Posztkolonialista önkép és másság

MKE DLA/HGB Leipzig

Kollektív identitások, WESSELY ANNA
2015 szeptember 29, MKE

Wessely előadása a posztkolonialista elmélet fogalmi bevezetőjeként, a gyarmatosító nézőpontjából határozza meg a “másik” képét. Előadásában kiemeli a fogalmi meghatározások problémáját, melyben a gyarmatosított kultúra megismerése és leírása a gyarmatosító fogalomrendszerével történik, ezáltal annak autentikus volta már a percepció pillanatában sérül, s amint magáévá teszi az idegen fogalomrendszert, önmagáról alkotott képe is visszavonhatatlanul megváltozik. A gyarmatosított kultúrának az (önmaga által) origóként definiált gyarmatosítótól való kulturális kiszolgáltatottsága a jogi függetlenség kivívásával nem szűnik meg. Figyelemreméltó a posztkolonializmus alapgondolatának és Simone de Beauvoir A második nem c. feminista alapművének a párhuzamossága, mely szerint egy magát elsőnek, origónak kinevező “győztes”, és egy hozzá képest definiálható “második” viszonyát térképezik fel.

Wessely többek között arra a kérdésre próbál választ találni előadásában, hogy Magyarországnak, és a hozzá hasonló történeti poziciójú “önkolonializáló” országoknak az egykori Szovjetúnióval, vagy jelenleg az Európai Únióval való viszonya egyfajta gyarmati függésnek értelmezhető-e, annak ellenére, hogy itt a gyarmatbirodalmaktól eltérő gazdasági-hatalmi modell érvényesül. Előadása második részében ehhez Wessely az önmagát kolonializáló kultúra jelenségét elemzi Alekszandar Kjosszev: Megjegyzések az önmagukat kolonializáló kultúrákról című esszéje mentén. “ A Többiek – azaz a szomszédaink, Európa, a civilizált világ stb. rendelkezik mindazzal, ami nálunk hiányzik; õk mindazok, amik mi nem vagyunk. Ennek a kultúrának az identitását eleve a fájdalom, a szégyen jellemezte, sõt hozta létre – és hogy még általánosabban fogalmazzunk – ennek a globális hiánynak a traumája. (…) Úgy látszik, hogy az önkolonializáló kultúrák maguk importálnak idegen értékeket és civilizációs modelleket, és elõszeretettel  kolonializálják saját autenticitásukat ezekkel az idegen modellekkel. 1

Hochschule für Graphik und Buchkunst, Klasse Piller / Photographie in Zeitgenössener Kunst

A HGB képzési struktúrája eltér a bolognai standardtól, 2+3 éves osztatlan képzés, melyben a harmadik évtől művészosztályokban dolgoznak a hallgatók. Az egyetem az öt év után további egy éves Meisterschule képzést ajánl művészetelmélet és kurátori praxis témában, valamint további elméleti doktori munkára is ad lehetőséget. Az osztályban zajló munkán és az előadásokon kívül projektalapú műhelyhasználatra van lehetőség. Ezek közül az opciók közül az Erasmus hallgatók a szakosodott osztályokban kapnak helyet, ami átlagosan heti egy napos intenzív jelenléttel jár. Ezek a közös találkozók a platformjai a közös féléves tematika kidolgozásának, a professzor által meghívott előadók prezentációinak, illetve az általa bemutatott munkák megtekintésének. A hallgatók prezentálják és vitára bocsátják félkész, illetve kész munkáikat. Az osztály nagyjából minden félévben véghez visz egy-egy közös projektet/kiállítást egy másik művészeti intézmény egy hasonló osztályával, valamint részt vesz a “házi” kiállításon. Az osztály-konzultációkon túl a főiskola változatos és izgalmas elméleti előadásai és ritkaságokat bemutató filmvetítései, kiállításai minden hallgató számára látogathatók. A HÖK-nek megfeleltethető diákokból álló csoport, a stura informális szakmai és (például menekülteket segítő) aktivista programokat szervez. Az alábbi előadás-kivonatok ezeken a különböző platformokon hangzottak el, melyeket kutatási témámnak és nyelvi korlátaimnak megfelelően választottam ki. A HGB-n az őszi szemeszter októberben kezdődik, és február közepéig tart, így a beszámoló készítésének idején még tart a szorgalmi időszak.

