Tuesday, 24 April 2012

"Where is the Wall?"

Where is the Wall? (2009) by Elke Sasse and Stefan Pannen.

Sasse, Elke & Pannen, Stefan [2012] Where is the Wall? [Online]
 http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/4717/Where-is-the-Wall- [23/04/2012]

Monday, 23 April 2012

Sophie Calle and Boris Mikhailov

A Sense of Mystery, an interview of Sophie Calle by Michel Guerrin, as well as Boris Mikhailov's The Wedding series and the article Back to the Basics by Helen Petrovsky.

Guerrin, Michel (2012) "Interview with Sophie Calle: A Sense of Mystery" in Foam, Spring, pp.12-18.
Petrovsky, Helen (2012) "Back to the Basics" in Foam, Spring, pp.185-188.

[Online] http://issuu.com/Foam-Magazine/docs/08-058_fm_30_preview?mode=window [06/01/2013]

"Snackpoint Charlie" sees new cold war

There's a "new cold war" at Checkpoint Charlie, between commercial and historical interests, claims Connolly (2012). Although the site has been a tourist destination than a place of reflection for some years now, new developments seems to have an emotional impact on those involved.

Connolly, Kate (2012) Checkpoint Charlie's new cold war with the hot dog vendors. [Online]
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/22/checkpoint-charlie-hot-dog-vendors [23/04/2012]

Friday, 20 April 2012

Framework of time

Bettina Pousttchi speaks about her installation Framework at Schirn Kunsthalle in frankfurt.

Schirn Kunsthalle (2012) Bettina.Pousttchi. Framework (Trailer) [Online] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcEqOWGFPtk&list=UUluPrWhowqErgMLkMNTVwAw&index=1&feature=plcp [20/04/2012]
Schirn Kunsthalle (2012) Bettina.Pousttchi. Framework [Online]
 http://www.schirn-magazin.de/kontext/bettina-pousttchi-framework/ [20/04/2012]

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Creating memories

Maryanne Garry and Matthew P. Gerrie show that memories can be altered by photographs, creating false memories, in their "false-memory implantation" research (Garry & Gerrie, 2005).

Garry, Maryanne & Gerrie, Matthew P. (2005) When Photographs Create False Memories [Online]
 http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/14/6/321.abstract [16/04/2012]

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Psychology of art

Paul Bloom from MIT talks about why we prefer original over reproduced artworks, and what values we enjoy within them.

Bloom, Paul (2011) The Origins of Pleasure. [Online]
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPicL1AWrs8 [15/04/2012]

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A Conversation from the Post-Communist Universe

A discussion between Simon Rees, Diana Artus and Jan Serych.

Apexart (2009) Three Moons of Jupiter:A Conversation from the Post-Communist Universe. [Online]
 http://www.apexart.org/events/reestalk.php [14/04/2012]
Frieze (2009) Nostalgia: What’s the Role of the Past in Fashioning the Future? [Online]
 http://www.friezefoundation.org/talks/detail/nostalgia_whats_the_role_of_the_past_in_fashioning_the_future/ [14/04/2012]

Friday, 13 April 2012

Collective memory and potential of monuments

The panel at a Frieze Talk, Mark Godfrey (Curator, Tate Modern) Edit András (Art historian and critic) Marko Luliç (Artist) Chair: Simon Rees (Curator, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius), addressed "the legacies and potential of monuments and public sculptures... and collective memory with which these objects interact" (Frieze Foundation, 2009).

Frieze Foundation (2009) CAC Vilnius presents: Memories, Monoliths, Monsters? [Online]
 http://www.friezefoundation.org/talks/detail/cac_vilnius_presents_memories_monoliths_monsters/ [13/04/2012]

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Margot Honecker defends East Germany

Margot Honecker notes that "it is a tragedy that this land [East Germany] no longer exists" and that "there was no need for them to climb over the wall, to pay for this stupidity with their lives" as the protests in 1989 was driven by the GDR's enemies (Connolly, 2012).

ARD-Dokumentation: Der Sturz - Honeckers Ende [Online]
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmhXh61N-SI [03/04/2012]
Connolly, Kate (2012) Margot Honecker defends East German dictatorship [Online]
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/02/margot-honecker-east-germany-interview [03/04/2012]

Poems animated

Animated poems by Billy Collins, Forgetfulness and Budapest. Melancholic to different degrees but both poems reflect upon personal memories, thoughts and longing.

I've been busy writing up my PhD proposal on memories of the divide in Berlin, in Stuttgart, and not been able to record my thoughts or ideas as much... 

Collins, Billy (2012) Everyday moments, caught in time [Online]

Monday, 5 March 2012

Eastern times in transition

"While there's still time, I would like to make a grand journey across Eastern Europe. To Russia, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the former East Germany, and back to Belgium." (Akerman, in Anderson, 2009)
Akerman documents her journey from the end of summer to deepest winter, for D'Est/From the East reconstructing "her impressions in the manner of a documentary on the border of fiction" [Icarus Films, 2012].

