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Total Body Conditioning — Listening Party: Performances by New Humans and Alvin Aronson
Friday, October 17, 7-9pm

Coffee
Vodka
Take Control
Lose Yourself
Deep
Water
Flesh
Mechanics
Color
Temperature
Day Night
100%

For Mika Tajima’s Total Body Conditioning at Art in General, Alvin Aronson collaborated with New Humans on Leisure Drill (Cardio Dub), the soundtrack playing throughout the gallery space, that triggers lighting temperature shifts. Drum machine pulses periodically surface out of watery, microsound-processed recordings of a Toyota factory assembly line in Japan. Aronson will perform an extended live version of the composition in the exhibition space. New Humans will present a new vocal text for the listening party performed over “hanging strings,” an element of house music that becomes an auditory illusion–infinitely tensing and ascending without break.

Alvin Aronson is a New York City based musician and sound designer. Aronson uses drum machines and expansive synthesizer drones to create music that is both futuristic and primitive, forming a sensory connection to a larger notion of time. Aronson’s forthcoming debut for White Material records is scheduled for release in 2014.

Formed in 2003, New York-based New Humans make collaborative works involving sound, installation, and performance actions. New Humans is a moniker for Mika Tajima’s projects with other musicians, artists and designers. Recordings include Disassociate (Avant/Savant), Undercover (Circuit), AKA (Semishigure), and Disallow (Planam). New Humans collaborations include projects with Vito Acconci, Charles Atlas, John Smith, Judith Butler, C. Spencer Yeh, James Hoff, among others. Members are Howie Chen, Mika Tajima, and Eric Tsai.

New Humans performance in memory of Mike Skinner.

Special event support for Total Body Conditioning — Listening Party provided by Laughing Man Coffee & Tea

For complete exhibition and event details, please visit http://artingeneral.org/events/1225.

SELECT WORKS BY BASIM MAGDY, 2005-2011

Basim Magdy was born in 1977 in Assiut, Egypt, and lives and works in Basel, Switzerland and Cairo, Egypt. His work appeared recently in exhibitions and screenings at MEDIACITY Seoul Biennial 2014, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul; Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest, France; Trafo House of Contemporary Art, Budapest; CRAC Alsace, Altkirch, France (2014); 13th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul; Tate Modern, London; Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris; Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, UAE; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Biennale Jogja XII, Yogyakarta, Indonesia; The High Line, New York; Askhal Alwan, Beirut (2013); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; La Triennale: Intense Proximity, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Argos Art Center, Brussels; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Institut Mathildenhohe, Darmstadt, Germany (2011); Mass MOCA, North Adams and Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale dʼart contemporain, Rennes, France among others. In 2012 he was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize, Kiev and in 2014 he won the Abraaj Art Prize, Dubai. Upcoming shows include La Biennale de Montreal, Montreal and Art as a Verb, Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA, Melbourne, Australia among others.



Images, from top: 13 Essential Rules for Understanding the World, 2011. Super 8 film transferred to HD video. Courtesy On Stellar Rays. Photo: Adam Reich; An Abstract Reality Leaves You Lonely in The Spotlight, 2010. Spray paint and acrylic on paper. Courtesy of Marisa Newman Projects, New York; An Eavesdropper Lurks in the Shadows of Your Every Thought, 2010. Gouache and acrylic on paper. Courtesy the artist, Newman Popiashvili Gallery; Their Souls Stain Our Sky, 2005. Watercolors, spray paint and gouache on paper, 17 x 11 in. Courtesy Newman Popiashvili Gallery, New York; A Miracle in the Making, 2008. Acrylic, spray paint and gouache on paper, 30 x 40 cm;  A Monument For Our Short - Sighted Heroes, 2011. Watercolor, spray paint and collage on paper, 17.9 x 24.0 in (45.5 x 61 cm); Maybe There is a Message, 2008.
#MikaTajima ‘s #TotalBodyConditioning install is well under way - here’s a peek at one of Tajima’s Lucite cast acrylic sheet hot tub painting objects ! #nofilter @mikadogs @elevenrivington

Opening Saturday, 9/13, at @Art_in_General (6-8pm)

#MikaTajima ‘s #TotalBodyConditioning install is well under way - here’s a peek at one of Tajima’s Lucite cast acrylic sheet hot tub painting objects ! #nofilter @mikadogs @elevenrivington

