Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pimp my rice paddy

Each year, farmers in the town of Inakadate in Aomori prefecture create works of crop art by growing a little purple and yellow-leafed kodaimai rice along with their local green-leafed tsugaru-roman variety. This year’s creation — a pair of grassy reproductions of famous woodblock prints from Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mount Fuji — has begun to appear. It will be visible until the rice is harvested in September

via pink tentacle

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Suited for subversion

Ralph Borland
Suited for Subversion
Designed May 2002, prototypes ongoing
Vinyl, speaker, pulse-reader
120cm (h) x 80cm (w) x 60 cm (d)
Photograph by Pieter Hugo

Suited for Subversion is a project to create a suit that protects the wearer at large-scale street protests.
The suit also monitors the wearer's pulse and projects an amplified heartbeat out of a speaker in the chest of the suit.

I designed and fabricated the first prototype of the suit as part of my Masters Degree in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. The project draws on my work as an activist involved in street demonstrations in New York, and is influenced by the work of other activists and demonstrators who wear protective clothing and make creative use of tools and technologies for protest.

Of particular influence are the 'white' or ‘white overall’ tactics of the Ya Basta, WOMBLES, or the Tutti bianche, who wear white protective-wear to protests. Like the Pret a revolter clothing line produced by my friends Las Agencias, my suit fuses white tactics with more playful, carnivalesque, or 'pink' tactics. As much as my suit is armour, it is also disarming; as much provocation as protection.

Ralph Borland

Saturday, August 18, 2007

upside down

Andy, a homeless man, shelters under an umbrella as he stands upside down with his head in a bucket to draw attention to his situation in Princes Street in Edinburgh.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Felice Naomi Wonnenberg at the Lichtblick, Berlin

Kvetshing (Complaining) to Gertrude Stein, Video performance, 1 min, 2007

Felice Naomi Wonnenberg's video work is a unique, sometimes surrealist collage inspired by Jewish thought and political and gender issues. It combines in an intriguing manner Middle-Eastern reality with European cinematographic aesthtics. The Tel Aviv and Berlin based artist has been showing her video works and experimental films internationally since 1998, among others at the Directors Lounge, Berlin (2005), in the MoMA Museum of Modern Art New York (2007), The Israel Museum Jerusalem (2007), the Jewish Film Festival Berlin and in Goethe Institutes worldwide. She was awarded the ARTE / 3Sat prize for artistic innovation, her work was repeatedly screened on 3SAT (German speaking art TV channel) and in over 30 international film festivals. In 2001 she graduated from the Masterclass of the Berlin Art Academy (HdK Berlin – UdK) (the highest degree in visual art in German art academies). She has been living and working in Israel and Berlin as an artist, art critic and in museums since 2005. Her experimental films are shot on 16mm film (a format launched in 1923, used by surrealist and dadaist artists and later in WW2) and she also works with digital video.

Video Art and Experimental Films
by Felice Naomi Wonnenberg

at Lichtblick, Kastanienallee 77, Berlin
Sat 18 Aug 07, 22:00 (the artist is present) &
Sun 22 Oct 07, 22:00

expand for film details

some of the films included:

Jewel Garden
experimental documentary, digital video, 10 mins, 2006

"...a delightful...wonderfully inventive film and...great addition to our program"

writes William Sloan, curator of MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art, NY

Portrait of an old 2nd-hand jewelry dealer on Berlin's shopping-mile Ku'damm. In an uncut 9 min. close-up shot, the camera glides over the glittering necklaces, war medals, Jewish Chanukah candlesticks, worn-out wedding rings and other broken dreams on sale. We never get to see the dealer, but we do hear him chat about his theories on love.

Cocoon, Performance on digital video, 9 mins, 2007

Some young men wander in the desert. In a cave they make the chance discovery of a giant cocoon with female content... In the encounter the young men devour the cocoon, but then as they penetrate into it they do not even realize that the content of the cocoon is a woman. Their actions appear as a fickle mood of fate. The men destroy the woman's fragile protective wrap for a moments' culinary pleasure and leave her behind - deprived of her protection, desinterested in her fate.