Akerman, Chantal (2008) Chantal Akerman: Moving through Time and Space. [Online]
 http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/592 [04/03/2012]
Anderson, Melissa (2009) Eastern Promisses [Online]
http://artforum.com/film/id=23865 [04/03/2012]
Icarus Films [2012] From The East D'Est [Online]
 http://homevideo.icarusfilms.com/new2003/from.html [04/03/2012]

Friday, 2 March 2012


Berlin 1031, 2009

Berlin 423, 2006

Palast Hotel Berlin 274, 2001

Three images of Berlin from Jörn Vanhöfen's book Aftermath

Artnet.com [2012] Berlin # 1031 [Online]

Robert Mann Gallery [2012] Berlin 423, 2006 [Online]
Robert Mann Gallery [2012] Palast Hotel Berlin 274, 2001 [Online]

Thursday, 1 March 2012

November, 1990

Excerpts from Brian Rose's journal, who captured images of East/West European borders. In 1990 he was on his way back to Berlin to photograph the aftermath and what once was the Wall.

Rose, Brian (1990) Journal Excerpts: November, 1990 [Online]
 http://www.brianrose.com/lostborder/journal.htm [26/02/2012]

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Memories back in the USSR

Boris Mikhailov, born in Ukraine made his series At Dusk in his hometown of Kharkov following the collapse of the USSR, using twilight to "record a society in transition and to evoke childhood memories" [V&A, 2012]. The monochrome photographs tinted blue refer to the 'blue hour' of twilight. The artist had been developing "a visual cosmos" since 1960s when photography was controlled by strict rules, which Mikhailov turned away from and focused on the private and the personal (Barbara Gross galerie, 2007). 

Overlapping motifs and leading multifaceted interpretations, Mikhailov hung social issues and living situations are disguised. The montage of images of opposing meanings reveal "contradictions and ambivalences in Russia in general" with layered "motifs featuring shots of surfaces that have been exploded or are crumbling is symptomatic for the collapse of Soviet society" (Barbara Gross galerie, 2007).

Looking back, Mikhailov notes that it was a period of "hidden meanings and coded messages in all genres... Given the scarcity of real news, everyone was on the lookout for the smallest piece of new information, hoping to uncover a secret or read between the lines. Encryption was the only way to explore forbidden subjects such as politics, religion, nudity" (Mikhailov, in Fredrickson, 2008).

Barbara Gross Galerie (2007) "Sandwich" [Online]
Fredrickson, Lori (2008) Boris Mikhailov's Dual Reality [Online]
V&A [2012] Photographs by Boris Mikhailov. [Online]

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Beyond singular point of view

Isidro Ramirez explores limitations in photography, that it can only see the surface, by layering photographs from four sides of East Berlin buildings. Ramirez attempts to view "a place in its totality" and questions, "would I know more if I saw this building from all different angles?" (Ramirez, in TroikaEditions, 2009)

Laurent Dequick similarly layers multiple photographs, as he argues there is no single frame of photograph that could capture "the streets, the lights, the sounds, the traffic, the swarms of people, the mixture of smells" in post-Wall Berlin (Dequick, in Weidmann, 2012).

Isidroramirez.com [2012] FOUR CORNERS. [Online]
 http://www.isidroramirez.com/fourcorners/fourc.html [25/02/2012]
TroikaEditions (2009) Isidro Ramirez on photographing the whole building [Online]
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imIhMbcIK3c [25/02/2012]
Weidmann, Ericka [2012] EXHIBITION: A Fresh Face for the Galerie Claude Samuel. [Online]
 http://lalettredelaphotographie.com/archives/by_date/2012-02-10/5496/a-fresh-face-for-the-galerie-claude-samuel [25/02/2012]

Projections.fr [2012] BERLIN POLARITÄT: Photographies de Laurent Dequick [Online]
 http://www.projections.fr/regards/berlin_polaritat/accueil.html [25/02/2012]

Monday, 27 February 2012

Berlin elucidated

Photographer Warren Naidich notes that the opening of the Berlin Wall delivered immediate and long-term consequences: "this once important monument depicting two famous philosophical figures has become nothing more than a backdrop for staged photographs by tourists visiting the city elucidating the ideological changes that have resulted form the fall of Communism and the rise of Capitalism" [Neidich, 2012b]. 

Neidich created a series Marx and Engels (2008-09) from photographs he took between 2008 and 2009. Installed in 1986, the Marx and Engels statue has moved about in Alexanderplatz, and can be seen in his series as a tourist backdrop with the disappearing Palast der Republik. He has also created an installation Undoing the Palast der Republik (2007) capturing the Palast being demolished. 

For the Black Square, Triangle, Circle Fragment 2 (2007), which he describes "a series of performative sculptures that reenact the memory of itself as a fragment of a once enacted performative space," Neidich states that "altogether the undoing of the Palast is metonymic for the process of undoing of Architecture as a cultural act. The Palast was not demolished but is being slowly and meticulously taken apart. The cultural undoing, assimilation and subsuming of the communist block by Capitalism after the fall of the Berlin is re-enacted in this work" [Neidich, 2012a].

Neidich, Warren [2012a] Black Square, Triangle, Circle Fragment 2 (2007) [Online]
 http://www.warrenneidich.com/black-square-triangle-circle-fragment-2-4/ [17/02/2012]
Neidich, Warren [2012b] Marx and Engels (2008-09) [Online]
 http://www.warrenneidich.com/marx-and-engels-2008-09/  [17/02/2012]
Neidich, Warren [2012c] Undoing the Palast der Republik (2007) [Online]
 http://www.warrenneidich.com/undoing-the-palast-der-republik/ [17/02/2012]

Saturday, 25 February 2012

European borders

Border, an exhibition of works by Martin Sigmund, is on display until 28 March in Stuttgart. The photographs show a collection of deserted border checkpoints across Europe made redundant by the Schengen Agreement, and express a sense of the past and nostalgia.

