the building in spring

the building in spring


March 17, 2009
the building in spring
the building

Why are conceptual artists painting again? 
Because they think it’s a good idea.

The building is pleased to present the sixth talk in a monthly series of conversations organized by the art critic Jan Verwoert: How do we want to arrive?

In the course of thinking through concepts of artistic production, the focus of the discussion has gradually shifted and opened up. Starting from the scene of departure, (the moment of inception, vocation and inspiration in which we encounter the question “What is to be done?”) we now, more and more, approach the scene of arrival: the moment when we, as artists and intellectuals, enter the economy of desire and capital (call it ‚the artworld’ if you want to) and face the critical question: How do we want to arrive? What stance do we take in relation to the logic of status and prestige that governs this economy? Where in this field, topologically speaking, do we want to appear and arrive, what is our port of entry? In what star, astrologically speaking, shall the arrival take place, at what hour in the economy of time?

And most crucially: Is there a way to enter the economy of desire and capital without being swallowed by it, without having the direction, humour and spirit of one’s practice determined exclusively (and thus annulled) by its cruel logic of status and prestige? Once more the question: How can we think the possibility of a beautifully perverse, perversely uneconomical way of arriving and staying alive in this economy?

The seminar will take off with an introduction to the vocabulary Lacan offers to theorize the scene of arrival as the “advent of the subject in the field of the Other” (seminars 16-20) in his positively devastating analysis of the twofold desire to see one’s desire socially represented & reconfirmed in the contstruction of an ideal ego – and the tacit urge to sabotage this ideal relation to oneself and others through a (self)destructive pursuit of what always escapes this logic of arrival. [i.e. “Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go to Amsterdam”: It’s one journey.] Reading Lacan against the letter, the question will be, whether there is not a hole in the loop of symbolic self-affirmation, precisely at the point of its inception, when, in a moment of nonsense, we arrive, “(here we are now) stupid and contagious”, as creatures who, basically, have come here to fuck and die – together maybe, possibly.

In search for images that may reveal some of the existentially mixed feelings that arise when we seek to arrive, the seminar will look at some of the possibly most striking examples of how this scene of arrival has been depicted in the cinema, interpreted by an actor who embodied the arrriver – the modern arriviste (to stretch the meaning of the term a bit), the one who seeks to arrive in the modern world – like few others: Alain Delon in such films as L’Eclisse (1962), Plein Soleil (1960), Il Gattopardo (1963) and La Piscine (1969). Perhaps these films can offer some insights into what it could mean to arrive differently – or at least avoid the worst …

Jan Verwoert is an art critic based in Berlin. He is a contributing editor to Frieze magazine and also writes regularly about contemporary art for such art magazines as Afterall, Metropolis M. Teaches at the MA Fine Arts department at the Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam.


At e-flux video rental at the building:

Tuesday, March 24, 7:30 PM

Mathilde Rosier and Shahryar Nashat in conversation

Mathilde Rosier, french artist born 1973 and Shahryar Nashat, swiss artist born 1975 – both live in Berlin – will present and discuss recent works.

For nearly five years the two artists have engaged in regular discussions about their artistic practice. For this event, they will present each other’s video works and compare their approaches to film and video installation, nature and culture, performance and production. The extension from film and video back into images and objects is central to both practices and will also be discussed.

Organized by Solmaz Shahbazi

Saturday, March 28th 2009, 2- 6 PM

Storytellers: an afternoon screening of Nollywood films

The Nigerian video-film industry started with a guerrilla attitude and grew over the past 15 years to be the third largest film industry worldwide, releasing more than 30 films per week. Strongly linked to daily West African life and told from a native point of view, Nollywood reaches its audience with stories of common concern, such as love, faith and betrayal.

The introduction of affordable recording techniques promoted the rise of an industry whose medium was to become a mean of expression for future filmmakers. They distribute their movies in VHS and DVD to reach a large audience via sidewalks and local markets.

The technical advancement provides not only a voice to many filmmakers. The democratization of movie making also allows for a much shorter production time that enables them to respond faster to reality’s development. Certain political events have turned into films only two weeks after taking place, fictionalizing reality by filling the gaps of missing information with personal or collective narratives.

