Nose against the window


Just another site

Sites internet, projets et groupes d´artistes agissant aux limites de l´art et du social, politique et actions liées aux faits réels


A Terrorist – The Status Project, Heath Bunting

Click to access map_of_terrorism.pdf

BorderXing Guide  2002 – 2003
Heath Bunting
Perimeter Footpath, Part of BorderXing. Photograph © Heath Bunting 2002
National borders are increasingly frontlines of political and social dissent. Asylum-seeking and political migrations are some of the most significant issues of our time.Heath Bunting’s BorderXing Guide website primarily consists of documentation of walks that traverse national boundaries, without interruption from customs, immigration, or border police. The work comments on the way in which movement between borders is restricted by governments and associated bureaucracies.
Toll Gates, Part of BorderXing Guide. Photograph © Heath Bunting 2002.
The website was (is) not available to everyone who has an Internet connection. People wishing to view the website throughout the life of the project, had to physically travel to one of the designated locations, or apply to become an authorised client themselves. Viewing of the work is still possible via an application process available on the project website.
The project intended a reversal of the way that borders restrict movement and at the same time challenged the supposed liberties that accompany the concept of the Internet as a borderless space.
Breaking down the division between art and everyday life, Bunting prioritises information and action. Often performing as an interventionist or prankster, Bunting finds form within every day acts of resistance, reaching audiences through systems of documentation and distribution including photography, print publishing and the web.
Launch the project (above) and register in order to view documentation of his 12 month journey across Europe.
Heath Bunting, BorderXing Guide logo, 2002-2003, © Heath Bunting
In the accompanying text, Reverse Authentification, Florian Schneider describesBunting’s, BorderXing Guide as ‘a manual written on foot’ and an art project embodying ‘a carefully calculated politics of public relations’. He comments –
… Borders are there to be crossed. Their significance becomes obvious only when they are violated – and it says quite a lot about a society’s political and social climate when one sees what kind of border crossing a government tries to prevent.

The Status Project.


Cellule Cité Lenine:


Critical Practice

“En ligne” Liste de sites via ARTE

FREE CULTURE (by Lawrence Lessig)
Time:               CAMP: 28th of February-1st of March 2008, open to all
Exhibition: 1st of February- 16th of March.
Opening hours for the exhibition: Wednesday-Saturday 12.00-17.00
Place:              rum46, Århus Denmark ( -a non-profit exhibition space                            for contemporary art and surrounding public space.
Organizers:     Field Work (Lise Skou and Nis Rømer) in collaboration with rum46
The culture that we all create should not be owned or privatized by corporations. No idea comes from solitary confinement, but builds on long traditions of free exchange, cultural production, everyday life and lived experience. The  instrumentalisation of art and culture for economic gain is an invasion of our life worlds that needs to be addressed and countered. We want culture that is free, critical, counter productive, anarchistic, shared, sustainable, public and participatory as well as recklessly entertaining. We will produce with lust for life and dance on the graves of the bloodsuckers from the creative class and the experience economy.
Free culture is not only a question of copyright but a wider issue of access to commons like land, water and air. How can these resources be distributed in a just way and how do we secure that the side effects of our culture; scarcity and pollution is not once again just becoming somebody else’s problem.
Free culture is a 3 day camp in rum46. Events and talks will be mixed with performance, production and group works. It will be a live-in environment for cultural production, and exchange between academics, artists, social movements and a participating audience.
Sine Bang (DK), Kayle Brandon (UK), Kristine Briede (Latvia), Adams & Itso, Field Work (DK), Groupwork/Students from the Art Academies (DK), Andreas Wegner (D/AUS), Henrik  Moltke (DK), Amy Balkin (US), YNKB (DK)

Free Soil
Free Soil is an international hybrid collaboration of artists, activists, researchers and gardeners who take a participatory role in the transformation of our environment. Free Soil fosters discourse, develops projects and gives support for critical art practices that reflect and change the urban and natural environment. We believe art can be a catalyst for social awareness and positive change.
The Free Soil website is a public resource for the exchange of related ideas and for learning. It is a way to connect discourses similar in content but separated by geography. The website includes features, news, and reviews about relevant artists, exhibitions, books, architecture, public projects and sustainability.
Free Soil works collectively using various mediums. We realize workshops, public projects, articles, museum exhibitions and tours.
Gardening Superfund Sites

If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution


Katerina Šedá


When Katerina Šedá’s 76-year-old grandmother, Jana, fell into an impenetrable depression after her husband died, refusing to cook, bathe or leave the house, the young Czech artist devised a series of exercises to encourage her grandmother to do something other than watch television. (According to the artist, her grandmother would watch whatever was on because ‘the remote was just out of reach’.) Šedá persuaded Jana to try to recollect every item sold in the hardware shop she managed in Brno for 33 years. Then she urged her to draw them.

The resultant collection of drawings – shaky, rudimentary black shapes depicting sets of everyday items like screwdrivers, pliers and paintbrushes, each labelled in Czech in Jana’s unsteady handwriting – covered the walls of the gallery space and filled three itemized archival boxes. At first, ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ (2005–7) looked like an amateur archaeology project, or a statement about the disconnect between women and the world of tools. In fact, it is a touching meditation on art-making – mirroring both the practice of strict conceptual regimens and the expressionistic possibilities of artistic production.

