Vienna Roundup
              Orit Gat
              Walking home at night, I pass by Campaign (1972), a two-channel video installation by Ferdinand Kriwet projected onto the storefront windows of Georg Kargl Fine Arts. In the dark street, the images of television footage from the 1972 US presidential campaign fronting Richard Nixon and George McGovern are silent; at the gallery during the day, they almost disappear against the light, but the field recordings, collected by the artist on a trip to the US to witness the primaries, are audible. The sound of talking heads and debates shapes the experience of the exhibition, a last remnant still on view from curated by_Vienna, a festival inviting international curators to organize fall exhibitions in the city’s galleries. The theme of this year’s iteration was language in contemporary art, and curator Gregor Jansen honed in on the 75-year-old German artist’s longstanding interest in media and focus on text and dissemination. These are crucial issues in our divided societies, in which it is inconceivable that any candidate could win a landslide like Nixon’s (who won 62 per cent of the vote, taking every state except Massachusetts and Washington DC). Jansen did not need to spell out a connection to contemporary politics: speech and its …
              "Tomorrow Today"
              Pieternel Vermoortel
              On my way to curated by_vienna, a Grand Tour of the city’s galleries timed to coincide with the Vienna Biennale, I pass by the city’s sleek new Hauptbahnhof. Migrants from Syria and Afghanistan come together here after having traveled along what the media call the “Eastern Land route” and “Western Balkan route.” They will not be staying here, but are in transit, on the way to Germany. I talk to a volunteer: today clothes are not needed, but they are short of sleeping bags, shampoo, and diapers. Philosopher Armen Avenessian’s text—from which “Tomorrow Today” takes its name—begins with an insight that he attributes to J.G. Ballard: “Today, science fiction might be the best kind of realism—if, that is, it is not the only possible realism.” What is needed today, we—as citizens—try to provide. We, as a community, play a role in catering for the basic needs of existence. We cannot turn the clock back to alter the situation as it is, but we can try to meet the needs that could have been expected to come, a future predicted by some. “Tomorrow Today,” the title for this year’s curated by_vienna, serves as the impetus for Avanessian to look at our …
              curated by_vienna 2011
              Max Henry
              Eastern European melancholia has a residual effect in the post-Communist era. To the Western capitalist-bred outsider, it’s a palpable element in a contemporary artistic milieu that grapples with traumatic memories. Take a stroll though the Vienna flea market—with its leftover household porcelain bric-a-brac, faded Stalinist era postcards, and propagandistic souvenir trinkets—and you’ll know what I mean. Vienna has a particularly strong contextual and historical insight into the psyche of its Easterly inhabitants. Paid for by the hefty purse of the municipal cultural arm of the city, the initiative called “curated by_vienna” invited local galleries to organize shows by independent and institutional curators. Their mandated framework on Eastern European integration “East by Southwest” offered such specialist curators a discursive platform. (Turkey was included as a historical pivot point between east and Occident and its on-going flirtation with joining the union.) In the few shows I saw, leitmotifs abounded: folk legend and superstition, historical marginalization, religious and cultural identity, borders and mapping, linguistic differences, research-based works, and postcolonial discourse were threaded together in the alienated Pop vernacular of 2011. At Kerstin Engholm, Adam Budak delivered a tightly focused project on the Trans-Caucasus and Eurasia. This has particular resonance today due to the oil pipelines running …

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