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VIDEO: Foundland Collective Examines Syria Through an Artist's Lens
20/08/2014
VIDEO: Foundland Collective Examines Syria Through an Artist's LensNEW YORK — In a small studio space in Brooklyn, Foundland, a collective comprised of Ghalia Elsrakbi and Lauren Alexander, are putting large issues from a half a world away under a microscope. Outside their studio, in the International Studio & Curatorial Program’s presentation space, they’ve mounted their first-ever exhibition in the United States, “Escape Routes and Waiting Rooms.” Elsrakbi and Alexander are participating in a summer residency at ISCP, the first sponsored by Edge of Arabia in partnership with Art Jameel with goals to connect Middle Eastern artists with new audiences.  The collective focuses their work on analysis concerning political and social issues, such as immigration, emigration and integration. Since 2011, they’ve been focusing on how those issues have been unfolding online, specifically how social media has been used as a platform for political expression. Foundland says this exhibition was born out of a six-month residency in Cairo. The duo moved closer to Elsrakbi’s native Syria to investigate personal stories of mobility and migration in a country where freedom of movement is strictly limited.  “’Escape Routes’ is really referring to our experience of watching people who are displaced from Syria move to Egypt, witnessing a kind of displaced community forming outside of Cairo,” says Alexander, who is from South Africa but based in Amsterdam. “In the other parts of the exhibition, we try to relate more to the idea of ‘Waiting Rooms’ the status of people who are waiting with the hope that they could possibly return home but probably with their current situation being a permanent situation.”   Foundland uses a white tent — modeled on actual tents used in the Za’tari camp in Jordan, one of the largest Syrian refugee camps in the world — as a symbol for a “Waiting Room” for an unknown future. Projected on the tent are drawings collected from social media connections. “We approached people with the simple question: could you draw the house that you left behind?” explains Alexander. “Talking about the house that you left behind is something that is very present in any discussion you open with them,” adds Elsrakbi. The other major installation is staged around the dinner table of a Syrian family — Elsrakbi’s own. It depicts a schematic map of her family’s movements, where most of its members have migrated over time. “We’ve tried to give a different perspective on what you really see in the media. It’s quite clear that the conflict is very heavy and it’s bloody and this is what really dominates the image,” says Elsrakbi. “We choose to work with metaphors like a dining table and a tent to bring those little small stories that you don’t hear so much closer to the audience. It’s very difficult to find ways to tell these in the media… art makes space for this.” As part of the collective’s summer residency as ISCP, they are also investigating Little Syria, the first major Arabic community set up in Lower Manhattan in the late 1800s. The duo will explore the immigration patterns from Arab countries to the United States during that time. They’ll dig into history to discover what the community of Little Syria meant to Manhattan: who were the big figures involved, how did it unfold and, ultimately, how did most of the area get demolished in the end to make way for Battery Park.  “There are a small group of people that are very passionate about putting this area back on the map, particularly people who are interested in Arabic literature and how that has played into the understanding or lack of understanding around what we see today,” says Alexander. “For example, people who were writing in the late 1800s, early 1900s really spoke about connecting East and West in quite an optimistic way, about how the two places interact with each other. These sorts of things are also lost in history. These are things we want to look into: what did this people say about it and what can we learn from that today.” “Foundland: Escape Routes and Waiting Rooms" is on view through September 26th at the International Studio & Curatorial Program. Published: August 20, 2014 Read full article here