In a separate room, an accompanying video documenting the artist’s collaboration with her grandmother reveals that the project was not a purely curative familial intervention. In this roughly two-minute film, Šedá depicts Jana – with her frazzled white hair and pale, doughy arms exposed through the sleeves of her pink muumuu – sitting at the breakfast table in front of a large rectangular sheet of paper, a thick black pen poised in her hand. Almost as soon as she begins drawing, her granddaughter’s questions begin: ‘Why are you drawing it from the side like that?’ she asks, like a harsh primary school teacher. ‘Why don’t you draw it from the front?’ It becomes clear that this is far from a therapeutic exercise or proof of the restorative power of art. Instead, we learn that the complete series of drawings is, in fact, a product of the young artist harassing her poor grandma about what – and how – she draws. After about a minute, in a strangled voice, Jana says that she feels ill and wants to stop. Though the exercise has successfully roused her grandmother from bed, it has, quite literally, turned her into the clichéd tortured artist.

Whether Šedá’s project is an effective rehabilitation programme or an exploitation of her grandmother is thrown yet further into question as the extent of the scheme unfolds: along with the hundreds of drawings are three unassuming booklets entitled ‘1 x daily before meals’ (2006–7). When I opened them, I realized they were full of typed questionnaires, like school quizzes, for Jana to complete according to a strict daily regimen. Some are designed to get Jana to recall details from her life: ‘How did liberation look in Lìšen? Describe!’ Others almost seem like dictatorial commands: ‘Name all the hospitals where you have been a patient!’ The old woman’s half-hearted, handwritten responses convey her exhaustion with the mental callisthenics her grand-daughter has designed. But even these brief replies add up to a stream-of-consciousness inventory of memories of a life lived. Ultimately, these books reveal all that would be lost to her grandmother’s silent depression if Šedá hadn’t persevered with her assignments. (Even if, toward the end, Jana was too sick to complete them.)

Seeing these half-empty booklets confounded my initial expectations for the work, and my thoughts about the artist herself. Were her efforts admirable or compulsive? Does the extent of the project reflect her determination to save her grandmother’s life, or is it a metaphor for the process of art-making? On one level, ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ functions as a commentary on the dangers of basing art on social participation; Šedá exaggerates the pitfalls of socially engaged works in which, despite the artist’s good intentions, the execution becomes overbearing or didactic. By collaborating with her own depressed grandmother, who bears the brunt of the work, Šedá also raises the stakes.

In an unpublished interview with her granddaughter, Jana declares that the only things that fill her ‘empty’ life are the television and her dog (she fails to mention Šedá). Her idea of being content is ‘doing nothing’, and the project’s title, ‘It Doesn’t Matter’, stems from her most frequent response to her granddaughter’s questions. It’s possible that Šedá’s project is a strategy for dealing with her fear of losing a family member. It’s also possible that Šedá saw her worst fears for herself realized in her grandmother’s inertia. If the work can be considered a determined programme against inactivity, against the fatalistic attitude that art doesn’t matter, it also reveals that this fatalistic attitude is what provides art with constant friction – the sense that it isn’t what we do that matters, but the determination to keep doing it regardless.


Interview: Katerina Sedá

Skulpturenpark, Kommandantenstraße / Neue Grünstraße, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg U2 Spittelmarkt 2008

Katerina edás work Over and Over at the Berlin Biennale is about overcoming fences and enclosures, literally and symbolically.
In Katerina edás hometown, fences and walls have been increasing in size and height over the past five years. Far less communication among neighbours goes on than before capitalism advanced. Communal life has died out almost entirely.
In her project, Katerina edá tried to persuade inhabitants to overcome the barriers around them and invited groups of residents to come to Berlin together.

Interview:Sebastian Quedenbaum
Foto:Sebastian Quedenbaum, Tomki Nìmec & Berlin Biennale
Katerina Seda (CZ), Michel Auder (FR), Ahmet Ögüt (TR), Daniel Guzmán (MX), Jos De Gruyter & Harald Thys (BE), Patricia Esquivias (VE), Tris Vonna-Michell (GB), Babette Mangolte (FR), David Maljkovic (HR), Kohei Yoshiyuki (JP), Pushwagner (NO), Aleana Egan (IE), Ulrike Mohr (DE), Kilian Rüthemann (CH), Lars Laumann (NO), Janette Laverrière (CH), Nairy Baghramian (IR), Mona Vatamanu og Florin Tudor, Susanne M. Winterling (DE), Nashashibi/Skaer (GB), Marc Camille Chaimovicz (FR), Melvin Moti (NL), Goshka Macuga (PL), Thea Djordjadze (DE), Pamela Rosenkranz (CH), Paulina Olowska (PL), Gabriel Kuri (MX), Daniel Knorr (RO), Susan Hiller (US), Caner Aslan (TR), Haris Epaninonda (CY), Jacob Mishori (IL), Cyprien Gaillard (FR), Paola Pivi (IT), Piotr Uklanski (PL), a.o.
5th berlin biennial – When things cast no shadow
05. april – 15. juni 2008
Around Berlin – 5th berlin biennial for contemporary art

So you are here with a lot of people. How many are they?

I am here with 40 people.

40 people?

Yes, it’s crazy, I know.

Are you working with them for your installation?

Yes, I made a performance with these people Friday in Sculpture Park. We are here three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday we took a tour around the city in the car and today we will again sit in the car.

You are showing two installations at this Berlin Biennale: one inside in KunstWerke with small objects and paperwork and the other one outside in Sculpture Park. How are they related to each other?

The work in KunstWerke are sketches and the first part of this project its like looking from my head and the Sculpture Park is the second part, like action, and the project will be continued now in my village.

This installation shows what my people bring to Berlin: one person brings a ladder and the second person brings a bathtub it is a co-operation with people.

Did you make the paperwork alone or is there also a collaboration with the other people?

