April 7, 2018 - e-flux - Lectures, screenings, and book presentations in April
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April 7, 2018

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Michael Rakowitz, The Ballad of Special Ops Cody (film still), 2017. A sentient G.I. Joe action figure speaks to Iraqi artefacts at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.

Lectures, screenings, and book presentations in April

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Join us at e-flux for our April programs featuring Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker; Cooking Sections, Coco Fusco, and Natasha Ginwala; Rory Rowan; Ala Younis; and Michael Rakowitz, Basim Magdy, Roy Samaha, Oraib Toukan, and Sarah Rifky.

Program

Lecture: Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen, “Eight Theses on Covfefe”
Saturday, April 7, 6pm

In this lecture, Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen discuss Donald Trump’s Twitter typo “covfefe” and its oft-cited relations to post-truth discourses, outrage culture, and post-postmodernism in the context of possible world theory. It is said that every proposition requires a world. A fairy tale needs a world in which there are elves or talking teapots, just as the study of physics needs to assume the existence of the Higgs boson. What worlds do “covfefe” and its correlates—such as “alternative facts,” “zero contact,” “biggest … reform”—require? What customs or properties do they need to assume—who lives there and in which circumstances, what can happen, what is necessary, what is conspicuously absent? This lecture analyzes these questions to ask: What worlds are we living in?

Book launch: Cooking Sections, The Empire Remains Shop, with Cooking Sections, Coco Fusco, and Natasha Ginwala
Friday, April 13, 7pm

The Empire Remains Shop (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2018) is Cooking Sections' first book following the eponymous ongoing research and installation. The launch at e-flux will feature an introduction by Natasha Ginwala, the lecture-performance “The Next 'Invasive' Is ‘Native’” by Cooking Sections, and a discussion between Ginwala, Cooking Sections' Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe, and Coco Fusco about the remains of Empire; followed by The Plant That Could Sink Your Mortgage: Cocktails and Drinks. 

“Empire shops” were first developed in London in the 1920s to teach the British to consume foodstuffs from the colonies and overseas territories. Although none of the stores ever opened, they were intended to make previously unfamiliar produce and products—sultanas from Australia, oranges from Palestine, cloves from Zanzibar, and rum from Jamaica—available in the British Isles. The Empire Remains Shop speculates on the possibility and implications of selling the remains of the British Empire in London today. 

Lecture: Rory Rowan, “Beyond Colonial Futurism: Portugal’s Atlantic Spaceport and the Neoliberalization of Outer Space”
Wednesday, April 18, 7pm

In November 2016, Portugal’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Higher Education announced plans to open the Atlantic Spaceport, a logistics site for commercial space launches. Located in the Azores, a mid-Atlantic archipelago and autonomous region of Portugal, the Atlantic Spaceport is the lynchpin of national and European attempts to make the country an “innovation hub” for the fast-growing commercial space sector. With these plans the Portuguese state, and its backers at the European Space Agency, are seeking to position the country as a player in the neoliberalization of outer space, whereby the governance of space is restructured around the growth of private industry and a gradual shift from space exploration to space exploitation.

This lecture seeks to use the Atlantic Spaceport as a lens through which to explore the deep entanglement of colonial imaginaries and neoliberal governance in the context of European space exploration, rather than in the more familiar setting of American final-frontierism. It argues that only by understanding the ways in which contemporary visions of off-Earth futures are constitutively bound up with patterns of colonial thinking, capitalist accumulation, and neoliberal governance is it possible to imagine these futures otherwise, and to develop modes of thought and practice whereby the promise of space exploration as a vector of freedom and justice—both on and off Earth—might be realized.

Lecture: Ala Younis, “The Works Were Limited: Baghdad and Her Architects”
Monday, April 23, 7pm

The Saddam Hussein Gymnasium was designed by Le Corbusier, and metamorphosed through numerous iterations of plans over twenty-five years before it was inaugurated in Baghdad in 1980. Heavily based on archives, found material, and the stories of its protagonists, the artist’s project Plan for Greater Baghdad (2015) looked into the making of this gymnasium as part of performing plans for Baghdad as an expression of power, and at the men who appear in these plans as they gesture their parts in the denouements of the historical time. In 2018, the whole work was reproduced in an all-female voice. Titled Plan (fem.) for Greater Baghdad (2018), it located the place of women within these plans, looking beyond the dominant narratives to the unwritten local dynamics/legacies in and outside Iraq. This lecture analyzes the words chosen by the female architects, interns, artists, poets, jury members, wives, and other protagonists who inspired, informed, and critiqued the research and presentation of the project.

Film screenings: ArteEast Presents: Films, Facts, and Fiction
With works by Michael Rakowitz, Basim Magdy, Roy Samaha, and Oraib Toukan; and Q&A with Basim Magdy and Sarah Rifky
Friday, April 27, 7pm

ArteEast presents Films, Facts, and Fiction—the first in a series of screenings to be held at e-flux this spring—featuring four short films by Michael Rakowitz, Basim Magdy, Roy Samaha, and Oraib Toukan. Made in the last two years, the films presented are poetic and political meditations on the image: of real sites, imagined or represented, and fantastical sites rendered real through film, GIFs, and animation. The works intersect in drawing on sites of war, migration, and ecological destruction that, across them, create an arc that suspends viewers between fact and fiction, and undoes how we see—and feel—through contemplative encounters with the moving image.

In Rakowitz’s stop-motion video The Ballad of Special Ops Cody (2017), a sentient G.I. Joe action figure speaks to Iraqi artefacts at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. In Samaha’s GIF diary Residue (2017), migration waves are retraced from the Aegan, Anatolian, and Southern European regions to the Eastern Mediterranean, to suggest a current wave in the opposite direction as if in return to ancestral shores. In the screen-captured When Things Occur (2016), Toukan investigates how the gaze gets channeled in the digital realm via Skype conversations with Gaza-based photographers, fixers, and drivers who were behind specific images in the summer of 2014. In Magdy’s Super 16 and GIF animation video No Shooting Stars (2016), a narrative by a mysterious being interweaves with footage of an oceanic world that has been left out of history books and occupies only the margins of our consciousness.                                    

Admission is free; no RSVP necessary. Seating is first come, first served. 
Events will be livestreamed on e-flux.com/live.
For a list of our upcoming programs, visit our website. For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

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New on e-flux podcasts; available for listening on iTunesSpotify, and Soundcloud

Keren Cytter on Middle of Beyond
Artist Keren Cytter discusses past and future projects with e-flux's Josh Altman, on the occasion of the premiere of her film Middle of Beyond at e-flux. Middle of Beyond blends fiction, news clips, and animation recounting ten days in the life of Malte Krumm, a month after the latest US elections.

Dena Yago on the "Content Industrial Complex"
Artist Dena Yago discusses her essay "Content Industrial Complex," published in e-flux journal issue 89 (March 2018), with editor-in-chief Kaye Cain-Nielsen. "What is an artist to do? With an understanding of how our content, identities, and influence are valuable to and instrumentalized by brands and marketers, we can find space for resistance and refusal, or we can actively engage with existing models in an effort to ameliorate them."

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