- May 26th, 2013
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Posts Tagged ‘thinking’
Celebrity gawking, fear mongering, and other distractions, oh my! Is spectacle a harmless escape from reality, or something more?
Rulers throughout history have gone to great lengths to communicate and maintain their status. Whether that ruler was a dictator, royalty, religious figure, or democratically elected government, displays of power to validate and reinforce control over the masses declared who to admire, what to believe, and how to behave. Preying on core instincts to create situations that appeared effortlessly natural and self-evident, these displays of power featured elements capable of seducing people into agreement, distracting them from unpleasant truths, and/or scaring them out of rebellion.
Today’s spectacle takes many forms, from big budget events and entertainment to ever-present news media and advertising. It displays lifestyles we should envy and tells us how to succeed. It keeps us busy with news about celebrities and sports scores so we dismiss as boring anything that actually affects our lives. It sensationalizes violence while showing us what might happen if we rock the boat. It is power represented through repetitive sights and sounds, stereotypes and cliches, and other social signals about wealth, fame, and technology, and it all serves to influence general opinion and behaviour to support a consumer society and those who profit from it the most.
Taking cues from blockbuster exhibitions past and present to explore the complex nature of contemporary spectacle, A Total Spectacle is a mini spectacle about spectacle created by Winnipeg-based independent curator, Milena Placentile, in collaboration with local, national, and international artists including: Dayna Danger, Glen Johnson, Joe Johnson, Istvan Kantor, Praba Pilar, Scott Sørli, and Paul Wiersbinski. The exhibition will be accompanied by texts written by Placentile and Martin Zeilinger.
The exhibition launched at Atomic Centre (167 Logan Avenue, Winnipeg) on May 17 with an opening ceremony performed by Istvan Kantor with the participation of Ian Mozden and Dita Vendetta.
Regular open hours from May 18 – June 9 are as follows:
There are two more events scheduled to take place in relation to the exhibition:
Admission to the exhibition and all related events is free of charge. Please stay tuned for details!
This exhibition has been made possible with thanks to generous financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts through a program formerly known as “Independent Critics and Curators in the Visual Arts Program”, which provided opportunities for creative intellectual research and production initiated by curators working beyond conventional institutional frameworks.
The curator and artists would also like to acknowledge the generous in-kind and promotional support of Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, Martha Street Studios / Manitoba Printmakers Association, Central Canadian Centre for Performance, RAW: Gallery of Architecture and Design, Edge Village and Gallery, and Akimbo.ca =-)
Graphic design by Colourblind Graphic Design.
Details about Circle & Square: A Manitoba Festival of Craft have arrived!
The first annual Circle & Square: Manitoba Festival of Craft will take place from June 22-24, 2012 at Atomic Centre! Events include: A panel discussion featuring local artists, a craft gallery exhibit, a day filled with workshops and lectures, and a handmade marketplace.
~Friday June 22nd~
Panel Discussion & Show It! Exhibit Opening Party
Join us for a panel discussion on “Working in the Field.” Doors open at 6pm & Panel will be from 7-8:30pm. Stick around afterwards for our Show It! Exhibit opening party to see beautiful handmade art and craft from talented local artisans. Admission by suggested donation of $5.
Our Panel includes:
Show It artists include:
~Saturday June 23rd~
Join us for a day filled with workshops and lectures pertaining to craft. Please RSVP to email@example.com. Workshop admission is $30 + $10 for supplies. Lecture admission by suggested donation of $5.
10am-12pm – Sock Creature Workshop (Shosana Funk)
In this beginner class Shosana will help you create your very own sock creature! Make a cat, an owl or a creature of your choosing. All supplies included.
12:15-1:15pm – The History of Knitting in Manitoba Lecture (Jennifer Smith)
1:30-3:30pm – Embroidery 101: From Sampler to Smartass (Chandra Mayor)
In this hands-on beginner embroidery class needleworker Chandra Mayor will teach you the basics of embroidery (stitches and materials) with an emphasis on how to employ embroidery in non-traditional ways. All supplies included.
3:45-4:45pm – Making Art in South Africa Lecture (PJ Anderson)
5-7pm – Pastie Making Workshop (Liz Garlicki)
Burlesque performer and handmade artist Liz Garlicki will introduce you to the fun and flirty world of pasties by helping you make your own! All supplies included.
~Sunday June 24th~
Sell It! Handmade Marketplace
Join us from 12-5pm for a craft sale filled with amazing local makers selling their creations and giving demonstrations.