Cocoon is a video that brings visual inspirations from Man Ray's nude photographies and the sexy armpit from Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali's Chien Chien Andalou onto a feminist panel. The viewers' sexual expectations are first stimulated and then playfully led ad absurdum. The cocoon is the poor worm's / woman's longing for transformation, the attempt to withdraw from the world in order to emerge as a new magnificent self.

As in many of Wonnenberg's films the puzzling sexual encounters between man and woman remain unsatisfactory. Both parties do not recognize the others needs and desires and their physical contact remains at once naive and yet cruel and destructive.

The location of the scenes is a metaphysical place in itself: Cocoon was shot on location at the caves of Qumran in the Judean desert on the shore of the Dead Sea, where in 1947 a Bedouin boy discovered, by coincidence, the oldest surviving Torah scrolls.

The Orient through Western Eyes
video collage, 8 min, 2007

A video collage juxtaposing clips from early silent movies to modern fantasy blockbusters to show how the West has constructed its own image of "the Orient". This art video commissioned by Israel's biggest art museum The Israel Museum Jerusalem was shown in conjunction with its exhibition Eden- East and West. It is a critical visual analysis of the West's cinematographic fantasies of "the Orient". The Middle East and the Land of Israel were an important locus of Western longing, curiosity, fantasy, and apprehension of the “Other”, and these feelings were articulated visually by many artists. This art video juxtaposes clippings from existing footage of Hollywood movies, from their beginnings in the early days of silent movies (such as DeMille’s monumental biblical epics) to contemporary fantasy Blockbusters (such as The Lord of the Rings). The visual confrontations demonstrate how the West has constructed its own image of "the Jew", "the Arab", "the Orient" or -in brief - the necessary and fondly hated "Other" for its own psychological needs.

A Turtle‘s Life in the Middle East, 16 mm and Super 8 black/white and color, 10 mins, 2003
3Sat / ARTE Prize for Artistic Innovation

This is an experimental documentary about fear and how to deal with it after a terror attack. The basis of the film is the childhood memory of a Palestinian, in which the need of protection turned into perverted and absurd violence. The child confronted his seeming enemies, the turtles. "I declared war on turtles...Until they were dead. Then I‘d be very satisfied.“ Contrasting this are an Israeli‘s angry comments. He cannot stand his German girlfriend's questioning him about terror attacks, which she needs for her documentary film, anymore. The images of the film stand in contrast to the interviews: a group of nervous birds and architectural shots of a prison relay the fear that the narrators struggle to repress. The film ends in bitter words juxtaposed with pictures of hope.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Prototypes • Walter Pichler

Walter Pichler TV Helmet (Portable Living Room), 1967

The work of the Austrian artist and architect Walter Pichler is not well known, despite the fact that his work had a discernible impact - at an international level - on the course of art and architecture in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This year a recent exhibition in Vienna, at the Generali Foundation, brought together an influential series of works called "Prototypes" that Pichler produced between 1966 and 1969. These works were first shown in Austria in 1967 and were included a year later at Dokumenta 4 in Kassel, Germany, but since then had remained largely unseen until this year.

As the 1960s are revisited - in fashion, film, and design - Pichler's prototypes, furniture, and architectural proposals form an important body of work. Judged in relation to his Austrian contemporaries Hans Hollein and Raimund Abraham, and in relation to the plug-in architecture experiments of Archigram, Archizoom, and Superstudio, Pichler's prototypes have a laconic quality that sets them apart from the utopian fervor of his international colleagues.

