respect, the role of biennial-as-process is understood as a counter-position to general weakening of any institutional safeguards that determine cultural standards outside the marketplace. It develops across two interconnecting trajectories, one responding to hegemonic Western model of the role and position of contemporary art and its history, as perpetuated by globalized system of art institutions and network of markets that regulate them, and the other to artistic and cultural practices that are critically assessing commercialization that tends to dominate life under conditions of neo-liberal capitalism.

The process is not always fully conscious, even if the theoreticians of contemporary museum science would like to see it as a result of pro-community tendencies present in the postmodern reality. One can get the impression that the initiation of new artistic institution has been a side effect of complex transformation processes. Even though commonly desired, new artistic institutions are a creature that is not entirely understood, or even suspect, unable to win overwhelming public acceptance, and thus generating tensions and manifesting unsolvable conflicts and antagonisms. Put shortly, art museums, and contemporary art museums in particular, are a magnifying glass through which we can watch the rising demons of social frustration and repressed yearnings.

An example of such an institutional tension, a consequence of post-transformation ambitions and a need to fill cultural gaps, characteristic for the former Soviet bloc countries, is the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, officially created in April Its creation was accompanied by a belief that new museums are instruments of supporting and stimulating modernisation processes.

The heated debate that ensued, full of conflicting reasons and ordinary prejudices, has had no precedent in post-war Poland. The Warsaw museum, long before the erection of the building itself planned for , became the stage of a bitter conflict that has antagonised the artistic, architectural, and political communities. For persons involved in the project, it is an obvious fact that it had been founded on conflict, rather than on a rational debate and compromises, which, paradoxically, can guarantee its longevity and endurance.

An Unfortunate Neighbourhood The WMMA building is to be erected on Plac Defilad, a huge plaza located in the very heart of the city, and rather obviously marked with architectural-ideological shame.


The plaza, with all its features, including a parade stand where party apparatchiks received military parades on 1st of May marches, was built in as a foreground for the iconic Palace of Culture and Science. The mammoth building. The structure, designed by Lev Rudniev, shows inspirations ranging from socialist realism and Polish historicism, through Art Deco, to as far as Chicago School. The construction of the behemoth, absurdly towering over the city to this day, took just three years to complete, due to the backbreaking labour of the four thousand workers employed there.

The Palace, surrounded today by tall modern office buildings, resembles a phantasmagorical creation of a teenage computer game aficionado. They saw a modest and moderate building. Its author, the Swiss architect Christian Kerez, author of, among other things, the Kunstmuseum in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, referred to the Palace of Culture towering in the background only via a discreet play with constructional divisions: the Palace has vertical divisions, the Museum — horizontal ones. The heaviest attack on the Museum was waged by persons who had initiated and created it: art critics, historians and curators otherwise held in high esteem by the art community.

Could we have been offended more? After a couple of months, the architect presented a new, improved version of the design: one storey disappears, the roof changes, now punctured with round skylights. Unexpectedly, the project is rejected by the city hall, as is the next version, which, in fact, is a return to the original one. The decision to develop the historically encumbered city centre seems too difficult, almost impossible to make. Since communism for the Poles was not so much traumatic, at least not in the same way as to the other people from the Eastern bloc, the collective memory of the past in this country, to which a history of art belongs, is not traumatic, either.

Galeria n. The developing means of expression, whose conceptual novelty needed a space of its own capable of facilitating the access to the means of communication, led to the acknowledgement of the necessity of the institutionalization meant to open the way for a better representation. As engaged in the struggle for conquering the autonomy and thus placing itself ideologically within the field of power, the solution which takes the form of a Kunstverein has always been seen as a weapon of the symbolic hegemony.

On the other hand, however, the stability of the conquered positions has always been relative — the symbolic capital is volatile and thus easy to lose — the positioning and the repositioning function according to the mechanism which Pierre Bourdieu1 calls the dialectics of distinction: the distinction, the establishment, the privilege and the presence in the mainstream is counterbalanced by the fall into the past, the classing and the classicization.