Best Music of 2014... So Far
20/08/2014
Best Music of 2014... So FarCreating this kind of list always proves to be a more difficult task than expected. For one, I often wonder if I’m qualified to make this list at all. I’m not really a music critic, even though I listen to a lot of music. And anyway, shouldn’t a list like this exist to help introduce people to music they might have missed throughout the chaotic early months of 2014? I fear that, especially as I’ve gotten older, my tastes have solidified, become predictable and boring. I’m not tracking emerging trends and seeking out what is happening in the shadows. The other, and maybe more obvious reason, is that my listening tastes are so scattered that even thinking of what is the best music of 2014 ends up including music that was recorded sometimes decades earlier. Reissue culture is maybe the most exciting thing happening in music right now, and I could have (more easily) made an entire list of the best reissue releases of the year. But what is compiled below is a combination, of the new and the not so new, all released on some sort of physical format (with one exception) in 2014. This is also, of course, a partial list. There are many artists — Flying Lotus, Kanye West, Shellac — that are reportedly releasing albums in the next couple of months and that I will surly devour. For now, this what we have, a diary of my listening habits over the first three quarters of 2014. Enjoy. FKA Twigs – “LP1” The plainly titled “LP 1” is a delirious set of loopy and hypnotic rumbling R&B tunes from the UK-based FKA Twigs. This one has been majorly hyped over the past few months and, almost shockingly, lives up to the pre-release chatter. Her previous EP’s have been on heavy rotation in my headphones all year, and the new one will certainly be for the rest.  Madlib – “Rock Konducta Vols. 1&2” & “Piñata Beats” One of the most baffling things to me is how people continuously sleep on everything Madlib does. I know he has a cult following, and his stuff is madly respected in underground rap circles, but everything that comes out of his chaotic and brilliant mind is undoubtedly better than most of what else is being released in that year, 2014 being no exception. So far, he has dropped two volumes of his “Rock Konducta” series — a sidebar to his longstanding classic “Beat Konducta” series — featuring a dense collage of rock music samples from all over the globe. Beat digging doesn’t get better than this. He also released “Piñata,” a collaboration with the rapper Freddie Gibbs, and then released an instrumental version of the album which is just as listenable. Some of the most pleasurable listening experiences of the year, for sure.     White Lung — “Deep Fantasy” Ferocious punk from Canada, this one is a little more polished than their previous two albums — “It’s The Evil” and “Sorry,” both worth checking out — but still holds the same intensity. It’s a quick one at 10 songs in 22 minutes, which is part of its greatness.  Todd Terje — “It’s Album Time” Todd Terje’s singles were at the top of my 2013 end-of-the-year list, and his album, released in April, was something totally unexpected. Instead of wall-to-wall space-disco thump, the album sees Terje expanding his sound, from the suspenseful Bryan Ferry-guested “Johnny and Mary” to the lounge-like “Alfonso Muskedunder.” All the songs incorporate Terje’s use of vintage analog synthesizers, but as a collection you never feel like you’re listening to the same song over and over again.  Evian Christ — “Waterfall” (EP) I first heard about Evian Christ when he worked with Kanye West on last year’s “Yeezus.” Their collaboration led to one of the album’s most profane and pleasurable songs, “I’m In It,” which sounded like a porn soundtrack slowed down and played through a sound system in a subway tunnel. Needless to say, his next batch of songs matched the weirdness of his “Yeezus” appearance, and I’m looking forward to whatever he does next.  Jamie xx — “All Under One Roof Raving” Jamie is a member of the xx, a band I don’t really like. Thankfully his solo recordings are much more engaging, and built more for the club than the dorm room. My only wish is that he would collaborate with more forward-thinking artists (imagine if he got in a room with Kanye West?) and leave those dour bandmates behind.  Fennesz — “Becs” This is strictly for nighttime, and might be an acquired taste. It is not music to throw on when your friends are over. It is headphone music for walking home from a bar, or to left drift over you as you sleep. Christian Fennesz does things with noise I never thought possible, and every album he puts out always makes me fundamentally challenge my preconceptions about what makes music listenable. I know some noise fanatics can probably point me in the direction of more challenging or difficult stuff (please do), but for now, this is my soundtrack for the fading hours.  Shabazz Palaces — “Lese Majesty” This is another very recent one (I picked it up less than two weeks ago) but I’m finding myself listening more and more to the leftfield future-hip-hop sound coming from Shabazz Palaces. I’m not going to even pretend I know what he’s talking about most of the time, but I enjoy falling deep within the web of abstract rhymes and obscure, swirling beats.  Cultures of Soul (record label) — “Bombay Disco” & “Tropical Disco Hustle” If I’m being honest, this is what I’ve listened to more than anything else this year. Cultures of Soul, a small label based out of Boston, has released two of the most listenable compilations of the year. “Bombay Disco” features songs from Bollywood films of the ’80s, whose soundtracks were clearly influenced by the success of “Saturday Night Fever.” The label’s other major release, “Tropical Disco Hustle,” features a smattering of disco-influenced tracks that came out of the Caribbean during the late-’70s and early ’80s. I’m so in love with these records that I’ve made it a personal goal this year to turn people on to this music, so this, of course, is an extension of that.  Red Bull Music Academy — Hardcore Activity in Progress Here is the one exception I mentioned earlier. Although the music played during the Red Bull Academy’s “Hardcore Activity in Progress” event was not recorded, to my knowledge, and has never been released in any kind of format, physical or digital, it was the most intense musical experience of the year for me and so I felt it deserved a place on this list. The general idea was for the event to explore the many sonic varieties of the term “hardcore,” and featured so many acts on so many different stages, all playing inside a giant warehouse at the same time, that the effect was like being in a boxing ring getting pummeled from every angle. Exhausting and thrilling in equal measure.  The Clean — “Anthology” (reissue) Legendary New Zealand band finally getting the recognition they deserve. Merge Records reissued their “Anthology,” an essential collection of most of their (best) recorded content. All the music that came out on the Flying Nun label is having a bit of a renaissance in the last few years, and the Clean are the best of those bands. Listen to this entire thing and try to imagine a world of lo-fi indie music existing without them. One more thing: it sounds better than most, if not all, of the people who ripped them off. Furthur Reductions — “Woodwork” This is one I don’t know much about but purchased at a record store on a whim. Mid-temple dance music, infused with dub delays, and the type of music that manages to work in a variety of settings. I’ve gone on marathon writing sessions listening to this record over and over again, and I’ve thrown it on during a party and let it drift over the chatter and drinks. Copeland — “Beacause I’m Worth It” This is another record I bought on whim, based on the recommendation of somebody at the local record store where I shop and because the album cover is strangely appealing. I knew that Inga Copeland was part of the mysterious group called Hype Williams with the musician Dean Blunt. There is no easy way to describe what this record sounds like. The beats throb, noises emerge out of nowhere, sometimes grating and other times sensual, and then disappear just as quickly. Sometimes the songs sound sinister, other times they have an innocent, almost sweet quality to them. Nothing predictable about this one here, which is part of the reason why I keep listening to it. Punk 45 — Vols. 1-3 (compilations) These compilations, released by the estimable Soul Jazz label out of the UK, are non-stop fun. Most of the songs are not that obscure if you’re a fan of punk music from the late ’70s and early ’80s, but just having them all in one place, sounding great, is enough for me. And if you’re not well-versed in the music of the period, these serve as the perfect introductions.  Fluxion — “Broadwalk Tales” This is another one that I picked up randomly at a record store (starting to notice a trend here?) without any clue of what it sounded like. It’s another late-night record for me, and to my ears it sounds like Kingston-born dub or lover’s rock filtered through the swirl of modern electronic hiss. It’s relaxed in a way most records are not, especially in the world of electronic music.  Published: August 20, 2014 Read full article here

