Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Michael Rakowitz lecture: there is a crack in everything: that's how the light gets in

Michael Rakowitz lecture: there is a crack in everything: that's how the light gets in

Discussing The invisible enemy should not exist, 2007-ongoing featuring drawings, cardboard and newspaper sculptures, museum labels, sound. Lecture here

Artist Michael Rakowitz discusses his work, in the context of hope and antagonism, and at the intersection of problem solving and trouble-making. Rakowitz’s symbolic interventions in problematic urban situations extend from paraSITE (1998 - ongoing), in which the artist custom builds inflatable shelters for homeless people that attach to the exterior outtake vents of a building’s HVAC system, to Minaret (2001-Ongoing), in which access is gained to an architecturally-appropriate rooftop in a Western city and the Islamic call to prayer is sounded five times a day with the help of a megaphone for amplification. In Spoils (2011) Rakowitz made a culinary intervention at New York City’s Park Avenue restaurant by inviting diners to eat traditional Iraqi dishes on plates looted from Saddam Hussein’s personal collection. The project culminated in the repatriation of the former Iraqi President’s flatware to the Republic of Iraq at the behest of current Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki on December 15, 2011, the date Coalition Forces left Iraq. In a related culinary-art project in Chicago, titled Enemy Kitchen (2012), Rakowitz devised a food truck that was manned by Iraqi War veterans working under Iraqi refugee chefs and served Iraqi cuisine to the public.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fritz Haeg Edible Estates

Fritz Haeg lecture video here

Archigram Documentary BBC

Archigram video here

Superflex: Why We Flooded McDonald's

Superflex: Why We Flooded McDonald's video click here

Superflex’ starting point was to focus on the idea of the mass-production of food, and they felt that the most heavily branded fast food restaurant was McDonald’s. They built the restaurant from scratch, basing it on what a McDonald’s would have looked like in the 1980s, as they believed that this was perhaps the most iconic image of it. Every detail – down to the small boxes for Happy Meals – were handmade in a studio in Bangkok. The adding of water functioned as a melt-down of the restaurant but at the same time made the different things in it come to life: “All these dead objects start to become actors.” Moreover, the water also created limitations in the set, as it was not possible to undo – they could stop more water from coming in, but not reverse the consequences of the water that was already there.

The film is shot around 2008, where there were “a lot of post-apocalyptic scenarios going on.” The financial crisis, global warming and such took up a lot of space in the media, and Superflex wanted to make their own version of this “end-of-the-world” set-up “in a mild Scandinavian way, but still using some kind of global vocabulary – the raising of the water, the most famous fast-food chain.” Though the movie is heavy on the use of symbolism, the approach is also quite humorous: “It’s almost like slapstick.”

Superflex is a Danish artists' group founded in 1993 by Jacob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen. They describe their projects as 'Tools'. A tool being a model or proposal that can actively be used and further utilized and modified by the user. Their oeuvre spans from beer (‘Free Beer’) and soda (‘Guaraná Power’) to alternative energy production methods to movies and installations, and their projects are often related to economic forces, democratic production conditions and self-organization. Superflex have gained international recognition for their projects and have held solo exhibitions at venues such as Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland, Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt am Main, REDCAT Gallery in Los Angeles, Mori Museum in Tokyo and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. Furthermore, they have participated in art biennials such as Gwangju Biennial (Korea), Istanbul Biennial, São Paolo Biennial, Shanghai Biennial and in the ‘Utopia Station’ at the Venice Biennale. For more about them see:

Featured in the video are extracts from Superflex’ movie ‘Flooded McDonald’s’ (2008).

Superflex were interviewed by Christian Lund at their office in Copenhagen, Denmark in November 2015.

Camera: Simon Weyhe
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015

Superstudio's Supersurface

Superstudio video here 

Supersurface - An alternative model for life on the Earth


Towards alternative architecture narrations.

