Curated by Julia Moritz and reading ‘The Day Before the Revolution’ by Ursula K. Le Guin, the performance was in the context of the exhibition Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt 2017, with performers including Gawęda and Kulbokaitė, as well as Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi, Deborah Holman, Manuel Scheiwiller.
Running since 2013, the collaborative project defines itself as a “sonar-social architecture of shared curiosity and synchronicity” who explore a network of voices through a rhizomatic structure of shared knowledge and references.**
Designed as a hotel room, the screening brought together an international range of artists under the curatorial premise “governed by both post-truth politics and sharing economy, the new urgencies of migration and resettlement as well as the changing concepts of citizenship and nationality and related to it new forms of anxieties restructuring our lives.”
The show was centred around a text in the press release that looked at Memory through the body of a retired old man, finding peace among chaos:
“His loved ones have passed away and he spends his days organizing his belongings over and over, recreating the memories of his younger hippie days. Main interests include medievalism, skin care, jewelry, listening to trance compilations, meditation, botanics.”**
As an example, Iinatti is involved in both music and art-based projects and is part of two Stockholm collectives; Yoga Centre and Evolver. He also recently participated in a screening for Episode 4: Bathroom, curated by Memory participants Kulbokatie & Gaweda at Münchenstein’s Oslo10,and dispersed across other projects including Hornig and Paul Barsch’s New Scenario online platform’s Body Holesexhibition.
The Seminal Bricolage (first attempt) group exhibition is on at Polignano a Mare’s Like a little disaster (L.A.L.D.), opening July 9 and running to August 8.
The exhibition, featuring Agnes Calf, Dorota Gawęda & Egle Kulbokaite, Mikko Kuorinki, and Tabita Rezaire among others, takes French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss’ ‘The Savage Mind’ text as a starting point, citing the term bricolage as an associative practice experienced by many non-western societies, wherein “solutions are invented following paths made of fortuitous, unstable and contingent discoveries”.
The extensive text accompanying the event announcement goes on to explain the concept in terms of multi-directional theories, its favouring dialogue over monologue and its connection with manual activities, as represented by works in show that is explicitly and implicitly conditioned by “complex intersections of class, ethnicity, gender and sexuality”.
Seminal Bricolage will be supported by an interactive online performance by Martina Gold called ‘When Our Lips Speak Together’ on July 11, 18, 25, and August 1, accessible via a secret code retrievable from email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line ‘Martina NSFW’.
Episode 4: Bathroom, curated by Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, brought together artists Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig at Münchenstein’s OSLO1O in Switzerland, which ran from November 25, 2015, to January 25, 2016. Under the topic of ‘Bathroom’, devised by “post-gender avatar” and curator Agatha Valkyrie Ice, the project was the fourth of 10 in Ai’s curatorial concept following MTV Cribs.
Moving through the different rooms of Ai house, beginning at the entrance, through the corridors and into further rooms, the 10 episodes host a [sci-fi IRL] story constructed over two years.
Four toilets are placed haphazardly around the space. Each titled ‘Toilet Piece’ (2015), the artists describe the medium as “Sanitary Ceramics” and each have been cleanly painted with pigment made to look like graffiti. Hanging above are the three ‘Garlic Piece’ series (2015), made of allium sativum (see: garlic) and bast fiber (also a part of the plant), hung on steel. In the adjacent room, ‘Wall piece’ (2015) takes up the majority of the space and is made using nitro-combination lacquer. The graffiti presents opposite the isolated and minimal ‘Soap/Sink Piece’ (2015).