The dark side of being established is represented by the artistic aging, as a result of clinging to certain ways of production and by the confinement in certain schemes of perception and appreciation which render impossible the catching of the new. With these being said, I have to notice that what is happening today with Neuer Berliner Kunstverein n. Therefore, discussing the n.

The n. I would mention, first of all, the temporary interval right after the building of the Wall , an interval. Due to the increasingly representative role played by the n. Meanwhile, n. In May , a press release announced that starting with January 1, the n. This process was supposed to happen by adhering to the networks of art institutions, by conquering new layers of the public sphere and engaging the new forms of discourse. Meanwhile, the gallery space and its programs were meant as barometers of the artistic contemporary discourses, reflecting on art developments, since in the 10th decade of the last century it became more and more an instrument for different interests.


While the members of the small independent and uncommercial initiatives were rubbing hands with joy, their boundless enthusiasm being fed by the need of a new institutional policy they were about to benefit from in their turn, the skeptics aged to soon by the general apathy of the art market, which expurgated the entire political content, were predicting the failure of this change, seen only as a new institutional formalism and which could never change anything of the essence. However, the first actions of the n.

Given the conditions, a Kunstverein may play an important role only if its spaces become effective possibilities of expression for the community and its voluntary engagement, taking on an ideology of common participation which aims at the public interest and which, therefore, rejects the bourgeois-passive image of consuming. Silke Wagner The way I have read the first exposition proposed by the new n. Of course, one should have expected a new architecture for the exhibition space the manager and curator Babias asked that the aesthetic ballast accumulated in time should be removed in order to reduce the gallery space to the original industrial design of the building , a new website and a new logic of accessing the archive and the forum.

But, moreover, the curatorial choice pointed out that the change of image represents a serious option for the institutional restructuring, the ideological repositioning and regaining of the lost autonomous positions. The new conceptual orientation of n. A programmatic choice, since Babias and Wagner had worked together in several projects during the last 10 years3 and their curatorial respectively artistic vision intersect in the ways they create interaction and communication. Moreover, Silke Wagner is always integrating in her works topics of social resonance which represent as many efforts to question their historical constructions.

And look, this time Wagner was invited to question the very history of the space she was supposed to exhibit in. Her intervention implied, if we are to explain the aesthetic of the artistic expression, a formal effort to occupy the n. Wagner proposed and created a flexible sculpture based on a modular and mobile furniture system called Roland, which allowed its elements to connect in multiple combinations, plying on the container-like space, and whose functional principles guarantee to eliminate the ranking of the public and to ease its democratic access to the artistic content.

The stake thus consists in the content of the work — and it is also wherefrom the optimism manages to draw all its sources of legitimating, because all Silke Wagner does is to extract and mobilize new political contents. If the history of n. If, in the course of time, n. Re-questioning recent art history by revitalizing forgotten events and works, along with including them in a new display, represents a synthesis of historical fluxes and refluxes of the institution, but also the activation of a new politics of art and, why not, the reactivation of an art of doing politics.

The attitude of those seven represents a commentary — self-evident, with the artist being silent — on perceptual. Regulile artei, trad. The form of the display for art also reflects a change of view on the two n. On the other hand, the new emphasis is on valuing the artotheque and regards the ways of activating democratic education. Therefore, freeing this space of the indistinct consume of culture is being accomplished by changing the view on accessing the archive, which the n.

Finally, one has to notice the effort of crystallizing a discourse capable of supporting the n. Adding a residence space where artists, activists and theoreticians are invited to live and work, whose activity is being reflected in the discussions, seminaries, presentations and workshops organized in the gallery, being included in the e.

Diskurs and n. Berlin — all these acknowledge a dialogue between the institution and the public sphere, which the topics reflected by the next exhibition program will be extracted from. For the sake of circularity, I decided to return to the original analogy. It is possible, however, for these to be the signs showing the necessity — and the crisis — of a strategic repositioning. There are models, let there be will! References to the e. Vezi Marius Babias, Urma revoltei. A se vedea Marius Babias, Recucerirea politicului. That is to say, they either directly refer to the Holocaust or consider more general issues identity, prejudices, identification, archive, systematization that cannot be avoided when it comes to the Holocaust.