I made most of them alone, but some of the pieces were made by the other people too.

A lot of your works have to do with crossing borders: in this installation to the neighbours, and in It doesnt mattter crossing the border to your depressed grandmother by making her draw from her memory and finally also as a formal principle in your paperwork where you are often using the shape of a circle which has a border that divides an inside from an outside. What does this subject of crossing borders in your work mean to you?

In my country it is a difficult situation after 1999. For me its like people are big fences. For me its the most important picture to show each person the second person. Its the topic of my work to show people each other. I try to make everything for this one thing. Like in this project: people are close together and they never speak. And now they have art together and go by bus.


How did you convince 40 people to take part in your work and come with you to Berlin?

A lot of people told me: I go with this neighbour but not with this. I spoke with maybe 200 people. Now it looks easy, but it was very difficult.


Do you see an element of hostility or mistrust in your society now or how do you explain that neighbours in a small village dont talk?

I think in communism everybody had something similar. Everybody had a similar house and a similar car. Now somebody has five cars and somebody is very poor. I think this is the first problem. The second problem is that everybody is very isolated. Before 1999 there was a big fence around all my country. And now this fence is all over between the people. Before in communism we must be together one minute (Kateřina edá gets up and goes to talk to some people from her team) Im sorry for this interruption. I need a big break after this action.

How are your people enjoying it here?

I think they are very happy. I tried to make a program for them: Yesterday we went to galleries and we made a tour around the city by bus. A lot of people are the first time in Berlin. I also give them some free time, so they can do something on their own.


So you have a double role: On the one hand you are a travel guide having a social interest in your people and in bringing them together this social interest you could also have without being an artist. But on the other hand you are an artist with an aesthetical interest. How are these interests coming together?

For me a very important thing is, when I start a project the first input is a visual input, not social. For example when I go to the village and now in my country are bigger fences I see no borders and this is a visual moment: I would like to see everybody and show one person the second person.

And after the second part is the social part. My idea was to bring people together through the thing, which divides people. And then the fence becomes the connection between them. Each person sees the fence only from one side and my idea was to show each person this fence from both sides. In the start of the project, people met at the fence and talked about what to bring to Berlin. I think it was a good thing to show the fence as something for communication.

The fence elements from the installation in Sculpture Park did you bring them from Czechia?

No they are an exact copy made by a company here. I send them the photos of each fence and they built an exact copy. Sometimes it was difficult, for example some fences were made of a special glass from the Czech republic.

So what is your next project?

Its secret. But I can say that in my projects its important that each project creates the next project. In my last project, I send shirts to a thousand people. The idea was that they got all the wrong shirts, so they had to contact each other and sort it out. Ive got a lot of letters about it and one comment was: I hate this place. People love only fences! This was giving me the idea for this project to do something about the fences.

And now people in the bus speak very much about one certain thing, which will be taken up in the next project.


L’artiste sud-africain William Kentridge, né à Johannesburg en 1955, est connu essentiellement pour ses films d’animation composés de dessins au fusain. Cet artiste travaille aussi la gravure, le collage, la sculpture, la performance et l’opéra. Associant le politique et le poétique, les premières œuvres de William Kentridge dénonçaient l’apartheid et le colonialisme.
Le thème de l’Egypte ancienne apparaît dans l’œuvre de William Kentridge dès 2004 alors qu’il travaille à l’élaboration de la mise en scène pour l’opéra de la Flute enchantée. Cette invitation du Louvre permet à l’artiste d’invoquer de nouveau l’univers de l’Egypte ancienne mais également de s’intéresser aux campagnes napoléoniennes menées à la fin du XVIIIe siècle.

“En transit”

“La série ouverte En transit est constituée de photographies montrant invariablement des intérieurs sans que toutefois leurs occupants n’apparaissent. Ces intérieurs dévoilent une domesticité simple, sans grand confort apparent, où parfois même le goût pour la décoration paraît déplacé. Un sentiment diffus émane de ces images malgré la rigueur du processus de prise de vue institué par Gao Yan.(…)Les photographies fonctionnent donc comme un état des lieux, ce moment où il s’agit d’inventorier avant de partir ou de rentrer. Le parti pris de la frontalité permet cette mise en relation entre les différents éléments constitutifs de l’intérieur provisoire et le constat d’une appropriation temporaire d’un lieu d’habitation voué au passage. Parvenir à cet équilibre précaire entre public et privé, entre résidence et mobilité, entre anonymat et personnalisation ne s’obtient pas seulement par le dispositif de prise de vue, ni par le seul sens du cadrage. ”

Jacqueline Salmon, Le HANGAR.

Le Hangar est un ensemble de photographies que Jacqueline consacre en 2001 à un des sites du dispositif humanitaire français, le centre de SANGATTE, près de Calais. Cette structure d’accueil a été établie en hâte par la Croix-Rouge, en 1999, pour absorber l’afflux brutal d’immigrés clandestins en route pour l’Angleterre voisine.

Le choix de Jacqueline SALMON, c’est celui d’une neutralisation, d’une vision qui ne mise pas plus sur le spectaculaire que sur le scandale. Cette option peut choquer, sachant qu’elle passe par l’éradication visuelle du principal individu concerné, le clandestin, à qui le droit à l’image même semble refusé. Elle peut aussi, à l’inverse, s’interpréter comme une forme de considération, sachant qu’il n’est nul besoin d’insister pour comprendre (“Cet être déclassé que tu es, il est inutile de l’humilier en l’exhibant”).

