“Just change your environment” you say, but that’s what happens when a different wind blows onto your face. No matter how drastic the changes we make are, we still navigate traces…more or less consciously we are looking for consistencies. It’s not just about that usual chase for rationality and sense.
Let’s just look at the drives to constitute; perhaps maybe later we can look at how this informs the constituted. Let’s forget for a while the constructed stage, the other characters and images… It’s about feeling at home, being able to create the circumstances where we might fall in love. Lets for a moment just take the time to have dinner – get together and play out what we need to have in place in order to engage – to be able to reflect on what drives us. To understand our positions when taking into account our habits, gestures and temporalities. It’s a vulnerable position you say – yes indeed it is – but that might be ok. The time is blue – we are changing – we unlearn the habits of the day.
Contributors: Caterina Riva (Curator, ARTSPACE, New Zealand), Nuit Banai (Art Historian, Contributor ArtForum), Nicola Pecoraro (Artist, Vienna), Christoph Meier (Artist, Vienna), Anne Faucheret, Titania Seidl (Artist, Co-Founder Mauve Vienna), Luis de Silva (Kunsthalle, Lissabon), Martyn Reynolds (Artist, Vienna), Antonia Alampi (Co-Founder Beirut, Cairo), Jens Maier-Rothe (Co-Founder Beirut, Cairo), Francesco Pedraglio (Artist, London), Anca Rujoiu (FormContent), Ashlee Conery (FormContent), Bianca Baroni (FormContent), Pieternel Vermoortel (FormContent)
The first event of FormContent’s new program The Subject Interrupted is a dinner among friends in our Vienna studio. This gathering of voices forges the programs initial pathway ‘behavioural attitudes’. To structure this moment of research and reflection we collectively endeavore in answering the question ‘How does the subjective state enter our practice? How can we navigate its conditions, turn it into a creative energy and to what extent can it fold into a concrete proposition?’; and so we begin by The hour blue.
“Introduction, Excerpt from the Universal Textbook: The most important asset of any church is itself, that is, its people or members, individually as well as collectively. The Universal Life Church agrees with the advice given by Robert Zimmerman, better known to his large circle of friends as Bob Dylan, “Don’t follow leaders…’ Because letting George do it always ends with George in control of everybody’s life and fortune. Each of us, as ministers, should shine our own light and do our part to dispel the vast ocean of ignorance which sometimes seems to engulf us. Each bird must fly on its own wing, at the same time we should emulate the peaceful bull of the modern fable which avoided the sword, and death itself, by the mere act of not charging the matador’s cape. The meek may inherit the earth only if we realize that it is force, not power, which comes out of the barrel of a gun. The power has always been with the individual. The individual has relinquished it and the individual must get it back, lest a government of the people, for the people, and by the people shall perish from the face of the earth.”
Christoph Meier born 1980, lives and works in Vienna. He studied architecture at the Technical University Vienna, sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna at Heimo Zobernig and the Glasgow School of Art. Meier is co-editor of the artist-fanzine Black Pages. In 2015 he was awarded with the MAK-Schindler scholarship in Los Angeles, where he received the title Universal Professor of the Absolute Reality by the Universal Life Church.
Northern Italy, November 2015
How are you?
We have been separated for quite some time but I loved you very much in your infancy and cared for you when you had a name, a home in London (moving from an arch on Brick Road to a studio complex in crane infested Dalston that was gearing up for the Olympics) but you were still growing up and deciding what you wanted to become. It was a playful phase, full of experiments and people and it entailed quite a bit of travelling too.
I feel a bit like the estranged aunt or the stepmother and yes I painfully left you, but I still think about when you learnt to read with It’s not for reading, it’s for making. Or when you tested your listening skills and abilities with friends from all over with Have a Look! Have a Look! Or when we used to play hide and seek at Tate Modern or binge watched artists videos on hantarex monitors with headphones and sat on Ikea stalls in a derelict warehouse that hosted special projects for one year’s Zoo art fair. There was a horse running outside our door for a project staged by Patrizio Di Massimo; remember when Adam Avikainen wedded his paintings and forced himself on our family album? Or when we helped Andrea Büttner paint the walls of a museum in Turin brown?