In an interview conducted in 1997, Pichler distinguished his work from the issue-oriented political work of his colleagues. "It did get on my nerves a bit, the way direct, fashionable references were made to the Vietnam war, to everyday politics. I believed that the critique had to start with the medium and not the political situation." Reflecting on the visionary or utopian character of the late 1960s, Pichler identified a darker strain in his own Prototypes series: "TV Helmet or Portable Living Room, as it was also called, and Small Room were really cynical, meant to be cynical in a funny way. At the time, television was just appearing on the scene. These works are about isolation cells. The critical thrust consisted in revealing this isolation and expressing it in a very overdrawn way."

Walter Pichler Small Room (Prototype 4), 1967

Walter Pichler at 2wice
via 9

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Summer Evening With Oliver Whitehead

Oliver Whitehead — films from 1967—2007

Oliver Whitehead from Helsinki, who recently showed his work in a retrospective at Cartes Flux Festival in Espoo/Helsinki, comes to Berlin to show his work at Z-Bar.

Oliver Whitehead has explored a wide range of fields within arts, such as drawing, painting, photography, computer imaging, film, video, installation, and sound stretching their expressive possibilities, and without respecting boundaries. He thus may be called a ³true media artist². In his early film work, he was influenced by the uprising Film-Coop movement in England and the French Nouvelle Vague. He however stopped making films when coming to Helsinki in 1970, where he since has worked as artist, and partly at Kuva Academy, the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.

In 1991, he has picked up with film and video again, now exploring his personal and built surrounding in most unorthodox ways. In most recent years, film and video have become a main focus in his work.

see "bike" by Oliver Whitehead on directorslounge television

As in "bike", where the camera travels along the shore of the city of Helsinki, his film work mostly evolves from captured impressions. Here, he depicts glances on people, traffic and architecture, edited in an Allegretto rhythm of movements. The film thus reflects the intrinsic meanings of a different but daily perception of urban life and the built surrounding. In "visual violence", a camera travels through contemporary interior public spaces and, as in other films, the captured immediate impressions tell about sensations, which are both political in their direct relationship to the body, and metaphorical in the ways they become examples of a 'bigger picture' of meanings in the world. The films thus are less part of a simulacrum made by the media but they are reflections on visual and media perceptions, and the ways our contemporary and vernacular surrounding can be read in meaningful ways.
In Whitehead's later work the subject matter comprises the structures and users of urban settings(...) The visual idiom and the overlaid soundtrack give the works a politically slanted narrative dynamic. The meaning of the films, on the other hand, arises from the combination of cinematography, editing, repetition and thematic combinations. These have an inherent political dimension in the works in that they oppose the solutions typical of commercial cinema." (Hanna Johannson)

With two films, Oliver Whitehead was already part of this year's Directours Lounge and some further Urban Research screenings. Now, we are proud to be able to give a more deep insight in his film and video work, and have the artist present his work at Z-Bar. The screening will be the opening of further summer screenings of Directors Lounge in August and September 2007.

german text here

Oliver Whitehead — films from 1967—2007
Sundag, 12 August 2007, 08:30 pm
Z-Bar, Bergstr. 2, Berlin-Mitte

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pink Not Dead!

I would love to illuminate the Red Square in Moscow and change it to a Pink one for one night, but I don’t know how easy that might be.

cream pie

Pink not dead!, an art project by Maurycy Gomulicki, a Polish artist, performer, writer, collector and designer with his base in Mexico, presents the phenomena of ‘Pink’ in all shapes, shades, scents and sounds. His Pink Blog collects imagery of living with PINK on a daily basis and Maurycy doesn’t seem to stop anywhere when it comes to his favorite color and fetish. He even designed a line of pink coffins as a part of the exhibition and a whole pink sex shop chain (about 10 shops already) together with Jorge Covarrubias. »

Maurycy Gomulicki with Pink Girls: Pink Cabriolet Ride in Warsaw, 2006, photo: Rafal Nowak

Pink Not Dead!