Un intérêt palpable du Hangar, sur le plan esthétique, c’est bien l’embarras où cette série photographique plonge immanquablement le spectateur. (…) un embarras né de l’ambivalence. Qu’y a-t-il dans ces images, de la sorte, sinon de l’absence d’abord, la vue portée sur un espace désossé, vidé de son ordinaire charge de douleur? (..) Au spectateur de ce théâtre vide d’inventer le corps qui va avec. Se dissimule-t-elle dans les images sobres du Hangar, la misère du monde n’en apparît pas moins ici en creux (…) juste tapie sous la surface du visible.

Le Hangar ou l’anti-pathos, – qui connaît le travail photographique de Jacqueline SALMON ne s’étonnera guère de cette inflexion à produire des images de consonnance quasi mutique. Perceptible déjà dans les séries antérieures consacrées par l’artiste à des lieux ou des situations où il est aisé de ponctionner du spectaculaire, cette particulière qualité musicale des images de Salmon n’est pas le fait du hasard. Le choix, c’est celui d’une représentation “en sourdine”, maintenue à dessein en lisière de silence, dont la fonction est d’activer une captation lente, opérant au rythme mesuré de l’imprégnation psychique.

L’image? Pour rien au monde elle ne ravirait l’esprit de manière brutale, comme le requerrait une esthétique “coup de poing”. Elle l’éveille au contraire par capillarité, sollicitant tout au plus une fixation à quoi l’on n’oblige pas. “Bruit”-elle, c’est non d’elle-même mais au terme d’un véritable travail d’incorporation demandé au spectateur, une incorporation valant comme évaluation raisonnée. Voir, en somme, devient échanger du visible contre de la pensée, de l’image contre un point de vue au moins aussi sensé que possible.

Tant que l’on y est, on insistera aussi sur ce point annexe mais certes non second, point de réflexion à quoi semble conduire tout droit la proposition photographique de Salmon: ce n’est pas de compassion qu’ont besoin les hommes abandonnés, ni de représentations consolantes, mais d’une solidarité certifiée, authentique, engagée au-delà des simulacres.


AssylumNYC: Conceptual Art Exhibition Offers International Artists a Chance to Receive Visa” 

White Box 
New York, NY, USA United States of America

Wooloo Productions, a Berlin-based art and activism collective, has invited ten emerging artists from around the world to come to New York, where they will apply for “creative asylum” at the White Box gallery in Chelsea. For one full week, from April 24-29, the gallery at 525 W. 26th St. will be converted into a “detention center,” and the artists will not be permitted to leave the premises. AsylumNYC, an investigation into contemporary regimes of exclusion, is the group’s second U.S. project.

At the conclusion of the week, one talented artist will be selected to receive free assistance from an immigration lawyer to apply for an O-1 Visa for “extraordinary ability in the field of arts.” If successful, the artist will earn the privilege to remain legally in the United States for three years. The U.S. asylum project was conceived after Wooloo Productions was awarded the Future of the Present award from Franklin Furnace in 2005 for their European project,, an online platform for asylum seekers.

“Wooloo Productions developed this concept in order to draw attention to the difficulties faced by immigrants and asylum seekers worldwide,” said Martin, coordinator of the project between Europe and New York for Wooloo Productions in Berlin. “As in real life, the majority of applications have been rejected, and the immigrants will ultimately be dependent on the goodwill of strangers to thrive in their new environment,” he said.

Last month, more than 230 hopeful artists from 43 countries submitted applications via the website The ten most relevant have been invited to “apply for asylum” and develop a work/project using only whatever materials they can get gallery visitors to provide for them throughout the week. They will be stripped of any supplies or materials they bring from home. The project brings together artists from Brazil, Columbia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Serbia-Montenegro, Ukraine, and Venezuela.

Echoing restrictions foisted upon asylum seekers, foreign artists in the U.S. must be approved by immigration authorities in order to stay and work. To qualify for a U.S. visa, an artist or any other creative professional must demonstrate “extraordinary ability in the arts” as evidenced by awards, critical reviews, or professional affiliations. They must also be able to afford the legal expenses associated with this extensive procedure.

Functioning within these processes, AsylumNYC confronts its otherwise privileged participants with their own precarious freedom of movement. Just as contemporary nation states deem themselves capable of determining whether individuals are “real” refugees, AsylumNYC asks the creative worker to prove her/his creative worth before gaining status as a “real” artist. For more information, see


Wooloo Productions is a Berlin-based international art and activism collective that provides neglected peoples with free public and experimental spaces, primarily online. In 2005, with the support of the European Red Cross, Wooloo Productions created the website for asylum seekers to use while in detention.

AsylumHOME is a user-friendly communication tool for asylum seekers and refugees. Every year, half a million refugees enter the European Union (EU) to apply for asylum. Most of these individuals are placed in “camps” while they await a decision. To improve these conditions, AsylumHOME serves as a platform for asylum seekers to express their views and share knowledge and advice with others facing similar circumstances. The AsylumHOME system has just been launched and is available in 8 languages. For more information, see

Let’s Re-make!
A three day gathering to talk about socially-engaged, political, and
critical artwork, its international iterations, history, and future


Middle of Nowhere



N55 er en dansk kunstgruppe der især arbejder med kunst som en del af hverdagen. N55 har vundet stor anerkendelse internationalt. N55 har med skiftende medlemmer eksisteret siden 1996, da den udsprang fra et udstillingssted drevet af kunstakademielever på Nørrefarimagsgade 55 i København. Efter udstillingen Social Kunst i 1994 opstod der et skænderi mellem flere af gruppens medlemmer, som resulterede i en opsplitning, hvoraf en mindre gruppe fortsatte med produktion af kunst, der havde fokus på hvordan kunst kan være en del af hverdagen.




