Contour Biennale/DAI Roaming Academy #12: ‘Planetary Records: Performing Justice Between Art and Law’

On March 11 & 12 in Mechelen, Belgium, I will be co-curating the public program of this event in collaboration with the biennale’s exhibition curator, Natasha Ginwala. Here is the Intro to the Opening Weekend:


As a system of rules constructed and enforced through institutions to regulate behaviour, negotiating legacy relations between particularity and general application, while being maintained through textual and oral interpretation, law is a space of great—if denied—aesthetic deliberation. Justice, quite differently, might be figured as an intractable entanglement of relations, intentions, affectabilities and adjustments between ever-moving, never-global, densely articulated bodies.

The law’s modernization in the colonial epoch consolidated limits for possible relations between justice and law, in its ontological set-up of male persons with base units and rights of property in contractual relation. Engendered and ethnocidally arranged through this fractal abstraction, juridical modernism foreclosed the order of land-based life and literacies. Its decrees of ‘right’ expansion continue to be built upon and innovated, while it secures and distinguishes only particular subjects, objects, and things, into investment-worthy relations.

When artists engage procedures of witnessing, testimonial production and the performativity of the trial, allegories of justice and modes of theatricality surface to haunt the past and present. These spectral zones must constantly be inspected and contested, just as ghosts must be evoked in order to deal with their unfinished legacy. Film and performance are vehicles among many that carve out alter-civilizational images and conceive legibility for eroding matters of injustice. Working from Mechelen, this co-curated programme invites artists, theorists and filmmakers to explicitly unpack the technicity and asymmetrical power of European legal infrastructure. Over two days the program examines artists’ role in challenging normative legal foundations while transforming our understanding of response-ability to double-meanings of law/lore, and tracing the inevitably formal dimensions of present day struggles.

How do ongoing planetary rebellions determined through existing value forms and categorizations, including the racial categorization of “no body / no thing” aim at legal rupture when placed before the courts, without falling into mimetic disfigurements within this very same insufficient order? What does it mean to take an eye or ear to scenes of struggle that reverberate well beyond as well as inside legal institutional terrains? How can artists’ own literacy in post-media conditions—very much at play inside the contemporary law court—make sense of possible realisms against and beyond juridical modernism’s reproduction of capitalism and its increasingly death-driven function?

The artists of Contour Biennale 8, Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium, are connected through their attention to aesthetic contestations of the juridical beyond its present coding, their productive dealings with a planetary regime of impermissible evidence, and their ritualistic as well as counter-analytical engagements with an expanding, expropriated archive. The “record” here is often not data that can be positively marked up or collected in advance, but instead, what is lived while being judged to be outside of proper adjudication. To cultivate flexible imagination around these juridical-aesthetic impasses is to work through the persistent constraining of just realisms, where survival is constantly at stake. Here, justice itself becomes the medium through which we cannot avoid moving through, within and around.

For the full program, click here: Contour 8 Public Program

[Image of the artist Rana Hamadeh performing  ‘Can You Make a Pet of Him Like a Bird or Put Him on a Leash For Your Girls?’]

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Die Konsequenz(en) der Kunst, ADBK, Nürnberg

Die Konsequenz(en) der Kunst lectures, Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg

Die Konsequenz(en) der Kunst, or The Consequence(s) of Art, is a series of four lectures and conversations curated by faculty members Prof. Kerstin Stakemeier and Prof. Lars Blunck and hosted at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg.

On three thematic panels artists, theoreticians, researchers and producers present their takes on the possible consequence(s) of art, followed by a joint discussion with the panel and audience.

I take part in the Demonstrations of Consequence(s) talk alongside cultural theorist Paul Feigelfeld (Lüneburg/Berlin) and artist Susanne Winterling (Offenbach/Berlin). on October 27th 2016 at 19:00.

See the full program here: The Consequences of Art program

The philosopher Alenka Zupančič recently proposed the concept of consequence as a measure of our actions. Instead of hoping for the social normalization of our acts, those should rather be directed by the consequence(s) they entail. With Zupančič we can also ask for the consequence(s) of art, its having consequences as much as its being consequential. And it is therefore that the notion of consequence seems geeignet, to foster a discussion in which the arts are not primarily understood from their products and distribution but rather as a composition of actions – of consequential actions, of actions with consequences.

Demonstrations of Consequence(s) – 27.10.16, 19:00
The consequence(s) of the political in its institutionalized and nationalized form are very openly perceivable where states are reigning over their citizens, or – today hardly less virulent – over their non-citizens. But how can the consequences of a political form be demonstrated which engages with life beyond or even consciously averted to such official administrations? Demonstrations of Consequence(s) brings together three panelists who, in their respective fields of work, have proposed and tried out moments of political consequence: in writing, in teaching, in theory, in art …they are testing out the specific capacities of their respective media for critical consequence(s).

Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg
Bingstraße 60
90480 Nürnberg
www.adbk-nuernberg.de

The Gas Imaginary in The Jerusalem Show VIII ‘Before and After Origins’

For the eighth edition of The Jerusalem Show, curated by Vivian Ziherl, Al Ma’mal Foundation presents ‘Before and After Origins’ as part of Qalandiya International 2016 – This Sea Is Mine.

See the full program: Before and After Origins Program

My series on unconventional gas extraction, The Gas Imaginary, is presented in collaboration with Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds from PA/LA/CE Architects and artist Rodrigo Hernandez.

The Gas Imaginary is an artistic research project incorporating poetry, photomedia
documentation, archi-poetic diagrams and essayistic labours exploring the aesthetic languages, mechanical ideology, speculative economics, and technocultural patterning surrounding the large-scale install of ‘unconventional’ gas extraction. Through this technology and industry, indebted state and national governments cause disenfranchised rural but increasingly urban populations to speculate on their own health and futures: through compensatory leasing arrangements, temporary industry employment and privatized infrastructure delivery and sponsorship aimed at the social licensing of investment in environmental injustice and dispossessions from common bioheritage.

I will also participate in a panel discussion, ‘Poetics and Power, In Translation’ on Wednesday 19 October at 18:00 at Garage Coffee Shop & BAR, Al Rajaa Street, Ramallah, Palestine.

This discussion event features poetry reading, a lecture and a public editing workshop that seeks to grasp the power of language in the governance of land, property and peoples. The event departs from the many contributions to Jerusalem Show VIII that prominently feature language. These include the prison writings of Syrian/Golan poet Yasser Khanger, drawings by Rachel O’Reilly that diagram the social economies of mineral extraction politics in Australia, and a legal contract devised by Ramallah-based artist Yazan Khalili. The event will take place in Arabic and English, with translation foregrounded as a crucial issue in itself, and is in collaboration with the Educational Bookshop (Jerusalem) and Garage Cafe.

For more information: Poetics and Power – In Translation

The Gas Imaginary, solo exhibition at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum

I will exhibit my collaborative exhibition The Gas Imaginary at GRAGM from July 2 – August 13, 2016 with an official launch on June 25, 2016 at 6pm.

This short video discusses the research and concepting behind this longer duree artistic work on unconventional gas extraction. The specific work in this showing, ‘THE GAS IMAGINARY, Broken norms, unconventional extraction, drawings and other collaborative acts’ 2016 was produced in collaboration with PALACE Architects (Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds) and artist Rodrigo Hernandez. Film material produced by Louise O’Reilly.

“Despite traversing World Heritage Protected and UNESCO-listed terrain, the LNG developments and dredging of the Gladstone Harbour were made possible through legal innovations and special economic zonings. Environmental Impact Assessments of the infrastructure itself have since been proven to have lacked ‘critical information’ on groundwater and well locations, while the process of approval has been subjected to a 2015 Federal Senate Inquiry.

The artist would especially like to thank and pay respects to Gooreng Gooreng Elders Jackie and Lindsay Johnson and Juliri Ingra for their time, generosity and commitment to culture, and Cheryl Watson of the Gladstone Conservation Council during the research phase.”

For further information: The Gas Imaginary, Gladstone

Brittle Land, an artist book on Alexandra Navratil.

Alexandra Navratil’s Brittle Land artist book

I edited, and contributed a poem to Alexandra Navratil’s artist book Brittle Land, launched at Dan Gunn gallery, Berlin in June 2016.

This book is comprised of stills from Alexandra Navratil’s works ‘Silbersee’ (2015) and ‘Resurrections’ (2014), along with essays by Paul Feigelfeld and Keston Sutherland, plus a poem by editor Rachel O’Reilly.

Taking the former Agfa-ORWO photographic film factory in Wolfen, Germany, as a point of departure, it divulges the interdependent histories of photographic emulsion, gelatin, labour, exploitation, exhaustion, chemical contamination, and slow violence. For Navratil, film reflects the ongoing technological development from the late 19th century until now, a product inextricably linked to the plastics industry that developed simultaneously with it, and to today’s widespread digitisation.

Design by Roger Willems and published by Roma Publications and Dan Gunn, Berlin.

For further information on the publication: Brittle Land
For further information on the artist: Alexandra Navratil

Publisher: Roma Publications
ISBN: 9789491843594
Idea Books Order Code: 16200