Opening Saturday, 9/13, at @Art_in_General (6-8pm)

WHAT NOW?: Operating in Multiple Realities
Video screening curated by Başak Senova
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
6:30 - 8:00pm
Art in General, 4th Floor

Video stills, from top: Adel Abidin, Three Love Songs (2010); Inci Eviner, Nursing Modern Fall (2013); Ahmet Öğüt, Things We Count (2008); Fatma Bucak, Blessed Are You Who Come (2012); Annika Eriksson, I am the dog that was always here (2013). Images courtesy the artists

This screening and conversation between Başak Senova and Art in General Director Anne Barlow was presented as part of WHAT NOW?, a series of public programs that examines a set of questions around a central theme over the course of a year. Focusing on the topic of Collaboration and Collectivity for 2014, this series culminated in a two-day symposium organized by Art in General in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics on April 4 and 5, 2014.

For more information, including screening program and participant bios, please visit http://artingeneral.org/events/1195.

Zachary Fabri: lorem ipsumAn Art in General New CommissionCurated by Kristen Chappa

September 13 – October 25, 2014Opening Reception: Saturday, September 13, 6 – 8pm
Art in General is pleased to present lorem ipsum, a newly commissioned installation by Zachary Fabri for the Storefront Project Space.
Best known for his video work and performances that feature the artist as protagonist, Art in General will present a lesser-known trajectory within Zachary Fabri’s practice. Here, he will create a site-responsive installation for the public storefront space featuring a series of large-format graphic prints. This project, titled lorem ipsum, conflates the aesthetics of American Apparel with American Black Nationalist titles predating 1920, when Marcus Garvey popularized Pan-Africanism in the United States and abroad. The installation, manifesting as printed signage, borrows the design and marketing strategy of a trendy urban clothing store chain in order to brand a political ideology and reroute possible perceptions of the exhibition site.
Fabri’s artistic practice seeks to create a space for discourse around social and political systems of oppression through artworks that manifest in a range of mediums, including drawing, performance, photography, sculpture, and video. Continually investigating the movement and politics of the body, Fabri’s work prompts viewers to locate themselves as “insider” or “outsider.” Fabri often meditates on the memory and weight of history; the ideologies and beliefs that define us. His works offer reminders of the ideas that shape identity—exploring its limits and possible transformations.
Zachary Fabri was born in Miami, Florida in 1977 and currently lives in Brooklyn. He received a Bachelor of Fine Art in graphic design from the New World School of the Arts, Miami, in 2000, and later relocated to New York City to receive a MFA from Hunter College in 2007. Fabri’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally at Sequences Real-time Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland; the Nordic Biennale: Momentum, Moss, Norway; Gallery Open, Berlin; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Real Art Ways, Hartford; the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, New York. Fabri has completed residencies at the Jardim Canadá Art and Technology Center in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and LMCC in New York City. Upcoming exhibitions include Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond at the Brooklyn Museum, October 2014–January 2015.For complete exhibition details, please visit artingeneral.org.Above: Zachary Fabri, lorem ipsum Prince Hall 1791, 2014. Image courtesy the artist

Zachary Fabri: lorem ipsum
An Art in General New Commission
Curated by Kristen Chappa

September 13 – October 25, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 13, 6 – 8pm

Art in General is pleased to present lorem ipsum, a newly commissioned installation by Zachary Fabri for the Storefront Project Space.

Best known for his video work and performances that feature the artist as protagonist, Art in General will present a lesser-known trajectory within Zachary Fabri’s practice. Here, he will create a site-responsive installation for the public storefront space featuring a series of large-format graphic prints. This project, titled lorem ipsum, conflates the aesthetics of American Apparel with American Black Nationalist titles predating 1920, when Marcus Garvey popularized Pan-Africanism in the United States and abroad. The installation, manifesting as printed signage, borrows the design and marketing strategy of a trendy urban clothing store chain in order to brand a political ideology and reroute possible perceptions of the exhibition site.

Fabri’s artistic practice seeks to create a space for discourse around social and political systems of oppression through artworks that manifest in a range of mediums, including drawing, performance, photography, sculpture, and video. Continually investigating the movement and politics of the body, Fabri’s work prompts viewers to locate themselves as “insider” or “outsider.” Fabri often meditates on the memory and weight of history; the ideologies and beliefs that define us. His works offer reminders of the ideas that shape identity—exploring its limits and possible transformations.

