Friday, April 26, 2013

"Direct Democracy" Show

Direct Democracy explores the changing nature of our engagement with the democratic tradition and looks to the emergence of new democratic models. The exhibition reflects contemporary social movements, unrest and the desire for change; modelling key social dynamics and possible futures. In Direct Democracy destruction and resistance are connected with the need to collaborate and rebuild. Recent political shifts such as the Arab Spring, the global financial crisis and movements such as Occupy are considered in relation to earlier struggles for autonomy and self-definition, as well as the interplay of constructive and corrosive dynamics in leadership and governance. The exhibition examines the shifting forms of political agency, in both emerging and foundational democracies.
Direct Democracy continues MUMA’s ongoing series of thematic and discursive exhibitions, such as Networks (Cells & Silos) and Liquid Archive. Curated by MUMA’s Senior Curator Geraldine Barlow, Direct Democracy features the work of a number of international artists together with artists and artist collectives from Australia.

Milica Tomić, One Day, instead of one night, a burst of machine-gun fire will flash, if light cannot come otherwise (Oscar Davico, fragment from a poem). Dedicated to the members of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative – Belgrade, 3 September 2009. Photo by Srdjan Veljovic.

Artists: Laylah Ali, Hany Armanious, Natalie Bookchin, A Centre for Everything, DAMP, Destiny Deacon, Alicia Frankovich, Will French, Alex Martinis Roe, Andrew McQualter, John Miller, Alex Monteith, Raquel Ormella, Mike Parr, Simon Perry, Carl Scrase, Milica Tomic, Kostis Velonis, Jemima Wyman.

Curator: Geraldine Barlow

Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia
26 April - 6 July 2013

Στις εκλείψεις ζευγαρώνει η τέχνη

Στην έκθεση αυτή τίθεται το ερώτημα της δημιουργίας μέσα σε δυσοίωνους καιρούς πως δηλ. το ημίφως που προκύπτει από την έκλειψη που είναι η συνάντηση ετερόκλητων στοιχείων του ήλιου με τη σελήνη.

The Individual and the Mass (ou nous irons jusqu’au bout), 2011, 50 x 70 cm, printings
Η έκθεση θα πλαισιωθεί από την χορευτική παράσταση Τρία δωμάτια / έξοδος, σε σκηνοθεσία Μάκη Φάρου και Αλίκης Καζούρη, η οποία θα λάβει χώρα στις 3 Ιουνίου 2013 καθώς και μια ανοιχτή για το κοινό συζήτηση στις 30 Μαιου 2013, 19:00 όπου θα μιλησουν οι: Γιώργος Χαρβαλιάς - Πρυτανης ΑΣΚΤ, Πάνος Χαραλάμπους - Αντιπρυτανης ΑΣΚΤ, Κωστης Βελώνης - Εικαστικος, Χριστίνα Πετρηνού - Επιμελήτρια της έκθεσης.
Συμμετέχοντες Καλλιτέχνες: Κωστής Βελώνης, Μάρθα Δημητροπούλου, Λίζη Καλλιγά, Απόστολος Καρακατσάνης, Κώστας Μπασάνος, Ελένη Μυλωνά, Ζάφος Ξαγοράρης, Αλίκη Παλάσκα,Μαρία Παπαδημητρίου, Μάκης Φάρος, Πάνος Χαραλάμπους, Γιώργος Χαρβαλιάς
17.5 – 11.6.2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Designing the magazine "Utopia", 1921

Analysis of Old Masters , lithograph by Friedl Dicker and Johannes Itten, no10 from Bruno Adler, ed., Utopia. Dokumente der Wirklichkeit (Utopia:Documents of reality, Weimar, 1921)

To read only children's books

To read only children's books, treasure
Only childish thoughts, throw
Grown-up things away
And rise from deep sorrows.

I'm tired to death of life,
I accept nothing it can give me,
But I love my poor earth
Because it's the only one I've seen.

In a far-off garden I swung
On a simple wooden swing,
And I remember dark tall firs
In a hazy fever.