This is a bit unusual for an international contemporary art show, especially one cast as offering a chance to the younger generation that is, precisely to those artists who could not have any direct personal recollection of the Holocaust. There are several reasons for this notable presence. The post-political1 means the end of the political classically understood.

In the 20th century, we already had the chance to see an extreme example of this situation and this is why it is important for us to return to Holocaust, and within it, to those media techniques and films that appeared in connection with the Holocaust. Could the suffering have been attenuated through filming? His film, called Respite, is being shown at Fortezza, as a mute and efficient counterpoint to the sound installations in the fortress. The series of images are interrupted by intertitles, in the manner of silent films, accompanied by the commentaries. Her main interests are the transition of the ex-Eastern bloc, critical theories applied onto the region, socially engaged art practices, gender issues and public art.

Her main interests are Holocaust and contemporary art, gender issues in modern and contemporary art. Klaus Weber Shape of the Ape, , mixed-media installation, installation view, photo: Eduard Constantin. Alexander Vaindorf Detour. The film was shot in the Westerbork transit camp in Netherlands, which delayed the delivery of the Jews and the gypsies to the work and death camps in Germany. To that end, he also employed elements of the art of film. With a didactic intention, Farocki emphasizes this aspect through the inter-titles he inserts in the film.

The space that the exhibition takes place in is an integral aspect of the installation itself. Fortezza refers almost blasphemously to one of the past possible uses of this building which lacks a specific function; it is known that the Germans, at that time, took over any fortresses of that kind and turned them into concentration camps, as with Breendok, Belgium, or with Thereisenstadt, in the Czech Republic. In fact, in the Thereisenstadt model-camp, Kurt Gerron, an inmate himself later executed in Auschwitz, just like Breslauer , created a similar film. The muteness of Respite emphasizes the fact that the viewer is condemned to passivity, so the only thing he can do is to see.

Already at this time, the soul and the unconscious had begun to be put in the service of the media. Nazism and the total dictatorships were the avant-garde of this operation. During the first half of the 20th century, they unscrupulously used these instruments developed, not lastly, due to the technical advances of the avantgardes and modernism. The exhibition thus embodies the hope that the soul is capable of escaping even the obligation imposed on it by dogmatic or religious precepts.

The critical art practice is especially important in border regions Eastern Europe is such a place or in a state of crisis such as in Israel, Palestine, or Guantanamo Bay. One of the curators of the exhibition organized in the former Palazzo delle Poste building, Hila Peleg, is from Israel and, perhaps due to her origin, she deals with the problems appearing in the Israeli contemporary art which are inseparable from the fact that the genesis of the Israel state is, among other things, the effect of the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Similarly, however, in the exhibition catalogue, T. Demos compares the European Union and the post-Schengen situation with the concentration camps themselves. This refers to the trace left behind by the past, which continues to exist in the present. Such traces were left by the Holocaust, too. Colonia Dignidad Dignity Camp or Colonia Renacer Resurrection Camp , as they call it, is clean, and on its land a rational, disciplined production takes place, equipped with the most modern machines.

According to the film, in the camp established in there was only one German war criminal. Nevertheless, the place is surrounded by the most frightening mystery; the word has it that there are no newborns; bodies disappear, not to mention the living. The camp supposedly had an agreement with the Pinochet regime and participated willingly to the tortures ordered by it.

The Germans in the film are fictive but plausible ghosts, just like their camp is a phantasm, but one which keeps coming back, haunted by the possibility of the Holocaust and its echoes in post-Holocaust events elsewhere in the world. As for the Holocaust, one has to deepen, in both art practice and theory, issues such as memory, identity, identification, empathy, discrimination, prejudices, the functioning of power, hope for the future, authenticity, fiction, trauma, post-trauma, the trace, etc.

That the discourse of memory has become so refined today is, among other things, due to the study of the Holocaust, to its historical and philosophical elaboration, and to the artistic approach of a wide range of artists. This is the other reason for the emphatic presence of the Holocaust.