Review: Dorothea Tanning's "Web of Dreams" in London
20/08/2014
LONDON — As every good student of psychoanalysis will tell you, Freud knew that a certain region of each dream lay beyond interpretation. He called this part “the dream’s navel, the spot where it reaches it down into the unknown.” The previously unseen collection of Dorothea Tanning’s haunted drawings, paintings, and ragged ephemera assembled in “Web of Dreams,” on view at Alison Jacques Gallery through September 27, often seems to emerge from this mysterious territory. If Tanning, who died in 2012 at the age of 101, has long appeared as a marginal figure in the history of Surrealism—typically referred to as Max Ernst’s wife and little else—then this show signals a mighty sea change. Here’s an artist of singular gifts and intoxicating strangeness who spent 50 years attempting to capture her dreams in their full, writhing perversity. They assume many forms, including blearily expressive and anguished blurs, a sinister ink drawing of an owl that bristles with totemic menace, and the fearful Notes for an Apocalypse, 1978, in which two sleeping figures wrestle in a room suffused with a woozily phosphorescent glow. The arrangement is remarkably sensitive to oblique formal continuities, connecting works made decades apart by the repeated jaggedness of certain limbs and the eerie recurrence of dancing shapes. Women always appear in conditions of Gothic ecstasy, swooning from fever or twisting with fear as if they’re dreaming up the tableaux Tanning has conjured around them. The pieces with female subjects feel at once like part of a submerged autobiography, an old-school psychoanalytic game in which the women incarnate fragments of Tanning’s anima, and an account of a lifelong expedition into the depths of the unconscious. These dream paintings are necessarily obscure where too often others are readily comprehensible, as the scenes that appear in our sleep rarely seem to be. But if you try to read them as expressions of madness or maternal angst then some of their ghoulish thrill is lost, too. What Tanning knows is that the unique convulsive effect of dreams can often come from something other than their weird pageantry, and lies instead in uncanny atmospheric shivers and the spooky promise of horrors just beginning to coalesce. She expertly records these elusive sensations and transmits them, strangely radiant, to the waking mind.   To see highlights from Dorothea Tanning's show at Alison Jacques Gallery, click here. Review: Dorothea Tanning's "Web of Dreams" in LondonSelect Photo Gallery: Slideshow: Dorothea Tanning's "Web of Dreams" at Alison Jacques Gallery, LondonPublished: August 20, 2014 Read full article here