Mia Van Leeuwen writes: “ok! a big THANK YOU to all that came out to the opening tonight! we are now RESERVED FULL for the entire run BUT have added an additional show for FRIDAY MAY 11th at 11pm. ALL TIX for the late show are 10 BUCKS. please FACEBOOK us or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 291.9066. xoxoxoxoxoox”
… so if you don’t have your tickets yet, you now have one last chance! Don’t miss this amazing show!
Imagine taking a bite of a sandwich and having everything change.
From the wonderfully warped minds of Out of Line Theatre co-artistic directors Mia van Leeuwen and Ian Mozdzen comes The Sandwich: Transforming Consciousness Bite By Bite, a neo-psychedelic performance work inspired by Albert Hoffman’s serendipitous discovery of LSD. Billed as “part Alice in Wonderland, part Requiem For a Dream, part Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the piece, as van Leeuwen explains, “explores altered states as mind-opening experiences in which we may find some truth.”
The Alice-on-acid concept was planted in van Leeuwen’s mind three years ago. “I was talking to someone about the discovery of LSD, and he told me a bit of a wrong story,” she explains. “He was like, ‘Hey, did you know there was this scientist and some LSD fell onto his sandwich and he ate it?’ That concept blew my mind. As I researched it, I learned he got it sort of right and sort of wrong.”
Here’s the real story: in 1943, Hoffman, a Swiss chemist, absorbed a small amount of an unknown substance through his fingertips while attempting to re-synthesize ergot, a fungus that grows on diseased rye (“hence the sandwich reference,” van Leeuwen says). Hoffman’s resulting hallucinatory experience went down in the books as the first-recorded LSD trip.
“What I was fascinated by was what happened after its discovery,” van Leeuwen says.
Indeed, LSD didn’t just alter minds — it altered an era. In the western world, the ’60s and early ’70s were an exciting, revolutionary time both politically (see: second-wave feminism, the civil-rights movement, the free-speech movement, the anti-war movement, the gay-liberation movement) and culturally (see: the rejection of mainstream values and the American dream; sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll). LSD, of course, played a not-so-minor role in opening minds to brave new ideas. (See also: Roger Sterling’s memorable LSD trip on a recent episode of Mad Men.)
Still, “this isn’t a Woodstock piece,” van Leeuwen cautions, adding that no actual drugs will be taken. “It’s based in current time. I’m looking at it from a neo-psychedelic perspective. One of the many things I’m pulling from it is the idea of opening doors and opening minds. I think about 2012 and how conservative things have become. Have we forgotten that era? Where did it go? There’s a lot of discussion and criticism, certainly, and it’s easy to romanticize a certain time. But it gets so complicated because we’re still using drugs but depression is the epidemic.”
With contributions from local luminaries such as Julia Ryckman (This Hisses, Slattern), choreographer/contemporary dancer Natasha Torres-Garner, actor/photographer Delf Gravert and video artist Richard Altman, The Sandwich is an experiment that draws from theatre and performance art, as well as live singing, dance and video.
What it’s not is a play.
“There’s a narrative but, much like an LSD trip, it follows a dream logic — or Alice in Wonderland logic.”
Mozdzen, then, is our Alice. “You’re introduced to this character who is inundated by TV,” van Leeuwen says. “He’s depressed. He calls out to the cosmos for help and the sandwich appears.”
Van Leeuwen hopes audience members are willing to follow Mozdzen on his trip.
“Politically and intellectually, it’s so important to stay open,” she says. “It’s like that Einstein quote: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ We’ve gotten so caught up in text and intellectual ideas. Where has the imagination gone? We’re so passive. We go home and we watch TV and we let things happen to us instead of being active participants in our lives. I worry about that a lot.”
It’s a good thing, then, a little game of telephone led van Leeuwen down the rabbit hole.
“It doesn’t matter that he got it wrong — what an interesting premise to work with,” she marvels. “Someone eats a sandwich and everything changes.”
THE SANDWICH: TRANSFORMING CONSCIOUSNESS BITE BY BITE
Out of Line Theatre
May 9 – 12,
Atomic Centre (167 Logan Ave.)
Loosely based on Hamid Naficy’s concept of “accented cinema” – the filmmaking of various members of Diasporas living in the West – “Accented Video & the Autobiographical” is a program of seven short films by contemporary Canadian artists that investigate the autobiographical through video. Although the diasporic experience and affiliation varies from artist to artist, the videos in this program exhibit related thematic concerns, such as notions of exile, migration, Diaspora and identity.