"Supersuperficie" (Supersurface), made by Superstudio in 1972, is one of the most original expressions of a design activity elaborated by architects in the form of a film. It was produced by Marchi Produzioni with a sponsorship of Anic, on the occasion of the "Italy: the New Domestic Landscape" exhibition curated by Emilio Ambasz at MoMA in 1972 in New York. It is the very first episode in the "Atti Fondamentali" (Fundamental Acts) series that collected, according to Superstudio, five primary acts in human life: Vita (Life), Educazione (Education), Cerimonia (Ceremony), Amore (Love), Morte (Death). Supersuperficie corresponds to Vita, the first act.
The story is shaped around the theme of human life. Initial scenes, accompanied by sounds of ancestral drums or fetal heart beats, perhaps muffled by an amniotic fluid, are somehow connected to the end of the film where a kind of hymn to life takes place as a crescendo introducing the final statements: "our life will be the only art."
Multiple narrative layers are offered in this film: the verbal record gives room to a profound story: evocative, never literal. The visual record, rooted in the pictorial identity expressed in the film's storyboard (published in the same year on "Casabella" magazine), tends to freeze images in stable forms. The overlapping of these layers and the contamination with other inner narrations offers the spectator an original palimpsest, rich in inventions, irony, and weighty in meanings.
Images related to the "Monumento Continuo" (Continuous Monument) project's iconography, elaborated by Superstudio between 1969 and 1970, serve to baste a powerful visual narration. These images, however, are integrated by a wider iconography that reflects diverse areas of interest for Superstudio's members. Consequently, iconic architectural images as Reyner Banham's Environmental Bubble or the gigantic geodetic structure covering Manhattan designed by Buckminster Fuller are shown together with pictures abstracted from popular and scientific magazines and re-connoted in a new context, manipulated, sometimes edited in chroma key. The subsequent visual narration, stabilized in the form of film, has an origin in the educational activity of Superstudio, based on audio-visual stories offered to students at the School of architecture of the University of Florence.
Words and images work together in this and in other films by Superstudio by generating effects of vision and disorientation. Their narration capitalizes on irony, provocation, paradox. It is through this approach that a rigorous discourse upon the architecture and design discipline and their final extents is offered. An attempt to refound the role of architecture takes place in this film, based on the idea that human beings are the only creators of their own choices: finally nomadic, they can free themselves from induced needs and behaviors, and pick their own place, everywhere on the Earth's "supersurface". The design activity doesn't lead towards objects and goods predefined in their formal and aesthetic aspects anymore. It manifests itself as a potential device instead, for "a life anymore based upon labor, but on not alienated human relations" for "an alternative model of life on Earth."

Architect: Superstudio
Mentioned project: Supersurface (1972)
Producer: Marchi
Italy 1972
Duration: 9'28''

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

WarkaWater Tower

WarkaWater tower produces up to 20 Gallons a day pulled from water in the air. Video here

BESTUÉ VIVES Actions at Home

BESTUÉ VIVES Actions at Home, video click here

Ant Farm, Time Capsule 1975

Ant Farm, Time Capsule 1975, video here

Julijonas Urbonos, Euthansia Coaster, 2010

Julijonas Urbonos, Euthansia Coaster, 2010. video here

a hypothetic death machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to

humanely – with elegance and euphoria – take the life of a human being.

Trevor Paglen, Last Pictures, 2012

Trevor Paglen, Last Pictures, 2012 video here

Friday, April 1, 2016

A couple interesting resources for social sculpture

Social sculpture research institute:

key topics of exploration:
  • an expanded view of ‘capital’ and of art
  • an emphasis on joined up thinking and practice
  • an understanding of the connection between inner and outer work, between imagination and transformation, and the need to explore how we can become ‘agents of change’
  • a perception of crises as opportunities for consciousness
  • an exploration of different forms of ‘knowing’
  • a view that the ecological crisis is not just about the environment out there
  • a recognition of the connection between aesthetics and ethics: between imagination, the experiential and our ability-to-respond
  • the connection between freedom and responsibility
  • the relationship between the individual and new forms of viable community
  • the poetics of imagination and connective aesthetics
  • creative strategies of engagement and practice-based research
  • historical and philosophical studies related to Joseph Beuys, Rudolf Steiner, Goethean methodology and other phenomenological thinkers and approaches
  • ‘internal mobilisation’ and approaches to overcoming denial
  • reflections on activism, new social movements and radical change
  • a focus on experiential knowing and related phenomenological practices
  • social sculpture as an enquiry into the philosophy and practice of freedom
  • a commitment to shaping a humane and ecologically viable world

Also, University of the Trees promotes creating spaces to discuss social sculpture and transformative practices