Zachary Fabri was born in Miami, Florida in 1977 and currently lives in Brooklyn. He received a Bachelor of Fine Art in graphic design from the New World School of the Arts, Miami, in 2000, and later relocated to New York City to receive a MFA from Hunter College in 2007. Fabri’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally at Sequences Real-time Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland; the Nordic Biennale: Momentum, Moss, Norway; Gallery Open, Berlin; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Real Art Ways, Hartford; the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, New York. Fabri has completed residencies at the Jardim Canadá Art and Technology Center in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and LMCC in New York City. Upcoming exhibitions include Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond at the Brooklyn Museum, October 2014–January 2015.

For complete exhibition details, please visit artingeneral.org.

Above: Zachary Fabri, lorem ipsum Prince Hall 1791, 2014. Image courtesy the artist

MIKA TAJIMA: TOTAL BODY CONDITIONING
An Art in General New Commission

September 13 – October 25, 2014
Opening reception: Saturday, September 13, 6 – 8pm

Total Body Conditioning is an exhibition by Mika Tajima comprised of three scenes—display, work, and fitness—that invoke technologies developed to control and affect the body. These are techniques that shape bodily experience of time and space, taking the human body as a target of power. The works in the exhibition include Jacuzzi hot tub painting objects, a series of abstract woven textile portraits, and transparent paintings set to changing ambient lighting and sound sequences. Each scene in the exhibition traces the management of the body in different spaces and temporal contexts from the factory assembly line to therapeutic “after work” locations.

Bio
Born 1975, Los Angeles, CA. Lives and works in New York.

Mika Tajima employs sculpture, painting, video, music, and performance, often drawing on contradictions in modernist design and architecture to consider how the performing subject (e. g., speaker, dancer, designer, factory worker, musician, filmmaker) is constructed in spaces in which material objects outline action and engagement. Tajima’s most recent work extends her interrogation of the built environment and the maximized performer to the global flow of life energies sought by unraveling systems. Tajima also works collaboratively under the moniker New Humans, including on projects with Vito Acconci, Charles Atlas, Judith Butler, and C. Spencer Yeh, among others.

Tajima’s work has been shown internationally, at venues including the South London Gallery, London; Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; SculptureCenter and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York City; Bass Museum, Miami; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. She was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Tajima lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a BA from Bryn Mawr College and an MFA from Columbia University.

Special thanks to Madeline Best, Lucite Lux, and Dynasty Spas

For more information on Mika Tajima’s exhibition and Art in General’s New Commissions program, please visit www.artingeneral.org.

Above: Digital renderings courtesy the artist and Eleven Rivington

“In reality the past is preserved by itself, automatically. In its entirety, probably, it follows us at every instant; all that we have felt, thought and willed from our earliest infancy is there, leaning over the present which is about to join it, pressing against the portals of consciousness that would fain leave it outside.”–Henri Bergson
'…expanding outwards and folding into other narratives within the larger exhibition Walking Forward-Running Past…'
'Walking Forward-Running Past embraces synchronicity, connection and serendipity, presenting a group of works that explore time’s malleable form, and questioning the linear narrative conventionally measured as past, present, and future.'
Art in General’s 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Walking Forward-Running Past: Zoe Crosher, Will Rogan, Alison O’Daniel, Catherine Czacki, Tim Lee, John Baldessari, Kimberlee Venable, Andrea Geyer, Paul Chan, robbinschildshttp://www.artingeneral.org/exhibitions/517
Catherine Czacki, 2011http://www.artingeneral.org/exhibitions/519Image courtesy I f*cking love science (FB)
lkc

“In reality the past is preserved by itself, automatically. In its entirety, probably, it follows us at every instant; all that we have felt, thought and willed from our earliest infancy is there, leaning over the present which is about to join it, pressing against the portals of consciousness that would fain leave it outside.”–Henri Bergson

'…expanding outwards and folding into other narratives within the larger exhibition Walking Forward-Running Past…'

'Walking Forward-Running Past embraces synchronicity, connection and serendipity, presenting a group of works that explore time’s malleable form, and questioning the linear narrative conventionally measured as past, present, and future.'

