٠ (un)natural disasters, by Darina Peeva ٠

922976_10151633817001815_1987556427_n© Darina Peeva, from the series (un)natural disasters, 2012

942874_10151633819201815_1357328219_n© Darina Peeva, from the series (un)natural disasters, 2012

“…This mix of real and unreal gives the viewer the opportunity to perceive the different images unemotionally, distantly and with no sense of guilt. The viewer is just an observer, without the right to change anything, but also with responsibility for what happens. I combine images of animals with
objects (firearms and bombs) and place them in situations different than their normal habitats (interiors and public buildings). That way these symbols of innocence and helplessness (dear and kind) quickly change into carriers (representations and significations) of violence and death. The everyday news about wars, revolutions and human mistakes, for example, the sinking of the Costa Concordia. change our perceptions of what is natural and normal. We are getting used to receiving information about death and terrorist threats. The unnatural disasters caused by politics and people with power are becoming more global and they don’t leave us room or possibility to escape.”
excerpt from Darina’s atatement. More of her work here

261630_10151633817296815_139791794_n© Darina Peeva, from the series (un)natural disasters, 2012

420204_10151633819491815_480883601_n© Darina Peeva, from the series (un)natural disasters, 2012

I am reminded of Walter de Maria 1960 text On the Importance of Natural Disasters:


I think natural disasters have been looked upon in the wrong way.
Newspapers always say they are bad. a shame.
I like natural disasters and I think that they may be the highest form of art possible to experience.
For one thing they are impersonal.
I don’t think art can stand up to nature.
Put the best object you know next to the grand canyon, Niagra falls, the red woods.
The big things always win.
Now just think of a flood, forest fire, tornado, earthquake, Typhoon, sand storm.
Think of the breaking of the Ice jams. Crunch.
If all of the people who go to museums could just feel an earthquake.
Not to mention the sky and the ocean.
But it is in the unpredictable disasters that the highest forms are realized.
They are rare and we should be thankful for them.

┐ Alexander Brener & Barbara Schurz └

On the night of October 15th, as I was leaving the demonstration, a guy shouted at me. As I looked back he asked me if I spoke english, I nodded, he grabbed a paper bag and gave me a book. He turned, walked away and cut the corner just in time for me to thank him. I opened the book and this was it!!! Thank you Alexander!

“In the beginning of 1999 we published a little book called What to do? 54 Technologies of Resistance Against Power Relations in Late-Capitalism (in Vienna, and before that in Moscow.) This book is a collection of a number of semi-anecdotes and semi-reflections about the possibilities of political and cultural resistance under the condition of a globalized market and multiculturalism. The centre of our examination were so-called technologies of resistance: familiar and traditional methods of political struggle and cultural resistance, as well as individual ‘transgressive’ techniques. On the one hand we tried to analyze critically technologies such as demonstrations, sit-ins, hunger strikes; on the other hand we discussed the effectiveness of showing your ass in front of your enemy, throwing eggs and spitting on your opponent’s dress. Resistance must take into consideration concrete circumstances of place and time and must act from very precise strategies and tactics of local struggle, if it wants to be effective. Borrowing from Foucault, who spoke about the ‘specific intellectual’ we suggested the term ‘local and specific resistor.’ Such a resistor doesn’t act from universal concepts or out of the doctrines of parties or groups, but struggles against these very doctrines and keeps moving endlessly, not knowing what he or she will do tomorrow. In combating the current art-system, local scandals, interventions, leaflets, graffiti etc. may be effective at a certain moment but useless in another context. Soft subversion, a heritage inherited from the 1980s, is no longer adequate, and the hidden undermining of the political context of the enemy is obsolete and has finally degenerated either into cynicism or into conformism and strategies of success and survival within the system. ‘War is necessary!’ was our answer to the question ‘What to do?’