I wondered if the description "D-DDR" on the label for the Dreilinden Checkpoint Bravo photo was intentional (as opposed to saying "BRD-DDR"). Although it made me think about the FRG-GDR relationship, the photographer later told me that he chose to use D and DDR based on car national identification stickers, which I think is appropriate as these checkpoints were inspecting cars crossing the border.

Photo Presse (2012) Martin Sigmund. Border [Online]
 http://www.photopresse.de/content/view/10162/52/ [15/02/2012]
Sigmund, Martin [2012] Border [Online]
http://www.martinsigmund.com/ [15/02/2012]
TREFFPUNKT Rotebühlplatz (2012) Martin Sigmund | Border [Online]
 http://www.treffpunkt-rotebuehlplatz.de/ausstellungen/ [15/02/2012]

Friday, 24 February 2012

Reynolds' time

"The building's dazzling public lobby, surrounded by several tiers, was once the center of social life in East Berlin with thousands of sparkling lamps filling the open space of the lobby's grand staircase. Many Berliners recall attending a play in one of the theaters or dancing the night away in the underground disco, others seeing their first rock concert, or being married. Later, thousands of citizens demonstrated against the planned demolition and hoped the building would be protected against historical censorship, but alas, one day, twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall, the Palace completely disappeared." (Artstudio Reynolds, 2011a) 
Reynold Reynolds' film Letzter Tag der Republik / Last Day of the Republic (2010) captures the destruction of the Palast, opened in 1976 as "an emblem of the future" of East Germany [Reynold-reynolds.com, 2012a]. Reynolds has also produced Stadtplan (2004),  "a personal and hypnotic, split-screen and time-lapsed trip through Berlin," using the divide between the images to signify Germany's divide (Artstudio Reynolds, 2011b).

The Secrets Trilogy, composed of Secret Life (2008), Secret Machine (2009) and Six Easy Pieces (2010) (HKW, 2011), questions time and space. For the final production of Six Easy Pieces, Reynolds moved his entire studio into the Haus der Kulturen der Welt producing the film live before the audience, combining filming with performance [Node Berlin, 2012].

Artstudio Reynolds (2011a) Letzter Tag der Republik/ Last Day of the RepublicGermany (2010) [Online]
 http://vimeo.com/26032322 [17/02/2012]
Artstudio Reynolds (2011b) Stadtplan. [Online]
 http://vimeo.com/16743958 [19/02/2012]
HKW (2011) Labor Berlin 4: Reynold Reynolds: The Secrets Trilogy. [Online]
 http://www.hkw.de/en/programm/2011/labor_berlin_2011/veranstaltungen_53773/Veranstaltungsdetail_53537.php [17/02/2012]
Node Berlin [2012] Labor No. 4, Reynold Reynolds. [Online]
 http://nodeberlin.com/archive/labor-no.-4--reynold-reynolds [17/02/2012]

Reynold-reynolds.com [2012a] Letzter Tag der Republik (Last Day of the Republic) [Online]
 http://www.reynold-reynolds.com/pages/documentary.htm [17/02/2012]
Reynold-reynolds.com [2012] Secret Life. [Online]
 http://www.reynold-reynolds.com/pages/secret_life.htm [19/02/2012]
Reynold-reynolds.com [2012] Secret Machine. [Online]
 http://www.reynold-reynolds.com/pages/secret_machine.htm [19/02/2012]
Reynold-reynolds.com [2012] Six Easy Pieces. [Online]
 http://www.reynold-reynolds.com/pages/six-easy-pieces.htm [19/02/2012]
transmediale.de [2012] [Online] http://www.transmediale.de/content/letzter-tag-der-republik [17/02/2012]

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Transition and time over Berlin

In David Lamelas' silent film Time As Activity: Berlin (1998) shot from a helicopter flying over the city from West to East, the viewers witness large scale rebuilding of the city. The work "prompts a meditative reverie on the passage of time and how history is formed" and combines "the personal, individual histories of betrayal, loss and families torn apart to the more recent formation of a new Germany bringing its own set of problems" and leading us to question "who decides what remains" (Holt, 2005a). The film also brings into question "the significance of the notated time" as it allows "loose formulation to be transposed across time and space" creating different resonant with each location and becomes "a profound reflection on the passing of time, that transcends individual experience and incorporates the great swathes of historical change" (Holt, 2005b).

Holt, Jacqueline (2005a) David Lamelas. [Online] 
 http://www.luxonline.org.uk/artists/david_lamelas/essay(1).html [22/02/2012]
Holt, Jacqueline (2005b) David Lamelas. [Online] 
 http://www.luxonline.org.uk/artists/david_lamelas/essay(4).html [22/02/2012]
Lux Online (2005) Time as Activity (Berlin). [Online] 
 http://www.luxonline.org.uk/artists/david_lamelas/berlin_time_as_activity.html [22/02/2012]

Comer, Stuart (2005) David Lamelas: The Limits of Documentary [Online]
http://www.luxonline.org.uk/articles/the_limits_of_documentary(1).html [22/02/2012]
Tate Channel (2008) TateShots: David Lamelas [Online]
 http://channel.tate.org.uk/media/26515690001 [22/02/2012]

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Eve Sussman, in the flow of time

Thinking back on exhibitions at Haunch of Venison... the film whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir by Eve Sussman is an "expedition to unravel utopian promise". The film was being edited in real time by a software from 2637 video clips, creating "the narrative through unexpected juxtapositions" of endless and never repeated scenes (Haunch of Venison London, 2011).

