30 Oct 2012 Below Max Andrews' frieze review on the exhibition 'Utopia is possible. ICSID. Eivissa, 1971' currently on show (on view until 20 January 2013) at the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). An interesting follow up is Ethel Baraona Pohl's review on Domus (published 15 October 2012) which is accompanied by a lot more photodocumentation presented in the exhibition. 2012, architecture, Barcelona, congress, design, event, knowledge exchange, MACBA, Max Andrews, modes of assembly, participation, performance, Reviews
Instant City, 1971. Col·lecció MACBA. Centre d'Estudis i Documentació. Fons Xavier Miserachs
‘This will be an ICSID Congress only 10 metres from the sea,’ read the welcoming Bulletin of the Seventh Congress of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design in 1971. ‘The environment, the climate and the sea bathing will act as a stimulant to the general business of the Congress.’ As 1,500 delegates registered at the ziggurat-like hotel venue in northern Ibiza, the more adventurous made their way to Instant City, an inflatable camp below on Sant Miquel bay. Three days of meetings, debates, performances and partying were to follow –a professional design conference that was also a beach-side experiment in leisure and the creative potential of industrial plastic. The exhibition ‘Utopia is Possible’ was not only significant as an exercise in advocating the pioneering importance of an interdisciplinary festival that predated the better-known Encuentros de Pamplona’ (Pamplona Meetings) the following year – both all the more astonishing as Spain remained under the grip of dictatorship until 1975 – but also (and following a sprawling exhibition about the latter at Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofía in 2009) as a corollary of the emergence of curatorial and exhibition history as legitimate fields of study, as exhibition.
‘Utopia is Possible’ remembered and celebrated an event that evoked a meltdown of academia, inflatable architecture, cinema, Catalan artistic vanguardism and countercultural ceremonies – part ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable’, part technology enthusiast craft convention. Through teeming type and handwritten correspondence arranged in vitrines, hundreds of photographs, technical notes and newspaper reports – as well as four projections showing archival footage and a dozen monitors presenting newsreels and newly-made interviews with those involved – it revealed a project that clearly had a life-changing impact on those who experienced it. ICSID 1971 championed liberal social innovation and user-generated content. ‘This is an “open” congress’, declared its introductory statement, ‘a new experience […] for the first time the congress members will be able to participate to the utmost […] this is YOUR congress.’ The proceedings in the hotel comprised ‘Speaking Rooms’ with themes proposed by delegates, 65 talks including ‘The House Style of the Netherlands railway’,‘What We Are Doing in the Belgrade School of Design’, and ‘Basic Design with Computers’ – the latter led by the pioneering Centro de Cálculo (Computing Centre), a collaboration between Madrid’s Complutense University and IBM.
Down by the beach, meanwhile, the participation was of a somewhat different order – kinetic sculptural events with air, water, fire and food. Josep Ponsatí collaborated with members of the Grup Obert de Disseny Urquinaona (Urquinaona Open Design Group), who themselves collaborated in the pop-style signage of the congress, which was replicated in the show’s exhibition design. They tethered together 12 pairs of huge air-filled white plastic pillows that floated out over and on the bay like a giant flower. Vacuflex-3 (1971) by Antoni Muntadas and Gonzalo Mezza is a portable sculpture in the form of a 150-metre flexible plastic pipe which, with teamwork, can be variously carried around, used to spell out words on the sand (‘LOVE’, ‘LAND’, ‘HERE’) or floated on the sea. The opening dinner took the form of a multi-colour ritual orchestrated by Antoni Miralda, Jaume Xifra and Dorothée Selz; masked performers and diners wore green, red, blue and yellow cloaks, and feasted on similarly coloured paella and wine.
Yet Instant City took such multi-coloured experiences to architectonic dimensions, and it remains the ideological and pictorial emblem of the congress. Architecture students Carlos Ferrater and Fernando Bendito had persuaded architecture professor José Miguel de Prada Poole to transform their idea of inflatable student accommodation into reality. What resulted was a global manifesto for a new way of living intended to embrace the ‘nomadic and mobile’ values of impermanence and flexibility. Following publicity in colleges and magazines around the world, scores of volunteers came in the weeks before the congress to collaborate in stapling together a pop-up plastic community. Instant City was the backdrop to some of the exhibition’s most striking images, of bemused locals in traditional dress watching bearded design hippies building something between Hélio Oiticica’s ‘Penetrables’ and Maurice Agis’s ill-fated Dreamspace V (an inflatable environment that killed two women when it broke free from moorings in 2006). And although the taste of Utopian living was evidently challenged by the whiff of residing in sweltering polytunnel tentacles with too few toilets, it also inspired some soaring prog rock poetry that, perhaps more succinctly than any other words in the exhibition, gave a blast ofthe elaborate techno-paganism which must have blown minds at this extraordinary Congress. ‘Green cornfields alongside Instant City / Awaken to Ibizan sunrise’, read a typewritten sheet alongside module construction diagrams. ‘We are children of the future / Born into the paleo-cybernetic age / our minds extended electrically through the video sphere.’
