“One lives in the naïve notion that later there will be more room than in the entire past.” – Elias Canetti
I have this feeling that every aspect of our life demands constant overthinking, living in our times and dealing with the events that happen everywhere around us now, both in the natural and the virtual world. Maybe that’s the same for every generation in history, I’m not sure, but the more it gets to me, the more ambiguous this urgency of things feels.
So, for this exhibition I tried to focus on deactivation instead of empowerment, social threshold instead of conversation, the hinterland of nothingness versus the human urge to author the world, and the plurality of men instead of man.
2 /3 Petr Kazil
uair01.blogspot.com (new website)
http://kazil.home.xs4all.nl/ (old website)
The first time I came across Petr Kazil’s website was somewhere around 2002 I think. I can’t remember how I found it, but I guess it had something to do with urban exploration and Situationism. I kept coming back to the site and read every article and post until it was no longer updated. A short time ago, I found out that he has a new blog, which is sheer poetry without being poetic. It is the enthusiastic bric-brac of one man fascinated by his surroundings, constantly observing and experimenting with things, curiously analysing the route from his home to his work, going out on Saturday mornings to see bridges and ports. And it all feels so pre-internetly real.
4 Ainsley Harriot – toasted sandwich
I watched ‘Ready Steady Cook’ with my brother and sister when we were little, and I remember not being able to decide what to think of chef Ainsley. It was anything between annoyingly phony or extra-terrestrially positive. Until I recently thought of him again, watched a couple of his shows on Youtube and decided to simply fall for his ultra-positive stance on life. It feels liberating.
5 Jan-Hendrik Bakker – In Stilte
I’m not sure why I started this text in English, as I want to include this book to the exhibition, which is in Dutch. To briefly summarize for English speakers: this book, by philosopher Jan-Hendrik Bakker is titled ‘In Silence’ and can be read as a critique on individualism, following its historic development and the social, cultural and economic implications for our current age where it has become both norm and problem. He introduces several hermits or ‘loners’, such as Thoreau, Nietzsche and Merton, describing their motivations and struggle to exclude themselves from society, only to discover how their individual inner journey is fuelled strongly by the meaningfulness of the community.
You can read some of the pages as a preview (in Dutch) on bol.com
6 Andre Gregory – My dinner with Andre
This is a film I first saw a couple of weeks ago. It’s a dialogue between two actors in a restaurant -playing themselves- and discussing life, art, responsibility and everything else that we run into at some point. Andre, being the seeking, spiritual type has spent a long time finding ways to let himself ‘be written by the world’, whereas Wally seeks ways to mould the circumstances of his life in the least hurtful ways.
13-16 Oscar Niemeyer – Brasilia
I know it’s cheesy but I much enjoy facing an empty white sheet of paper with a pencil lying next to it, or a fresh unread newspaper, every page yet to be turned. I imagine this is how it must have felt for Oscar Niemeyer when he was being asked to design and plan a whole new city that would become the capital of Brazil. To have the opportunity to think of every shape, measurement and function must have been a modernist’s dream and honestly it appeals to me too. I guess it is the child-like sensation of ‘the beginning’ that is so tempting; only to later realize how inorganic and paternal it ends up.
As much I would enjoy the possibility of designing a whole city from the drawing board, I enjoy the ad-hoc creativity of kludge solutions; the streetwise, straightforward way of dealing with a situation -without aesthetic, ethic or efficient considerations- producing hardcore unexpected stuff.
19 Holly Herndon – Chorus
Although I feel really attracted to the things Andre says, the movie is from 1981 and since than things have changed quite a bit. Today it might even be easier to critique society, technology and corporatism, but doing so would not do justice to the complexity of the world is has helped to shape since. Yes, I feel very critical about the way society is accelerating, including my own partaking in this, but at the same time I want to remain open and realistic, and recognize without being nostalgic that the world changes, as it is always changing, and that dealing with it means taking personal responsibility in stead of merely victimizing ourselves. Holly Herndon takes an interesting stance on these topics. She is a composer, sound artist and working on a PHD. She composes most of her music using her laptop, which, she says, are extremely personal devices; we have complex and intimate relationships with.
20 Carlos Reygadas – Post Tenebras Lux
“We are used to knowing exactly what’s going on when we are watching something, which is very strange because in life it is precisely the opposite. Most of the time in life we are living through things and don’t know what they mean at the time, except at a very superficial level. It is only later they become important, or take on a particular relevance.”- Carlos Reygadas director of Post Tenebras Lux
21 Jan Huijben – secret.rar
Jan Huijben is working on a project that, the way I see it, reflects our desire to understand and make sense of it all, while at the same time showing that the mysteries of the world will not give in to our relentless questioning.
See the whole story here: http://janhuijben.nl/?p=333