55 Decoys and disruptions

Zehar #55

55 Decoys and disruptions

Increasingly, today’s hegemonic cultural policies are becoming fascinated with and seduced by production models that are based largely on the spectacularisation of subjective production; on the trivialisation and subsequent mercantilisation of the discourses.

In this sense, the proliferation of museums, centres of contemporary culture and artistic events, forms part of a utilitarian vision of culture, where culture primarily operates as a feature for tourist promotion, urban reform or political propaganda, rather than a tool of social construction. As Catherine David says, the almost dominant consolidation of spectacle culture in the 1990s led to the abandonment of a cultural policy related to the production and transmission of social complexity, and with the critical building of an awareness of the faults and shortfalls in this society. The result was that cultural commitment —and the construction of citizenship— resigned en masse.

At a time when some artistic and cultural practices insist on legitimising conventional systems of representation, obstructing the visibility of other emerging forms, we wonder how and to what extent it is possible to think and act otherwise. A decidedly sacrificial — even agonic— character appears to be being imposed on certain cultural practices. But it is in this antagonism with the consensus of the prevailing political discourse that we can open up spaces for rethinking the subject relations, creating new forms and ways of essence and state. It is in this conflict between assimilation and resistance that we try to devise structures of social and collective production that accentuate the political perspectives of cultural practice. As Marius Babias says in his text, “despite a growing marginalisation, a form of artistic practice survives and continues to evolve which points to new possibilities of cultural resistance and the construction of critical networks in which ‘specific intellectuals’, in the Foucaultian sense, come together to form a genuine intellectual group which can direct its thoughts, actions and breaks independently”. Martha Rosler, from whom we have borrowed the title of this edition, also reveals her interest not only in the production, exhibition and dissemination of art work, but also in the social and political context that determines it.

zehar55i.pdf — PDF document, 2414Kb


Ulrike Ottinger in the Mirror of Cinema. Miren Eraso

This interview was held last February in Berlin. The filmmaker, Ulrike Ottinger, spoke about changes in contemporary society, women and the cinema, East and West Europe, literature, theatre, and explained the content of her image archive.

UlrikeOttinger_en.pdf — PDF document, 130Kb


What’s in a Word? Ion Munduate’s piece, Astra Tour. Gerald Siegmund

Astra Tour began on a tour that Ion Munduate made by car around the Iberian Peninsula. He established his route by following the names of the villages that he had previously chosen on the map. The journey took shape and produced two pieces, a video-installation and a performance, and the names of the villages structured the narrative in these, and aimed to set up a space for the spoken word.

Siegmund_en.pdf — PDF document, 82Kb


Subject Production and Political Art Practise. Marius Babias

This text aims to expose the ornamental arrangement and application of models of reality in the historical development of art practices since the 1990s, further to demonstrate how art threatens to disappear into its models of presentation and, finally, to show what kinds of problematic relations to plundering it maintains with the sphere of the social.

Babias_en.pdf — PDF document, 109Kb


Hito’s Voice. Susana Blas

It has been a long time since we have seen such a sincere mixture of reality, fiction and a questioning of the strategies behind the creation and manipulation of history. Hito Steyerl’s latest film, November, released in 2004 within the context of art and experimental cinema, has left its mark wherever it has been screened.

Blas_en.pdf — PDF document, 106Kb


Sightseeing in Paradise. Arturo Rodríguez Bornaetxea

The text is based on the author’s memories of a single viewing of José Val del Omar’s film Tira tu reloj al agua, Variaciones sobre una cinegrafía intuida directed, unscripted and edited by Eugeni Bonet.

RodriguezBornae_en.pdf — PDF document, 89Kb


iPod is Raping the Rapists who Raped My Village. Terre Thaemlitz

An economic overview of contemporary audio production

During the past 12 years or so that I’ve been commercially releasing electronic music, I’ve noticed a trend: every 4 or 5 years a major electronic music distributor goes out of business, taking a ton of small record labels with it. In 2004, it was EFA, the most important electronic music distributor in Germany. “So what?” you ask. To which I add, “Distributors are generally money driven fuckers of the worst kind anyway, pushing shit music in the same way book distributors try to pass off ‘Best Sellers’ as literature. Good riddance. Fight the power, etcetera, etcetera.”

Thaemlitz_en.pdf — PDF document, 90Kb


The Creative Commons’ Situation. Nicolás Malevé

This text analyses the Creative Commons proposal, and places it in some perspective, looking at the nature of the General Public License, one of the major alternatives to the use of intellectual property, as used by big business and software multinationals. And it compares Creative Commons with another proposal which has received less media coverage, the Free Art Licence.

Maleve_en.pdf — PDF document, 118Kb


“Copyright Developments Turn Us All Into Thieves”. Josephine Bosma

Transmediale 05
International Media Art Festival, Berlin
From February 4th to 8th 2005

The atmosphere of Transmediale 2005 was dominated by the presence of Steve Kurtz, member of Critical Art Ensemble (CAE). CAE’s work has always been critical of the politics that touch on the basics of our existence: our food, our sex, our control over communication and knowledge. He was the first artist that has been actively prosecuted under the anti-terrorist laws in the United States. Kurtz and CAE collaborator, Claire Pentecost, presented his case at a special session before the conference, leaving the audience stunned with disbelief.

Transmediale_en.pdf — PDF document, 71Kb
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