Diana Mccarty: Feminist Media Practices

Mccarthy, a well-known figure for the community of MKE Intermedia, founder of Nettime, gave a talk at HGB for the Material Plots class. After describing her work in Hungary in the early nineties with János Sugár and others at Media Research Fundation,2, she talked about her involvement with the Berlin internet activist scene of the late nineties. Berlin hosted several independent spaces with (for those years) fast internet access, as nests of network art and critical DIY net culture in a horisontal organisation model. Self publishing was quite new in the medium at the time. These spaces soon became considered “artists & hackers lounges” sharing high hopes for an upcoming knowledge sharing revolution, publishing issues like The Guide to the Leaderless Revolution. Instead of that foreseen bright future, this community was very disappointed by the current amount of commercial space the internet provides instead. As described by Bruce Sterling3, internet users of the second decade of the 2000-s virtually walk around in online shopping malls like Facebook, allowing the mall to collect data from them for product itineration. In this relatively new universe of internet reality, Mccarthy warns activist actors to use, but not trust technogy. In her understanding and practice, media art is a pool of many tools where the actor shall always choose the matching tool for a particular context. Extensive not only in this sense, she also believes that issues of race, class and gender are all issues of feminism. Founder and speaker of a Berlin free cultural radio, she currently works on an upcoming exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin comparing the internet to a living nervous system, and still does strongly believe that the decolonisation of knowledge is possible throught online communities.

John Smith, UK

29 October, HGB
http://johnsmithfilms.com/

The experimental filmmaker Smith gave a talk at HGB on the occasion of his solo show at GFZK4 and screenings of his work at DOK Leipzig. As a well established and acknowledged artist, he talked about turning points and changing strategies in his artistic career. In 1972, he started with light shows popular at that time. Then shifted to fictionalising and questioning images of reality. In his concept, film is to transform naturalistic images of the world. For instance, in his work ‘The Hut’ (1974), a photo-animation of a small abandoned building by a lake, he made a hole on the osund section of the celluloid film by each editing point. In the scene around him at the time, ‘beauty was a dirty word’, as he puts it, everyone created works agains the natural depiction of reality. In his work the Leading Light he developed the celluloid with uneven exposure. One of his most known works, The Girl Chewing Gum is famous for the special relation of the images and the overvoice acting like if it was commanding the events. One of his other early works, Hackney Marshes is a work shot from one single point, at five different buildings that look exactly the same, reconstructing the viewers’ perception of space and narration.

In Gespracht mit Ai Weiwei
1 November, UDK Berlin

In the fall semester of 2015, Weiwei moved to Berlin to start working at UDK as a teacher. He assembled a class from selected students. He gave a talk at UDK to be interviewed by fellow teachers about his artistic practice and teaching concept. Considered to be the 2nd of top 100 influental people in the art world by ArtReview’s november issue (Wirth curators scored first), his talk was extremely popular. It’s not unimaginable that another artist and educator gives a talk new to this job, but this one was obviously also a marketing event for UDK, and somewhat definitely frustrating to the other professors. (Weiwei lives in Prenzlauberg area of Berlin, where keen art fans keep celeb-spotting him). The talk was held in a spontaneous mixture of English, German and Chinese, as Weiwei speaks no German.

Weiwei went to film school in Beijing. At that time, society and culture was higly politicalized around the almost religious image of Mao. Weiwei was much inspired and, in his words, liberated by the works of Marcel Duchamp.

Weiwei’s father was a writer, sentenced for forced labour in a brick factory for decades for political activity. So Weiwei learned how to lay bricks at the age of ten. Much later, as an artist, he built his own studios according to his needs. He was surprised to be perceived as an architect for it.

