Thursday, 6 November 2008
Carla Ahlander works with photography and documents scenes, positions, conditions, states of social sphere. Ahlander’s practice lies within figuring, restating, displaying and discussing of certain structures of power. The relational aesthetics of power is dispersed into every element in its surrounding. When power structures are taken into consideration, they do not only address the centers of power or apparatuses of governance in macro scales, but also their patterns of experience in micro levels. That is to say: the micro conditions that are composed of the immersed state of power in the production of the everyday. Ahlander, is a photographer of a tradition, commits her time and thinking before, during and after the act of photographing. She visits or attends to situations and observes and waits for the indulgence of content. Her series of waiting rooms are of 12 images, taken in the registration offices in Berlin. The rooms, at first sight display an intention of neutral design aesthetics, although through the positioning of facilities and functioning, they display the discreet empowerment of the subjectivities, which are supposed to inform the system they live in. The architecture has been formed in consideration with centralisation of power and powerlessness. The individuality is at stake during the encounters of governance and being governed by. Hence, Ranciere’s positioning of participation is demodified.
In the waiting room series, contrastingly we do not see any person in any condition. The space is not occupied with bodies but with the void of their possible presences. We experience a narrative on various levels, where the protagonists are not mapped with appearance or movement.
Ahlander’s photographs not only map the regulative modes but also point out the structures within which participation is redefined through a single channel of adjustment. The photographs implement more than they show: The series are not a mere collection of rooms but also imply of how acknowledgement of power and a priori acceptances of movement and individuality are designated to be experienced. Ahlander says: “I’m interested in the systems of organisation which we live in; by the creation of power structures and how we become part of them, yet I’m also fascinated by the fact that they only exist if we participate in them.”
Additional to her series ‘Untitled’, Ahlander exhibits a new piece Symbolic Capital, Part I, which has been shot in front of Employment Center in Berlin at dawn. The people queuing cannot be recognized but their presence in front of a not-yet-open building shows that they are in the placement of stand-by to get in, to receive acceptance and activate their presence in the society.
The association is a relation, 2008
Iddo Drevijn works with text, installation and photography. For the exhibition Drevijn is bringing together two mediums such as text and light in an installation piece. Drevijn’s piece has a strong and subtle presence in its content. His piece reading ‘Your Mind is My Revolution’ manoeuvres between statement and dominance. The subject of the sentence is absent, rather its reader is directed under the light of having a potential for an unknown subject or a large group of people that he/she is part of. The piece as a statement is a positive proposal for a change through influence. The subject, who claims over the minds of his/her unseen crowd, positions himself/herself as the protagonist of a change. Hence, the artist becomes / positions himself as the provider of influence on the society, as he/she takes the responsibility of. As the piece resets the relation of revolution and mind, it becomes an observation of structures of change. That is to say, change is possible through interaction and dialogue between subjectivities. Additionally, it is an optimistic piece, where the artist proposes to share the shift with others. He proposes to get involved as the piece reflects back on itself via anonymity of the spokesman and his followers. Hence the artist’s mind can be the place of revolution for any other subject.
Drevijn’s piece displays the very simple aspect of social encounter, how societies evolve, and transform into what they are: influence over the other. The patterns of repetition become the reclaiming of subjective truths. As the light falls on, the piece governs and is governed by the presence of the audience.
06. Collection, 2009
Antje Peters works with photography and as a professional studio photographer. Her series ‘Collection, 2008’ is composed of images of items that have been used by the employees of the Dutch Government, but also given as gifts for relations through the last 10 years. The items vary from ties to watches or from clocks to scarves. Each item carries a logo that has been used by a ministry in Netherlands. By 2008, with a new regulation, all Ministries are asked to use the same logo for their bureaucratic artefacts. Hence all the logos, displayed in the series will belong to a certain past, and will no longer carry a contemporaneity. The images are constructed in relation to ordinary aesthetics of displaying goods in buyers’ magazines. They are placed in a certain feeling of appeal and asking for a choice beneath.
The series, not only display a gathering of items but also a stance of a governing body. The objects with logos are no longer mere objects but objects with identity and position. The items are displayers of materialisation of ideologies, sense of belonging and states of support.
Blackout II, 2008
Bettina Poutschi works with video, photography and installation. In the exhibition she produces a site-located installation with video element and displays one of her sculptures from the series of Blackout, which are reformulated lattices.
Line 2005 is a documentary video, Pousttchi has made during a protest. In contrast to immediate expectations, the piece does not display a protest or a conflicting togetherness of different groups in one place. There is a slow movement of control, in and under control. The police passing by walk through straight lines, without being directed. The embedded situation of power is deciphered, discreetly through the visibility of the mapped intuition.
Blackout series are composed of manipulated and redefined crowd barriers. The series oscillate along the line of ‘as if’: the pieces can very well be found on the street in an aftermath of a destructive protest and can be carried to the exhibition space as ready-mades. The pieces claim more than presence in the space, they challenge through their common and uncommon nature, through their size and outlook.
Barriers are common aspects of organically territorializing function and facility in social space. In any immediate situation of empowerment, power can be regained through regulating experience. Barriers in this sense are handy tools of sustaining the status quo. In this respect, Blackout’s are the polarisation of barriers, which shift the regulative mode into a critical encounter.
Dream as there ever was one, Brazil, 2007
Elian Somers works on architecture, structures, and city scapes. Somers has been involved in a series of projects where she has visited variety of places and documented their status quo’s. Her interest in documenting the contemporary states of civilisation lies beneath her research on the particularity of definition of social space in relation to definer ideologies. Somer’s is specifically interested in the notion of utopia. She investigates the togetherness of architecture and imagined societies. Somers explains her work: “Over the last few years, I have focussed on ideologies in architecture and urbanism; and the way these are linked in time. I call them utopian cityscapes; realized dreams invented as a different and better world than the existing one. Utopia both attracts and deters. It attracts by representing a critical attitude and a will to change the world; it deters because of the failures and perversions the utopian project has left behind over the years.”
Somer’s has been formulating archives on cities with a background of hosting variety of positions, scales, facilities. She works with the relationship between utopia and its embodiment in concrete forms and at the same time its failure through practice. In the exhibition, Somer’s is presenting selection of photographs she has produced in Kaliningrad, from the series Border Theories. Through her visit in Kaliningrad, Somers has been exploring the traces of time. Kaliningrad has been continuously in consideration to be planned and built: First under the influence of socialist architecture and since the collapse of the USSR, under the influence of capitalist entrepreneurship. Somer’s piece is completed with a text detailing the aspects of an island-like place under continuous mental and physical transformation.
Somer’s other archive project is titled Alzijdigen (All-sided), to which she has started since 2008. Alzijdige #1 (2008), on the invitation card, displays a state of in-between, where dualities emerge. It is hard to grasp if it is a depiction of a place under construction or destruction, if it is a stage or a private place. The factuality of the image as taken from Maranatha Church, which was built in Rotterdam in 1953 and used for other purposes and is planned to be demolished towards the end of 2009, do not necessarily undermine the obscurity of the narrative.