Art in General’s 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Walking Forward-Running Past: Zoe Crosher, Will Rogan, Alison O’Daniel, Catherine Czacki, Tim Lee, John Baldessari, Kimberlee Venable, Andrea Geyer, Paul Chan, robbinschilds
http://www.artingeneral.org/exhibitions/517

Catherine Czacki, 2011
http://www.artingeneral.org/exhibitions/519

Image courtesy I f*cking love science (FB)

lkc

Alex Ito: The Home of Tao Hsiao

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B: Did you know that this would happen?

A: No- but i suspected something would happen.

B: What gave you that feeling?

A: My belief. I had given myself to these things- these bags, these buildings, these cheap stories. I was a believer. There was no questioning what I had become, because I already was.

B: What were you?

A: A part of a whole. The body’s reflection. My family was the bag, the building and the stories.

B: I’m not sure I understand.

A: The things I acquired and exchanged. A transaction. An institution. The story that ends with my happiness. The story of this place. It was important for me to uphold my family’s traditions. How could I contribute? How could I matter?

B: How could you “matter”?

A: To do service to my family. To maintain our home. To keep the story going.

B: Kind of like a sequel.

A: More like an extension to a house. Everything needs support. Whether it is was a roman column in the past or a cinderblock now, I must uphold the canon. The pyramids wouldn’t exist without all those believers. I am the next roman column- the next page.

B: You “are”? Does this mean you are still a believer? 

Art in General is pleased to present The Home of Tao Hsiao, an exhibition of new works by Alex Ito in Art In General’s Storefront Project Space. Ito’s exhibition is an extension of Art in General’s 2013 New Commission with The Still House Group, supporting not only the organization’s permanent studio roster of eight artists, but so too their network and community.

Complete exhibition details available here.

Above: Alex Ito, The Home of Tao Hsiao, installation view, Art in General Storefront Project Space, Spring 2014. Photo: Steven Probert

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“We should demonstrate by our example that capitalism also makes the labor of thinking possible on the broadest basis, as only capitalism is able to provide it.” 

-Ernst Gombrich, Aby Warburg, an Intellectual Biography (With a Memoir on the History of the Library by F. Saxl) (London: Warburg Institute, University of London, 1970), 130. 

“The path to greater economic self-sufficiency will necessarily lead to alternative lifestyles which will run counter to the image of the good life presented to us by white supremacist capitalist patriarchal mass media.” 

-bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics (Boston: South End Press, 2000), 52. 

Images from the opening of Lisi Raskin’s Recuperative Tactics and you know it when you feel it, Art in General, April 19, 2014, from top: Viewers take in Roxanne D. Crocker’s CAKE at the opening; CAKE detail. Photos: Steven Probert

artingeneral.org/exhibitions/567

New Commission by Halsey Rodman opens at HDTS

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May 31, 2014 – May 31, 2015            
High Desert Test Sites, Joshua Tree, CA
September 5 – November 21, 2015 
Art in General, New York, NY

RECENT PRESS
ON VIEW: An Artist’s Dueling Landscapes, Kareem Estefan, T Magazine, November 18, 2013. View article.
ARTISTS ON ARTISTS: Halsey Rodman by Ulrike Müller , BOMB, Spring 2013. View article.

Art in General is pleased to present Halsey Rodman’s Gradually / We Became Aware / Of a Hum in the Room, a New Commission in collaboration with High Desert Test Sites, Joshua Tree, CA.

Gradually / We Became Aware / Of a Hum in the Room presents a temporally distributed architectural structure conceived for two locations: the desert of High Desert Test Sites, Joshua Tree, CA and Art in General’s 6th floor gallery in the heart of downtown New York City. The work begins in the desert as a triangular building divided into three identical rooms. Each room has a circular window looking out upon the landscape and contains a series of near-identical “fixtures”: a desk, a chair, and a shelf. The interior and fixtures are painted distinct colors according to the single descriptive text below.

I AM THINKING OF A REVERSE SUNSET THAT NEITHER OF US HAS EVER SEEN: WHAT YOU SEE IN THE SKY OPPOSITE THE SUNSET.

