CONTRIBUTORS: Todd Ayoung, Stephanie Deumer, Ectoplasmic Materialism, Gregory Sholette and Sekretariat für Geister, Archivpolitiken und Lücken.
ABOUT: In the 1989 film Ghostbusters II a river of pink slime runs through the sewers beneath First Avenue. It is composed of the negative human emotions of New York, the residual waste products and dark matter of everyday life, worries, debts and work. The slime is ectoplasm, an emotionally-reactive substance that fuels the manifestation of specters.
This event aims to explore the potentials and pitfalls of this dark matter and ectoplasm, materials that make up the bulk of artistic activities but exist in the shadows of and haunt the formal art world, and its history. The event will therefore be looking at approaches towards invisibilized histories, potential connectivities and solidarities within the broader social factory enabled by these notions, and how they might be used as a collective artistic material. When the slime of art history and production has been pushed out of sight beneath the social factory floor, what spectral traces can still be seen or dug up? What happens when these ghosts have been exposed?
Contributions include a spectral appearance by the theorist Gregory Sholette discussing, ten years after publication, his book Dark Matter, which still holds an important position as an analytical tool, not only for highlighting invisible parts of the art world, but also for pointing out that they are crucial to its very reproduction. Secretariat for Ghosts, Archival Politics and Gaps will present their practice, that involves uncovering historical gaps and looking at dark matter from a feminist perspective, most recently in the exhibition Dark Energy. Feminist Organizing, Working Collectively. The artist Todd Ayoung will offer concrete examples of both his personal and collective artistic and activist practice, while exploring the relation between the “blackout” and dark matter. Stephanie Deumer will present her recent video Spooky Action at a Distance, which traces the objectification of women through their disembodiment and discusses and how past norms are literally amplified through new technologies, and the collective Ectoplasmic Materialism will offer some thoughts on the crossovers between the spiritualism movement of the early 1900s with women’s empowerment and conceptual art practices from a feminist-marxist perspective.
Emergency Ectoplasmic Exodus, Rejected Material (Take 4) is part of Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Programme and will be hosted at The Kitchen, 8th of June 3 pm.
A selection of small curatorial exhibition/projects.
Maybes (2013) was an exhibition curated with Monika Vykoukal. The project started from the experience of disturbance and its potential as a moment where previous certainties shift, and we can speculate on other possibilities. We invited artists Valentina Desideri, Rachel Koolen and Elizabeth Skadden to consider such “maybes” through disturbance, as both intimate, bodily, and socially shaped.
The connection between our private, inner life, and our social circumstances, is the basis for Valentina Desideri‘s series of conversation pieces, Political Therapy. The work invited therapists to participate in one of her sessions, to not only look at what they, personally, consider a political problem but also to reflect on the notion of therapy. Elizabeth Skadden‘s video Successrevealed the disturbing entanglement of our private lives and the public paradigm of a life defined in economic terms. Rachel Koolen took a somatic approach in her work Over my Dead Body. This body of work, composed of film, sculptures, stolen voices and a disturbing diagram took its starting point in what Koolen describes as a disturbing memory of a physical site, one that has taken on the proportions of a grotesque corpse. Not trusting this memory, she revisited the site, now a territory emptied of events, in order to fertilize its ground and generate a series of inappropriate disturbing processes (appropriate to Glockengasse9).
The Home Within Homecraft was a symposium with Shida Shahabi, Anna Sóley Tryggvadóttir (Toncirkeln), Hildur Hákonardóttir, Silvia Federici and Temi Odumosu. Together, they shared their practices and strategies that claim handicraft radicalism as resistance practice.
Through my experience at home [...] I also discovered what I now call the ‘double character’ of reproductive work, as work that reproduces us and valorises us not only in view of our integration in the labour market but also against it.
Silvia Federici, Revolution at Point Zero (2012)
Homecraft and its connection to historic practices and folk traditions has often made it easy prey to be co-opted by right-wing and nationalist politics as an anchor point for ‘true’ examples of national identity. As a work performed in the home it is also intimately tied to forms of exploitation reliant on housework as undervalued and unpaid labour. While currently nationalist parties gain popularity across Europe we, as a democratic cultural organisation, wish to challenge their ideology as well as their subsumption of homecraft to be aligned with racist politics. The commissions here evident counter practices that pluralise and highlight the complexities around homecraft and feminised production in the home and show what Federici describes above as the double character of this work. The day invites the participating artists Shida Shahabi, Anna Sóley Tryggvadóttir and Hildur Hákonardóttir, alongside theorist and activist Silvia Federici and art historian Temi Odumosu to share their practices and find ways we can collectivise our strategies for insisting on the radical potential of homecraft.