He spent ten years of his artistic career working in the United States, where he also built his own workspaces. Usually living in tiny and tidy spaces, and working in huge messy ones, he thinks that in order to fulfill an artistic practice, one needs a space that is remote from reality, while at the same time, reflects on it. They already started building their own studio with his new class at UDK, in respect of students’ nature’. As a teacher, he takes importance of field trips just as well as of a common workspace, and puts emphasis on including the idea of accidental or spontaneous events into an art education practice.

Weiwei makes an enormous amount of photo-documentation of his life, not considering it evidence but a paralell dimension with its own reality, a ‘better record for the future’, as he sais, referring to Andy Warhol’s numerous, almost unknown film and video materials presenting his age and environment. He also recalls how much his yearly amount of new pictures has grown since first obtaining a digital camera (170x). In ten years, he archived 715,000 photos.

On the topic of using found objects, Weiwei talks about returning to China after living and working in the US for ten years. At that time, in 1993, devaluated objects were very cheap at flea markets, because ‘human behaviour always prefers the new to the old’. He acts pretty satirical about the art market: ”I use objects as a medium, and call it art so that museums accept it.’ Also, elsewhere: I deleted those applicants for my class who chose me because I’m successfull. Art is not about that. Art is for the content, depth of human soul & behaviour. Art is the freedom of communication. I have no idea how the art market works, I just happen to be in it.’

His ideas about being an arts professor seem pretty humble and straight: he calls his class a pack (and presents their interviews to the public), thinks that creativity should not be put between barriors; they should design and build at the same time, thus learn by doing in practice; and even though reading is really nice, an artist is around to make things happen. At last, but not least, he highlights that nobody at all is ever privileged, and everyone has to make their own efforts for achievement. All in all, the image Weiwei showed at the talk depicts quite a simple and lightsome, arcadian character.

Barbara Wien
10 November, HGB, Klasse Piller
http://www.barbarawien.de/

Wien is an art critique living in Hamburg, playing a part in a class-to-class cooperation with Piller’s. In her presentation she talked about Dieter Roth’s artist books. One of them is a handwritten diary with two different texts written on one another, the first one in black, the second in red. In another Tagebuch, he displays personal sketches and details of texts. He describes the medium of the book as a container of ideas. Later on he created books for kids, and so called Schnittbücher, cut-books, including one made of comics, and another of Swedish newspaper-details binded to a book.

The philosophy of Margaret Duras by Marcus Steinweg

11 November, HGB, Klasse Piller

Steinweg is well-known for his hours-long presentations on a certain topic of philosophy with an unfolding rich mindflow based on extensive knowledge and research. In the one about Duras he compares her concept of writing to his own concept of philosophy based on her work ‘Écrire’ from 1993. Steinweg does not limit the concept of philosophy to academic practice reflecting on the history of philosophy, but extends it to the invention of new concepts and vocabularies, and that is where he sees the analogy with the work of Duras. In a safe world of codification there is a certain inconsistency that marks the character of this consistent universe of facts, and philosophy is to interrogate the trust in this reality field of common agreement. In Duras’ concept, the traditional writer is inventing and affirming consistencies, while she invents and defines her own concept of literature, called writing, in order to open up to the very inconsistency of the world. Stweinweg characterises the oeuvre of Maurice Blanchot, contemporary of Duras as an oeuvre forcing the reader to deal with the unexpected/uncanny. Steinweg examines the idea of the human subject throught the history of philosophy from Descartes and Kant to Derrida to define freedom as the condition of responsibility, depending on a very particular human subjectivity, that is not, at least in the 20th Century, necesarrily part of an universal structure (or transcendental subjectivity). Thus the subject experiences itself as a subject, and as the scene of permanent destabilisation.

In the final part of his lecture, Steinweg analyses the very literature of Duras. According to her work Emily L, where Emily L writes a poem on the inner difference of meaning, the poem reveals the blindspot pointed out above: ‘truth is not given, but it’s the experience of inconsistency of this world and of yourself in it. As an inhabitant of a world without alternatives, which is much less familiar then supposed.’
Based on Duras’ work, Steinweg makes a difference between choice and decision, as choice would be choosing from existing alternatives, while decision comes from latin de-cisio, cutting out, voting for impossibility as such. He closes his presentation with the conclusion that for him, philosophy is dealing with the ghostly part of the human subject, confronting incosistency as the very truth of reality, and accepting essential solitude as the very character of it.