Featuring work by: Sobhi al-Zobaidi, Jamelie Hassan, Sebnem Ozpeta, Jayce Salloum, Sarah Shamash, and b.h. Yael
Programmed by: Aisha Jamal and Sarah Shamash
Date: April 5, 2012
Location: 167 Logan Ave (at Martha St.)
Doors: 7:00 p.m.
Screening begins: 7:30 p.m.
Duration: approximately 45 minutes, preceded by a talk by Aisha Jamal and Sarah Shamash
Admission: PWYC with all proceeds toward the artists
Image credit: Sarah Shamash, “Ariadne’s Thread”, 2009. Video still.
Sobhi al-Zobaidi is an independent Palestinian filmmaker, artist and scholar. He made a number of award winning documentaries, short fiction, art videos and multi-media installations. He studied film production and cinema studies at NYU, and since 1998 he has been an active member of the new and independent film movement in the occupied Palestine. He taught film and media at Birzeit and Al-Quds universities, published reviews in both English and Arabic of Palestinian cinema, art and politics. Since the year 2000 he worked as a writer for the Swiss weekly WOZ writing on Palestinian culture and politics. Currently he is working on doctoral research on issues relating to dispossession and memory.
Jamelie Hassan is born in Canada, of Arabic background, and is based in London, Ontario. She is a visual artist and activist and since the 1970s has created a body of work that is intensely driven by an engagement in both local and international politics and cultures. Her interdisciplinary installations, writing and curatorial projects explore personal and public histories. Her works are in major public collections and she is the recipient of numerous awards including the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2001). Hassan’s engagement with film, arguably more than any other medium, demonstrates the importance of community in her practice. A film program curated by Miriam Jordan and Julian Haladyn contextualize her film projects and includes a publication The Films and Videos of Jamelie Hassan edited by Julian Haladyn and Miriam Jordan, with essays by Laura U. Marks and the editors published by Blue Medium Press (2010). A survey exhibition of her work, Jamelie Hassan: At the Far Edge of Words organized by Museum London, London, Ontario and the the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver is circulating nationally (2009-2013), accompanied by a publication (2010).
Aisha Jamal is an independent Toronto-based filmmaker. She is Assistant Professor of German cultural studies at Trent University and a Media Arts Instructor at Sheridan College, Ontario. Born in Kandahar, Afghanistan she moved to Canada at the age of eleven. Jamal spent her high-school years in Vancouver, Canada and moved to Toronto, Canada to complete her PhD in contemporary German cinema. During this time, she shot and directed her first documentary Dolls and Bombs. Since then, she has made several short length films. Currently, she is working on her first video and sound installation with Vancouver-based media artist Sarah Shamash. Her main interest, academically and artistically, lie in conceptual and theoretical issues of migration and Diaspora.
Sebnem Ozpeta is a Vancouver based independent filmmaker / editor. She studied Graphic Design in Turkey, where she was born and raised. She also completed the Digital Film Program at the AI in Vancouver. She has been producing short experimental films and working as an editor/camera operator and collaborating with artists, performers, storytellers, dancers and filmmakers for more than six years.“I believe that everybody has a story and we all want to share our stories. Visual storytelling is only one of them. My projects focus on different aspects of ‘loss’, ‘isolation’, and ‘adaptation’ in cultural diversity.”
Jayce Salloum is an internationally renowned media artist, cultural activist and curator. He has lectured pervasively and has exhibited his videotapes, installations and photographs at the widest range of local and worldwide venues possible. The grandson of Lebanese immigrants, he was born and raised in Canada, went to art school in the US, and in 1978 commenced exhibiting his productive and many-sided oeuvre. Salloum’s work is found within and between the very personal, quotidian, local and the trans-national. It engages in an intimate subjectivity and discursive challenge. He moved to Vancouver in 1977 and has been based there ever since.
Sarah Shamash is a media artist working in documentary, film, installation, video, web and mobile medias. Born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1977, Shamash completed a BA in Film Production at the University of British Columbia. She moved to Paris in 2001, where she lived, worked and studied for five years; completing an MA in Cinema, and an MFA in Fine Arts at Paris VIII, University of Saint Denis. While in Paris she began exhibiting her work in art venues and film festivals while pursuing her creative production at artist residencies, including Vancouver, Toronto, Banff, Salvador (Brazil), Sao Paulo and most recently in Amman, Jordan. Informed by cinema, her research and process based practice engages socio and psycho geographies through the exploration of specific places, people and mapping strategies that convey personal and experiential knowledge through everyday life. As a recipient of the Vancouver city live/ work studio award for 2012 – 2015, she is currently based in Vancouver, Canada.