Osip Mandelshtam, 1908
Translated by James Greene

Group Mountain

Kostis Velonis, Athens Community in the Kibbutz  (paper, marble, ceramic, wood, acrylic, brick, 2011) 

The Breeder presents the exhibition Group Mountain by artist and architect Andreas Angelidakis.
At the core of the exhibition is a monumental work by Andreas Angelidakis that consists of cardboard boxes of art shipping companies. Their accumulation seems to be the result of continuous, obsessive buying. Angelidakis has incorporated within the installation of Group Mountain his video “Domesticated Mountain” (2012) as well as a group exhibition with works on paper which he has curated.
Group Mountain is inspired Habitat 67 a model community and housing complex in Montreal, Canada designed by Israeli–Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. It comprises 354 identical, prefabricated concrete forms that create residences with many communal spaces which integrate the benefits of suburban homes, namely gardens, fresh air, privacy, and multilevelled environments, with the economics and density of a modern urban apartment building. It was believed to illustrate the new lifestyle people would live in increasingly crowded cities around the world but it ended up as another lost utopia of the 60s.
Andreas Angelidakis has developed an artistic voice that switches between the languages of architecture, curating, writing and internet. He often speaks about spaces, buildings and the society that inhabits them, with the exhibition format acting as vehicle for ideas and medium for his artistic practice. His exhibitions challenge the viewer both in terms of their content their format, and the constantly shifting role of the exhibition maker.
The participating artists in the group show which is included in Group Mountain are the following: Danai Anesiadou, Vlassis Caniaris, Kate Davies, Antonis Donef, Uwe Henneken, HOPE, Jim Lambie, Yiorgos Lazongas, Bjarne Melgaard, Alan Michael, Irini Miga, Angelo Plessas, Paola Revenioti, Shirana Shahbazi, Christiana Soulou, Gert & Uwe Tobias, Alexandros Tzannis, Jannis Varelas, Kostis Velonis.

Group Mountain ( Andreas Angelidakis)
The Breeder Gallery, Athens
20 Apr.-29 Jun.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Someone like you

                                         Lee Friedlander, "Santa Fe," 1995.

The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Can Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century-Review

The nation state, the construct that has dominated global politics and diplomacy for two centuries, can no longer meet the needs of citizens. This is the stark conclusion of a former high-flying British diplomat who quit the Foreign Office in disgust over Iraq and who has since worked with emerging governments in trying to assert themselves on the world stage.
y the book
Carne Ross takes up where Naomi Klein, Noreena Hertz and others left off. This is an impassioned, idealistic critique of the state of global politics and the deepening rift between those with power and those without. One of the book's strengths is that he seeks solutions, though I wasn't always persuaded of their effectiveness.
Most of all this is a mea culpa. It is refreshing for a non-fiction author to be so brutal about himself. Ross was one of an elite corps of diplomats, fast-tracked to a high position at a relatively young age. He would probably have received a top ambassadorship – with all the baubles of status and comfort that he admits he found attractive – had he not jumped ship.
As the lead official at Britain's mission at the United Nations in New York dealing with Iraq, Ross was responsible for implementing policy on weapons of mass destruction and the pre-war sanctions regime. He contends that the Brits and their allies knew pretty much all along that Saddam Hussein did not possess significant WMD. Therefore, in his view, the sanctions were unjustified punishment of a people who suffered widespread privation. Ross cites experts' estimates of an "excess mortality rate" of over 500,000 children under the age of five. "Though Saddam Hussein doubtless had a hand too, I cannot avoid my own responsibility. This was my work; this is what I did."
It is when people feel dissociated from the consequence of their actions that harm is done. The author recalls Stanley Milgram's famous laboratory experiment from the 1960s, which showed how easily humans could obey orders to torture, giving electric shocks to other participants. This, Ross argues, showed not just the pernicious effects of authority upon moral conduct, but something even more revealing: "the fact that the volunteers who administered the electric shocks, crucially, were told that they had no responsibility for the results".
At the heart of the corrosion of public life is the time-old relationship between politics, power and money. Ross details the pernicious influence of lobbyists, which he argues pervades Whitehall as much as it does Washington DC. While the argument is not new, the details are engaging. From McDonald's to Pepsi, from Kraft Foods to BP, rules were bent to accommodate corporate interests. I was particularly struck by the exemption granted to Wrigley chewing gum during the imposition of sanctions against Iran. The gum, Ross tells readers, "was classed as 'humanitarian aid' and thus exempt from sanctions, permitting millions of dollars of sales".
Yet, in its desire to cover the gamut of evil-doing, the narrative loses impact. One minute readers are taken to Kosovo, the next they are told about David Cameron's Big Society. Then from Iraq they are in US healthcare. Still, this is an important contribution to the debate. Ross bravely advocates the term anarchism (a positive absence of distant, top-down leadership), which he differentiates from anarchy, the absence of rules and the onset of chaos. He seeks a new form of engagement which borrows from the right an appeal to individual enterprise and self-expression, and from the left a sense of solidarity and community.
He concludes with a nine-point manifesto for citizens to regain control of the decisions that affect their lives. It includes: work out the priorities that affect you and pursue them; identify "who's got the money and who's got the gun" (in other words, where the power resides); do what you can when you can (for example, don't wait for asylum policy to improve); help an affected family (as his parents did first for a Czechoslovak student escaping the Soviets, and 30 years later for a Zimbabwean fleeing Mugabe).I am not convinced that they add up to a whole, but the individual parts are compelling.
It comes down to on-the-ground change. The most illuminating example Ross cites is the experiment conducted in Porto Alegre. In 1989 the Brazilian city was one of the most unequal in Latin America. It then embarked upon "participatory budgeting", with citizens encouraged to join debates about local spending priorities. Some 50,000 of its 1.5 million citizens take part. Apparently the number of schools has increased fourfold, while provision of sewerage and water is now comprehensive.
His message to the elite is that if they do not listen and act, they will face the consequences: "The less people have agency – control – over their own affairs, and the less command they feel over their futures and their circumstances, the more inclined they are to take to the street."