So many memories and places and people.
I have been away but I have thought of you lots of times, wondering where you were and what you were doing, sometimes I received e-mails but you seemed to be always in different places and the information was a bit scattered. I came to your birthday the other day, in Vienna, it was cozy, I knew some people, but others not and I decided to bring a pal along.
There was some ambivalence in the room, also considering the topic of discussion was your future. Everyone had different ideas about what that might look like especially because people joined at different steps of the way and might have different desires in store for you.
I feel very attached to your past and your old home but I wonder if there is any space for me in your future. Maybe I should respect the saying “ If you love somebody set them free”.
I don’t want to romanticise what has been but I think it is important not to forget what you have already experienced and perhaps learnt along the way.
I guess you have some figuring out to do: what is your agency? Where is your home? Do you need one? I always treasured independence but I think more and more, it is important to feed it with some structure and by that I mean some way of sustaining both practically and conceptually what you will set out to do and to say. Make sure to have a lot of artists around. Be blunt. Be brave. Be true.
Caterina Riva is a curator and writer who lives in Northern Italy. She founded and run FormContent from inception to 2011 when she moved to Auckland to direct Artspace NZ, where Riva stayed until 2014. She is currently figuring out what to do across formats, geographies and human relationships and working towards the exhibition Les Limbes for La Galerie, Noisy Le Sec (France) in May 2016.
Contributed text + task, The Tyranny of Structurelessness, By Jo Freeman first published by the Women’s League in 1970. After a subjective synthesis of this reading was re-read over starters, responses were recorded and later interpreted into a report which was returned to Alampi. Click here to find this report.
Antonia Alampi is an art historian, curator, writer and co-founder of Beirut in Cairo. She holds an M.A. in art history and contemporary art from La Sapienza University in Rome and has participated in the de Appel curatorial programme in Amsterdam. She co-founded and co-directed the art initiative Opera Rebis, and has worked for various institutions including Manifesta7 and Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea di Trento. Her writings have appeared in various journals, magazines and art(ist) publications, such as Art-Agenda, Frieze, Flash Art International, Artribune, Arte e Critica and Afrikaada. Curatorial projects include – Writing with the other hand is imagining’, Beirut (Cairo, 2013); The Real Thing?, Palais de Tokyo, part of Nouvelles Vagues (Paris, 2013); Three Artists Walk into a Bar… de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam (2012).
Contributed texts for continuous dinner pondering. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Incarnate Subject, ‘H. THE COGITO IN THE BROAD SENSE, INCLUDING OBJECT OF THOUGHT’ 38-40 + Judith Butler, Senses of the Subject, ‘Merleau-Ponty and the Touch of Malebranche’ 41
Ashlee Conery is an independent curator, writer and member of FormContent. Her recent exhibitions include Heaven Is A Place Where Nothing Ever Happens, Pi Artworks London (2015) and Enclave: Nuit Blanche Paris, Pavillons des Indes (2014)
A voice from outside the studio was introduced during dinner. At the end of the table against a free standing wall a video appeared in which the voice of Pedraglio narrated over yet another video by artist Tania Pérez Córdova. Above are remnants of its contribution to the conversation.
Francesco Pedraglio is an artist based in London and co-founder of FormContent.
Contribution in image, text and song
Titania Seidl is an artist working in Vienna. She graduated from the University of Applied Arts, Vienna in 2012. That same year she co-founded MAUVE an art space in Vienna. Her recent exhibitions include: composition w. potted plants, vases, drapery, marble,…, MUSA, Vienna (2015), For Aliens When Humankind is Gone, mo.e, Vienna (Solo with Melanie Ebenhoch) (2015), X marks the spot, AIRY, Kofu City (JP) (2014)