WHAT SURROUNDS THE PRISM IN THE DESERT IN THE FUTURE IS OUT OF REACH SO

I WILL PULL THESE COLORS FROM THE AIR.

FOUR COLORS ABOVE THE TAN DESERT SCRUB IN THE GRAYING SKY FADE TOWARDS THE LIGHT BLUE DUSK: DUSTY PURPLE, MAGENTA, FADING RED, PEACH AND ON INTO THAT AIRLESS BLUE

THE FIFTH COLOR IS YELLOW: THE CONE OF A FLASHLIGHT IN A PITCH BLACK ROOM

One year later the work will be dismantled, transported, and reassembled inside Art in General’s gallery, the previous exterior walls unfolded to become the interior. The three (formerly) exterior walls create a central, open triangular area and the interiors and walls of the rooms will be splayed-out around the perimeter. All windows in the gallery are open, allowing the shifting light to filter in, clock-like, from the outside. The presence of the desert landscape is collapsed into the center of the inside-out structure, an exterior folded in upon itself. This inverted structure, now established as a zone of exchange, interpenetration, and blurring between interior and exterior, suggests a consensual, productive encounter of time and architecture.

Halsey Rodman (b. 1973) is an American artist living and working in New York, NY. Rodman received his BA from the College of Creative Studies at the University of Santa Barbara in 1995 and his MFA from Columbia University in 2003. Rodman has been the subject of solo exhibitions including Cave System or Ear Canal, Soloway, New York, NY (2013); The Birds, Guild & Greyshkul, New York, NY (2008); The Navigator’s Quarters Must Not Be Disturbed, Guild & Greyshkul, New York, NY (2006); among others. His work has been exhibited in numerous group exhibitions including A Room in Three Movements, Sue Scott Gallery, New York, NY (2011); in here, Laurel Gitlen, New York, NY (2010); The Line of Time and the Plane of Now, curated by Jacob Dyrenforth, Ohad Meromi, and Halsey Rodman, Harris Lieberman, New York, NY (2007); among others. His work has been the subject of articles in The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Brooklyn Rail, TimeOut New York; among others.

Founded in 2002, High Desert Test Sites, is a non-profit organization that pays tribute to inspirational figures in our surrounding community and generates dialogue and reciprocal exchange with international contemporary artists and critical thinkers whose practices transcend traditional art world formats. Over the last eleven years HDTS has endeavored to encourage experimental art that engages with the world at large. We support and draw attention to independent projects that happen outside of the auspices of larger institutions and challenge artists and audiences to expand the definition of art to take on new areas of relevancy.

High Desert Test Sites is grateful to their generous supporters and volunteers, including Malado Francine Baldwin, Luke Davis, Josephine Edmondson, Lauren Gallow, Anna Ialeggio, Hannah Jackson, Sophie Stid, and Angie Terry.

Additional support for Gradually / We Became Aware / Of a Hum in the Room provided by Guerra Paints. Special thanks to Eric/Blumberg Designs and Vance Wellenstein & Phil Lubline/Other Means, and Toporovsky Triplets.

Image: Site for Gradually / We Became Aware / Of a Hum in the Room, at High Desert Test Sites, Joshua Tree, California, 2014.


'Propulsion' by Christine Sciulli
Installed at Art in General’s Spring Gala
Honoring Visionaries Lisa Dennison and Phong Bui
April 22, 2014
ROOT[Drive-In] Studios
443 West 18th, NYC

Video courtesy Christine Sciulli
www.soundandvision.cc

(Source: vimeo.com)

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Robert Sember on the topic of “Collectivity,” presented as part of What Now? 2014: Collaboration & Collectivity at the Vera List Center Saturday, April 5, 2014. 