“We not” at Daniel Buchholz
20/08/2014
Artists: Cosima von Bonin, Sergej Jensen, Michael Krebber Venue: Daniel Buchholz, Cologne Exhibition Title: We not Date: June 6 – August 23, 2014 Click here to view slideshow Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump. Images: Images courtesy of Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne Press Release: We are pleased to announce an exhibition of […]Contemporary Art Daily is produced by Contemporary Art Group, a not-for-profit organization. We rely on our audience to help fund the publication of exhibitions that show up in this RSS feed. Please consider supporting us by making a donation today. Read full article here

Interview with Wolfgang Tillmans / Fondation Beyeler
20/08/2014
The current exhibition of Fondation Beyeler’s collection presents important new acquisitions, including works by the German artist Wolfgang Tillmans. Tillmans ... Read full article here

Dexter Sinister at Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius
19/08/2014
Artist: Dexter Sinister Venue: Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius Exhibition Title: Work-in-Progress Date: June 20 – August 17, 2014 Click here to view slideshow Full gallery of videos, images, press release and link available after the jump. Videos: Dexter Sinister, documentation of Work-in-Progress, 2014, a pair of LED clocks programmed to tell the time identical to scoreboards adjusted at Palasport, Venice, […]Contemporary Art Daily is produced by Contemporary Art Group, a not-for-profit organization. We rely on our audience to help fund the publication of exhibitions that show up in this RSS feed. Please consider supporting us by making a donation today. Read full article here

Iconic Outfits Go on Show at "Hollywood Costume"
19/08/2014
Language English Featured: 0Order: 0Author(s): Benjamin ParkShort Title : Iconic Outfits Go on Show at "Hollywood Costume" Read full article here

“Haggard Caravan” at The Hepworth Wakefield
19/08/2014
Artists: Solar Lice (Jeanne Graff, Tobias Madison, Flavio Merlo, Emanuel Rossetti, Gregory Ruppe, William Z Saunders, Stefan Tcherepnin) Venue: The Hepworth Wakefield Exhibition Title: Haggard Caravan Date: April 18 – June 12, 2014 Note: The audio element of the exhibition is available here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Click here to view slideshow Full gallery of video, images, […]Contemporary Art Daily is produced by Contemporary Art Group, a not-for-profit organization. We rely on our audience to help fund the publication of exhibitions that show up in this RSS feed. Please consider supporting us by making a donation today. Read full article here