In other words, the Holocaust has also become a natural part of the contemporary art; it has reached the mainstream. The post-political condition is also a post-Holocaust condition. Buildings left behind by industrialization, aluminum production, urbanization, modern mass communication, which have seen better days but now are on the verge of collapse, are the scene of the art exhibition, which renders visible the ruins of heroism and self-assurance valued in the tragic 20th century.

The exhibition concepts observe what is left of the parallel great utopias and the sacrifices they required; they also try to establish the price paid for the ambitious visions of the future. The works do not sound funeral bells or elaborate apocalyptic visions; it is just that the positive utopia turned into a negative utopia dystopia and the dreams became nightmares. Manifesta remembers, recollects, recalls. There are some very humorous works and some playful ones, others are inspiring, but they are all imbued with a look toward the past, charged with explaining the past, and perhaps guided by the failure to understand how things could have gone so far.

Maybe behind most of the works there persists a secret wish to save what can be saved, which gives them a sincere, revealing and confessional look. And maybe the fear that this chance has been missed creates the melancholy air which envelopes the exhibition spaces. But there is no call to lynch or to hunt down those responsible, to identify the scapegoats or to clear our consciences. However, the painful feeling of a collective respon-. No great narratives are taken here to be omniscient; their authority has already been compromised and gone for long; the megaphone is being handed to micro-communities and some forgotten events and scenes, already passed through the sieve of the past, gain visibility.

Presenting the uprooted life of the seasonal communities of immigrant workers the Ukrainians in Italy, for example reveals a dark side of society, very carefully hidden so far. Today, even resistance has turned into a memory. They engage in a sort of overlapping of fiction and reality, usually considered as rigidly different territories, that is probably. Unknown persons broke in the building in the opening night; they cut the projection canvas and stole the DVD-player and the DVD containing the film.

Manifesta is a work of mourning. It mourns for modernity, for the modern utopia. Melancholy is also a special, suspended mode of mourning and the lamentation caused by a loss. Instead of a construction, we see the destruction concealed in the backstage of the image of a beautiful future, the wash-outs of the utopias since time immemorial. The high-tech photographs present abandoned, depopulated industrial landscapes, concrete archives dramatizing the decay.

Sculptures are being made from industrial wastes, from junk, but they lack the pop-art euphoria of the consumer society, of over-productivity, of the abundance of commodities together with their gigantic production of trash and they also lack the romantic refusal of Arte Povera. Manifesta has nightmares. There is almost no nature anymore and that which still exists is artificial, too.

The project The Naked Garden by Reinhard Kropf and Siv Helene Stangeland is imbued with humility towards nature; within the Ex Alumnix building, they make visible the amazing structures of diverse parasites and fungus which are allowed to survive in an optimal environment air, water, light artificially created. As a counterpoint to the ecological dangers threatening us, the video installation of Marcus Coates Morning Choir, is the dream of the symbiosis with a vanished Eden: it shows the secret moments of people who start singing or Once the machine cult has worn out, the phantasms of taming the instruments, of a delicate, harmonious and sometimes erotic togetherness shared with them appear in the video work of Daria Martin Soft Matter These were ideological tools during the cold war; their symbolism was still real.

The present installation has no ideological direction, it only reflects upon the self-annihilation of the human species. Manifesta flirts with death. Thauberger records a dramatization, in a private and daily bargain with death, in which the character is not a man, but an aged woman who has chased death up in a tree, and the latter has. And this is only because she simply had no time to die while busily gathering in the apples.

Beating the fear of death is a daily practice, respectively the taming and the acceptance of death, which is a part of life. Manifesta dreams; one of its guiding lines is following Ernst Bloch the principle of hope. It does not imply the lack of thought, a lack of desire to communicate or to take a stand towards things in the world. If political and artistic resistance also seems to disappear, this only applies to the direct effort. These are poetical expressions of hope itself, without the touch of sentimentality.

