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"Made In and Out of USA”
- A ONE NIGHT SCREENING OF 3 POLITICAL/HISTORICAL VIDEOS AT KOH-I-NOOR 13th of MAY 2010

How might renewed focus on the past lead us toward new understandings of social and political possibilities in the present? How do artistic research and strategies of re-approaching history through media––documentation, commentary, & juxtaposition––produce alternate forms of experience and analysis that connect seemingly disparate geographic contexts and timeframes? These practices address the role of the nation-state, citizenship, and economic expansion within overlapping transnational trajectories of repression, colonialism, and cultural imperialism. Three videos, three distinct attempts to unearth the past in light of the present, four artists living in the United States but often working and looking elsewhere.

 

Michelle Dizon
Civil Society
Digital Video, 38 minutes, 2008, 3-channel installation shown as single-channel DVD

Civil Society is a three-channel video installation that deals with the politics of language and visibility of events of civil unrest, specifically those that occurred in Los Angeles in 1992 and Paris in 2005.  The work is structured around the site of an absence in which an off-screen voice explores a lacuna in relation to the events of 1992 in Los Angeles. Fifteen years after the events, in an attempt to recover some understanding of a past that appears barred from her, she travels to Paris as a filmmaker after the civil unrest of 2005 occurs on the city’s outskirts. Between Los Angeles and Paris, she enacts a kind of displacement in which she attempts to open a new relationship to the events of the past through the present. In the asynchrony between these disparate times and spaces, she explores the social and political reasons why a past might exist as loss, asks how a recognition of loss might allow space for that which remains unspoken and unspeakable, and asks toward how grief might transform the way one continues onward.

 

Jesal Kapadia
A vacant rectangle, left blank, for a work expressing modern feeling
Digital Video, 5:20 minutes, 2008 (part of a larger installation)

A vacant rectangle, left blank to express a work of modern feeling is a mute testimony to the city of Chandigarh in North India, designed and built by le Corbusier in the 1950’s. The title of the piece comes from his book ‘The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning’. Looking backward at the lineage of utopian city planning in India, the video documents how Corbusier’s cement and steel buildings endure in the otherwise rural landscape, and presents them as they’re used today, over fifty years later. The text in the video is a translation of a poem by the renowned 19th century Urdu poet ‘Mirza Ghalib’, marking the birth of new cities and new professions. The piece idiosyncratically connects different periods of time in history: one, during the rise of British colonization, to which the poetry refers, when Indian cities were turned into cosmopolitan modern industrial centers of the colonial world; and another, after India’s independence in 1947, when Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first socialist Prime-Minister declared that the brand new city of Chandighar will feature a progressive look, “unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation's faith in the future."

 

Benj Gerdes & Jennifer Hayashida
Strike Anywhere
HD Video, 32 minutes, 2009
Shown on DVD

“Strike Anywhere” is a video essay that takes as its point of departure Swedish “Match King” Ivar Kreuger, whose privatization of financial crisis management strategies bears a direct relation to late-twentieth century policies implemented by the IMF and WTO. Between 1917 and 1932, Kreuger capitalized on shifts in global financial markets to control over 200 companies and establish matchstick monopolies in at least 34 countries. The project is both a prehistory of neoliberal economics and an allegory about social relations and desire in the wake of global capitalist expansion and excess. It depicts a passage between different spaces and the conflictual meanings these spaces produce––including the Swedish National Archives, the former company headquarters (still known today as the “Match Palace), and two match factories continuously in operation since the early 1900s. Conceptually, “Strike Anywhere” serves as a spatio-temporal diagram where visual and linguistic articulations of power point to the instability between archival document and event, iconography and cultural memory, present tense and historical remove. These structures of depicting and interpreting the world – charts, testimonies, and photographs alike – stand as subjective, deliberate, and equally susceptible to attempts at ideological revision. In realizing the layered structure of “Strike Anywhere,” Gerdes and Hayashida are interested in provoking a counter-historical dialogue about collective rethinking of economic and political possibilities in the present.

 

Bios
Michelle Dizon is an artist, filmmaker, and writer. Her work focuses on questions of postcoloniality, globalization, migration, social movements, human rights, and historical memory. Dizon has had solo exhibitions at the CUE Art Foundation in New York City, the Vargas Museum in Manila, Philippines, and at the Art Gallery at the University of Texas, Arlington.  Her work has been exhibited in group shows including the Redcat Gallery, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles; Galleryloop, Seoul;  the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.  Dizon holds a BA in English and History of Art from the University of California Berkeley and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio from the Department of Art at the University of California, Los Angeles.  She is completing a Ph.D. in the Department of Rhetoric with designated emphases in Film and Women, Gender, and Sexuality at the University of California, Berkeley. She works between Los Angeles and Manila.

Jesal Kapadia is an artist from Bombay, currently living in Brooklyn, New York. She teaches at the New School University and International Center for Photography, and works collectively with the members of the journal Rethinking Marxism and 16beavergroup. She can also be found engaged in learning and listening for a change, and creating videos and photographs in the process. The subject of avant-garde and modernism in art and cinema, community development and feminist struggle, people’s movements and individual empowerment within collective experiences continue to inspire and provoke her imagination.

Benj Gerdes is an artist and activist living in Brooklyn, NY and working in film, video, and a number of other public formats. He frequently works in collaboration with other artists, activists, and theorists, including as a member of 16 Beaver Group. He is interested in intersections of political discourse, knowledge production, and popular imagination. His individual and collaborative work focuses on the affective and social consequences of economic and state regimes through historical research and reenactment, dialogue, and participatory or aleatory formalizations. Gerdes work has been exhibited widely in both traditional venues and emerging platforms, with the former including Kiasma Musuem of Modern Art (Helsinki), Kunsthalle Exnergasse (Vienna), Luleå Biennial (Sweden), REDCAT Gallery (Los Angeles), Art in General (New York), the New Museum (New York), and Migrating Forms (New York); and the latter more often including public performances and programs, web distribution, broadcast television, and books and publications such as October, The Journal of Aesthetics + Protest, Ninth Letter, and Rethinking Marxism. He has taught and lectured in numerous institutions and public contexts, and is currently a Visiting Artist in the Cinema Department at Binghamton (State University of New York) and serves on the video faculty at the Cooper Union School of Art. Homepage: www.clnswp.org

Poet and translator Jennifer Hayashida was born in Oakland, California, and grew up in the suburbs of Stockholm and San Francisco. She is the translator of Fredrik Nyberg's A Different Practice (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2007), and Eva Sjödin's Inner China (Litmus Press, 2005). Poems and translations have appeared in Salt Hill, The Chicago Review, Calque, Harp and Altar, Circumference, The Literary Review, Insurance, The Asian Pacific American Journal, and Action, Yes. Text- and video-based work has been included in group exhibitions at The Vera List Center for Art and Politics, Artists Space, The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and at domestic and international film festivals. She was a 2008-2009 Writer-in-Residence through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program, and has been the recipient of a PEN Translation Fund Grant, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, and a Witter Bynner Poetry Translator Residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute. She lives in Brooklyn NY, and is Acting Director of the Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College. Homepage: www.jenniferhayashida.info.

 

 

Koh-i-noor
Dybbølsgade 60,
1721 København V
koh-i-noor@koh-i-noor.org

Screening 13th of May - 17:00 - 20:00

For more information please contact Stine Marie Jacobsen at stine_jac@hotmail.com

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