Sussman with Angela Christlieb created How to tell the future from the past v.2, shot during a 72 hour train journey across Central Asia. The three screen video work conceptualises passing time with "the manifestation of humanity as the constant, as daily life runs backwards and forwards simultaneously" [Haunch of Venison, 2012]. Wintergarden by Sussman and Simon Lee focus on and merges Soviet windows in 3 channel video showing the shift of time. The curator and director of HoV Nina Miall calls it "a meditation on how the current inhabitants of old Soviet housing blocks today assert their individuality... by personalizing the decaying totalitarian balconies" (Redstone, 2011).

Haunch of Venison [2012] London: Eve Sussman | Rufus Corporation [Online]
 http://haunchofvenison.com/exhibitions/past/2011/eve_sussman_rufus_corporation/ [21/02/2012]
Haunch of Venison London (2011) Eve Sussman | Rufus Corporation  whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir. [Information sheet]. p.1.
Redstone, Elias (2011) London Underground | Urban Narratives. [Online]
 http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/london-underground-urban-narratives/ [21/02/2012]
rufus corporation [2012] How to tell the future from the past v.2 [Online]

Loop [2012] Eve Sussman & Simon Lee [Online]
 http://www.loop-barcelona.com/eng/fitxa.php?id=496 [21/02/2012]

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Fictional reality by Nicolas Provost

"The film starts with an off-screen dialogue between a young couple, ready to embark on a romantic adventure. What happens next? Provost will tell their story by using nothing but stock footage exterior shots of a Boeing plane, flying towards a sunset." [Moving Stories, 2012]
Nicolas Provost created Untitled (2010) entirely from stock footage. The artist shows that prefabricated clips often used by filmmakers to cut cost can bring aesthetic and cinematic values and narrate a story [Moving Stories, 2012]. 

Provost has also produced Stardust [above], second part of the trilogy where Provost explores the boundaries between fiction and reality, "by using cinematographic and narrative codes from the Hollywood film language" [Nicolasprovost.com, 2012a], as well as Storyteller [below], in which the artist "manoeuvres and influences the interpretation of images, carefully balancing between the figurative and the abstract" [Nicolasprovost.com, 2012].

Moving Stories [2012] Untitled. [Online]
Nicolasprovost.com [2012a] Stardust [Online]
Nicolasprovost.com [2012b] Storyteller [Online]

Monday, 20 February 2012


Palast der Republik was abandoned for 15 years after the fall of the GDR. Monitoring debates about the future of the building, Lars Ø Ramberg developed the idea where doubt has become a proof of democracy, and to symbolize this phenomenon in 2005 he created Palast des Zweifels – the Palace of Doubt [Larsramberg.de, 2012]. Ramberg had been collecting newspaper articles with the word "Zweifel" (doubt) in the headline, and printed  Zweifel Allgemeine with the headlines of these articles [Node Berlin, 2012].

Larsramberg.de [2012] Palast des Zweifels [Online]
http://www.larsramberg.de/1/viewentry/3890 [17/02/2012]
Node Berlin [2012] Zweifel Allgemeine [Online]
 http://nodeberlin.com/archive/zweifel-allgemeine [17/02/2012]

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Finding Lenin

Rick Minnich goes photographing statues of Lenin in his work The Book of Lenins (1993-96), which documents his journey to publish a book about Lenin monuments. Minnich digs up the 60 foot Lenin statue which stood in East Berlin until 1992 and was buried by the new German government (Minnich, 2011).

According to a Spiegel report, Berlin plans to dig up this statue for an exhibition at Spandau Citade, to be displayed among statues of various German era (Crossland, 2010).

Crossland, David (2010) 'Hello Lenin': Berlin to Resurrect its Disgraced Monuments [Online]
 http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,674218,00.html [16/02/2012]
Minnich, Rick (2011) The Book of Lenins - English version [Online]
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPoejKEuc_Y [16/02/2012]

Friday, 17 February 2012

Longing for Germany in exile

Margot Honecker, the GDR education minister between 1963 to the autumn of 1989 and the widow of former leader Erich Honecker, "lives with her mind in Germany" reportedly missing forests and mushrooms (Spiegel Online, 2012). 

Spiegel Online (2012) Exile in Chile: Former East German Leader's Wife Is Homesick. [Online]
 http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,813785,00.html [13/02/2012]

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Architecture and memory in films

Brutalität in Stein [Brutality in Stone] (1961) by Alexander Kluge connects history and memory through architecture and speeches by Hitler. Kluge has also directed Abschied von Gestern/Yesterday Girl (1966)  about a an East German refugee trying and failing to get a foothold in West Berlin (Lee, 2010). The film opens with the text "what separates us from yesterday is not a rift but a changed position".

bluaCONVAIR880 (2011) 1 - Abschied von gestern - 1966 - Kluge [Online]
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMa5TvLpPVA [14/02/2012]
Brody, Richard (2010) The Way West. [Online]
 http://www.newyorker.com/arts/events/revivals/2010/05/24/100524gomo_GOAT_movies_brody [13/02/2012]
dekonstrukcija (2010) Brutalitat in Stein - 1961 - Alexander Kluge & Peter Schamoni. [Online] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=islUtYwOOx8 [13/02/2012]
Lee, Kevin B. (2010) 993 (129). Abschied von Gestern—(Anita G.) / Yesterday Girl (1966, dir. Alexander Kluge) [Online] http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/2010/01/993-129-abschied-von-gestern%E2%80%94anita-g-yesterday-girl-1966-dir-alexander-kluge/ [14/02/2012]

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mitch Epstein in Berlin

"Berliners have chosen to leave traces of the worst of themselves in their architecture and landscape. They have understood what a largely amnesiac America has not: reform relies on memory." [Epstein, in Steidl, 2012]
Winning the Berlin Prize in Arts and Letters in 2008, Mitch Epstein photographed the city's "layered and famously tormented history" by photographing its war and postwar histories and remnants, capturing "unique capacity for the contradictory and surreal. [Epstein, 2012].