If man is determined by his environment he is not free.
Freedom has to come not from the environment but from creativity.
Joseph Beuys
Ken Neil investigates the work of Eva Merz and Dalziel + Scullion – artists taking a political view in the north
What with all the ‘nons’, ‘nees’ and ‘no ways’ over European referenda, it is conspicuous that many EU citizens are voicing general dissatisfaction with the political class as much as they are relaying scepticism about the detail of constitutional proposals. This frustration has been demonstrated recently by the electoral rejection of the treaty, by the French and Dutch, or in the case of the Great British, by the dogged double negative which is a loud public ‘no’ to not having a referendum on these European matters. The unpopularity of Jan Peter Balkenend contributed in large part to the Dutch ‘no’. The French people’s distrust of Chirac saw his worry realised – the vote being used as a blunt instrument to bloody the government’s nose. This discontent with the operations and actors of public office superseding the political issue in question, crucially now seems to inform the zeitgeist.
Ex-Oxford don David Marquand taps into this spirit of doubt in his book Decline of the Public, 2004. Powerfully bemoaning the demise of a public domain of unrestrained democratic discourse, he makes clear that the public domain is not the same as the public sector: a country could have an extensive and influential public domain and at the same time have a small public sector. ‘The public domain should not be seen as a “sector” at all,’ he writes. ‘It is symbiotically linked to the notion of a public interest, in principle distinct from private interests; central to it are the values of citizenship, equity and service.’ In such a realm the equal rights of each and every citizen transcend the aspirations of the marketplace. Quoting the Darhendorf Commission’s 1995 report into Wealth Creation and Social Cohesion in a Free Society, Marquand underlines his explanation: ‘In the public domain people act neither out of the kindness of their hearts, nor in response to incentives, monetary or otherwise, but because they have a sense of serving the community.’
It might seem that denying the public a referendum on EU matters, especially when neighbours are given the opportunity, is yet more evidence of not just a lack of equity but also, following Kelly-gate and Iraq, an inevitable absence in presidential-style government, of a trustworthy service ethic. Marquand observes, with special focus on Iraq, that certain credible debates are being excluded from our public sphere because of private market-orientated interests, and worryingly, that certain debates are excluded from Cabinet because of clandestine interests held by senior politicians and their advisers. As a measure of the status quo, Marquand points out that even though Thatcher’s Cabinet was populated by trembling sycophants, she did consult it en masse over crucial issues more regularly than does New Labour’s ruling executive of private appointees.
The existence of this diminished public faith gives succour to so-called ‘relational’ art projects. If presidential politics limits civic engagement in the political process beyond the occasional revenge vote, a social contract of sorts might instead be found by the disaffected individual in the experiencing of art. By actively offering opportunities to engage with important political matters, relational art practice, as rebranded by Nicolas Bourriaud, can exist to serve a community when an ought-to-be-relational public domain fails to do just that.If this ‘new’ role for art sounds liberal, noble and innocuous, beware, for there is much more to be said about the dangers involved in devolving ‘things that matter’ to community groups and organisations as part of a government project which controls what can be critiqued. But setting that caution to one side, what is certain is that increasing numbers of artists are working in an overtly relational manner, attempting to reclaim through their projects, a space for democratic engagement with issues which might otherwise be kept from public scrutiny. One artist who successfully navigates this precarious terrain is Aberdeen-based Eva Merz of the artists’ collective The New Social Art School.
Fresh from completing ‘ASS Showing Off’, a film sponsored by Peacock Visual Arts in which she establishes common ground between Aberdeen Street Skaters and Aberdeen City Council, Merz has been exploring Tesco’s bid to build on a playing field in the northern market town of Huntly in Space/Retail/Magic. Employing David Hockney’s exhaustive technique of collaging photographs, and applying her interest in the dynamics of community, Merz displayed for Huntly townsfolk, three huge digital photo-collages which intensely illuminate this familiar conflict of private and public. The first collage, ‘Space’, pictures an abandoned Tesco in Inverurie; the second, ‘Retail’, shows a newly-built Tesco in Elgin (erected around the corner from an abandoned one); and the third, ‘Magic’, focuses in on the Market Muir in Huntly, a prospective site for another outpost of the Tesco enterprise.
Just prior to the exhibition in Stewart’s Hall, protests from the residents convinced the council and corporation to find a different home for the development. The display then invited a celebration of this local lobby and encouraged a general consideration of the ‘cost’ of building these massive supermarkets. More efficacious than the dutiful efforts of a Round Table chairperson, Merz’s work itself ‘convenes’ and enlivens the public space – the structure of ‘Retail’ triggers a sense of nausea over the inflation of consumer spaces and shame for the destructive car-capsule lifestyle it engenders. The result is a very rare and healthy balance between deserving calls-for-attention from the artefact, and the political matter of fact. With reference to the Charles Esche phrase, Space/Retail/Magic evidenced the potential of relational art projects to achieve an ‘engaged autonomy’.
Also generated and curated by Claudia Zeiske’s Deveron Arts, Dalziel & Scullion’s current venture breath taking presents an image of wind farm windmills on billboards around the UK, aiming to make visible elements of the complex agendas surrounding eco-energy. Although there is no reason to doubt the artists’ sense of service ethic, and the selected image is significant by being cleverly located, this grand series points as much to a difficulty with relational art as it does to energy technologies.
Bourriaud’s theorising offers a useful term by which to approach the double-edged nature of breath taking. Many contemporary artworks, he notes, are trailers, works which herald forthcoming events, or indeed events which never occur. Such trailers offer a perverse and symptomatic variation on Robert Smithson’s concept of the non-site. That so many of us, but not Merz, are satisfied with the beguiling trailer, is indicative of the foolhardy relegation of final output.
In Marquand’s terms, the actual substance of politics is too often deferred – indefinitely delayed by the prologue. In formal politics, he implies, sticking to manifesto-style pronouncements at the expense of conclusive debate, as too many of our politicians do, frustrates serious democratic discourse. Or, persist with non-sites and in time you can eschew responsibility for actual sites.
It could be that despite the relational ambitions of these billboard images, Dalziel + Scullion have this time offered us spectacular trailers; never-sites of deferred discourse. This deferral happens chiefly because presentational strategy overtakes the matter in hand, the inverse of Space/Retail/Magic, and a trap for much relational practice. There is a conceptual rationale to the siting of the wind farm image – adjacent to, for example, Aberdeen’s oil-centred harbour and Glasgow Central’s diesel engines – but the billboard, although effective in heralding an art project to the art world, will always struggle to establish a credible public platform. This is because, tediously, within our image saturated public spaces, the billboard is simply a mundane spectacle. It is also, within the presentational practices of the art world, the general-arts graduate, arriviste cousin of Victor Burgin’s fly-poster. The political theme of breath taking risks not being complemented by a body politic – save for the seminar on energy which launched the work in May.
Relational art such as this sees the artist anxiously downplay direct communication and sidestep conclusion to avoid being hanged for pontificating. Notwithstanding Merz’s success, it is this anxiety which exposes the application of Esche’s ‘engaged autonomy’. It does describe work such as Merz’s which maintains an autonomous presence as art while offering an instrumental effect. But the phrase too often legitimises art which gestures towards topics from the ‘things that matter’ file without being either particularly clear in its message or innovative in its structure and delivery. It might be said, then, that the art of good relational public art lies in the offering of a discursive conclusion by way of an inventive and engaging product. There is an art to the presentation of a public thing which boldly reveals its socio-political import while remaining magically strange.
And is it not this sense of the strange, as much as political awareness, which encourages each of us to maintain an involvement in, and a critical distance from, what goes on around? Irrespective of political issue, the artwork itself can embody a powerful distinctness and lead by example. As Marquand tells us in related terms, that quality of involved distinctness is one which is vital to the preservation of a public domain which might have the strength to resist the homogenising strategies of market forces.
(Ken Neil is an artist, critic and director of the MFA course at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen)