‘Utopia is Possible’ offered a timely pre-history of participatory practice from a Spanish perspective and, against the backdrop of contemporary funding cuts, an object lesson in artistic solidarity and internationalism against the odds.
– Max Andrews
(Originally published in Frieze, October 2012, Issue 150)
Antoni Muntadas and Gonzalo Mezza Ceremonial and Vacuflex-3, 1971.
- Video where participants' discuss their experience here
- Tour of the exhibition by exhibition co-curator Teresa Grandas, here (both in Catalan)
- Latitudes' writing archive
25 Oct 2012 2012, Amsterdam, artist talk, de appel, Heman Chong, Moderations, photo, report, Rotterdam, SMBA, Spring Workshop, The Dutch Assembly, tour, W139, Witte de With
Last week we were in Witte de With, Rotterdam, for a two-day meeting in preparation for the 2013 project Moderation(s). Moderation(s) is a year-long programme of residencies, performances, exhibitions, workshops and research initiated by Witte de With’s director Defne Ayas and Spring Workshop founder Mimi Brown. At the core of the project stands ‘The Moderator’, incarnated by Singaporean visual artist and writer Heman Chong. More news soon, in the meantime you can read more in this interview with the artist. Artist and writer Heman Chong (left) introduces the Moderation(s) programme to participants and collaborators. At the end of the first day of the workshop, Witte de With director Defne Ayas, gave a tour of their current show 'The Humans', a year-long project by visual artist and writer Alexander Singh (image above and three photos below), which "includes a variety of formats, from presentations and rehearsals to discursive events that are informed by the props produced on site. Leading up to the final presentation of his play in the Spring of 2013, Singh transforms Witte de With’s second floor into an artist’s studio." (text from Witte de With's website).
The exhibition included spatial design by architect Markus Miessen, including "a multi-purpose yellow monolith. This giant modular cube consisting of sixty-four separate blocks constantly mutates in accordance to a series of events taking place in 2012, including Singh’s Causeries." (from the website).The previous evening to the workshop TENT and Witte de With hosted an evening of events which began with a lecture by Vivien Sky Rehberg's "Deschooling/Deskilling" lecture.
Bik van der Pol's piece "Accumulate, Collect, Show" (below) at TENT (originally produced as part of Frieze Projects 2011). View video of the piece changing the modular text elements to spell out a number of abstract idioms, quotes and maxims here. Downstairs TENT had the exhibition "Between the map and the territory" which included the below installation by curator Maaike Gouwenberg and artist Joris Lindhout, on their ongoing research into the "gothic as a cultural strategy". (Above) view of 'Untitled (Assimilated being), version 2"( 2011) by Swiss artist Karin Hueber: "Hueber’s work consists of installations of architectural elements that are apparently waiting to be used, as pieces of scenery for a stage production, as attributes for a performance. Elements are bent, folded, doubled, reversed or enlarged." (from the website).
On Sunday 21st we visited Amsterdam, quickly visiting the new spaces of de Appel and W139. de Appel presented the group show "Stem Terug! / Vote back!" which included a new presentation of the 2010 work "Local regulation" by Amikejo artists Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum (image below).(Above) General view of the first room of the exhibition with works by Artur Zmijewski ("Them (Oni)", 2007), Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum ("Plaatselijke Verordening" (Local Regulation), 2010) and Otto Berchem ("Blue Monday", 2011).(Above) General view of the first room of the exhibition with works by Sam Durant ("Tell it like it is", 2005), Yuri Veerman ("Red White Blue", 2012) and Otto Berchem ("Blue Monday", 2011).
(Above) Otto Berchem's "Blue Monday", 2011. Courtesy Gallery La Central.The nearby W139 hosted the group exhibition "The Research and Destroy Department of Black Mountain College" (below) with the participation of 30+ artists whose work share the idea of 'collecting'.
View of the exhibition "Time, Trade & Travel" at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. More images here. Following Bouwhuis' tour, there was an in conversation between American artist Zachary Formwalt and Dutch critic and historian Sven Lütticken in which they discussed Formwalt's film 'A Projected Geometry' (2012) (presented in the "Time, Trade and Travel") in relation to his previous film work such as "unsupported transit" (2011), amongst others.
