Two shows: Omer Fast at NIMk, Anti-photojournalism at Foam

Omer Fast: Dialogue, Reality, Fiction, Documentation, Overidentification, Recreation, Narrative.

Antiphotojournalism: Truth, Representation, Evidence, Distribution, News, Mourning, Humanism.

See them while you can.

NIMk until July 23 – curated by Petra Heck. Foam until June 8. Amsterdam – curated by Carles Guerra and Thomas Keenan.

Balkan and South-East Europe over-identification trilogy

1. Laibach – Predictions of Fire 1996

In the early 80’s, an industrial rock band named Laibach emerged out of the Yugoslav republic of Slovenia. Incorporating what many took to be fascist imagery in their performances, they shocked this small Balkan republic and, after signing a recording contract with London’s prestigious Mute Records label, went on to shock the rest of the world as well. Laibach was soon joined by a painting group, IRWIN, and theater group, Red Pilot, at the helm of one of the most ambitious and cutting-edge arts collectives in the world. Modeled after a socialist state bureaucracy, and calling themselves Neue Slowenische Kunst (New Slovenian Arts, or NSK), these three groups became the titular heads of a micro-state within the independent republic of Slovenia. NSK recently began issuing its own passports and opened embassies and consulates in Moscow, Berlin, Ghent, Florence, and in the US.

2. Aleksandra Domanovic – Turbo Sculpture 2010

Turbo Sculpture is questioning the emergence of a new kind of public art in ex-Yougoslav republics. The title of the video is a reference to Turbofolk, a popular style of music from the Balkans that freely samples traditional and contemporary sources. A sculpture of Bruce Lee, or of Rocky are politically neutral and common cultural references for the different communities that were at war for over a decade in the 1990s. While the war time Turbo Culture was mostly associated with exaggerated nationalism, almost pornographic kitsch and crime glorification, the post war Turbo boldly contrasts nationalist xenophobia while retaining its stylistic identity.

3. BBC4 – Nicolae Ceausescu, The King of Communism 2003

Nicolae Ceausescu created a unique personality cult in the 1970s and 1980s, transforming communist Romania into one of the strangest regimes Europe has ever seen. Newspapers had to mention his name 40 times on every page, factory workers spent months rehearsing dance routines dressed as soldiers and gymnasts for huge shows at which thousands of citizens were lined up to form the words Nicolae Ceausescu with their bodies. When the Romanian economy and living standards plummeted in the 1980s, the line between theatre and life blurred completely. Ceausescu went on working visits to the countryside where he inspected displays of meat and fruit made out of polystyrene, and closer to home began work on what would have been the largest palace in the world. At the final parade in 1989, workers walked past their leader to the sound of taped chants and applause.

Two dead media announcements in one week

Analog media seizure. Sony Cassette Walkman discontinued in Japan and Technics 1200 turntables discontinued globally. 30 year old technology. Beginning of personal audio. Beginning of scratching, club culture. Analog components difficult to source. Challenges in the marketplace. Walkman’s death announced on the birthday of the ipod.

‘Just another montage (confessions of an Art Guard)’

Dafna Maimon’s take on arts industry workers, recent art school graduates, art guards and the dreams and fears of the people at the frontline of cultural institutions. The protagonists use black parcan theatre lights on mic stands to frame their monologues. A white light too strong. Lights. Camera. Action.The repetitious scenes were almost nausea inducing in their hammy under/overacted delivery. Exquisitely bland dialogue, sometimes directed to audience members or the unwitting gallery visitor who becomes part of the narrative. Tiny, intoxicating scenes that would be repeated over the course of an hour.

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Inane moving of lights. Incessant moving of the framing devices. The power a directed light has to focus energy and create an immediate stage is profound. The spotlight gives license to the characters to deliver lines in much the same way that social networking platforms or micro-blogging services gives licence to transmit little traumas, everyday desires and narcissistic impulses. These individuals prepare their monologues for the amorphous mass, one liners that are both media-conscious and personal. They recite language to the ether, not a directed conversational language, but a never-ending stream of quotes, self-critical comments and weak commands. The dialogue of mediated individualism. I felt we were trapped in the lucid daydreaming IM chats of bored gallery sitters and wannabe curators.