However, the term ‘technologies of resistance,’ which we have used untill now, no longer satisfies us. From now on we want to talk not about technologies but about anti-technologies of resistance. After the works by Artaud, Bataille and Foucault, Lacoue-Labarthe, it becomes clear that the Greek term ‘techne,’ which denotes a mimetic ideal in the sphere of art and is directly connected with the art of politics, still subordinates itself to political and aesthetic activities in modern society. Techne implies a model of society that is based on the hegemony of certain technologies of power and on the subjection of the will of individuals in a direction favorable to the elite. Technologies are the skills and abilities which guarantee the functioning of knowledge and power in very different fields – from a shoemaker’s business to the construction of intercontinental ballistic missiles, from artistic collages to espionage satellites. Power relations produce technologies and distribute them partly through dictatorship, partly through seduction, but always in the interest of the ruling order. Even if one or another technology is employed in the service of resistance, at a certain moment it inevitably turns out to be the hostage of power and, deriving from power relations, it permanently return us to them. Technologies serve the oldest and most productive game of power, where its myths get the ‘final’ and ‘competent’ confirmation from experts. Nowadays techno-myths serve the neo-liberal elites, repressive tolerance, and the new Right. We no longer want to speak about ‘technologies of resistance’ because we associate the term ‘technologies’ with ‘power’ rather than ‘resistance.’ Anti-technologies of resistance are necessary!

This is a great manifesto by Alexander and Barbara. continue reading here

┐ Rita Nowak └

© Rita Nowak, Zenita Komad, 2004

© Rita Nowak, Venus in Furs, 2005

Starting with an intense engagement with the self-portrait as a genre, two years ago Rita Nowak began reenacting famous masterworks with artist friends. In choosing the works to model, Nowak works associatively in that some works—due to certain gestures and moods—trigger memories of people well-known to her or stand in an “almost magical proximity” to them. A central interest here is what the artist calls the “memory effect”: “from history a voice that tells me something about people from my past.”


Her portraits intend neither the perfect, historicizing mise en scène of the persons portrayed using costumes and props, nor an elaborate, theatrical treatment of the space. Instead, her attention is primarily focused on choosing an appropriate space/background and, especially in the current works, arranging the accoutrements found on site. It is above all the relation established between the space and the person portrayed that gives each photograph its particular characteristic.


The spaces are chosen on the one hand in terms of their appropriateness for reenacting a certain masterwork, and at the same time reflect the individual personality of the person photographed. The people depicted are thus—aside from their telling poses—decisively interpreted by the space surrounding them. Sometimes, conclusions can be drawn about the actual private and social world of the person portrayed. In each case, “the scene serves as a dramatic counterpart to the subject,” as the artist put it. In recent works like Venus in Furs or Invert Muse this has taken on even more significance, in the sense that now architectural objects or urban landscapes almost seem to demand being staged in the style of a masterwork—with or without a concrete reference.
(…)

Source: Eikon

More of Rita’s work here

┐ Oliver Ressler └

© Oliver Ressler, from the series We have a situation here, 2011

© Oliver Ressler, from the series We have a situation here, 2011

“We have a situation here” is a standard line in disaster films when an actor faces a challenging situation. The three photographs show people lying on top of each other and recognizably dressed as managers, police and soldiers.
The piles of managers, police officers and soldiers give the impression that these central players in the exercise of power are no longer necessary. Their game is over.

Managers of large corporations have for decades used their influence in the global economy to benefit their companies at the expense of environmental, social and labor standards and, as a result, entire regions have sank into poverty. “Criminality is no longer something that takes place at the margin of legal economic activity, but it is the basic activity of the post-industrial economic system, within which the traditional bourgeoisie have lost their cultural and ethical moorings,” writes Italian philosopher Franco Berardi Bifo (1). At least since the 2008 crisis – and because of the way the elites have managed it – people in the center of capitalism have overwhelmingly lost confidence in the social system and its representatives. According to a Polis/Sinus survey for the SPD-affiliated Friedrich Ebert Foundation, one in three German citizens doubts the effectiveness of representative democracy. (2)
Nevertheless the primary function of police remains maintaining public security and order; this means nothing else than to protect existing power relations, and destroy any effort for transformation. “If domination is always a process of armed robbery, the peculiarity of capitalism is that the person with the arms stands apart from the person doing the robbery, merely supervising that the robbery conforms with the law,” argues John Holloway. (3)
The military has the function of securing the global relations of power, which ranges from implementing the politics of exclusion up to securing the international supply of raw materials, often acting directly against the interests of the majority of the people living in resource-rich countries.