Witte de With, TENT, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA), de Appel and W139 were all part of Latitudes' curated programme 'The Dutch Assembly': 30 hourly talks, readings, artists presentations, performances, book launches, in conversations and screenings presented last February over the course of the five days of ARCOmadrid.
All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
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17 Oct 2012 2012, galleries, Jan Mot, kurimanzutto, LABOR, Mariana Castillo Deball, MUAC, museo tamayo, México, Paloma Polo, Pierre Huyghe, Proyectos Monclova, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Terence Gower, Wilfredo Prieto
Following Latitudes recent trip to Mexico City for our project at Casa del Lago (see a slideshow of the five tours we realised around the city with artists Minerva Cuevas, Tania Pérez Córdova, Jerónimo Hagerman, Diego Berruecos, and Terence Gower), here's a run through of some of the other museum and gallery exhibitions which we had time to see in the city. LABOR and kurimanzutto both opened on the 20th September. LABOR's solo exhibition of Terence Gower (one of the five artists invited by Latitudes as part of the 'Incidents of Travel' project documented at Casa del Lago). His 'Ottagono' exhibition presented new and old works "that extended the artist investigation into the realm of abstract art" (quote from the press release), including the 2010 video "New Utopias", "Noguchi Galaxy" (2012), the sculpture group "Display Modern (Hepworth)" (2007) as well as paintings on photographs "Latin American Architecture" (2012), amongst others.
The Museo Experimental El Eco also had a book launch that evening, and upstairs the project "FRANCE FICTION: Vinimos a soñar" by Paris-based curator Jennifer Teets could be seen. kurimanzutto began the 2012-13 season with Untitled 2012, (All those years at No. 17E London Terrace), a collaboration between visual artist Rirkrit Tiravanija and musician Arto Lindsay, for which the artist recreated Lindsay's New York flat and copied around 2000 CDs and books he has had in storage in New York. Lindsay played the following day at Cine Tonalá and hung out in his new plywood mexican home the following week recording music and talking with visitors. Also, in the project space, was Paloma Polo's 'Posición Aparente' (recently exhibited as part of Reina Sofia's Fisuras programme). On view until 3 November. ( gob. Rafael Rebollar 94, Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, 11850 México D.F.) http://www.kurimanzutto.com
During installation we escaped for a lunch break and a visit to the recently extended Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo in the Bosque de Chapultepec. The Tamayo hosted an impressive roster of exhibitions: two group shows and three solo presentations, besides a selection of Tamayo's work: 'Primer Acto' (a group show on the idea of inauguration and the opening act), 'El mañana ya estuvo aquí' (a group show with works around the idea of retrospective visions of the future of modernity), Ryan Gander's 'Boing, boing, squirt'; Pierre Huyghe's 'El día del ojo' (a three part piece consisting of a permanent sculpture of a fish tank with blind fish and volcanic rocks; a selection of works from the Museo Tamayo y del Museo de Arte Prehispánico "Rufino Tamayo" in Oaxaca; and a publication) and the project 'Nueva Matemática' by Michael Stevenson.
Wilfredo Prieto's red carpet welcomes visitors.
SUPERFLEX's visitor counter outside the museum.
Central courtyard with Pierre Huyghe's fish tank with blind fish and volcanic rocks (background and below); a selection of works from the Museo Tamayo y del Museo de Arte Prehispánico "Rufino Tamayo" in Oaxaca.
The day after our Casa del Lago opening we visited the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) which had shows of Edgardo Aragón ("Por amor a la resistencia"), an impressive Teresa Margolles piece, "La Promesa", following the focus of her long-term investigation on Ciudad Juárez as a political and social context, and "Ejercicios de Resistencia" by Nicolás Paris. Downstairs there was an archival display of Felipe Ehrenberg's collection fund.
Façade of the museum in the University (UNAM) campus.
Entrance foyer and lower level.
Stairs to the restaurant, auditorium and library.
At MUCA-Roma we visited the group show "Colección: El crimen fundacional, crítica del museo' curated by first graduating students in the Curatorial Programme of UNAM's Art History degree, which included Mariana Castillo Deball's piece 'It rises or falls depending on whether you're coming or going. If you are leaving, it's uphill; but as you arrive it's downhill' (2006), presented in 2007 in the Latitudes'-curated exhibition 'Extraordinary Rendition'. The piece revisits a popular legend around the looting and transportation of the colossal stone statue of Tláloc to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City in a series of lithographs. Our final stop was Proyectos Monclova, which has relocated to a new and much larger space in Colima 55 (Col. Roma) with a solo show of architect Eduardo Terrazas (best known for his graphic design for Mexico's 1968 olympics realised in collaboration with Lance Wyman and Manuel Villazón.) Terrazas was concurrently exhibiting some works at the Casa Luis Barragán. The final gallery space was screening a fantastic slideshow with the 1968 work "Imagen México" accompanied with a soundtrack of 1969 songs. The exhibition finished on 29 September. See video of the opening here (via Vernissage TV) and a recent newspaper article.