It makes no difference that one cannot see the practical utility of such actions. The project of the Romanian artist Daniel Knorr is privileged, but compared to the artists producing luxury objects, he makes visible a contemporary domain and strategy of the art aiming to an active and participatory social presence. After legal battles, for the entire duration of Manifesta the Ex-Peterlini building became a twentyfour-hour open public space.

The feeling underlying Manifesta is that the world is going through difficult times, as they say in one of the movies showed at Ex-Peterlini. Opposing the horror and sci-fi trend of the dystopian movies, the last piece of the genre, Children of Men, ends with the hope of a new beginning. Lamentation and mourning conceal positive forces that help to work through the past, to forget, and to gather new strength, which is the necessary phase to a new step forward towards survival.

In the world of the post-political, Manifesta proposes the principle of hope against that of Dystopia. Translated by Alex Moldovan Notes: 1. The doors of the two entrances from Via Savioli and from Via Prati have been completely removed, and the space is now open 24 hours out of Several days after the opening of the biennial, a group of people appeared in the middle of the night, cut the textile screen onto which the work was projected, stole the DVD support of the film, and ruined the player itself.

The rumors say that the act was committed by local anarchists, willing to a proof of their existence, and that they are not very happy about the whole story. The new status of this place has been integrated, in short time, in the daily life normality, for example, as a shortcut used by the workers in their lunch breaks while they head towards the popular cafeteria in Via Prati. And finally, on the Day for Contemporary Art, celebrated in Italy on the 4th of October, a local theatre group made a performance inside the Ex-Peterlini building.

Therefore, perhaps definitely an exhibition space. Fundamentally an invisible work, Ex-Privato turns into concrete through all the events taking place in the space during Manifesta 7. Actually, the artist intends to publish a book, which should comprise every meaning and event leading to Ex-Privato. Cum ai perceput-o? I found out about this position as guardian of the exhibition space in Ex-Peterlini through the Office for Work.

How did you perceive it? Did it sound crazy to you, or, at least, unusual? Contemporary art is not something I am familiar with. It is the only work an artist could sell to me and I could exhibit in my home. For example, in my holidays, I take one or two thousand photos. I take photos every time something looks interesting to me or when I think it would make an interesting picture. The same happened with Ex-Peterlini. When Daniel came, I was already taking pictures there. The same as we do in Manifattura Tabacchi. Daniel Knorr is the first person who explained to us that we are dealing with an open space where people could do whatever they want.

In return, the Manifesta people held us a long discourse about the fact that we have to pay much attention, so that nobody ruins the works exhibited. Nobody gave us special instructions regarding Ex-Peterlini, or even took us on a tour as it happened with the Manifattura. Anyway, I realized that this is a space that needs to be explained. These people have a certain manner to see the space, a conventional eye, I could say, as they come to see the objects exhibited. As I said, they have a conventional manner to see an exhibition. Even if the gates miss entirely, it is difficult to observe something with no existence, as we are used to see only what there is, only what exists.

Translated by Vlad Morariu. All manner of details about works in any medium, from any period of history, from any place on the planet, would buzz away in its hive of data. At the mere tap of the Enter key, these data would rush from the deep recesses of digital code, flitting through phone lines and coursing through cables to settle as image and text on a screen.

An image of Marcel Marceau, perhaps, his hands raised in pantomime surprise, his face caked bright white. Alongside that, a statue of the monkey Iwazaru, his hands across his mouth so as to speak no evil. For artists, historians, critics and curators world-wide, this would be a godsend of a database. This could be a risk worth taking, though, for the database would be an extraordinary invention.

Its agglomerations of histories, geographies, mediums and imagery would be far more radical than any existing approach we have that seeks to conjoin distant things and different thoughts in a single image archive. References to specific socio-political events in history — the Paris Commune of , the Russian Revolution of , the Prague and Parisian. He has written for numerous journals and anthologies internationally, including A Prior, Artforum and the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Australian Art.

The conjunction, or at least the contiguity, of so many works by so many artists from different geographical and historical contexts raises a host of fascinating questions. The response is: not much. Instead, her curatorial methodology appears to be driven by other concerns. One such concern is to transform the biennale into a walk-in version of this magical, mythical database, with image reproductions replaced by the works themselves.