Shilpa Gupta’s ‘blessed bandwidth’

«target. autonopop» made the following contributions to the
XVth Biennale de Paris
“Quadrophonischer Kunstkopf”: Le Coin d’Écoute Diedrich Diederichsen
was installed in two Paris locations
A one-and a half hour discussion involving members of the audience followed the initial presentations by the panel members, with over 70 people  in attendance.
Some of the topics addressed: concept(s) of representation in art versus representation in politics, the possibility of concrete political approaches in art, the nature of capitalism today, the XVth Biennale de Paris and the experiences of participating artists.
At the risk of simplifying somewhat, one could say that divergent options emerged in the course of debate: on the one hand, a project for a representational art within a scheme of radical non-representational (non-parliamentarian) politics; on the other, a non-representational (agitation supplanting contemplation) art that is not yet ready to “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” and thereby accepts some degrees of delegation and representation in politics. The relevance of public art institutions (worth fighting over, or irrelevant?) was also duly considered and debated. Finally, this bdp-related question was raised: what does it mean when the practice of artists who leave the artworld is highlighted in a discourse that operates within the art context?— is this not a way of affirming (despite appearences) art, nevertheless, and if so: what kind of aesthetic dispositions are thereby prevailing? What is the “residue” that makes this non-art artistically-relevant to some nonetheless? Or, how does one ‘get into’ art in the first place, does leaving art mean one is in the ‘real world’, and is this option available to all, bearing the same or similar consequences?

Tates Archive of Intermedia Art

Temporary Services

Territoires De Fictions

The Bomb Project

University of Openness

Ursula Biemanns GEOBODIES

– BORDERPHONICS » EUROPLEX – Ursula Biemann, Angela Sanders

EUROPLEX – Ursula Biemann, Angela Sanders

LIVE! Projection@MétallosMédiaLab
Documentaire expérimental, vidéo, 20′, 2003

Europlex suit distinctes activités de la zone frontalière Espagne Maroc et en rend visibles les motifs. Sur ses trajets répétitifs du poste de frontière à l’enclave espagnole, la vidéo suit en trois séquences les femmes contrebandières qui superposent des couches de vêtements sur leurs corps, la permutation journalière des domesticas qui se transforment en voyageuses du temps alors qu’elles passent dans les deux sens des fuseaux horaires Marocains et Européens et les femmes marocaines qui travaillent dans les zones transnationales en Afrique du Nord pour le marché Européen. Toutes ces trajectoires qui courrent sous l’impératif des frontières territoriales, tissent, quoi qu’il en soit, une couche essentielle de l’espace culturel et économique entre l’Europe et l’Afrique.