The title of the project is a paraphrase from the 1970's famous punk slogan - Punk Not Dead! which we can freely translate as "Trash never dies!" - only a step away converting it into "Live trash!" however, Pink Not Dead! is far away from such a declaration. Likewise, the exhibition does not attempt at a simple glorification of the peripheries of sentimentalism....
Once entering the pink universe we are going to find ourselves curiously lost in between sensuality and innocence and unfasten the trip from serenity to perversion, sometimes without a return trip ticket. Here arise a variety of approximations and cases - from Eden-like garden floral habitats to death industries.

from the pink statement

pink slavery

pink monk

pink pillows

pink at expo sexo 07

pink pillows

pink riders


pink virus

more here and here

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bianca Katz

Bianca Passarge, Hamburg, June 1958

17 year old Bianca Passarge of Hamburg dresses up as a cat, complete with furry tail and dances on wine bottles, June 1958. Her performance was based on a dream and she practiced for eight hours every day in order to perfect her dance.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Le Dossier • Christine Webster

Through the lens of her camera and the commitment of others prepared to do her bidding, Christine Webster has created a world of fiction that has both intrigued and shocked her audience since her 1982 entrée to an art arena dominated by the documentary genre.

Pivotal to Webster’s art practice have been her desire to rebel against the strictures of society by exposing the unaccepted frissons underlying it, her fascination with the different personae people reveal, and her wish to connect to her audience by ‘expressing the inexpressible’, something universal she can explain only as being ‘about the human condition, a longing, an emptiness’1. All her work stems from her exploration of identity, gender stereotypes, sexuality and the inter-gender balance of sexual power. As a means to this end, she uses disguise, the ‘pose’ and performance, her maxim being, ‘I’m not so interested in photographing what’s there – I’d rather construct the image – it’s more true to me’. »

Elizabeth Caughey

Webster was introduced to photography as a drama student, as the model on the other side of the lens – to which she attributes her directorial mode of working. She began photographing people at night under street lighting, quickly recognising the enigmatic and dramatic potential of darkness as a ‘blank canvas’. This became the perfect backdrop for many of her subsequent highly posed tableaux. Webster has always identified with the darkness and vulnerabilities of others, seeing in their reflection her own struggles, and the universal. The daughter of a Baptist pastor, her childhood memories are saturated with religious imagery evoking drama and violence that bordered on the erotic. She feels she ‘learned to be an object’, and yet recognised the traits and vulnerabilities buried as complex layers beneath her public persona.

Elizabeth Caughey

all pictures from Le Dossier


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Gallery Desks In Chelsea

by Andy Freeberg

It was an odd moment when I walked into that first gallery in Chelsea and saw a large white desk with a head poking up from the top edge of the computer screen. I took out my camera, carefully framing and exposing the scene, and the head never moved or took notice of my gaze. As I walked around that booming Chelsea neighborhood of art galleries, I began to notice a trend: at some of the biggest galleries there are giant entry desks, where the top of the head of the desk sitter is often the only other human presence. This leads me to wonder, in this digital world of email and instant messaging that supposedly makes us more connected, are we also setting up barriers to the simple eye to eye contact that affirms our humanity?

Andy Freeberg


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The ridiculous live of a serious man. The serious live of a ridiculous man.

Leopoldstadt, 2004
C-print, 80 x 66 cm
Private Collection, Paris Mexico City

This series was made for Vogue magazine

© VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn 2007

Erwin Wurm
The ridiculous live of a serious man. The serious live of a ridiculous man.

Born in 1954 in Bruck an der Mur, Austria, Erwin Wurm has always been involved in a question and answer game about sculpture and the way it is constituted. A multifaceted oeuvre has emerged over twenty-five years, which can be regarded as a continual investigation about the definition of sculpture. For Wurm, who is one of the most successful contemporary Austrian artists, actions, written or drawn instructions or even thoughts can become sculpture. This retrospective show presents for the first time, and on such a large scale, Wurm's comprehensive oeuvre, which includes all forms of media and systems of reference. »

Deichtorhallen Hamburg till September 2, 2007