full text here

Notes:
(1) Franco Berardi Bifo, Arbeit Wissen Prekarität, Kulturrisse 02/2005
(2) Florian Rötzer, Demokratie überzeugt nicht mehr, Telepolis, 30.06.2008,
(3) John Holloway, Die Welt verändern ohne die Macht zu übernehmen (Change the World Without Taking Power), Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2004, p. 46

┐ Klaus Pichler └

© Klaus Pichler, Untitled, from the series Skeletons in the closet, 2008-2011

© Klaus Pichler, Untitled, from the series Skeletons in the closet, 2008-2011

“It all started when I happened to catch a glimpse through a basement window of the museum of natural history one night: an office with a desk, a computer, shelves and a stuffed antelope. This experience left me wondering: what does a museum look like behind the scenes? How are exhibits stored when they are not on display?
I was intrigued by these questions when I started to work on this project after being granted permission to take photographs on museum premises. Due to the sheer size of the museum (it covers an area of 45.000 square metres!), this series soon turned out to be a long term project. I started to focus on the less well known departments of the museum and their contents. Therefore, the focus of this study is not on the exhibition spaces of the museum of natural history, but on the space behind the scenes, particularly depots, cellars, and storage rooms assigned to individual departments which are generally not accessible to the public. These spaces are used for the storage of countless exhibits belonging to various collections, sorted following a rigidly scientific classification system, but also taking into account the limited storage space available.
As a photographer with limited knowledge of scientific research methods, the museum’s back rooms presented to me a huge array of still lives. Their creation is determined by the need to find space saving storage solutions for the preservation of objects but also the fact that work on and with the exhibits is an ongoing process. Full of life, but dead nonetheless. Surprises included!”

Klaus’ home here

┐ Birgit Jürgenssen └

© Birgit Jürgenssen, Hausfrauen – Küchenschürze, 1975

© Birgit Jürgenssen, Hhne Titel, 1979

© Birgit Jürgenssen, Gladiatorin, 1980

“Other artists of the feminist avant-garde, such as Hannah Wilke, Eleanor Antin and the abovementioned Martha Rosler went even further and were even more radical in their critique on the domestication of women within marriage. With the help of performance, video, installation or photography they protested against a housewife’s fate as a cleaning lady, cook and “prostitute” – as a cheap labour and at any times disposal for the husband. Taking into account that these gender conceptions were widespread cultural and normative ideals in European, and Western societies, one understands that women in the 70ies had a hard time in professional and public spheres.
[…]
Elisabeth Bronfen also picks up the topic of the subject and the ‘self’ in her contribution “Self-Irony as a autobiographical strategy” where she points out, that Jürgenssen explicitly questioned the idea of a direct, immediate access to one’s self. Rather, she says, the self is constituted via complex interplays between inner and outer forces and dynamics, one cannot get rid of, one cannot detach and dissociate from. The I in the other, the other in the I (Wie erfährt man sich im Anderen, das Andere in sich) was the title of Jürgenssen’s exhibition at the Gallery Hubert Winter in 1985. Therein she reflected the gaze of the other upon oneself, and how it affects one’s own identity construction. Is a genuine self-creation in a male dominated society possible at all? Jürgenssen’s artistic strategy to face this was an ironic play of experiments of self-analysis, abundantly shown in her photo series and graphic work. She does not re/claim a female virility, but ridicules the concept of virility and male supremacy altogether. In an interview with Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein she stated that she uses self-irony as a strategy to mediate subversive and deconstructive potentials. It was never her intention to search for a genuine female identity, but to question and overcome constructive mechanisms of identity formation altogether. „The person is a product of combinatorics, more or less stable”, she said in another interview. This is a statement gender-theorists can only sign into. But the possibility of self-realization, of choosing one’s own “combinatorics” is possible only where gender and other social constraints do not bind any longer.”

Read the entire text by Natascha Gruber here

Brigit’s work can be seen here