For the members of Ultra-red, the question of political listening attains urgency because of our specific commitments to class struggle. Both within the cultural action of Ultra-red and in our political contexts outside/alongside Ultra-red, we witness continually how the failures to determine a deliberative process of collective listening results in all manner of obstacles within the very confines of movement building, not to mention the procedures of listening required in contested encounters with state power and its class masters. And yet we know from our own experience as well as through scholarship, that movements sustain themselves or not in large part due to their capacity to develop listening protocols, either intentionally authored or adopted from existing social and political forms, such as the church, the family, the classroom, or friendship. Oftentimes organizers, activists, and base communities resist intentional protocols of listening on the grounds that such procedures trigger a feeling of in-authenticity or unnaturalness. And yet in that resistance we can hear the conflict between competing protocols and even the friction between underlying ethical systems. As the sociologist Francesca Polletta has pointed out, movements organized upon the armature of friendship can find intentional processes inauthentic precisely because those processes demand a reorganization of relations and even a shift in ethical foundation from one based on affinity to one that becomes available to the stranger or outsider. Throughout these often painful episodes of transition and re-examination, the existing protocols of listening come under scrutiny and risk themselves seeming strange and unnatural. Thus, it could be said that listening as a political practice is always an encounter with the stranger in our midst.  At this point, I can signal a third dimension of collectivity that may be of interest here, which is the question of leadership.  The move to collective listening can be an opportunity to diminish or dilute the tendency for a collective to be organized around a single personality or particular authority.  Related to this issue is the difference in the roles individuals can play within collectives.  A particularly important distinction to be made is between the individual as organizer and the individual or collective as protagonist of struggle.

In Ultra-red’s consideration of leadership, we often turn to the legacy of Ella Baker, a woefully underappreciated civil rights organizer.  Ella Baker helped form economic cooperatives in Harlem in the early 20th century, and greatly increased the national membership of the NAACP while actively critiquing the organization’s hierarchical and male-dominated structure.  She is probably best remembered for her work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  Under Miss Baker’s guidance SNCC members practiced a form of organizing grounded in procedures of listening that involved disciplined attentiveness and active questioning. Working closely with poor, rural communities in segregated Southern states, SNCC activists saw their role as using an active practice of listening to assist the constituency find its own power and solutions to problems. Even when the work of SNCC became consolidated around voter-registration campaigns, those campaigns always assumed the primary aim of developing and reproducing leadership within and among the community itself. SNCC activists were not the protagonists of the movement.  They were its organizers. In testimony after testimony, when asked about the role of Ella Baker in the movement, SNCC alumni talk of how she taught people how to listen. That pedagogy of listening was the basis of a political literacy that then equipped SNCC field organizers to work with people and help them realize their own power to endure the brutal retaliation of white supremacist state and mass violence and eventually transform a racially defined class structure.*

Robert Sember is a member of the international sound-art collective, Ultra-red (for more information click here). For twenty years, Ultra-red has investigated the contribution experimental sound art can make to political organizing. Robert brings to his work with Ultra-red training in cultural studies and medical anthropology. His ethnographic research in the U.S. and South Africa has focused on governmental and non-governmental service sectors with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment concerns. He currently teaches at The New School’s Eugene Lang College. He was a 2009-2010 Vera List Center for Art and Politics Fellow.

*This is only an excerpt. The full presentation will be made available shortly here.

"What does it mean when a place moves? Can we imagine, while sitting in this room, that the room is now in a different country? No, we are in Paris, and Paris is in France. Or we are in New York, or we are in Reykjavik. Everywhere, we are bound to the laws of time and space. How can we break out of this truth?"

Text Citation: An excerpt from Katrín Sigurdardóttir’s ‘500 Words’ for ARTFORUM, as told to Julian Elias Bronner. For the full article, click here.
Image Credit: Katrín Sigurdardóttir. Foundation (detail), 2013. Wood and concrete, dimensions variable. Installation view.

"What does it mean when a place moves? Can we imagine, while sitting in this room, that the room is now in a different country? No, we are in Paris, and Paris is in France. Or we are in New York, or we are in Reykjavik. Everywhere, we are bound to the laws of time and space. How can we break out of this truth?"

Text Citation: An excerpt from Katrín Sigurdardóttir’s ‘500 Words’ for ARTFORUM, as told to Julian Elias Bronner. For the full article, click here.

Image Credit: Katrín Sigurdardóttir. Foundation (detail), 2013. Wood and concrete, dimensions variable. Installation view.

