Crossing Lines Autumn Exhibition

September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

The curator of the Autumn Show, Johannes Rigal, has compiled the following initial document for discussion.

Initial Thoughts & Write Up
Looking for a theme

Starting from my own point of view, I want to show a series of urban landscapes that I have taken as early as April 2011 throughout London. This series is concerned with questions of how tourist sites can be seen and considered differently once abstracted and emptied of tourists/people on the one hand and the actual sites on the other.

What remains? What can be seen & perceived in those abstracted places? Is it possible to experience those “stripped” places? If so, what are differences to the – oftentimes – stereotypical views of those sites? What happens to a place loaded with historical but also economical, political and cultural meaning when we experience a different sense of this place? Ultimately, can´t these places be considered as true “non-places” as their contemporary importance is only formed through the buildings situated there and through the tourist who is travelling to a city like London just to see them because of a constructed image of memory/history/power that is transported in tourist guides?

St. Pauls

Buckingham Palace

With this short description, I want to propose 4 possible approaches to the exhibition:

:: A “Best of”- Compilation Show of work done within the last 12 months concerned with everything urban. This would be a rather broad approach and depending on the actual submitted work could either be themed as exactly that or a more specific theme could be found with a thread connecting the work on a more specific level to form a consistent body of work by all the participants.

:: An “Urban Landscape” Show, the “urban landscape” being defined as generally rather open once again to give the participants the opportunity to show work in different forms.

:: A “Rethinking/Reconsidering the Urban” show: At the moment, two things are looming over London as a city and urban space. First, the Olympic Games that are coming closer and closer. A couple of weeks ago I took a late train into London and got off at Stratford International which at that point was – and most possible still is – a strange, ghostly, surreal site. It was dark, it was raining, which ultimately led to me experiencing the site as a kind of gated construct situated within but at the same time out of London. This particular experience – of a place in the middle of nowhere, no people in sight except for a group of security guards standing around the fences, borders between a public nothing space and a private nothing space – made me once again think about the use of the city and its spaces. That there currently exists an area that is completely disconnected from the actual city but at the same time has a huge significance for the city – which will even increase in a year´s time – could, if it not already has, lead to questions of the importance of certain sites within the city; and to a reapproach to questions about the relationship between the public and the private within the urban environment of London. The political and social importance of this discussion can also be seen in the second thing still looming over London, the riots happening in early August 2011. These riots led me to reconsider not only political questions about policy and governance in London but also to once again reconsider the urban space, and the private and public. That public places should be sites of political demonstrations, etc cannot – in my opinion – be denied. They have to be places for the daily and everyday struggles for power in political, social and cultural terms.

But with the riots – without going deeper into a discussion of politics, police actions and the differences and connections between acts of crime and acts of resistance or struggle – and the “march” by rightwing nationalist groups last weekend in East London, there has to be a rethinking of the urban and a reconsideration of questions of security, safety and ownership of the city (if we also consider the formation of “protection groups” in the aftermath of the rioting and looting). I am currently still trying to make artistic and personal sense of what happened in working on a project with CCTV footage and concerned with the places most affected by the events of the last month. These two things should in my opinion be at least put up for a discussion within the Crossing Lines group, in a creative way. My “London sites” project mentioned initially could be seen also from this perspective.

:: The 4th approach should be open for discussion at the meeting on Wednesday, 7th September.

General Thoughts

:: Of course, any suggestions made by the group for the Exhibition will and have to be considered. What I have proposed above should be seen as initial suggestions for the Exhibition. Nothing is written in stone, everything can be discussed

:: The work shown at the exhibition should be as varied and diverse, yet stringent, as seen at the E&C show which in my opinion lived and was successful because of a wide variety of methods and works of art. Where possible, installations, photography, video, photo-montages, paintings etc… should definitely be included in this upcoming show.

:: In terms of requirements by the group, I would ask that the participants get back to me (at j.rigal@gmx.at) ASAP with their possible themes and project titles that they want to show, to give me the time to consider all possibilities.

:: Submission date for the work to be put up at the exhibition should be no later than October 7th (I will send out an email with exact date and time) – assuming that we can do the hanging of the work on the weekend before the opening.

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