b.h. Yael is a Toronto based video and installation artist. She is Professor of Integrated Media at OCAD University. Yael has received many arts awards including a Chalmers Fellowship Award. Yael’s work has exhibited nationally and internationally and has shown in various settings, from festivals to galleries to various educational venues. Yael’s work, such as Fresh Blood, A Consideration of Belonging has dealt with the many intersections of identity while at the same time addressing the fragmentary nature of memory and belonging, including its racialized aspects within Jewish culture. Palestine Trilogy is comprised of three videos that focus on Palestinian dispossession and the repercussions of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and lives. Trading the Future addresses apocalypse and environmental issues and won the ‘Audience Award’ at the Ecofilms festival in Rhodes, Greece. Yael has worked in collaboration with Johanna Householder on the Approximations series and in a number of artist collectives.
Copied/pasted from youtube: “This Must See Very Unique Video sheds light on the human mental condition in every day life from the common Citizen to the Corporate Leaders.Unmasking the Psychopath,Many will find this video quite insightful”. I have to agree…
Atomic well recognizes and deeply respects the innumerable contributions Kristen Andrews has made to the city of Winnipeg and its many arts and cultural communities. It is our pleasure and honour to assist Ragpickers Anti-Fashion Emporium during it’s transition into a multi-stakeholder co-op and future move to a new (and hopefully permanent) location.
One ridiculously short-sighted building owner is not enough to stop 27 years of generous and dedicated community building! Sharing resources to produce for need instead of greed demonstrates that other ways of being are possible.
October 31, 2011
Winnipeg, MB – After 27 years in the Historic Exchange District, Ragpickers Anti-fashion Emporium and Books owner Kristen Andrews is giving Ragpickers over to a retail co-op model.
As part of a vision she has worked toward for decades, Andrews is inviting all those interested to discuss, create and implement a sustainable Alternative Entrepreneurship Co-Operative, slated for November 15 at 7:00 PM. In the Ragpickers Theatre, 2nd floor- 216 McDermot Ave.
The date also marks the last night this space will exist as it has been long known and valued by both the local and global community.
Following an impassioned speech on October 15 (the first day of the Occupy Winnipeg movement) Andrews is following through on her commitment to foster “Alternative Entrepreneurship,” a vision toward a new co-op structure.
This multi-shareholder model is not new or unheard of, and even coincides with the United Nations’ recent declaration that “2012 is the International Year of the Co-Operative.” That said, it in not common for a business to convert to this model after firmly establishing itself otherwise.
Ragpickers Theatre and Bookstore is still thriving in the second floor of the 216 McDermot Building, which has been home to the theatre and 10, 000-title-strong bookstore for years. However, this leased space will soon close at the behest of the building’s owner, to allow the owner’s undisclosed, new development.
“In the shadow of many shop closures and the gradual gentrification of many parts of downtown Winnipeg, the cultural capital that Ragpickers has fostered will change and morph once again, and as never before,” said Andrews.
“There are exciting new co-op models being legislated in Manitoba, and in light of the wave of discontent with traditional corporate models, the intuition, beliefs and dreams I have held for years have only been further validated,” said Andrews, who welcomes those who seek sharing in these collaborate aims.
“Alternative Entrepreneurs are the pioneers that will lead the way for us to be focused on human needs- not human greed. This is the time to apply the collective knowledge we have about co-operative working, to re-create the way we make our living and transform economic and social structures that will reflect a more sustainable, ethical, and values-based livelihood,” she said.
While Ragpickers is seeking a new home for the co-op in 2012, there are already plans to move the bookstore and theatre into other independent community centres. For example: the Atomic Centre – a likeminded gallery/music venue – will house Ragpickers’ book collection; the Rudolph Rocker – a similarly inspired Exchange District hub – will allow the Flaming Trolleys Community Orchestra to continue to flourish.
“In the spirit of a changing economic landscape, I believe that ethical employment and sustainable community models are what will enable the new co-op members to have autonomy from the consumer/capitalist model,” said Andrews
Ragpickers Theatre and Bookstore has been host to many years of Winnipeg Fringe Festival Performances, to play-writers’ festival productions, as well as to burlesque and vaudeville shows. It has also welcomed touring acts, film festivals, as well as workshops in poetry, dance, yoga and circus, and has been a much-loved, all-ages music venue, providing countless local bands with invaluable live performance and recording opportunities. Plans are underway to accommodate the last ever $20 All You Can Wear Sale – one of Winnipeg’s most unique sale promotions that annually sees hundreds and hundreds of savvy shoppers brave the January cold to participate in an action driven sale event like no other.