Accompanying the sculptural assemblage is a written script that expands on the concept through words:
“Hanako-san, Ai realise the first organ to suffer privatization, removal from the social field, was the anus. Ai hole is a positive particle before Ai is the absence of a negatively charged electron, and the movement of electrons toward the positive terminal is also a flow of holes streaming back the other way. Immerse Aiself in a field of anuses, and a collection of small holes and tiny ulcerations: Ai heterogeneous elements compose the multiplicity of symbiosis and becoming. Holes are charged particles running in reverse. Holes are not the absence of particles but particles traveling faster than the speed of light. Ai realise that the anus is that center of production of pleasure. Ai is closely related to the mouth and hand, which are also organs strongly controlled by the sexopolitical campaign against masturbation and homosexuality in the nineteenth century. The anus has no gender.”**
Group exhibition, No Need to Hunt – We Just Wait for the Roadkill curated by Paul Barsch brought together the work of eight artists at Dresden’s S T O R E from September 26 to October 10, 2015. Inanimate sculptures and objects sit quietly in conversation with one another; their potential power as vehicles of speech feels fragile and self aware. The accompanying text, and this segment in particular, is integral to the reading of the exhibition:
/fresh meat with zero exhaustion/ is not exactly true, at least it shouldn’t be. Immaterial labour is real labour and going beyond just looking and repeating requires precision and focus. Laid back is fine, but remember, I scroll too and I can see if you’ve been lazy; in fact, I want to see you exhausted. But in the back of our minds, always: how fresh is this roadkill anyway?
The show’s installation photos capture Kai Hügel‘s ‘Iced Herbs’ as they begin to thaw. LED lights and various vietnamese herbs emerge from within the frozen casing. A light leak begins to permeate the floor, moistening Dorota Gaweda & Eglé Kulbokaité‘s deteriorating aubergine skins. Dotted at random around the room and dissected in half, the vegetables lay splayed out over a hashtag text piece stuck to the floor that reads “CaptiveCEOsToBeReturnedToTheWild”. Michele Gabriele‘s ‘SHITTY-SLIPPY-SLUTTY (A beautiful and dangerous night)’, sits firmly in relation to the rest of the light and somewhat ephemeral works. The crystallised body sits somewhere between a rock formation you might see in a cave and an oversized piece of quartz used for spiritual healing. The pigment mixes with the surrounding moisture, dying the floor blue and purple. Protruding from the side, a PREDATOR knife sticks out from the sculpture’s gut.
Similar in size and shape, Burkhard Beschow‘s ‘Holes’ feels skeletal in relation. Wire, metal parts and cloth are tangled in a violent mess. The letter ‘E’, among other unidentifiable pieces of debris, is suspended in some sort of barbed wire trapping. Jake Kent‘s ‘Dropping the A Bomb’ and ‘Hanging out in someone else’s puddle’ pile political slogans in a heap on the floor. Silk screen patches yelling “DESTROY EVERYTHING” and “KILL YOUR INNER COP” are sewn into the digital prints and silk viscose velvet. The handmade tassels have a tender quality, bringing to mind the lengthy and invested form of obscure labour within activism. Alexander Endrullat‘s ‘Unibody’ places a MacBook on a step and in safe distance from the damp floor. Plugged in and fully charged, it has been permanently welded shut and rendered a completely useless object.
On the other side of the room, a printed text winds around a roll of toilet paper by Camilla Steinum. With some difficulty, bits and pieces can be read: “Dirt comes out via the mouth…again and again unprocessed and embarrassing…trying to find meaning…the words, worlds.” The print feels strongly connected to the accompanying text, stringing the exhibition together by a thread of poetic-manifesto styled musings.**
Running out of Deptford space Enclaveover the next six months, Green Ray is a collaborative curatorial project by Gabriela Acha, Nathalie Boobis and Katy Orkisz hosting public events, reading groups, screenings and exhibitions.
The project inaugurated its ‘Mezzanin Series’ with Emily Furneaux (nee Shepherd)’s email@example.com exhibition and a performance by Marios Stamatisand Lea Collet of ‘Trailer for a Remake of Chorus for Four’ on December 6.
Gawęda and Kulbokaitė’s exhibition, meanwhile, follows a short story of an anonymous ‘she’ character dismembering her own body and conceiving of spaces of “deterritorialisation; ex-timacy voluminously stretched” (i.e. “s㎩œs o dtrrtrlztn; xtimacy vol㎛㏌o㎲ly strtchd”).
The work carries on the Berlin-based Young Girl Reading Group founders and Agatha Valkyrie Ice creators’ interest in an ongoing dispersed project collaboration, that this time manifests as part of Juste Kostikovaite‘s ‘AIROOM’ residency programme, where artists and curators make their temporary living spaces in otherwise AIRBnB-rented rooms inspired by ‘Tinder Swinton’ “a character tired of Tindering”.