Text by John Kampfner 
Source : 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Crafty Trickster

The Crafty Trickster, 2013, collage on paper, 50 x 70 cm

Monday, April 1, 2013

The “Latin Empire” should strike back

Detail from the 2nd century Portonaccio sarcophagus, representing a battle between Romans and Germans.

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has revived the idea of a union of Southern European countries, a proposal first launched by another philosopher, Alexandre Kojève, just after World War II. This "Latin Empire" could act as a counter weight to the dominant role played by Germany in the European Union.

In 1945, Alexandre Kojève, a philosopher who was also a high-level French civil servant, wrote an essay called The Latin Empire: Outline of a doctrine for French policy. This essay [in fact a memo to the head of the Provisional Government, General Charles de Gaulle] is so topical that it is still of great interest today.
Showing amazing foresight, Kojève maintained that Germany would soon become Europe's main economic powerhouse and that France would be reduced to a secondary power within Western Europe. He also lucidly predicted the end of nation states that had, until then, determined European history. As the modern state had emerged with the decline of feudal political formations and the emergence of nation states, so the nation state would inevitably cede the way to political formations, which he called "empires", that would transcend national borders.
These empires could not be based, Kojève argued, on abstract units that were indifferent to genuine cultural, lifestyle and religious ties. Empires – like the "Anglo-Saxon Empire" (United States and United Kingdom) and the Soviet Empire which he could see for himself at the time — had to be "transnational political units but that were formed by kindred nations".
This is why Kojève proposed that France should play a leading role in a "Latin Empire" that would economically and politically united, with the consent of the Catholic Church whose traditions it would inherit, the three major nations whose languages are derived from Latin (France, Spain and Italy), while at the same time opening up to the Mediterranean nations. According to Kojève, Protestant Germany, which would soon become the richest and most powerful European nation (which it did, in fact, become) would inevitably be swayed by its extra-European tendencies and turn towards the Anglo-Saxon Empire — a configuration in which France and the Latin nations would remain a more or less foreign body, obviously reduced to the peripheral role of a satellite.
Today, now that the European Union has been formed by ignoring the concrete cultural links that exist between nations, it might be useful – and urgent – to revive Kojève's proposal. What he forecast has turned out to be true. This Europe that strives to exist on a strictly economic basis, abandoning all true affinities between lifestyles, culture and religion, has repeatedly shown its weaknesses, especially at the economic level.
The EU's so-called unity is beginning to crack and one can see to what it has been reduced: the imposition on the poorest majority of the interests of the richest minority. And most of the time, these interests coincide with those of a single nation, which nothing in recent history should encourage us to see as exemplary. Not only is there no sense in asking a Greek or an Italian to live like a German but even if this were possible, it would lead to the destruction of a cultural heritage that exists as a way of life. A political unit that prefers to ignore lifestyles is not only condemned not to last, but, as Europe has eloquently shown, it cannot even establish itself as such.
If we do not want Europe to inevitably disintegrate as many signs seem to indicate it is, it would be appropriate to ask ourselves, without delay, how the European Constitution (which is not a constitution under public law, but rather an agreement between states, either not submitted to a popular vote or – as in France – flatly rejected [by 54.67 per cent of French voters]) can be reconfigured anew.
We could, thus, attempt to turn political reality into something similar to what Kojève called a "Latin Empire".

26 March 2013, Libération, Paris.