7 Chto Delat, School of Engaged Art, Saint Petersburg

Talk by Anna Toharsky, former student of the Rodchenko school of photography and multimedia in Moscow, participant artist of an exhibition at Intimnoye mesto in St Petersburg.

“Intimnoe mesto” space received a grant to participate in The Nordwind Festival 2015 (Hamburg).
On this occasion, Toharsky organised an informal talk at HGB’s stura space.

Chto Delat is an autonomous art school in Saint Petersburg, founded by the Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung, therefore also called the Rosa-school. It is not on any scale supported by the state, furthermore, always being forced out of the buildings they rent as education spaces. Chto Delat is part of a series of phenomena in the current scene(lessness) of Russian culture. In order to understand it, Anna described a few actors on site:

Orthodox christian patrols are radical self-appointed moral guards, a non-official accumulation of different groups active from around 2010. ‘They have fun beating gay people and smashing artworks’. They are very much against the Foreign Agents.

Foreign Agents are fundations supporting human rights and democratic issues in Eastern Europe, like Soros, Rosa-Luxemburg, Heinrich Böhl stiftung. They donate money for activist art projects, thus are considered foreign agents and are banned by Russian government.

Mediapunch is an activist, feminist punk film festival with performances and demonstrations, that, in addition, promotes harm reduction for drug addicts. The festival was banned by the police, and the exhibition was smashed by the ‘orthodox christian patrols’.

Offense of religious feelings is a pharagraph of the current russian penal code that most feminist, activist, etc. events’ organisers are accused with, including Pussy Riot. Exhibitions involving nudity, feminism, and other such ideas are not recommended for underage audience, thus there is a passport-controll at the entrance, which makes it pretty hard to enter for members of the LGBT community.

Control and surveillance: 2009 marks the beginning of censorship in Russia. Currently, the topics of Crimea and Ukraine are taboo in the media. All train stations operate face-recognition cameras.

Strangely enough, the internationally known activist art group Vojna seems to be shifting sides and supporting the invasion of Crimea. A remarkable member of the group, Lonja, the Freak recently passed away in an accident on a constuction site.

There are art academies and exhibitions supported by the state, which are 100% loyal to their supporters. Alternative academies not only get no support, but their degrees are not nationally acknowledged.

Pavlenskij is a radical action-activist, who rolled himself up in barb wire, cut his ear, and nailed his balls to the Red Square, all in the recent years. He is currently in jail for burning the door of the KGB-descendant FSZB’s main building, imitating a never-happened event that a Ukrainian theatre director is accused for, and sentenced for 20 years (accused for planning (!) to burn a door of an official building in Crimea). “I would love to have the balls to nail them to the Red Square.” /Toharsky

Pure activism seems completely hopeless, everyone ends up in jail in no time. But activism as art is still doable if you keep it low-profile, so many people switch their career from normal jobs to do so. There are more and more home exhibitions of self-supporting, closed artist communities, that spread information through talks and open google docs, fb, twitter, and refuse curatiorial practice. “Intimnoe mesto” is one of these spaces. The main curator of the group is Gvidon, a dog, as a gesture of acting aganinst curatorial practice.

Feminism in art in Russia is a hot topic that is more and more popular. For instance, Gandhi is a feminist street art group (featured in this detailed English language article about current state of things in Russian art). Toharsky recalls a feminist exhibition in Moscow with over 40 artists participating, inspired by Russia in the 1920-ies. Current feminist endeavors involve unpriviledged groups, eg. working with migrant women. After the collapse of the USSR post-soviet states exploit their own workers just as the Russian did before, eg. at cotton processing. A feminist underpant collection has been presented provocatively at a highly conservative sewing school. Another notable work is ‘The models of our new society” / Sewing Tomorrow: feminist dictionary.