Apart from the appearance of some Nollywood films at international festivals, this genre remains an African phenomenon – widely accessible and influential in Africa, with its own modi of circulation and distribution, but hardly to be found at international rental stores.

Looped program on several screens:

“What I want” (Consorts International Ltd.)
“Our days on earth” (JBM Merchandise)
“Congo Marriage” (Samlex Electronics Co. Ltd.)
“Congo Marriage 2″ (Samlex Electronics Co. Ltd.)
“Miss Nigeria” (Ossy Affason Video)
“Miss Nigeria 2″ (Ossy Affason Video)
“Wounded Land 2″ (Ayo Industries Nig. Ltd.)
“Jealous Mind” (Okayson Electronics Ltd.)
“Love, Sex & Marriage” (Ulzee Nig. Ltd.)
“Not my man” (P. Collins and Associates Ltd.)
“2 Hell with u” (Morning Star Production)

Selected by Clara Meister with special thanks to Uli Seifert

e-flux video rental

(EVR) is an ongoing work by Anton Vidokle and Julieta Aranda, comprising a free video rental, a public screening room, and a film and video archive that is constantly growing. This collection of over 850 works of film and video art has been assembled in collaboration with more than 400 artists, curators and critics.

EVR is a poetic exploration of alternative processes of circulation and distribution, and it is structured to function like a typical video rental store, except that it operates for free. VHS tapes can be watched in the space, or, once a new member fills out a membership form and contract, they can be checked out and viewed at home. Originally presented at a storefront in New York, in 2004, EVR has traveled to art venues in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Seoul, Paris, Istanbul, Canary Islands, Austin, Budapest, Boston, Antwerp, Berlin, Miami, Lyon, Lisbon and Cali.

Every time EVR opens in a new city, local artists, curators and writers are invited to serve as selectors, choosing artists whose work is added to the collection. In addition, a special program of screenings of works from the EVR collection is part of the project.


Saturday, April 25 – All day

Stadium X at the Building
Live Art Projects in the Communist Ruin, a Reader and its Various Contexts

10th-Anniversary Stadium in Warsaw was built in 1955 from the rubble of a war-devastated, and was to preserve Communism’s good name for forty years. In the early 1990s it fell into ruin, being ‘revived’ by Vietnamese and Russian traders, pioneers of capitalism. Since then the Stadium and Jarmark Europa open-air market surrounding it have become an Asian town, a primeval garden, a realm of discount shopping, a storehouse of biographies and urban legends, a spontaneous Land-Art piece or a work camp for archaeologists and botanists. The heterotopic logic of the place and its long-standing (non)presence in the middle of Warsaw, brought about Joanna Warsza’s curatorial series of live art projects Finissage of Stadium X, and later the reader Stadium X-A Place That Never Was.

A Trip to Asia: An Acoustic Walk Around the Vietnamese Sector of the 10th-Anniversary Stadium by Anna Gajewska, Joanna Warsza and Ngo Van Tuong (2006), Boniek! A One-man Re-enactment of the 1982 Poland-Belgium football match by Massimo Furlan, commentary by Tomasz Zimoch (2007) or Radio Stadion Broadcasts by Radio Simulator and backyardradio (2008) were subjective excursions undertaken by artists into the reality of a Stadium ‘no longer extant’. The projects of a participative and semi-documentary nature touched upon issues of memory, deterioration, or the problematic exoticism of the place.

The afternoon seminar at The Building will offer a selection of short, partly performed lectures mostly by the authors of the reader forming a multi-faceted picture of that site’s deterioration, its bizarre existence as a ‘city within a city’ and the artists interventions. Contributors are: Anda Rottenberg, curator; Sebastian Cichocki, curator at Warsaw MOMA; dr Stefanie Peter, anthropologist; Pit Schultz and Diana McCarty, berlin backyardradio; Warren Niesłuchowski, writer and linguist, Joanna Warsza, curator of Finissage of Stadium X and the editor of the book.

The building is an e-flux project.
The building is open Thursday through Saturday, 12 – 6 pm. Come visit!

For further information please contact Magdalena Magiera: [email protected]

the building
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a
10249 Berlin DE
T: 030 28 04 79 73

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March 17, 2009

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