All power to the free universities of the future
The Copenhagen Free University was an attempt to reinvigorate the emancipatory aspect of research and learning, in the midst of an ongoing economisation of all knowledge production in society. Seeing how education and research were being subsumed into an industry structured by a corporate way of thinking, we messy life people live within the contradictions of capitalism. We wanted to reconnect knowledge production, learning and skill sharing to the everyday within a self-organised institutional framework of a free university. Our intention was multi-layered and was of course partly utopian, but also practical and experimental. We turned our flat in Copenhagen into a university by the very simple act of declaring ‘this is a university’. By this transformative speech act the domestic setting of our flat became a university.
It didn’t take any alterations to the architecture other than the small things needed in terms of having people in your home staying over, presenting thoughts, researching archival material, screening films, presenting documents and works of art. Our home became a public institution dedicated to the production process of communal knowledge and fluctuating desires.
The ethos of the CFU was critical and opinionated about the ideological nature of knowledge, which meant that we did not try to cover the institution in a cloud of dispassionate neutrality and transcendence as universities traditionally do. The Copenhagen Free University became a site of socialised and politicised research, developing knowledge and debate around certain fields of social practice. During its six years of existence, the CFU entered into five fields of research: feminist organisation, art and economy, escape subjectivity, television/media activism and art history. The projects were initiated with the experience of the normative nature of mainstream knowledge production and research, allowing us to see how certain areas of critical practice were being excluded. Since we didn’t wanted to replicate the structure of the formal universities, the way we developed the research was based on open calls to people who found interest in our fields or interest in our perspec tive on knowledge production. Slowly the research projects were collectively constructed through the display of material, presentations, meetings, and spending time together. The nature of the process was sharing and mutual empowerment, not focusing on a final product or paper, but rather on the process of communisation and redistribution of facts and feelings. Parallel to the development of the CFU, we started to see self-organised universities sprouting up everywhere. Over this time, the basic question we were constantly asking ourselves was, what kind of university do we need in relation to our everyday? This question could only be answered in the concrete material conditions of our lives. The multiplicity of self-organised universities that were starting in various places, and which took all kinds of structures and directions, reflected the diversity of these material conditions. This showed that the neoliberal university model was only one model among many models; the only one given as a model to the students of capital.
As the strategy of self-institution focused on taking power and not accepting the dualism between the mainstream and the alternative, this in itself carried some contradictions. The CFU had for us become a too fixed identifier of a certain discourse relating to emancipatory education within academia and the art scene. Thus we decided to shut down the CFU in the winter of 2007 as a way of withdrawing the CFU from the landscape. We did this with the statement ‘We Have Won’ and shut the door of the CFU just before the New Year. During the six years of the CFU’s existence, the knowledge economy had rapidly, and aggressively, become the norm around us in Copenhagen and in northern Europe. The rise of social networking, lifestyle and intellectual property as engines of valorisation meant that the knowledge economy was expanding into the tiniest pores of our lives and social relations. The state had turned to a wholesale privatisation of former public educational institutions, converting them into mines of raw material for industry in the shape of ideas, desires and human beings. But this normalising process was somehow not powerful enough to silence
all forms of critique and dissent; other measures were required.
In December 2010 we received a formal letter from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation telling us that a new law had passed in the parliament that outlawed the existence of the Copenhagen Free University together with all other self-organised and free universities. The letter stated that they were fully aware of the fact that we do not exist any more, but just to make sure they wished to notify us that “In case the Copenhagen Free University should resume its educational activities it would be included under the prohibition in the university law ?33″. In 2010 the university law in Denmark was changed, and the term ‘university’ could only be used by institutions authorised by the state. We were told that this was to protect ‘the students from being disappointed’. As we know numerous people who are disappointed by the structural changes to the educational sector in recent years, we have decided to contest this new clampdown by opening a new free university in Copenhagen. This forms part of our insistence that the emancipatory perspective of education should still be on the map. We demand the law be scrapped or altered, allowing self-organised and free universities to be a part of a critical debate around the production of knowledge now and in the society of the future.
We call for everybody to establish their own free universities in their homes or in the workplace, in the square or in the wilderness. All power to the free universities of the future.
The Free U Resistance Committee of June 18 2011.
Practicalities in Denmark: Please send a mail to the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation declaring your university (email@example.com) and cc. to the The Danish Agency of Universities (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Republished in solidarity.