Epstein, Mitch [2012] Berlin [Online] http://mitchepstein.net/work/berlin/index.html [09/02/2012]
Steidl [2012] Berlin [Online] http://www.steidlville.com/books/1183-Berlin.html [09/02/2012]

Kippenberger, Susanne [Trans. Hofmann, Jennifer] (2008) Epstein's Berlin [Online] http://mitchepstein.net/writing/reviews/2008_dertagesspiegel.pdf [09/02/2012]
[Online]  [09/02/2012]

Wende Museum

A short clip about the Wende Museum in LA.

ReasonTV (2012) Wende Museum: An Archive of the Cold War.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Siegfried Zielinski on Now

Siegfried Zielinski tells us "we can't lose time, because we never possessed it. Time is the only thing, perhaps, we can't possess. We do not have [it] - time has us". He talks about perceptions of time, melancholy and paranoia based on negative theology of time Michael Theunissen, and discusses attempts by Danny Hillas' clock "stretch the now... into eternaty" (Zielinski, 2010). He concludes that we can only "intervene in the rhythm and velocity" and organise it.

Zielinski, Siegfried (2010) Siegfried Zielinski (de) in Atemporality - A Cultural Speed Control? [Online] http://www.transmediale.de/de/siegfried-zielinski-de-atemporality-cultural-speed [13/02/2012]

Monday, 13 February 2012

Memories and revisits

Red Tours (2010) by Joanne Richardson and David Rych focuses on statue parks, museums and theatrical re-enactments of communism - which are "not places of remembering, but ciphers of active forgetting" - in a "docu-fiction" approach with three parts and perspectives, "Red Tours seeks to question the meaning of documentary and the politics of montage" [Richardson, 2012c].

In Transit (2008) by Richardson is "a diary of a journey through space and time, made up of subjective impressions of the present and childhood memories of the past", with a reflecting monologue on "transition, the re-writing of history and the relation between images and memory" [Richardson, 2012a]. In a travelogue highlighting "the problematic nature of travel discourse and its affirmation of cultural superiority by portraying traveling to the East as a journey back in time," Letter to Moldova (2009), also by Richardson, is narrated through ten letters that reflect on the collapse of the Soviet Union, also revealing "the limits of the tourist gaze through the narrator’s own misunderstandings and inherited prejudices" [Richardson, 2012b].

The films Red Tours (in 3 sections), In Transit and Letter to Moldova are available online.

Richardson, Joanne [2012a] In Transit. [Online]
 http://subsol.c3.hu/joanne/video_transit.html [11/02/2012]
Richardson, Joanne [2012b] Letter from Moldova. [Online]
 http://subsol.c3.hu/joanne/video_moldova.html [11/02/2012]
Richardson, Joanne [2012c] Red Tours. [Online]
 http://subsol.c3.hu/joanne/video_redtours.html [11/02/2012]

Hering, Tobias [2012] Joanne Richardson Counter-documentary and making Art Politically. [Online]
http://www.no-w-here.org.uk/index.php?cat=1&subCat=docdetail&id=265 [11/02/2012]

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Registred time®

Tempelhof Collection by Askania, are watches fit with "the robust stainless steel housing" - its "daily usage" design "follows simply and clearly the basic forms of the airport" [Askania, 2012c].

The company that built aircraft instruments also manufactures the series Alexanderplatz, with a hand-winding mechanism and was inspired by "films, spies, the Cold War, tears and joy" [Askania, 2012a], and Quadriga, with concepts of "separation, fear, hope and the reunification of Berlin and Germany" a design for second time zone [Askania, 2012d].

Askania seems to have registered the word Hauptstadtuhr® [Askania, 2012b].

Askania [2012a] Alexanderplatz Collection. [Online] http://www.askania-uhren.de/collection.php?c=6
Askania [2012b] Hauptstadtuhr® [Online] http://www.askania-uhren.de/ebook/ASKANIA_Katalog_2011/#/10
Askania [2012c] Tempelhof Collection. [Online] http://www.askania-uhren.de/collection.php?c=7 [09/02/2012]
Askania [2012d] Quadriga Collection. [Online] http://www.askania-uhren.de/collection.php?c=8 [09/02/2012]

Art, architecture and memories

The Architektonika exhibition illustrate the ways in which artists since the 1960s have reflected "at the cross-roads between art and architecture," with focuses the architectural design of buildings and urban spaces as well as the social and economic implications [Hamburger Bahnhof, 2012]. The artists include Sophie Calle, Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani, Thomas Florschuetz, Dieter Roth & Björn Roth, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Thomas Struth and Jeff Wall, whose "works unlock the door on imaginary spaces, stir memories of well-known buildings or revive various visions of the future that may now seem dated" [Hamburger Bahnhof, 2012].