Recently, a series of shared links led me to the activities of Young Girl Reading Group (YGRG), a weekly event organised around feminist inspired theory and fiction, and an interest in technology-driven emancipation. The project began sometime in 2013 after artist-collaboration Dorota Gaweda and Egle Kulbokaite read the semiotext(e)-published English translation of Tiqqun’s French language Preliminary Materials for a Theory of a Young-Girl. As a book examining the compulsion to consume under capitalism in relation to sexual behaviour, gender, youth and beauty, Gaweda and Kulbokaite were intrigued enough to create a discursive space problematising the network’s open-circuit, defined by a meeting that occurs every Sunday at 7pm, without fail.
In an era when internet-based imagery increasingly represents and brands our understanding of digital inspired art production and cultural intervention, YGRG renewed emphasis on text and theory ‘overload’ offers a potential development in art. This next critical wave returns to text, theory, live reading and new forms of performativity carried out by individuals, collectives, online and IRL to achieve this.
Examples of YGRG’s textual fluidity can be found in locations like Berlin Community Radio, Import Projects, Oracle, Facebook or via Skype. Or in non-branded situations like people’s home, artist studios or public spaces casually occupied.
This year has been particularly productive for the artist collaboration, sometimes referred to as YGRG, but also defaulting to Gaweda and Kulbokaite’s actual names or via other artist collaborations, like d3signbur3au with Catherine Prieto Österberg, collaborating to produce another form of agency, via the post-gender avatar, Agatha Valkyrie Ice.
Museum of Post Digital Cultures, Switzerland-based online platform invited YGRG to realise a curatorial project in relation to the group’s reading and archive. In She wanders through the cities of deserted islands, YGRG address how internet-based art is exhibited and collected. It reflects, of course, the growing number of artists who engage with the online as a standard, rather than an exception. Other projects that have recently supported YGRG’s experimental activities are the exhibition in two parts Agatha 22.214.171.124at Center project space and the Hilton Hotel in Berlin, produced by Gaweda, Kulbokaite and Clémence de la Tour du Pinand the two year programme for OSLO1O (run under Agatha Valkyrie Ice together with Ana Andra, Zayne Armstrong, Dorota Gaweda, Elin Gonzalez, Egle Kulbokaite and Aaron Ritschard). Agatha Valkyrie Ice, who adopts the pronoun ‘Ai’, is the focus of the former’s invitation with Ai effectively curating the programme between 2015 to 2017. No doubt, the approach will be a test in avatar-led curation, perhaps even the first to be sustained over such a long period.
Many interesting questions about the socio-political effects and cultural and aesthetic influences of the internet are raised in YGRG’s many actions. Backed-up by a long-term engagement with theories that also take the ‘post-’ prefix as its signification, one question that standsout is: after the appearance of so-called ‘Post-Internet Art’, can there be a return to ‘pre post-internet states’? Much like a running river, the assumption is that its influence becomes harder to reverse. Related to the proposition of dematerialising art or art orientated around events, as seen in Conceptualism and Performance Art, the aesthetic peer-to-peer effects of art and the internet are still to be felt and understood. YGRG’s art offers one direction to follow.
By way of introducing YGRG, the project takes a typically extravagant approach to reflecting on its recent activities via a manifesto of sorts; a hyperlink-heavy selection of quotes, references, aphorisms and assertions, which at times read like concrete poetry, at others, a comment feed on social media.
Taking three months to complete, what began as a simple in-person interview request became emailed questions answered and performed in responses appearing simultaneously, and word-for-word, in other online forums, maximising YGRG’s manifesto-like public utterances. Perhaps what follows can be best described as a kind of data collection with the interview format as its convenient proxy.
Let’s be clear: the concept of the Young-Girl is obviously not a gendered concept. The nightclub-going jock conforms to it just as much as the second-generation North African girl painted up to look pornstar old. The spirited telecom retiree that splits his leisure time between the Cote d’Azur and the Parisian offices where he’s kept a foot in the door, and the metropolitan single too caught up in her career in consulting to realize that she’s already lost fifteen years of her life to it—both obey the concept.
Tiqqun’s Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl shares a rhetorical strategy with texts that have been far more widely diffused and discussed, opening with a 10-page excursus sketching the total war that contemporary capitalism wages against anyone who dares oppose it.