Façade of the gallery.
Central gallery space.
Some of Terraza's works on view in the central space.
1970-1972 works on view in the back gallery space.
Showroom nearby the gallery offices.On Saturday 29th there was a tour (Ruta de Galerias, see video by Vernissage TV) around San Miguel Chapultepec and Tacubaya art spaces (participants included: Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura, Casa Luis Barragán, Central Art Projects, Galería de Arte Mexicano, Gallé Antigüedades, Jan Mot, kurimanzutto, Labor, Estacionamientos San Miguel Chapultepec, and Fundación Alumnos47). We started the day at the Museo de Arte Moderno, with a launch of the publication "History of the World" and in conversation between L.A.-born Guadalajara-based artist Eduardo Sarabia and Patrick Charpenel, collector and director of the Colección Jumex.
The tour was followed by a quick burger lunch at Café Zena in the corner of Gob. Potasio Pérez de Tagle and Antonio de León. ...and then back to kurimanzutto, where Arto Lindsay was having a conversation with Carlos Icaza, discussing a selection of his books and CDs, talking about the changes in music technology and supports (from vinyl to CDs), mexican, brazilian and japanese musicians.
From there we visited Jan Mot's space (Gob. José Ceballos 10, Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, 11850 México D.F. www.janmot.com), which presented Manon de Boer's "One, two, many", recently also presented for dOCUMENTA (13) (see Latitudes' comprehensive blog post here). On view at until 17 November. On our final evening in Mexico City we went to Sala Arte Público Siqueiros, where cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto celebrated the beginning his 45-day project "Dejándole algo a la suerte" (Leaving something to chance, until 12 November). For the duration of the exhibition Prieto occupies the upper gallery of the SAPS which has been turned into a studio from where he develops and conceptualises works to be presented on a daily basis on the lower gallery space (see here for those who have already taken place). On October 4th, the (non) opening day, the project began with 'Dos Tiempos': the encounter of a hare (named Raúl) and a terapin (Anastasia).All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
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15 Oct 2012 2012, Amikejo, conference, Mariana Cánepa Luna, Murcia, No Soul for Sale, prácticas curatoriales, Tate Modern, The Last Newspaper, visiting lecturer, X initiative
Mariana Cánepa Luna de Latitudes discutirá el rol del comisario a partir de tres proyectos recientes de Latitudes. Estos casos de estudio trazan enfoques de índole editorial (The Last Newspaper, New Museum, Nueva York (2010)); como organización participante (las dos ediciones del festival No Soul for Sale: A Festival of Independents en X Initiative, Nueva York (2009) y en Tate Modern (2010)); y en un ciclo expositivo anual ('Amikejo', MUSAC, León (2011)).
Este ciclo de conferencias mensuales analiza las diferentes profesiones que operan en el campo del arte contemporáneo, presentando aspectos que caracterizan la labor del crítico, el comisario, el productor cultural, el investigador y los responsables de espacios independientes. + info...
Ciclo co-dirigido por Ana G. Alarcón, Isabel Durante y Pablo Lag, componentes del grupo curatorial Primer Escalón.
Fotodocumentación de la conferencia aquí.
'The Last Newspaper' exhibition catalogue, New Museum, New York, 2010–11.
Lecture within the cycle "Cultural Professions", Aula de Cultura Caja Mediterráneo, Murcia, 17 October, 20h. Free.
Mariana Cánepa Luna of Latitudes will discuss the role of the curator in the context of three of Latitudes' recent projects. These case studies trace Latitudes' approach in an editorial context (The Last Newspaper, New Museum, New York (2010)); a year-long exhibition series ('Amikejo', MUSAC, León (2011)) and as an invited organisation (the two editions of No Soul for Sale: A Festival of Independents in X Initiative, New York (2009) and Tate Modern (2010)).
This cycle of monthly conferences centres on different professions within contemporary art, discussing aspects that characterise the practice of a cultural producer, a critic, a curator, a researcher and a member of an independent art space. + info...
Cycle co-directed by Ana G. Alarcón, Isabel Durante and Pablo Lag, from the curatorial group Primer Escalón.UPDATE: Photodocumentation of the lecture here.
All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.