Hamburger Bahnhof [2012] Architektonika [Online] http://www.hamburgerbahnhof.de/exhibition.php?id=34328&lang=en [09/02/2012]

Friday, 10 February 2012

Invisible reservour of the GDR

Filmmaker Phil Collins talks about his installation and short film marxism today (prologue) (2010), new video use! value! exchange! (2010) and teachers he interviewed for his work. Collins highlights melancholy and loss in the former-GDR, where icons or symbols associated to individuals' biographical history fall away and create "invisible  reservour" [Collins, in BFI, 2012].

BFI [2012] Phil Collins. [Online] http://www.bfi.org.uk/live/video/590 [09/02/2012]

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Global contemporary art, since 1989

1989 was an eventful year, with the military crackdown on the pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square, the uprising in South Africa prior to the reforms that ended apartheid, the opening of the Berlin Wall following mass protest rallies and emigration in the GDR. 

The Global Contemporary exhibition also highlights shifts in contemporary art in 1989, noting: Xiao Lu who fired a gunshot at her installation Dialogue at the exhibition China/Avant-Garde in Beijing, and providing "voice to a form of contemporary art that was not rooted in western Modernism"; Centre Pompidou in Paris opened the exhibition Magiciens de la Terre, where "for the first time works by artists from countries such as Haiti, India, Madagascar, Australia and South Africa were displayed alongside their counterparts" and including series of works that previously "would have been labeled 'World Art' and confined to ethnographic museums"; and in London, the Other Story focusing on the Afro-Indian artists' contribution to British modern art, curated by Pakistani artist Rasheed Areen, whose Third Text Journal "had already begun rewriting art history from a 'Third World' perspective" in 1987 (ZKM, 2011).

ZKM (2011) Face the Facts: 1989 & the Arts [Online]
 http://www.global-contemporary.de/en/room-of-histories/172-face-the-facts-1989-and-the-arts [09/02/2012]

Images over time

"A millimeter this way or that can make all the difference. The transient quality of light and atmosphere. The passing stray cat, the discarded soda can, the random interplay of people moving through the scene. All these variables give the image its uniqueness. But what’s equally important, I think, is not the individual photograph, but the gradual accretion of images made over an extended period of time by a particular photographer." (Rose, 2011)
Brian Rose, a photographer and author of The Lost Border and In from the Cold, also has an online photographic chronicle which covers the city from 1985 to 2009.

Rose, Brian [2012] Berlin: In from the Cold. [Online]
 http://www.brianrose.com/infromthecold.htm [09/02/2012]
Rose, Brian (2011) New York/Uniquity. [Online]
 http://www.brianrose.com/blog/2011/03/new-yorkuniquity/ [09/02/2012]
Rose, Brian (2010) Berlin: In from the Cold. [Online]
 http://www.blurb.com/books/1235115 [09/02/2012]

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Architecture and contemporary photography

Envisioning Buildings exhibition, with eight thematic chapters on Restoration, Reanimation, Dwelling, Utopian Visions, Refraction, Deconstruction, Critique, and Systems Analysis [MAK, 2012], reviews discourses and "major conceptual, theoretical, and visual concerns of photography as a specific contemporary art medium" [e-flux, 2012]. The exhibition presents works of camera-based artists who, since the 1980s, "have changed discourses about the production and reception of photography" [e-flux, 2012] along with debates throughout January and April. 

Deutsches Bundesarchiv (2009) File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1986-0417-414, Berlin, XI. SED-Parteitag, Eröffnung.jpg [Online] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1986-0417-414,_Berlin,_XI._SED-Parteitag,_Er%C3%B6ffnung.jpg [08/02/2012]
Deutsches Bundesarchiv (2008) File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R0821-400, Berlin, Palast der Republik.jpg. [Online]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R0821-400%2C_Berlin%2C_Palast_der_Republik.jpg [08/02/2012]

e-flux [2012] Envisioning Buildings: reflecting architecture in contemporary art photography. [Online] 
http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/envisioning-buildings-reflecting-architecture-in-contemporary-art-photography/ [08/02/2012]
MAK [2012] Envisioning Buildings: Reflecting Architecture in Contemporary Art Photography. [Online] http://www.mak.at/e/jetzt/f_jetzt.htm [08/02/2012]

A memorial in Tallinn

"Memory has to belong to people and not the government" (Norman, in Tulca Festival, 2011)
After-War by Kristina Norman is "a case study of the conflict" [Norman, 2012] surrounding the removal of a monument in Tallinn, in 2007. Although for the Russian residents the statue of a solder from 1947 symbolized victory over Nazism and positive identity, it signified the following Soviet occupation and political repression for many Estonians [Norman, 2012]. The Estonian government relocates the Bronze Soldier from central Tallinn to a military cemetery 2.5 km away, in a move according to Norman, to distance the Russian minority community from the majority Estonians, two "memory collectives" (Norman, in Tulca Festival, 2011).

On the Victory Day two years after these events, "I brought a full-size golden replica of the sculpture to its former location, which still remains a sacred place, although the government claims it is now profane. With this act I visualized my argument that although the upstaged problems surrounding the Bronze Soldier and the drama of its relocation are now neatly tucked away and removed from the public space, they nevertheless continue to exist and they should be dealt with" [Norman, 2012].