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Melodramatic pauses and romantic dialogue interspersed with asides to the audience “If this was a film I would be shot over the shoulder in medium close-up”. Characters moving in highly artificial arcs. The pacing is drawn out and gives ample room for slippage, coincidences and accidents. A character sighs and delivers a highly breathy and despairing “Help. The website is stuck again”. This is anti-depressant operatic tragedy set to the scale of 21st century comment culture.

09/01/10. W139, Warmoesstraat 139, Amsterdam

Directed by Dafna Maimon

Performers: Anu Vahtra, Lot Meijers, Steven de Jong, Timothy Moore

Society of the query

Google screenshot painting by Tyler Wilde.

Article by Dutch-Australian media theorist Geert Lovink on google, society of the spectacle/query and the shape of critical thought in this info-glut.

‘The society of the query and the Googlization of our lives’

An excerpt

Ever since the rise of search engines in the 1990s we have been living in the “society of the query”, which, as Weizenbaum indicates, is not far removed from the “society of the spectacle”. Written in the late 1960s, Guy Debord’s situationist analysis was based on the rise of the film, television and advertisement industries. The main difference today is that we are explicitly requested to interact. We are no longer addressed as an anonymous mass of passive consumers but instead are “distributed actors” who are present on a multitude of channels. Debord’s critique of commodification is no longer revolutionary. The pleasure of consumerism is so widespread that it is has reached the status of a universal human right. We all love the commodity fetish, the brands, and indulge in the glamour that the global celebrity class performs on our behalf. There is no social movement or cultural practice, however radical, that can escape the commodity logic. No strategy has been devised to live in the age of the post-spectacle. Concerns have instead been focusing on privacy, or what’s left of it. The capacity of capitalism to absorb its adversaries is such that, unless all private telephone conversations and Internet traffic became were to become publicly available, it is next to impossible to argue why we still need criticism – in this case of the Internet.

Mock up on Mu

Mock up on Mu
dir. Craig Baldwin (USA, 2009, 110 min)
Première: 3 December, 22:00 hrs Smart Project Space

A new movie by Craig Baldwin, straight out of the Other Cinema compound in San Francisco. The latest in his canon that includes Tribulation 99, Sonic Outlaws and Spectres of the Spectrum, all intoxicating feature-length films that use pre-exisitng media. Screening this Thursday night in Amsterdam.

Mock up on Mu dir. Craig Baldwin (USA, 2009, 110 min) Première: 3 December, 22:00 hrs. Smart Project Space Amsterdam


A radical hybrid of spy, sci-fi, Western, and even horror genres, Craig Baldwin’s Mock Up On Mu cobbles together a feature-length ‘collage-narrative’ based on (mostly) true stories of California’s post-War sub-cultures of rocket pioneers, alternative religions and Beat lifestyles that creates an alternative American history.

‘ often hilarious, sometimes inscrutable, always original film that’s part pop-cultural fantasia, part capitalist critique’ – New York Magazine



a day-long symposium on the changing nature of cultural development, ‘amateurism’ vs. ‘professionalism’, the shifting sands of creative consumption and critical construction… gatekeepers now left with no-one at the gates… playlist curatorial selections and niche/long tail sales techniques… for a long time it has been sensed that artists are the new curators, filters that set signs into collision, to paraphrase Bourriaud. i’m interested to to see what this gathering has to say on the consumer as curator, and how the curators see it…

please note: ‘Captcha’ as logo

speakers include Bruce Sterling, Rick Poynor and Metahaven.

produced by the Breda Graphic Design Museum, headed up by Mieke Gerritsen

hosted by Koert van Mensvoort of the always excellent

While museums are developing strategies to digitalise their collections, online cultural production is growing steadily, with hundreds of thousands of new images posted each day. A lot of potentially interesting work is being produced online, which never reaches the physical world. The distribution of this high quality work is increasingly decentralised, leaving museums, foundations and professional magazines at a loss on how to redefine their role as gatekeepers. On the other hand, the time spent daily behind the computer on internet networking is pushing the demand for a physical experience of our fleeting culture. Designers, artists, mediators and policy makers need to redefine their position, because new technologies define to a large extent today’s possibilities and means of presentation and archiving. The search is for new quality criteria, new frames of references, and alternative methods for enabling connections between the virtual and the physical space of today’s culture.

Practical information:
Location: Paradiso, Amsterdam (Weteringschans 6)
Entrance: €25, €10 (studenten) english spoken
Advanced sales: AUB ticketshop amsterdam/ticket service nederland
Contact information:
graphic design museum
t +31 (0)76 529 99 00