A szemeszterben megtekintett kiállítások és filmvetítések nagyjából két csoportba sorolhatók, az egyik csoport elismert művészek alkotásai, a másik fiatalok munkái. Meglepő volt látni, hogy Lipcse hemzseg a fiatalok egyéni- és csoportok kiállításainak megnyitóitól. Közülük számomra kiemelkedő volt Lena Tabea Hähnchen fotókiállítása, valamint a Demotapes csoportos kiállítás. Összességében a fiatalabb generáció munkáiban általában egyfajta kivitelezés-beli játékosság, lazaság érzékelhető, ami nem a tudás hiányát, inkább annak magabiztosságát mutatja. (A The Action is Go, Vitalfunktionen, Gutes Wetter in St. Leoni). Ezekkel kapcsolatban a másik érdekes jellemző a terek kihasználása. Lipcse bizonyos, fiatal művészek által sűrűn lakott környékei tele vannak olyan lerobbant terekkel, amik egy-egy ad hoc-nak tűnő kiállítás erejéig megelevenednek. Sokszor ez kőműves alapozással is jár, amitől a kollégák nem szoktak visszariadni. Néha például csak akkora tér előkészítése lehetséges, ami egy kirakatnál alig nagyobb, néha pedig előbb nyílik a kiállítás, mint maga a galéria.

1(…) az ilyen társadalmak szükségszerûen hívnak életre két szimmetrikus, rivális, egymás ellen küzdõ és egyaránt téves doktrínát. Az elsõt nyugatosításnak vagy európaizálásnak hívják – a történelem idõbeliségét leegyszerûsítve úgy állítja be, mint egy atlétikai versenyt, egy futótávot, ahol a „civilizációs” lemaradás behozható egy „felvilágosult” ugrással. (…) A másodikat bennszülöttségnek lehet nevezni, ez a Nemzet elveszett „autentikus lényegét” keresi, és sokszor meg is (azaz ki is) találja, azokból az idõkbõl, amikor még nem rontották meg az idegenek, és aztán ezt idealizálja bukolikus formában. Ez a doktrína persze küzd minden új, megrontó befolyás ellen, és a legvehemensebb nacionalista ideológiákat hívja életre…”Köztudott, hogy minden nem-traumatizált közösségben a „Miénk” ideális lényegét tekintve eksztatikusan manifesztálódik a közösség tagjai számára, és mindig olyan terminusokban, mint  Jelenlét, Jó, Szépség, Igazság, Tisztaság, Harmónia – míg az Idegen olyasmihez kapcsolódik, mint Hiány, Káosz, Tisztátalanság, Hazugság, Csúfság, Formátlanság. Keletkezésükkor (amikor saját normájukká interiorizálják, és transzformálják a másik pillantását), a traumatizált közösségek a rosszabbik végérõl élik át ezt a kétpólusúságot, úgy tapasztalják meg önmagukat, mint ami tisztátalan, nem-igaz, fogyatékos, stb. – ez egyszerûen a lényeg hiánya, egy olyan virtualitás, amely még mindig híján van egy civilizált létmódnak, és csak szégyenkezve lehet megélni. Az ilyen kultúrák további fejlõdése során azonban, amint teljes szélességében kibontakozik szublimáló és racionalizáló nacionalista ideológiája, akkor bekövetkezik a már említett kísérlet az ellentétek megfordítására – a jelzett tagokat ábrázolják jelöletlenként.”

2“In central Europe, Internet became available only with the support of the Soros Fundation” Diana Maccarthy

3 The next decade we’re entering into the teens. It’s a decade inhabited by digital natives, rather than digital revolutionaries, though this is something that has already happened. It’s already behind us, after 1989,when we switched from analogue to digital, from actual to virtual, from scientific to user-centric, local to global, multinationals to financial moguls.
in Bruce Sterling: Gothic Chic in the Future Favela

4 Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany
(‘Dad’s Stick’, ‘Lost Sound’, ‘The Kiss’, ‘Fan’, ‘The Girl Chewing Gum’, ‘Associations’ 5/9-1/11/15) 18

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