Norman, Kristina [2012] After-War. [Online]  http://www.cca.ee/?id=11280#Kristinatekst  [08/02/2012]
Tulca Festival (2011) Kristina Norman Tulca 2011. [Online] http://vimeo.com/30189884 [08/02/2012]

Higgie, Jennifer (2010) 10th Baltic Triennial. [Online]
 http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/10th_baltic_triennial/ [08/02/2012]

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Sediments of the Wall

From top: How long is now; Mit Sicherheit keine Freiheit; Die Grenze verläuft nicht zwischen oben und unten, sondern zwischen dir und mir; and When you're strange
"The series of four panoramic views of the Berlin wall form their own group of works. Walls as a symbol for separation and boundary setting, and also as an artistic element, have formed a common thread in Mona Breede’s works for many years now. In Berlin the wall is inextricably linked to the history of Germany and the few remains are traded today as relics for tourists or are accordingly set in a new context.In the artist’s group of works the Berlin Wall is merely a reminiscence, a historical transparency and resonating space for further reflections on walls and the conflict potential that can arise in a society confronted with a wide range of social upheavals. In this way, the work “Mit Sicherheit keine Freiheit” (Freedom cannot be secured), a slogan taken from an advertising poster from the organisation Aktion Mensch, broaches the subject of a conflict in our society in which an increase in surveillance can result in a danger to our freedom." [ArtDaily.com, 2012]

ArtDaily.com [2012] Berlin: Sediments of a City by Mona Breede at Galerie Dittmar in Berlin. [Online]
 http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=43664&int_modo=1 [06/02/2012]
Galerie Dittmar [2012] Mona Breede II [Online]
http://www.galerie-dittmar.de/artist/breede2/ [06/02/2012]

Monday, 6 February 2012

Joshua Lutz and borderlands

Joshua Lutz's series The Border focuses on the lives by the US-Mexico border. Below are the photographs from his work Meadowlands.

"As fond as I am of documentary photography I think that we have come to a point in the history of photography where we need to think about photographs more in the way we do paintings and less in the traditional sense of a document. For that reason I generally don’t caption or title my work and I try not to say too much about the process of making my work. I like the ideas of possibilities and the more I talk about them the less experiences people can have with looking at them." (Lutz in Hulin, 2008)

"One of my first assignments was to travel the Texas-Mexico border. It came as a welcome relief from the Meadowlands project I had been struggling with. There was something really nice about the massiveness of this task, and the impossibility of coming to any conclusions on a place I knew so little about." [Lutz, 2012]

Hulin, Rache (2008) Shoot! Interview: Joshua Lutz and The Meadowlands. [Online] 
Lutz, Joshua [2012] The Border. [Online]

Last Call by Cathrin Schulz

Schulz, Catharin [2012] Last Call. [Online] http://virtual-exhibition.deconarch.com/cathrinschulz-lastcall/ [06/02/2012]

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Lenin tour 2009

"l show Lenin to my contemporaries. And the 21st century to Lenin. Who will explain it to him?" (Herz, 2009: 78)
The city council in Dresden decided to remove its Lenin statue, a in a move to move away from the GDR past. In 2004, Rudolf Herz from a stonemason borrowed the decommissioned torso of Lenin and drove around Europe with two other anonymous statues. In the evening the truck would stop in cities asking artists, sociologists and economists to give their views on Lenin in the twenty-first century. The tour was filmed and photographed.
"I am searching for images, I am exploring the life in our globalised, capitalist world, am enquiring after memories and current views of utopia... Our journey takes us through contemporary everyday life, high-tech zones, and desolate industrial areas in the East and the West. A change of locale engenders a change of references and perspectives, Prage is not Zurich, Dresden is not Rome."  (Herz, in Museum Ludwig, 2012)

Herz, Rudolf (2009) Lenin w Trasie / Rudolf Herz. Lenin on Tour. [Online]
 http://www.erasedwalls.eu/erasedwalls.pdf [04/02/2012]
Museum Ludwig (2012) Rudolf Herz. Lenin on tour. [Online]
 http://www.museenkoeln.de/museum-ludwig/default.asp?s=2665 [04/02/2012]

Artimageslibrary (2010) Rudolph Herz Dachau Museumsbil
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/artimageslibrary/4954051621/ [04/02/2012]

Friday, 3 February 2012

Remembering is "re-remembering"

"Memory is endlessly creative, and at one level it functions just as imagination does... endlessly rewriting the self." (Fernyhough, 2012)
Memories are constructed when needed "according to the demands of the present" claims Fernyhough (2010). And as a result they are "soberingly fragile" (Fernyhough, 2010). He argues that memories are "nifty multimedia collages of how things were" which are mental reconstructions and are "shaped by how things are now" (Fernyhough, 2012). 
"If the experimental conditions are set up correctly, it turns out to be rather simple to give people memories for events that never actually happened. These recollections can often be very vivid... [Kim Wade at the University of Warwick] colluded with the parents of her student participants to get photos from the undergraduates' childhoods, and to ascertain whether certain events, such as a ride in a hot-air balloon, had ever happened. She then doctored some of the images to show the participant's childhood face in one of these never-experienced contexts, such as the basket of a hot-air balloon in flight. Two weeks after they were shown the pictures, about half of the participants 'remembered' the childhood balloon ride, producing some strikingly vivid descriptions, and many showed surprise when they heard that the event had never occurred. In the realms of memory, the fact that it is vivid doesn't guarantee that it really happened." (Fernyhough, 2012)
"Remembering is always re-remembering" (Fernyhough, 2012) and it's the the assembly of memory and the resulting editing process that may distort how things actually were. He also notes that "contamination by visual images, such as photographs and video" may alter our memories and "when we look back into the past, we are always doing so through a prism of intervening selves".

