January 23, 2017 - Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art - Past is Not Post
January 23, 2017

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art

Regina José Galindo, Tierra, 2013. Photo: Bertrand Huet.

Past is Not Post
February 2–March 19, 2017

Opening: February 1, 7pm
Curator's talk: Benj Gerdes: February 2, 7pm
Curator's talk: Lasse Lau: February 28, 7pm

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art
Katharinenstraße 23
D-26121 Oldenburg
Germany

www.edith-russ-haus.de
Twitter / Facebook

Past is Not Post
February 2–March 19, 2017

Opening: February 1, 7pm
Curator's talk: Benj Gerdes: February 2, 7pm
Curator's talk: Lasse Lau: February 28, 7pm

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art
Katharinenstraße 23
D-26121 Oldenburg
Germany

www.edith-russ-haus.de
Twitter / Facebook

Artists:
Pia Arke & Anders Jørgensen, Petra Bauer, Matthew Buckingham, Kajsa Dahlberg, Michelle Dizon, Benj Gerdes, Andrea Geyer, Regina José Galindo, Jan Peter Hammer, Sven Johne, William E. Jones, Lasse Lau, Maha Maamoun, Robert Ochshorn, Rania Rafei & Raed Rafei, Benjamin Tiven, Sarah Vanagt & Katrien Vermeire, Raed Yassin, Akram Zaatari
 

“Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.”
–Sara Ahmed

“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.”
–Audre Lorde
 

Past is Not Post examines a growing number of artists working in relationship to archival research or investigations of historical memory. While the sites, methods, and circumstances of these practices remain diverse, there is a common artistic impulse to work through history as a backdoor when options in the present seem closed. Given the ambiguous role of artists in contemporary societies, particularly the difficulty of connecting to existing political and social struggles, the intersectional and incomplete stories of the past offer alternate approaches. Can this engagement of the past create spaces to rearticulate our collective possibilities and demands, spaces emblematic of both resistance and retreat?

While these techniques are by no means new, the 21st century emergence of the film/video essay or archival image appropriation as mainstream rather than marginal modes of production—prevalent within art and increasingly popular on online video platform—is very new indeed. Camera-based moving and still images, those privileged repositories of the foment and failure of 19th and 20th century revolutionary movements, are now firmly-established within art. Despite the present cultural awareness of these media’s almost complete manipulability, there remains a paradoxical “special relationship” between the camera and history, perhaps no longer resting on common notions of empirical truth but instead the search for political affect, kernels of potentiality viewed in light of what is missing today.

Why do artists continue to find revisiting the past a useful way of working? How do we ask such questions while at the same time recognizing the many important inventions and struggles by artists, filmmakers, and historians to render visible histories of oppression and marginalization? This production takes place amid perpetually unfolding global ecological and political crises, on the one hand, alongside insurrectionary protests and massive popular mobilizations on the other. The present, with its shifting urgencies and fleeting attention spans, complicates our relationship to these projects: one moment they may resonate as insurrectionary and powerful, the next as a form of refuge from more pressing questions.

Past is Not Post corresponds with an ongoing inquiry of the Edith-Russ-Haus into artistic revisitations of history and the uses of archival materials, both creative and subversive, to interrogate the present. Here, in a constellation of almost 20 projects, what can we learn from the points of resonance and dissonance emerging through their spatial and thematic adjacency? These works compel a public as both practical objects and allegorical encounters, particularly as they together invite one to consider the cultural production of meaning and knowledge. They call upon us not as recipients of history, but as agents of the future.
 

Curated by Benj Gerdes & Lasse Lau

Kran Film Collective
 

Open call for proposals for production grants for Media Art 2017 of the Foundation of Lower Saxony at the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art
Application deadline: February 28, 2017
More info here

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