This can induce wonderfully refreshing experiences: canonical works, especially from European art histories, are drawn into the frame of biennales and other mega-exhibitions, rupturing the normative churning of ever-new artists and artworks within the biennale merry-go-round. The aura of an actual work, and of being in the presence of a work, has certainly not died with the rise of the internet, but exponentially increased, as Christov-Bakargiev knows well. At the same time, though, the Biennale occasionally veers toward a smorgasbord or hotchpotch display.

Aside from a formal and not particularly informative engagement with rotations-as-revolutions, I seem to have missed the possible ties and tensions within the Art Gallery foyer, for instance. When points of connection are explicitly suggested, they tend to be astonishingly literal in their formalism or disappointingly trite. A coincidence? In an adjacent wing, potentially revolutionary works are suspended from the ceiling. In other words, what we get is a room of hanging works that relate to socio-political revolutions; another room of hanging works that, well, revolve sorry, chart their own revolutions ; and lying in the room between them are a series of spheres and other round objects traced from the everyday by Simryn Gill and pooled in a circle on the floor.

Tommy McRae Sketch of Squatters, , pen and ink drawing, Yet, concurrent with the flow of these doubts in my mind, I also know that such slim pickings are far too slim for ChristovBakargiev. Her past exhibitions and analyses of Arte Povera and William Kentridge have been thoughtful and even inspiring. It refuses to belong to a pre-determined set of identities — if something asserts its singularity, it asserts itself only as it is rather than how others might perceive it to be — and can thereby resist any interpretations or parameters that seek to contain it within what is already thought.

A series of singularities may be a tricky, clever and, yes, brave conceptual strategy, but it also tends to resemble a plonking of works together that have surprisingly little to say to each other. What emerges from such correlations or the lack thereof, then, is a strange paradox. On the one hand, this is clearly a Biennale about remembering, about history and about how history can intervene in and rupture the amnesic conditions of contemporary biennales or even contemporary culture itself.

By placing these singular works together in conglomerations, the effect is a sort of disruptive mimicry of how the contemporary flattens out time and space to be received in the omnipresent yet ever-obsolescent now. The Biennale presents a history of what our conditions of the contemporary are, in a way — a curiously catholic mixing induced by a database sensibility. Is there a teasing out of the complex tensions between Arte Povera and the Internationale Situationniste, or between the different revolutionary forces charging through Paris and Prague in , or is this a grabbag of historical moments conflated?

To my mind, at least, many. This is not always the case, of course. The decision to stage a major part of the exhibition on Cockatoo Island — a former shipbuilding base and colonial prison in the middle of Sydney Harbour — is a case in point. It is, quite frankly, unbelievable that the island has not been used as a Biennale venue before, if only because of the spectacular journey across the harbour to reach it.

Once there, though, the buildings donate a formidable presence to the artworks they contain. His head turns slowly, pauses, his neck pulsing with anticipation, before his body takes flight in movement. Hopefully, this will be a mode of display used in other exhibitions of indigenous paintings. The all-too-sad silencing of the adjacent Intonarumori by Luigi Russolo, the sculptures transformed into relics robbed of the potential they once contained, is not such a great precedent to follow, however.

Many of the works presented are very fine indeed; the manner of their presentation can also be extraordinarily good — and also decidedly perplexing. Is this a kind of curatorial sadism? Is it careless? As these questions suggest, there are some revolutions in operation here after all. They are revolutions within the mind of the viewer or at least this viewer , seeking to find more from the display than what emerges at face-value, continually chasing initial doubts and responses with other questions and other possible responses, which are in turn chased by further questions and new doubts.

This is the revolution of tail-chasing and it can be as frustrating as it is provisional. It certainly ensures that viewers mull over its conceptual parameters, its purpose and its status as a curatorial decoy, with one doubt shadowing another, one question chasing another. There is one serious doubt that remains unquestionable with this exhibition, though, and it is a doubt that I want to leave hanging in lieu of a conclusion to this essay.