May 6, 2003 - Secession - Fate of Alien Modes at Secession
May 6, 2003

Fate of Alien Modes at Secession


Babette Mangolte, The Camera: Je or La Caméra: I, USA 1977, Filmstill


curated by Constanze Ruhm

May 10 June 22, 2003

Press conference: Friday, May 9, 2003 at 11 a.m.

Opening: Friday, May 9, 2003 at 7 p.m.


Friedrichstrasse 12

A-1010 Vienna

T: +43 1 587 5307


Chantal Akerman, Judith Barry, Thomas Bayrle, Noël Burch, Shirley Clarke, Ingemo Engström, Harun Farocki, Morgan Fisher, Penelope Georgiou, Jack Goldstein, Angela Hareiter, Derek Jarman, Isaac Julien, Rainer Kirberg, Malcolm LeGrice, Mark Lewis, Babette Mangolte, Mark Nash, Nagisa Oshima, Ulrike Ottinger, Karl Sierek, Jean-Marie Straub/Danièle Huillet, Elisabeth Subrin, Michael Snow, Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, Oscar Zarate

The exhibition Fate of Alien Modes charts a terrain emerging at the intersection of artistic and cinematic models and discourses. It foregrounds different forms of representation generated by each respective practice, to render visible the mechanisms operating within. The cinematic apparatus is understood as an economy unfolding into a spatiality of different modes of production, thus allowing for a changed perspective on art. The shift from being on cinema to drawing on an economy illuminates and recollects the structures, forces, and subjects at work in the relations between society, cinema, and culture.

Fate of Alien Modes spatializes the cinematic field to reveal it as a set of running scripts. Instead of conflating art and cinema within the conventions of projection spaces and mini cinemas only, the exhibition focuses on dynamic scripting processes to subvert the notion of finished and self-contained artworks. Thus it highlights different modes of production versus the concept of the Secession as a mere exhibition hall and repository for art works. The institutional container is rendered as tenuous construction and spatial narrative.

Fate of Alien Modes reflects on the differences between cinemas and art institutions by linking a set of fields and methods to register the unique distinctions of production formats pertaining to cinematic and art practices. The exhibition draws on the established dialogue between modernist as well as avant-garde cinema and art, thus avoiding the re-institutionalization of cinema as an instrument of power within the art context. The project attempts to unravel the history of the interrelations between modernism and cinema, which inside of art spaces often remain safely interred within a cinema nostalgia, to highlight contemporary discourses on the play and conflict of the forces at work between spectator, projection, and screen.

A number of contributions were generated in dialogues between curator and invited artists/producers to develop commissions and new works oriented along suggested plot points. For many of the internationally renowned artists and contributors it is a first-time presentation in a Vienna institutional context. Besides film and video installations, Fate of Alien Modes combines interactive sound pieces, performative processes and indexical materials with specifically commissioned contributions pertaining to script-based formats and stage/set architecture. The works included in the exhibition are either related to aspects of “screen” (as architecture) and “script” (as dynamic text), or record and investigate the visual, acoustic and narrative spaces emerging in between.

Constanze Ruhm

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