November 1, 2005 - Iaspis - CITIZENSHIP: CHANGING CONDITIONS – 2 November 18.00-21.00
November 1, 2005


Seminar at Iaspis, 2 November, 18.00-21.00

Jakobsgatan 27, Stockholm

In conjunction with Andrea Geyers project Parallax, a slide installation in the Project Studio
Opening 2 November 16.00-18.00

When politics are overdetermined by economy and when economy follows a capitalist logic, culture tends to be the privileged arena for ideological debates. Culture in general becomes the place for the performance of classical politics, albeit sometimes in disguise. And when the political discourse, within the public sphere of parliamentary democracies, turns to ethics, morals, and how to avoid hurting peoples feelings (in particular religious feelings), then art seems to revisit phenomena long taken for granted, phenomena that have either eroded or been thoroughly transformed. We reach a point where culture and art, are not only used in the political arena; they also produce agency, something which is palpable in the current strong interest and desire for activism in the world of contemporary art.

During the last three decades it is clear that a gap has appeared in the public discourse where notions of rights, obligations and assumed responsibility have receeded in favor of precise discussions on ethics, morals and the question of whether we are hurting peoples feelings. Simultaneously the notion of human rights has in many instances been radically revised, most notably in relation to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Citizenship has taken on new requirements in many countries. A number of artists today are interested in rights and obligations, manipulation and persuasion, in relation to citizenship and other forms of belonging and cultural affiliation, and how these are being interpreted and challenged. One of those artists is Andrea Geyer who will show the slide installation Parallax at Iaspis 2 -20 November 2005.

To register for the seminar, please, contact
Opening 2 November 16.00-18.00
ANDREA GEYER (Freiburg / New York), Parallax, 8 channel-slide projection, 50 min
The project Parallax investigates the notion of citizenship and national belonging and its role in creating individual and governmental spaces of action. It is staged within the current political and social climate of large US cities. The project takes the form of an eight-channel slide projection in a stylized educational setting. The slides combine text excerpts from news agencies (New York Times, Reuters, AP, CNN, Democracy Now) with photographs taken in the first six months of 2003 in New York and Los Angeles. A group of staged photographs follows a female protagonist on her way through a typical day. Just as the photographs of the street scenes establish a reference to a certain knowledge that describes how the locations depict function, the introduction of the anonymous protagonist describes the relation of the individual to media information, to the state and its politics, shown as a structural element of the systems described. To a certain extent, the figure also embodies the question of how the anticipatory and emancipatory practices of acting subjects relate to actual political interrelations. The characters appearance is marked by the artists position in the work. Yet she is not an alter ego instead, the protagonist in Parallax is a kind of universal character, fleetingly but nevertheless distinctively marked by the specificity of her external appearance in the picture, and the significance of that in relation to the unfolding events.

In addition to the staged scenes, the photographs of Parallax also show a periphery of mass demonstrations against the US invasion of Iraq, and against domestic restrictions accompanying foreign policy aggression, such as changes in immigration laws and the surreptitious redefinition of the rights of citizens, as well as administrative situations such as courthouses, waiting rooms, libraries, but also the increasing presence of state executives, such as military and police in public spaces. The texts reflect in one way or another on issues surrounding the basic duties and constitutional rights of American citizens and their constant subversion by the government. News reports often go beyond the actual communication of events/facts and reveal their claim of objective reporting in relation to the immanent and constant rewriting of those events and histories.
Parallax has recently been shown as part of the exhibition Governmentality, curated by Roger M Buergel, artistic director of Documenta XII, and Ruth Noack, curator of Documenta XII at Witte de With in Rotterdam and other places.

Seminar 2 November, 18.00-21.00
18.00 Maria Lind, director Iaspis: Introduction
18.15 Andrea Geyer, artist and professor at Malmö Art Academy (Freiburg / New York): On Parallax
18.45 Chantal Mouffe, political theorist and professor at the University of Westminster (London): Democratic Politics in a Post-political Age
19.30 Stefan Jonsson, writer and scholar, literary critic at Dagens Nyheter (Stockholm): World Citizen? On How Art Interfers with Politics and Extends the Borders of Democracy.
20.00 Discussion

Participants presentations
Andrea Geyer is an artist born in Germany who lives and works in New York City. Her work over the recent years has been investigating the construction of national identity, its perception (emotionally/factually), its historical and material foundations in relation to its actual use value from the side of the citizen as well as the state. She works with photography and writing mostly in form of installations. She is a 2000 graduate of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. In Germany she completed her sudies in Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Braunschweig and Photojournalism at the Fachhochschule Bielefeld. Solo exibitions include: Secession, Vienna (catalogue), Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, im Katharinen, St.Gallen, Switzerland, Kunstmuseum Esbjerg, Denmark (with Katya Sander), Galerie Böttcher, Berlin; Plattform, Berlin (with Sharon Hayes), Parlour Projects, New York; LaPanaderia, Mexico City; PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Project Space, (with Sharon Hayes); group exibitions include: Information/Transformation, ExtraCity, Antwerp, Belgium; Be what you want but stay where you are. Witte de With, Rotterdam; How do you want to be governend? Miami Art Central; E-flux video rental, Kunstwerke, Berlin; Patriot, Baltimore Art Museum; Teasing Minds, Kunstverein München; Freedom Salon, Deitch Projects, New York; Open House, OK Center, Linz; The American Effect, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; En Route, Serpentine Gallery, London; Manifesta 4, Portikus, Frankfurt; Forms of Organisation, Skuc Gallerija. Lubijana, Slovenia; and House of the Artist, Moskow. She has received grants from the Kunstadapter, Wiesbaden, the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is a professor at the Art Academy in Malmö, Sweden.

Chantal Mouffe is an influential thinker focusing on the conditions of liberal democracy and equality. Her criticism of third way consensus has been widely discussed. Together with Ernesto Laclau she has developed a theory of radical democracy that identifies an agonistic pluralism where all kinds of struggles can and must – take place. She is Professor of Political Theory at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster in London. She has taught and researched in many universities in Europe, North America and South America and she is a member of the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. She is the editor of Gramsci and Marxist Theory (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1979), Dimensions of Radical Democracy. Pluralism, Citizenship, Community (Verso, London, 1992) Deconstruction and Pragmatism (Routledge, 1996) and The Challenge of Carl Schmitt, (Verso, London, 1999); the co-author with Ernesto Laclau of Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (Verso, London, 1985) and the author of The Return of the Political (Verso, London, 1993) The Democratic Paradox (Verso, London, 2000) and On the Political (Routledge. London, 2005).

Stefan Jonsson is senior literary critic at Dagens Nyheter,and associate professor of Ethnic studies at the University of Linköping. He received his Ph.D. from the Program in Literature at Duke University, USA, in 1997. Between 1998 and 2000 he was fellow at The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Jonsson has published several books on contemporary Western culture, cultural theory, modernist German and French literature, and postcolonial literature and culture. He is currently working on a project about the representation of masses and crowds in European culture. A first part of this work, Three revolutions: A Brief History of the People 1789, 1889, 198, was published in Sweden this fall.

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