at the Barbican
STUK — House for Dance, Image & Sound
Opening hours: Tuesday–Friday 6–10pm, Saturday–Sunday 2–6pm
What Remains Is Future is an installation / book by David Bergé responding to the since 1981 ongoing archive of choreographer Marc Vanrunxt (Belgium, 1960).
For the installation What Remains Is Future, artist David Bergé spatially activates, transforms and recomposes elements of Vanrunxt’s archive to turn them into a multi-layered tactile experience. Archival photographs are projected and then erased by light. Movement instructions found in the notebooks, commented on by Bergé, intertwine with music and rescaled replicas of scenographic objects designed for Vanrunxt over the years by Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Kristof van Gestel, Katleen Vinck and David Bergé himself.
Approaching the archive as a resonance, David Bergé, long time friend and collaborator of the choreographer, creates a space for the audience to capture its echoes in their own pace.
The book What Remains Is Future is an extension of the installation and contains new interventions by Marc Vanrunxt and Lieven De Boeck, as well as contributions by Yasmina Reggad, Trajal Harrell and Gaia Carabillo. Publisher is Big black mountain the darkness never ever comes and the graphic design was done by Studio Christos Lialios, Athens.
conceived by David Bergé; with contributions by Ilan Manouach (sound design) and Gaia Carabillo (production); commissioned and produced by Kunst/Werk in co-production with Platform 0090; funded by the Arts Council of the Flemish Community; Support STUK House for Dance, Image & Sound.
David Bergé (1983) practices photography without taking pictures.
His work evolves around his ongoing investigation in the immersive qualities of photography and the practice of photography as an all inclusive experience. By radically liberating his praxis from all its conventional tools or classical forms of appearance, he creates space to return to the very essence of his intention as a photographer: sharing the instant experience of a specific moment in time and space.
David Bergé instead uses the body as a central device to catch his imagery and invites his audience to share this experience. The body as a traveling medium, measuring rod or navigator, physical seismograph of our inner archive. In short: the complex machine that enables us to merge the tactile, intellectual, emotional and aesthetic into one multi-layered picture. The body as a multi-dimensional camera.
Understanding photography as a performative act to generate a (collective) experience, David Bergé has been experimenting with a wide range of formats and outcomes such as the Silent Walk Pieces, publications, installations and performance lectures.
In What Remains Is Future, archival photographs are projected, than erased by light in a physical way.
He published a book with MER. Paper Kunsthalle (2015) and his work has been presented at various international art centers including CAC Vilnius (2015); NETWERK Center for Contemporary Art, Aalst (2012, 2015); SALT, Istanbul (2011); Maison Particulière, Brussels (2014), Goethe Institution New Delhi (2011) and Extra-City kunsthal, Antwerp (2015, 2016).
He has been invited to artist residence programs around the world, such as the Cape Cod Modern House Trust in Wellfleet, USA; The Ars Aevi collection in Sarajevo; geoAIR in Tbilisi, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin and Saari residency of the Kone Foundation in Finland.
David Bergé lives and works in Athens and Brussels
Aimée Zito Lema
A Series of Gestures
April 6 – May 21, 2017
The exhibition A Series of Gestures consists of three works that relate to ways the body engages with politics.
The 3 channel video work Rond De Jambe from 2015-2016 takes the history of the Stopera building in Amsterdam as a starting point. Built between 1979 and 1986, the building that serves as a home for the National Opera and Ballet as well as the City Hall, was created with strong opposition from the neighbours and left-wing movements in Amsterdam. Rond De Jambe juxtaposes the ‘political body’ and the ‘dancing body’, by using archival images from these protests, and by working together with dancers, it translates the movements into dance.
Several Forms of Friendship is the continuation of a work series where casts are made of different joints on the human body. For Kunsthall Trondheim Several Forms of Friendship takes place as a series of workshops where the public is invited to cast parts of the body, in particular joints, that enable movement, while discussing questions of relationships as a societal structure. The casts will be shown in the exhibition as a continually growing documentation of the workshops.
The third work A Series of Gestures, loans its title to the exhibition. The work consists of a series of prints from the archive of Adresseavisen, the local newspaper. Details of gestures from press images taken in connection with house fires in Trondheim, are cut out, enlarged and hung on the walls of the space where the workshop for Several Forms of Friendship is held.
With these three works the exhibition points toward how the body relates to power structures within a bio-political frame work. As with spoken language, gestures; the language of the body, express power structures, but can also formulate alternatives to these. In these works, the body is recognized as a political tool that is both governed and resists this governance through a series of gestures – either as part of a political movement in demonstrations or as a motor for care and organization beyond representational politics.
Aimée Zito Lema (NL/ARG) was born in 1982. She studied at the University of the Arts, Buenos Aires, the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, and followed the Master Artistic Research program of the Royal Academy in The Hague. Among her recent exhibitions are: 11th Gwangju Biennale, the Dorothea von Stetten Award exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bonn (2016) and L’art de la Revolte – Hors Pistes – Centre Pompidou Paris (2016). Zito Lema recently finished the Artist-in-residency program at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.
Images from other exhibitions
TOWARDS AN INVESTIGATIVE AESTHETICS
MACBA 28 Apr. to 15 Oct. 2017
Rafah: Black Friday (European Pléiades satellite image at 11.39 a.m.), Forensic Architecture, 2015
In recent years the little-known research group Forensic Architecture began using novel research methods to undertake a series of investigations into human rights abuses. While providing crucial evidence for international courts and working with a wide range of activist groups, NGOs, Amnesty International and the UN, Forensic Architecture has not only shed new light on human rights violations and state crimes across the globe, it has also given rise to a new form of investigative practice, to which it has given its name. The group uses architecture as a methodological device with which to investigate armed conflicts and environmental destruction, and to cross-reference multiple other evidence sources such as new media, remote sensing, material investigation and witness testimony. This exhibition introduces the practice, outlining its origins, history, assumptions, potential and double binds. With these investigations and the critical texts that accompany them, Forensic Architecture examines how public truth is produced, technologically, architecturally and aesthetically; how it can be used to confront state propaganda and secrets; and how to expose newer forms of state violence.