Memories are "curiously susceptible to distortion, and often not nearly as reliable as we would like", however, knowing uncertainties in remembering makes memory into a kind of storytelling which "contain a rather wonderful kind of truth" (Fernyhough, 2010).

Fernyhough, Charles (2012) The story of the self. [Online]
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jan/13/our-memories-tell-our-story [03/02/2012] 
Fernyhough, Charles (2010) Ideas for modern living: memory. [Online]
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/22/charles-fernyhough-school-life-memory [03/02/2012]

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Errol Morris on truth and reenactment

The documentary film director Errol Morris claims that he "can't know for sure" whether an interviewee is telling the truth or not, and further notes how a reenactment can create "a kind of strange abstract world around a photograph" for his documentary films.

Morris claims that there is a line between the "mistaken idea about reenactments in general that you're showing somebody what really happened" and "a little world where people can think about a problem or a set of questions". which gets "the audience to think about certain questions about who was where, when, and what did they see" and "forces you into a position where you are asked to think about something or to think about something the way I am thinking about it".

"If the idea is entering history through a photograph," he notes on his work Standard Operating Procedure, "if you're somehow going through the surface of that photograph and going beyond, the reenactments help you to do that". He slows everything down, "almost, but not quite, to that instant of photography and ask you to reflect, to listen to what people are saying about that moment when the photograph was taken and the circumstances under which it was taken."

He argues it's simply wrong "that you can only talk about the real world in one way, that journalism has to be conducted according to a certain set of styles"  and claims "the pursuit of truth, the underlying reality of what happened, and anything which is in service of that is fair game."
"The photographs that fascinate me the most are the photographs that were posed, where they created some odd tableau vivant for the camera. It's almost as if in some strange way the soldiers were reenacting the essence of the war on a very private level. I guess that's the sick reading of it."
In the following interview he argues against the notion of subjective and varying truths, that there is truth based "in the real world" different to that of a personal opinion.

"What is true? What is false? What really happened?"

Columbia Journalism Review (2008) Recovering Reality: A Conversation with Errol Morris. [Online]
Spiegel Online (2008) Interview with Abu Ghraib Documentary Director Errol Morris: 'I'd Like to See a Lot of People in the Administration Indicted'. [Online]

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

True memory gone, illusion remains

"This is a memory of my sophomore year of 1989, the year when I almost got killed. I don’t feel lucky for my survival, but a strong feeling of sadness for myself, because of my inability to do something in the face of death. Twenty years have passed. Mother’s hair has turned gray; beloved ones have dried up the tears. Glorious as forever on this first street of China, silence prevails. Silence, forgetting and deliberate covering, people’s memory turns into a vacuum. The bygones twisted into a blurred picture, true memory gone, illusion remains. That memory makes us more helpless as the time passes by. Remaining silent in the face of reality is a testimony of our hypocrisy and weakness. The living still live in the question of the dead. The sun always rises the next morning and the four seasons remain alternate. The innocent died on the side of the world, while the guilty are at large on the other side of the world. This is the reality that has not yet changed throughout the history." [Liu, 2012] 
Liu, Wei [2012] Unforgettable Memory. [Online]
 http://www.transmediale.de/unforgettable-memory [[01/02/2012]

The Utopian Spaceship

The social experiment "based on an initially utopian, then scientific, notion of the future: Communism" [Transmediale.de, 2012] is portrayed in the first GDR-Polish science fiction film, Der Schweigende Stern (First Spaceship on Venus) (1959) by Kurt Maetzig. Based on the early works of the Polish writer Stanislaw Lem the film projects "a vision of the future that would incorporate technological, social and psychological criteria" and "reveals how a global visual canon of utopian ideas was begun to be created in the 1950s".

Transmediale.de [2012] Matinee: Der Schweigende Stern. [Online]
 http://www.transmediale.de/matinee-der-schweigende-stern [01/02/2012]

Saturday, 21 January 2012

The corrosion of time and being "too late"

When Tacita Dean tried to film the Chalon-sur-Saône Kodak factory in France, which had stopped producing film, she was told she had come too late. "I like too late," she replied (Schama, 2011) and went on to create her work Kodak (2006) which Simon Schama describes "one of the most visually compelling of her works". Six years after Dean's Kodak, the company has filed for bankruptcy accumulating debates about film and digital media. 
"While the television tower filmed in Fernsehturm owes its continued survival to its suitability for adaptation to tourism, the government building whose windows provide the screen for Palast was demolished a few years after Dean made her film. Similarly, although the Kodak factory in France continued to make X-ray film for a short time after it stopped 16mm production, its premises were demolished in December 2007 to make way for new industries." (Manchester, 2009)
Manchester, Elizabeth (2009) Kodak (2006) [Online]
 http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=91369&tabview=text  [21/01/2012]
Schama, Simon (2011) Tacita Dean talks to Simon Schama. [Online]
 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/b94bfcb4-e973-11e0-af7b-00144feab49a.html#axzz1k5RDnVhM [21/01/2012]

Moss, Ceci (2010) Kodak (2006) - Tacita Dean. [Online]
 http://rhizome.org/editorial/2010/apr/14/kodak-2006-tacita-dean/ [21/01/2012]