Who said that Easter has no significance in our cynical age, even to atheists like myself? Suffering, the sacrifice of the innocents, persecution of prophets of truth – it is all going on with a vengeance. On this note, Happy Easter to all. (The photo above was taken by Danae Stratou on the US-Mexican border in 2006, as part of her work CUT-7 dividing lines. Each of the smaller crosses, making up the larger one, has a name on it – of one that perished in the attempt to cross the border in search of employment).
Readers of this blog are familiar with Danae Stratou‘s photographic works (her photos adorn the header above). In this post I copy a story from CNN.COM about Desert Breath: one the largest and (in my eyes) most significant land art projects on the planet’s face. It is the creation of Danae Stratou, Alexandra Stratou and Stella Konstadinidis (the three members of D.A.ST. Art Team) who designed and created it in the Eastern Sahara Desert (Egypt) in 1997. Click here for the CNN.COM web-page or read on… Continue reading
On 6th and 7th February 2014, the LBJ School of Public Affairs (University of Texas at Austin) organised a conference on the 20 years since the signing of the North America Free Trade Agreement Treaty, entitled NAFTA+20: Intended and Unintended Consequences. The organisers commissioned Danae Stratou to produce a photographic installation in the entrance of the auditorium in order to capture the experience of the US-Mexican Border Fence after NAFTA. The above video contains stills from that photographic installation plus the video (entitled THE GLOBALISING WALL) that Stratou presented and showed in the conference’s final panel.
Witte de With Contemporary Art Centre, of Rotterdam, has just launched its Review, both electronically and in print. As part of this effort, WdW have established desks in Athens, Cairo, Istanbul, Jerusalem and Ramallah – five ‘ancient’ cities. vitalspace.org, founded by Danae Stratou and yours truly, was selected as WdW’s Athens desk. Our first contribution is entitled Of Public Phones and Besieged Humans, a tale of migration, dislocation and the current Greek predicament. (For the WdW site click here – it includes complete photographic documentation) Continue reading
On 13th March Kristina Božič paid me a great complement by interviewing me for slovenian journal Objectiv. The breadth and insightfulness of the questions gave me much pleasure. To read the article in its original home, click here. Alternarively, read on (Google translate does a decent job)… Continue reading
And now for something quite different: Since our words and arguments are failing to have a serious impact, despite their value and reasonableness, perhaps it is time to resort to the artist’s touch. Vital Space invites all artists to participate in the first of a series of open call competitions in the context of our ‘Raising Awareness’ theme. For our first competition we invite short, one-minute video submissions under the broad title EAST | WEST – NORTH | SOUTH: Imperiled Vital Spaces.
Just received from Tom Nicholson, an excellent Melbourne-based artist, the following brief on a collaborative art project that touches upon the Greek economic crisis in a manner that acts as an apt reminder of the unique capacity that art has to cast the worst aspects of the human condition in fresh and insightful light. The work opens this Thursday 6 Sept 6-8pm at the VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery. For more information, please write to Tom on email@example.com
Radio Exarcheia is a collaboration between Melbourne artist Tom Nicholson and the Italian composer Riccardo Vaglini. The work draws upon two elements of the extraordinary responses to Greece’s current economic crisis evident in Athens, where Vaglini has been based part-time since last year: the palimpsest of inscriptions accumulating on the walls of the city’s streets (and in particular Exarcheia, the area of Athens where Vaglini resides, and which provides the project with its title); and the proliferation of shopping trolleys in the streets of Athens, pushed by the economically destitute in search of scrap metal (the piercing sound of which has become a notable feature of contemporary life in Athens and which becomes a key “musical” element in Vaglini and Nicholson’s work). Radio Exarcheia sets in relation with one another this public collecting with Vaglini’s own collection of hundreds of photographs of inscriptions from the walls of Athens to create a work which draws upon the current situation in Greece – not only its severity but the profusion of energies and resistance it has precipitated – as the basis for an instruction-based participatory score. The work responds to this situation – but also to Vaglini and Nicholson’s shared interest in the nature of the score, in the Italian Fluxus artist Giuseppe Chiari, and in the relations between the indeterminate and the political. The work seeks to transmit from this material in Athens the manifold links between forms of political imagination and the imaginative possibilities of art making, where forms and forms of living are re-thought anew.
Riccardo Vaglini is an influential creative figure in contemporary Italian culture – as professor of composition at the Venice Conservatorium, organizer of many events and festivals, and founder of the publishing cooperative ArsPublica, which has produced around 800 scores of works, representing a wide spectrum of new music from all generations of contemporary composers. He has explored his own performance approaches with his group Collettivo rituale, connecting with the Fluxus tradition in Italy and new currents that flow from it.
A few weeks ago I was approached by Andrea Adriatico, a theatre director from Bologna’s Teatri Di Vita with an interesting request: Could I write a ‘letter’ to some fictional Italian economics professor, outlining on a colleague-to-colleague basis, the Greek ‘situation’ as it is experienced by a Greek economics professor. That letter would then be read out during a play, and be part of the play [entitled Cuore di… Grecia, i.e. Heart of… Greece). Well, I was intrigued and said I would do it. The ‘letter’ I ended up writing follows. The first performance is scheduled toward the end of July…
While ‘stuck’ in INET’s Berlin Conference, and before I get a chance to write here about that experience, I thought I should invite all those who may be in Athens on Thursday 19th April, to the opening of Danae Stratou’s new installation at the Zoumboulakis Gallery, Kolonaki Square, Athens (nb. it will open for a month, closing on 19th May). My text, offering a political economy perspective on the exhibition and its theme, and which appears in the catalogue, follows below. Hoping to see you there.
And now for something different. The Sydney College for the Arts (part of the University of Sydney) is hosting Danae Stratou’s video installation VITAL SPACE – Istanbul. For a glimpse of the videos involved, plus my text on the project’s socio-economic and political siginficance, read on…
Some of you have been inquiring as to what I am doing here in Adelaide. Well, all is about to be revealed.
Danae Stratou, my partner, is presenting her video installation THE GLOBALISING WALL as part of RESTLESS, an exhibition presented in the context of the 2012 ADELAIDE FESTIVAL – which is opening tonight (18.00 at the Samtag Museum, Adelaide). Continue reading
This blog began life a few months ago in response to the European crisis and with a view to campaigning in favour of our Modest Proposal. The New Year comes with a renewed commitment to the Modest Proposal but also with two new initiatives.
The first new initiative is called vitalspace.org; a joint project with Danae Stratou the purpose of which is to create a platform from which to issue an open-ended invitation to kindred spirits to join us in casting a fresh eye upon the twin crises of our era (economic and environmental). vitalspace.org was Danae’s brainchild. Her idea was that art can lend a hand in creating a new, de-polarised awareness about humanity’s great contemporary challenges. A prism through which everything makes more sense and seems less futile. Perhaps you too can fruitfully look through that prism. So, do visit www.vitalspace.org, take a look around and send us your own contribution (by clicking here). Texts, videos, photos, anything you think fits in (but first look here)
The second initiative is a short book that I have just today began writing and which I plan to finish by the end of January. Its full title: The Global Minotaur: The True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy (to be published by Z Books). Here is an abstract of what I intend the book to be: Continue reading