Ursula Bieman a étudié l’art et la théorie critique à Mexico, et à la School of Visual Art ainsi qu’au sein du Whitney Independent Study Program à New-York et vit aujourd’hui à Zurich. Son art et sa pratique curatoriale explorent le genre et la globalisation, les zones de libre échange, la communication virtuelle et les frontières.
Elle réalise des essais vidéo qui dressent une carte des effets de la globalisation et d’un nouvel ordre mondial sur les femmes, sur la condition genrée de l’industrie numérique globale, la sexualité féminine et le marché de la rencontre dans le cyberespace. Ses vidéos ont été présentées lors d’expositions et festivals internationaux. En plus de son travail vidéo pratiqué en solo, elle travaillé à la fois comme commissaire d’exposition et artiste au sein de projets collaboratifs pour nombre d’expositions internationales de grande envergure dont “Kültur” pour la biennale d’Istanbul en 1997, qui interrogeait la migration, les politiques urbaines, et la ville d’Istanbul dans son devenir global et plus récemment de “Geography and the politics of mobility” à la Generali Fondation à Vienne. B_books à Berlin a récemment publié son écrit d’artiste intitulé “Be there and back to nowhere – le genre dans les espaces transnationaux”. Elle enseigne actuellement à HGKZ, l’Ecole d’art et de design de Zürich et à l’Ecole supérieure d’art de Genêve, et est intervenante régulièrement lors d’évenements internationaux.

Angela Sanders, Zürich, est vidéaste et anthropologue. Jusqu’à présent, sa recherche s’est principalement concentrée sur les conditions de vie et de travail des femmes marocaines employées comme “domesticas” (femmes de ménages) en Andalousie et nord du Maroc (Ceuda, Melilla). En plus de son travail académique, Sanders produit ses propres vidéos, telles Irina, 2001, un portrait d’une femme ukrainienne migrante dans le sud de l’Espagne et un documentaire de 30 min. à venir sur les domesticas à Séville. Europlex, une collaboration avec Ursula Biemann étudie les mouvements à la zone frontalière ibériquo-moracaine, a été projeté dans des expositions et festivals majeurs en Europe. Son plus récent documentaire, “Domestic scapes” s’inscrit dans la vie quotidienne de travailleurs domestiques à Séville et dans les enclaves espagnoles Ceuta & Melilla. Elle a écrit de nombreux articles sur le genre, l’identité, le cinéma et les médias. Elle publie régulièrement, et est membre de l’équipe éditorial de “FRAZ”, un magazine féministe suisse.

Europlex tracks distinct cross-border activities through the Spanish Moroccan borderlands and seeks to make these obscure paths visible. On their repetitive circuits around the check-point to the Spanish enclave, the video follows in three borderlogs the smuggling women who strap multiple layers of clothes to their bodies, the daily commute of domesticas who turn into time travellers as they move back and forth between the Moroccan and European time zones and the Moroccan women working in the transnational zones in North Africa for the European market. All these trajectories move around and inbetween the imperative of the territorial borders, they form, however, a vital layer of the cultural and economic space between Europe and Africa.

“Material reality comes into being in the most surprising and diverse ways”, prologs the video. A meteorites crashes down on the Moroccan desert patrolled by military jets, Berber nomads reports the event to U.S. astro-scientists who classify and name the major stone Bensour, while local dealers sell the smaller ones to tourists. This obscure incident makes a set of relations visible, spatial, and material. A space emerges from the convergence of astrophysical recordings, military reconnaissance, the life fields of the nomads, the market of dealers and tourist routes. Their presence in the area is temporary and transitory yet their distinct paths relate to one another through the event of the fall. All of them give cultural meaning to the space and to each other.

border log I: smuggling – a cartography of struggle

The site is the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave-city Ceuta that is embedded in an otherwise Moroccan landscape. Smuggling is an integral part of the daily border culture that is performed, for the most part, by Moroccan women. Venturesome and with economic calculation they have established a high risk, clandestine, transaction system based on mutual trust. Circumscribing the architecture of the authorities up to eleven times a day, they inhabit the border in a non-linear, circular way, carving out an existence for themselves. Towards the best possible mobility for crossing, the female smugglers strap shirts and cloths to their body, layer by layer, until they have doubled their body volume. Every piece will increase the profit margin of her passage. The economic logic inscribes itself onto every layer of the transforming, mobile, female body.

border log II: living in a time lapse

Another repetitive movement that constitutes the border between Ceuta and Morocco is the daily commute of the domesticas, the Moroccan maids who work in Spanish households in the enclave. Since the two bordering areas are located in distinct time zones with a time lag of 2 hours, the maids turn into permanent time travelers within the border economy. Deferred time becomes the mode of their cultural positionality.

border log III: entering the generic zone transnationalism

This last part is moving into the transnational zone in Northafrica where biological, textile and technological products are being manipulated for the European market. Subcontracting enterprises in Tanger with generic name inventions like Boratex, Sotema, Europlex or Sotradex intersect container shipments from Westafrica on their way to Mediterranean or North European destinations, invisibly servicing and conforming goods to Euronorm standards.

Making a film on clandestine migration, the Moroccan director Mohammed Smail hired extras for a shoot of a boat scene on the beach at Oued Laou. The next morning he was surprised to see that the whole lot of them had crossed over to Europe.



Sites :


Monde 1 – Exposition Frontières – Muséum – Département du Rhône

De la mer de Egée à la mer de Barents, voyage en frontières orientales
” …Du fleuve Evros, entre la Grèce et la Turquie, aux paysages désolés de la toundra arctique de la péninsule de Kola, qui sont les frontaliers de l’Union ? Quelle est leur histoire ? Comment vivent-ils au quotidien cette nouvelle architecture européenne ?…”

Frédéric Sautereau, photo reporter – l’Œil public – D.R.
Guy Pierre Chomette, journaliste

Frontières est une exposition présentée au Muséum de Lyon du 3 octobre 2006 au 4 février 2007. Elle est partagée en huit thèmes (comme autant de «mondes de frontières» selon l’expression choisie par les commissaires):

  • les frontières de l’Europe et la question de ses limites
  • les enjeux de migration dans le monde — le cas européen
  • les frontières restant fermées — la Corée du Nord
  • les contentieux territoriaux: le Cachemire, région déchirée
  • une frontière en devenir: Israël et la Palestine
  • les enjeux économiques des frontières issus de la mondialisation — entre le Mexique et les États-Unis
  • le monde des peuples errants — les Roms dispersés en Europe
  • les frontières perméables et durcies — l’exil des réfugiés.

