This week the Former West conference brought some of our favorite theory all-stars to the Haus that soon became a second home. The unacceptable weather made us more inclined to sitting and listening than moving from gallery to gallery but no regrets! We also managed to make it out to Arts Club Berlin, Kuckei+Kuckei, Art Laboratory, and L’atelier kunst(spiel)raum.
For those of you who are just joining us now for this new version of “WDIM” here’s how it goes: the comments are not intended to provide a review of the shows or works we are seeing, but rather a review of the event, what is overheard and observed to help you judge whether something was really “missed”. Let’s see how this week’s events fall on our Miss or Diss scale:
Boris Groys, Art Production @ Former West, Haus der Kulturen der Welt
+3 for FINALLY finding a venue that can accommodate everyone that wants to be in Boris’s majestic presence…
Hito Steyerl, I Dreamed a Dream: Politics in the Age of Mass Art Production @ HKW
no points but we were really hoping that Hito was going to sing Les Mis…
Dissident Knowledges Exhibition, Former West Opening @ HKW
No points but this Marlene Dumas installation evokes last year’s abc fair, and I doubt that was the intention…
+9 for Phil Collin’s video work, they shoot horses (2004)…after completing an evening long lecture marathon, stumbling upon this video of a dance marathon (420 minutes!!) was a real treat. The dancers were AMAZING, just some normal looking people breaking out their best moves. The catchy, loud soundtrack even got some of the viewers to dance too.
Kinay Olcaytu, "Iconographic proof: On the absurdity of all cultural comparison" @ Arts Club Berlin
Christopher Kulendran Thomas and Tom Trevatt, Art After Spectatorship? @ HKW
No points, but they kept saying things like “I can skip over the Claire Bishop part because this audience is familiar with it;” one the one hand it’s a compliment but on the other hand maybe it overestimates some people.
Also no points because I can’t decide if this was a good or bad thing, but the first person to speak during the Q&A sure had some ego to spare…
Bold audience member: I appreciated the first part of the talk by Christopher because it was very accessible, and although there were many complex thoughts, I still could follow through, but I’m sorry Tom, but I virtually understood nothing, and it felt like you were reading rather than actually trying to convey a thought or a concept or a meaning, and I don’t know, I don’t think that’s very appreciative for the time that we spent here.
Christopher: Well hopefully some things we have been discussing will come out in the discussion that we can have now.
Tom: Can I ask if you have a particular question and maybe we can talk about it?
Bold audience member: I understood nothing so I can’t ask a question.
Tom: Thank you very much!
Honestly when I don’t quite understand something I assume it is my fault for not paying close enough attention, so this guy was sure confident in his listening comprehension; kind of unnecessarily aggressive in my opinion because it was pretty awkward for everyone.
Franco Berardi Bifo, Game Over (?) @ HKW
Qiu Zhijie and Boris Groys, Towards Total Art @ HKW
-3 for most of the audience filing out of the auditorium before this conversation even started…
-3 for then kind of regretting staying for this lecture…Zhijie tried to talk about too many different projects during his presentation, and it probably didn’t make much sense to people who aren’t familiar with his work.
Irit Rogoff, Infrastructure @ HKW
-4 for space problems…She wanted a small room, but this led to a rigid door policy due to “safety reasons,” and people who were left outside were banging on the door. Don’t underestimate your fabulousness, Irit!
Stefano Harney, Logistical Infrastructures and Algorithmic Institutions @ HKW
+15 for Stefano achieving the impossible…getting me interested in finance and accounting of all things!
Ranjit Hoskote, Insurgent Cosmopolitanism @ HKW
Nikos Papastergiadis, From Permanent Red to Into Cosmos: John Berger’s Art Criticism @HKW
screening of prerecorded lecture
+5 for Nikos wearing a red t-shirt…We’ve previously mentioned our appreciation for artists who dress like (or at least dress to match) their work. How often is it that a lecturer dresses to match the title of his lecture? This was no doubt a conscious decision on his part.
+3 for the prerecorded lecture… “Greetings from sunny Melbourne!” The Former West lectures were steaming live for people unable to make it to HKW, so some lucky people were probably watching all this from bed. This guy got to give the lecture from his office; he could have gotten away with not wearing any pants for all we know. And he’s in Australia and had the foresight to know that Berlin would be cold and miserable so good for him.
+9 for the props…I was very interested in the framed image on the shelf behind Nikos. It must have had a purpose because propped up next to it was one of John Berger’s books, but what was it?? There were also two stacks of books from which he would occasionally pick out the book he was mentioning and awkwardly hold up to the camera for all to see. Not all the books in the stacks were used though, so some were just for show.
Synaesthesia / 3: History of the Senses @ Art Laboratory
Homi K. Bhabha, Age of Insecurity @ HKW
+1 for Homi’s lack of patience for the audience’s “questions” that aren’t really questions…
+5 for having one of the more concrete presentations of the
week…He spoke of the relevancy of Kant’s writing paired with a discussion of
artist Zarima Hashmi’s practice.
Entwicklungsgeschichten der Kunst 1830 – 2140 @ Kuckei+Kuckei
We outsourced everything and now we are bored @ L'atelier-kunst(spiel)raum