Jargot, Ola Vasiljeva’s current exhibition at Art in General (click here for more info), playfully investigates the pitfalls of language and its inability to fully describe and define. Jargot nods to both ‘jargon’ and ‘argot’, terms that favor understanding only to one particular group, difficult for those not included to comprehend. In and of itself ‘jargot’ is a hybrid, a mash-up, given only approximate meaning through the context of Vasiljeva’s exhibition. 
In conversation with curator Zane Onckule, Vasiljeva spoke of her relationship with language as part of growing up in Latvia under Soviet occupation. She discussed ‘Aesopian language,’ a type of doublespeak, as tactic of subversion, wherein communication was used to convey an innocent meaning to an outsider, but contained a hidden interpretation to those in the know.
“As a term, ‘Aesopian language’ was first used by Russian satirist M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin in his Letters to Auntie (1881-1882), in order to designate a ‘figurative language of slavery’, an ‘ability to speak between the lines […] at a time when literature was in a state of bondage’*. As for the practice associated with this concept, it can be traced back to the Antiquity and, even when labeled differently or used purely intuitively, it has since represented one of the most efficient forms of resistance of the intellectuals against censorship – particularly under totalitarian regimes. Lenin’s hope, declared on several occasions, was that the triumph of communism should end this ‘accursed’ language; however, historical experience proved unerringly the opposite. Not only did the installation of the communist regime lead to a proliferation and an unprecedented diversification of Aesopian language in Russia, but this practice was to spread swiftly to the other East-Central European countries entering the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence after 1945. This has been frequently emphasized by the various theoretical and applied studies dedicated to Aesopian language, mainly during the two decades following the collapse of communism in Europe.”
  
Text Citation: Terian, Andrei. “The Rhetoric of Subversion: Strategies of ‘Aesopian Language’ in Romanian Literary Criticism under Late Communism,” SLOVO, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Autumn 2012), 75-95. School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2012. For the complete text, click here.
* Lioudmila Savinitch, ‘Pragmatic Goals and Communicative Strategies in Journalistic Discourse under Censorship’, in Power without Domination: Dialogism and the Empowering Property of Communication, ed. by Eric Grillo (Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2005), p. 108. 

Image Credit: Ola Vasiljeva. Jargot, 2014. Installation view at Art in General. Image courtesy the artist and Art in General. Photography: Steven Probert

Jargot, Ola Vasiljeva’s current exhibition at Art in General (click here for more info), playfully investigates the pitfalls of language and its inability to fully describe and define. Jargot nods to both ‘jargon’ and ‘argot’, terms that favor understanding only to one particular group, difficult for those not included to comprehend. In and of itself ‘jargot’ is a hybrid, a mash-up, given only approximate meaning through the context of Vasiljeva’s exhibition.

In conversation with curator Zane Onckule, Vasiljeva spoke of her relationship with language as part of growing up in Latvia under Soviet occupation. She discussed ‘Aesopian language,’ a type of doublespeak, as tactic of subversion, wherein communication was used to convey an innocent meaning to an outsider, but contained a hidden interpretation to those in the know.

“As a term, ‘Aesopian language’ was first used by Russian satirist M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin in his Letters to Auntie (1881-1882), in order to designate a ‘figurative language of slavery’, an ‘ability to speak between the lines […] at a time when literature was in a state of bondage’*. As for the practice associated with this concept, it can be traced back to the Antiquity and, even when labeled differently or used purely intuitively, it has since represented one of the most efficient forms of resistance of the intellectuals against censorship – particularly under totalitarian regimes. Lenin’s hope, declared on several occasions, was that the triumph of communism should end this ‘accursed’ language; however, historical experience proved unerringly the opposite. Not only did the installation of the communist regime lead to a proliferation and an unprecedented diversification of Aesopian language in Russia, but this practice was to spread swiftly to the other East-Central European countries entering the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence after 1945. This has been frequently emphasized by the various theoretical and applied studies dedicated to Aesopian language, mainly during the two decades following the collapse of communism in Europe.”

  

Text Citation: Terian, Andrei. “The Rhetoric of Subversion: Strategies of ‘Aesopian Language’ in Romanian Literary Criticism under Late Communism,” SLOVO, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Autumn 2012), 75-95. School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2012. For the complete text, click here.

* Lioudmila Savinitch, ‘Pragmatic Goals and Communicative Strategies in Journalistic Discourse under Censorship’, in Power without Domination: Dialogism and the Empowering Property of Communication, ed. by Eric Grillo (Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2005), p. 108. 

Image Credit: Ola Vasiljeva. Jargot, 2014. Installation view at Art in General. Image courtesy the artist and Art in General. Photography: Steven Probert