Réfléchir sur la frontière, qui est toujours séparation et contact, rupture et passage, n’est pas nouveau en géographie. L’originalité de l’exposition est qu’elle multiplie les perspectives en provoquant une rencontre, celle de géographes (Michel Foucher et Henri Dorion, commissaires scientifiques de l’exposition), d’un cartographe, de photographes de haut niveau, de diverses personnalités invitées à donner leur propre point de vue, de témoins confrontés à la réalité souvent complexe des frontières et des flux migratoires. Je pense notamment au Camerounais Kingsley sur le périple duquel le photographe Olivier Jobard a réalisé un reportage percutant, déjà exposé aux Rencontres photographiques d’Arles l’été 2006 et publié partiellement sur le site du Monde (1).

Une visite virtuelle et quelques extraits de l’exposition Frontières sont disponibles en ligne. Ce parcours offre un aperçu succinct des huit «mondes» définis. Il est accompagné d’extraits: textes courts (surtout de Michel Foucher), photographies, quelques commentaires audio et une courte vidéo. Les esquisses du cartographe Philippe Rekacewicz (Le Monde diplomatique) sont de trop petite taille pour être lues. Voici ce que celui-ci écrit pour expliquer son choix: «L’esquisse préfigure la carte, permet d’exprimer plus librement mais plus subjectivement le caractère incertain ou temporaire de ces lignes de partage et la diversité de leur statut: il y a aussi des ‘murs’ dans les têtes, des frontières culturelles, symboliques, que seuls les crayons de couleurs arrivent à formellement mettre en valeur.»

L’exposition virtuelle est, hélas, trop limitée pour être un outil de travail efficace. Reste que ce modeste parcours multimédia donne envie de se rendre à Lyon pour visiter l’exposition, ce qui est certainement le but recherché par ses concepteurs.

Pour plus de détails, on peut lire le livre collectif édité à l’occasion de l’exposition (2). J’ajoute qu’on trouve aussi des éléments utiles dans le «Dossier culturel» destiné aux enseignants, publié par le Service des publics du Muséum et téléchargeable en ligne.

Laurent Grison
17 décembre 2006


1. Cf. «Olivier Jobard: du Cameroun à l’Espagne, le parcours d’un immigrant hors-la-loi», 14 avril 2005.

2. FOUCHER Michel, DORION Henri, textes; SAUTEREAU Frédéric, JOBARD Olivier, photos (2006). Frontières: Images de vies entre les lignes. Lyon: Muséum, Glénat, Aedelsa, 160 p. ISBN: 2-7234-5874-1


Hanne Lise Thomsen – Projektion for Dansk Flygtningehjælp

Billeder af 50 flygtninge tonede efter solnedgang frem i det offentlige rum i seks danske byer fra den 3. november. Flygtninge er mennesker der er blevet forfulgt i deres hjemland, og derfor har fundet beskyttelse et andet sted i verden. Godt 120.000 mennesker er kommet til Danmark som flygtninge i de sidste 50 år. Det satte Dansk Flygtningehjælp fokus på i forbindelse med deres 50 års jubilæum i november måned.

Portrætterne blev ved hjælp af en 17 meter høj lift projekteret op på bygninger så billederne blev ca. 20×20 meter. Billedkunstneren Hanne Lise Thomsen har taget portrætterne og var kunstnerisk leder af projektet. Gennem fotografiske portrætter af 50 flygtninge sætter vi fokus på det enkelte menneskes historie. Vi vil vise, hvordan flygtninge ser ud, hvor forskellige de er og alligevel ligner alle os andre, siger Hanne Lise Thomsen. Billederne er ledsaget af en kort tekst og om de enkelte flygtninge. Hanne Lise har tidligere lavet projektioner i New York og København.

Turné: København fredag den 3. november Nykredit Kalvebod Brygge, Bernstoffsgade 1-3 Esbjerg mandag den 6. november Musikhuset Esbjerg, Havnegade 18 Kolding tirsdag den 7. november DLG/ SAF, Søndre Havnegade Odense onsdag den 8. november Brandts Klædefabrik, Brandts Torv 1 Ålborg torsdag den 9. november Hedegaard Silo, Nordre Havnegade 13, Nørresundby Århus fredag den 10. november Arosgården, Åboulevarden 23 -31

Billederne blev vist fra kl. 18 til 24.

Foto:Ebbe Stub Wittrup, Jakob Hunosøe & Marianne Dalbøl Pedersen
Hanne Lise Thomsen
Projektion for Dansk Flygtningehjælp
03. november – 10. november 2006



Mophradat is an international nonprofit contemporary arts association that creates opportunities for thinking, producing, and sharing among contemporary artists from the Arab World and their peers everywhere. Mophradat sees its activities as tools—artistic, discursive, logistical, and financial—for artists and cultural thinkers to use toward inventing new arts practices, arts organizations, and art publics. Mophradat believes the content—ideas, artworks, and relationships—generated through its activities contributes to diversifying the artistic and intellectual ecology making it more vital and compelling, and able to play an emancipatory role in the Arab World and elsewhere.

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