Exhibition by: Forensic Architecture
Director: Eyal Weizman
Curator: Rosario Güiraldes
Exhibition conceptualization: Eyal Weizman, Rosario Güiraldes, Anselm Franke, Christina Varvia
Forensic Architecture Exhibition team: Rosario Guiraldes (coordinator), Christina Varvia, Samaneh Moafi, Ariel Caine, Hana Rizvanolli
Graphic Design: Other Means
I’m revisiting this show at Camden Arts Centre – quality of lightness in the work. Seems to have a kind of underlying metaphysics. Cumulative effect of multiple 16mm projections with none of the sometimes oppressive sophistication of multi-screen projections. Animated camera obscure installations.
João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva – Papagaio was at Camden Arts Centre, London NW3 until 29 March 2015
Adrian Searle in the Guardian…
What a peculiar world the Portuguese artists João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva inhabit. Populated by birds, fish and animals, cyclists, smokers and donkey-riders, it is a place of abstractions and illusions, the everyday and the impossible.
Bristling with ideas, snatches of reality, optical tricks and enigmatic moments, this magical, mesmerising exhibition is alive with the whirring hum of an orchestra of 16mm film projectors. Images spill across the walls in room after room. I don’t recognise the galleries at Camden Arts Centre, and very often I have no idea what I am looking at, or why.
Part of an international touring exhibition that changes from venue to venue, Papagaio (Portuguese for parrot) is both a compendium of films and an immersive installation that takes us from the artists’ studio to Lisbon zoo, from a voodoo ceremony in the Gulf of Guinea to outer space – or at least a photographic version of it.
A white stone raises its long hair, as if by some strange electromagnetic force. Do boulders have hair? It looks like a weird creature haunting a cluttered corridor. Is it terrified, defending itself, lonely? Look. It’s doing it again. In another film, a live cowfish sits on a plate, squirting water from its mouth and slithering around. Three suns set over the sea and three eggs (eggs are a recurrent motif) fry in a pan. Maybe it’s the same egg, superimposed on itself. A nearby closeup shows a man at the barbershop having a bald spot shaved into his scalp. But as soon as you detect a theme, it’s gone.
Lit by the multiple projections of 19 silent films, many running concurrently, the spaces of Camden Arts Centre have been plunged into cinema darkness. Some films are short and very simple. A baker makes croissants, flipping each triangle of dough and rolling it around in mid-air. I am amazed by his skill, as he flicks the dough towards the camera like a lizard’s tongue. How much sculpture there is in the baker’s craft.
A blind man eats a papaya, screwing up his face at the texture and taste. The man looks like Goya’s Saturn, devouring one of his children. This is a somehow terrifying scene. Sometimes staged, or shot on the hoof, Gusmão + Paiva’s films are mostly only a few minutes long, yet time stretches as we watch. They are slower than reality. This slowing down, and the use of high-definition film, gives everything the artists do a sense of expectation and gravity. What will happen next?
Often, not much. A turtle’s head emerges from under its shell, giving us its round, shining eye. A man rides a donkey across a town square in Kenya, seen from a high, distant vantage point. The camera looks through a car’s windscreen on a rainy day; the windscreen wipers move with metronomic slowness as the car turns a corner. The end. This last little vignette is called A Day Without Filming: somehow, the artists just couldn’t resist. They can make a drama out of nothing and art out of anything. The voodoo ceremony, at 42 minutes, is much too long. It takes eons. Sometimes, the artists film the drinking and dancing, and people rolling around in the dust in trance-like fits, and sometimes participants hold the camera themselves, jerking it around, swooping wildly.
At their best, Gusmão + Paiva return us to that sense of wonder that spectators of early film must have felt as they watched the world unfold before them in the dark. Seeing a shadow play of bicycle wheels turning on the wall, I realise it isn’t a film, but a projection from a camera obscura. Squinting through several bright lenses set into a false wall, I could see the wheels and moving lights in the hidden space beyond. I’m reminded of Duchamp, who liked to keep his arrangement of a bicycle wheel and a stool in his studio for the pleasure of watching the wheel idly turn.
A second camera obscura throws the image of a room, and a view into what seems to be a moonlit garden, on to the gallery wall. The light shifts as we watch, like the passing of time. This is magical, understated, and oddly spellbinding. Even when you know how the illusion is achieved (looking back through the holes in the gallery wall, to the inverted model beyond) it retains an air of strangeness.
What does it all mean? Part of me doesn’t want to know. The book Teoria Extraterrestre, which accompanies the exhibition (it’s much more than your bog-standard catalogue) is full of little stories, anecdotes, jokes, quotations from philosophers, and imaginary conversations. Here is Walter Benjamin, from his famous essay on being out of his head in Marseille, ordering oysters while stoned on hashish. And here is an imaginary conversation between a wine taster and the blind man who ate the papaya. Spoof philosophies, real quotations, cod science and bits of arcane text accompany numerous commentaries on the works. It’s a labyrinth. I’m sure Borges is in here somewhere, and now and again the great Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa makes an appearance.
The more I try to make sense of Gusmão + Paiva, the more I balk at explanation. At some point, my inner critic leaves. What a relief. I stand gawping for hours. When I eventually leave, too, and cross the traffic on the hectic Finchley Road, the world is unhinged.