Winter in July: Manifesta’s Public Program
19/08/2014
On July 20, Moldovan artist Pavel Braila started a snowball fight in front of St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace. Four Mercedes sedans pulled up inside the city’s main Palace Square, and a security detail of suit-clad men emerged to deposit 660 pounds of artificial snow onto a golden table, arranged outdoors for the occasion. Braila said that he collected the fake snow in Sochi during February’s Winter Olympics, shortly after he received a commission from Manifesta for the biennial’s public program. Claiming to have preserved the snow specifically for that midsummer afternoon, Braila watched one of several performances he conceived for the 10th edition of Manifesta with bated breath. How would onlookers respond? Having completed their task, the four men stepped aside to give the assembled crowd — small children, their mothers, curious tourists, members of the local artist community, and the city’s culture press — access to the glinting, watery mass. Within several minutes, snowballs flew in every direction as audience members spontaneously pelted each other under the shadow of the State Hermitage Museum (where Manifesta is currently on view). Braila had pitched his project as a celebration of Sochi to municipal authorities. He hoped they would approve a laudatory gesture, much as he knew the final performance would be altogether different. One ironic breach of propriety led to another, less affected one. Observing the impromptu results of his handiwork on that sunny Sunday, Braila exclaimed: “It’s perfect!” The Chisinau-based artist’s “Cold Painting” performance was but one of nearly 100 events organized as part of Manifesta’s public program, curated by Joanna Warsza. The curator invited artists from the western republics of the former Soviet Union — previous colonial territories, like Ukraine, that are underrepresented in the main exhibition — to produce time-based commissions across St. Petersburg throughout the biennial’s four-month run. With such a wide variety of performances and artists, including Ragnar Kjartansson, Slavs and Tatars, and newcomers like Alexandra Pirici, the biennial’s public program amounts to a massive undertaking in its own right, more than a secondary complement to chief curator Kasper Konig’s main exhibition at the Hermitage. While Konig’s display demonstrates how a reactionary Russian state undermines political art’s agency by appropriating its leftist critiques, the public program shows that the government’s attitude can also be co-opted by artists. By re-appropriating elements of the current regime’s self-celebratory rhetoric, public program participants like Braila assert that things are not as they appear. In such inverted circumstances, farce proves a more effective creative tool than dissidence. That weekend, the public program created a temporary theater of the absurd inside the Palace Square, a sprawling public space that previously hosted some of the most dramatic political turns in Russian history. In October 1917, Bolshevik troops stormed the Winter Palace and started the Soviet Union from that square; nearly a century later, Braila started a small snowball fight there, while earlier that day, Estonian artist Kristina Norman erected a modest steel sculpture in the shape of a Christmas tree amidst the square’s symbols of political might. The obvious differences between such historical and contemporary dramas overshadow their shared revolutionary spirit. By injecting spontaneity and visual dissonance into settings steeped with emblems of state power, public program artists create conditions for viewers to question the sources and symptoms of authority. Case in point: winter reigned that day in the Palace Square, despite the July heat. In the morning, Norman, who represented Estonia at the 2009 Venice Biennale, unveiled “Souvenir,” a green steel frame that has the form, though not the foliage, of a Christmas tree. The bare-bones sculpture appears especially out-of-place against the Winter Palace’s baroque façade, painted green but covered in gilded ornamental detail. As the initial crowd dispersed, passersby approached the tree out of confusion — why is there a fake Christmas tree standing here in the middle of July? — and found a placard explaining in English and Russian its Ukrainian roots. A symbol for the infamous Christmas tree erected in Kiev’s Maidan Square, where the Ukrainian revolution began last winter, Norman’s piece proved disturbing, not merely bizarre, in light of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash that occurred in Ukraine three days prior. Norman’s effort to map Maidan onto the Palace Square extends to her video “Iron Arch,” screened at the Hermitage. Named after the triumphal arch in Maidan devoted to friendship between the Russian and Ukrainian nations, the reel shows Ukrainian artist and Maidan activist Alevtina Kakhidze navigating around the Petersburg square as though in Kiev. There, imagines Kakhidze as she walks past “Souvenir” in the short film, is where we set up the makeshift medical clinic; over there is where the soup kitchen was located, she tells the camera, pointing toward the Hermitage. Neither Norman nor Kakhidze overtly say that the Palace Square could also host a comparable popular uprising, though the suggestion looms large over the tree and its attendant film. The reminder that Petersburg’s main square has already witnessed such upheavals in the past is ever-present. That metaphor was not lost on Russian authorities: two days after Norman premiered “Souvenir,” Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky issued an unusual statement about the piece. “People, be aware! Maidan caused chaos… Disturbances can be borne out of innocent entertainments,” he warned, insisting that “Souvenir” advises against such upheaval. “The Palace Square is vulnerable,” he explained. Yet Norman’s installation immediately revealed as much — the artist used little more than a fake Christmas tree to turn St. Petersburg’s symbolic seat of power into a site for interrogating that same authority. “It’s only art, but it’s our tool,” said Warsza, the curator, during a discussion about contemporary art and political activism later that day. Initially, her sentiment had a defeatist ring — why fake winter in the middle of July, if it won’t change much? Yet the artist and activist Dmitry Vilensky, who was sitting in the audience, had already noted the importance of distinguishing the seasons. “It’s fucking winter outside. If you ran outside naked, full of joy with the red flag, you’d be frozen in five minutes,” he observed in 2013. “And then your brain and your body will be rather useless for the task of the future transformation,” he explained to a foreign curator who insisted that activists could overturn the Russian government. “So, if you want to do it, please take into consideration what season it is, and don’t pretend that the Californian sun is shining outside when it’s actually a Russian winter.” Winter in July: Manifesta’s Public ProgramSelect Photo Gallery: Slideshow: See Photos from Manifesta 10's Public ProgramPublished: August 19, 2014 Read full article here

Slideshow: See Photos from Manifesta 10's Public Program
19/08/2014
Language English Featured: 0Order: 0Author(s): Regina MogilevskayaShort Title : Photos from Manifesta 10's Public Program Read full article here

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