In reality, the Young-Girl is only the model citizen, the highest point of alienated socialization, where the most socialized is also the most social and she suffers. She suffers from alienation as much as a she does from becoming-image of this alienation. As such, she is a polar figure, representing becoming-Young-Girl more than predominating it. And she suffers from this misogynist identification. What, ultimately, would it mean to let the Young-Girl speak for herself and not through the categories imposed upon her by a culture that heralds her as the metaphysical apex of civilization while simultaneously denigrating her?
Behind every Young-Girl’s arse hides a bunch of rich white men: the task is surely not, then, to destroy the Young-Girl, but to destroy the system that makes her, and makes her so unhappy, whoever she is. Thus, the image of the Young-Girl gives the name to our project and opens up to the problematic networks of ideas to be discussed. This very uneasy relation what we feel towards the Young-Girl triggers the need to commit to YGRG as aspace for conversation that develops in a defined moment in time dedicated to examining together the text in question. It names reason as an engine of feminist emancipation, and declares the right of everyone to speak as no one in particular. The Young-Girl here is the one who’s acting:
Let us say SHE for all being, that is, for everything, every time in her essential plural—language speaking for all and of all, in her name, including those who may not have a name … the one through whom she comes to be and happen, which does not speak but is never the less stone fish fiber dough crack block breath. Language says the world; that is, it loses itself in it and exposes how in herselves it is a question of losing herselves in order to be of SHE, that is, to be her meaning, which is all meaning. SHE is ready.
Will technological progress determinately destroy institutions of thought on its own, or will political organization need to take over technology beforehand? Can we trust thatthe inner development of technologywill unfold in the “correct” way? Or that technophiliac revolutionaries, for that matter, will seize control of the means of scientific production and immediately redirect its possibilities in a revolutionary way, in Firestone’s mind, to clear the way for the liberation through technology of the link between human biology and human destiny?
It starts with the name. YGRG as abbreviation is in itself an aesthetic choice.
Then follows the form and distribution. YGRG functions casually on Facebook, where the digital YGRGs weave new networks from what had once been isolated words,numbers, music,shapes,tactile textures and architectures. The individuated texts we choose become filaments of infinitely tangled webs.
YGRG addresses the mutations within the figure of the Young-Girl that follows symmetrically the evolutions of the capitalist mode of production. Over the past thirty years little by little we’ve moved from a Fordist type seduction, with its designated places and moments, its static and proto-bourgeois couple-form, to a postfordist type seduction, diffuse, flexible, precarious and de-ritualized, which has extended the couples-factory over the whole of the body and all social space-time. At this particularly advanced stage of Total Mobilization, everyone is called upon to keep up their “seduction power,” which has replaced their “labor power,” so that they can at any instant be fired and set out again on the sexual market. YGRG aesthetic explores this shiny surface.
The dissemination of art online is now an unequivocal fact, while Facebook becomes a platform for attending as many art openings as there are. This competitive field of online participation acquires its own a science of craft, rules, predictability, theft and imagination. We are all bot-poets. Our identities are somewhat interchangeable, ratifiable.
While Tiqqun focuses on women’s magazines, it is easy to expand their analysis to encompass developments in social media that have taken place since the book’s original publication: the direct facial and self-valorizing imperatives of Facebook, the endless memetic re-postings of tumblr, fashion blogs, and so on. But what does this domination of the Spectacle really mean?
The Web has become a mirror for the ego of an absent but very present author. Reposting we render self in a pseudo-post-binary world. We wish. lol
“In truth, Freud sees nothing and understands nothing.” – Deleuze
She is the middle.
With the exhibition She wanders through the cities of deserted islands at Museum of Post Digital Cultures [where?] we are searching for a visibility of underrepresented and marginalized positions, attempting at presenting new possibilities for digital cartographies, aided by the museum’s Google Earth inspired format. The infrastructure of the website facilitates the creation of non-linear narrativity, where links create networks opening up to a multitude of pragmatic possibilities of their use, which enables us to create a fictionalized YGRG archive. Only when digital networks arrange themselves in threads and links, footnotes begin to walk all over what we once saw as the bodies of organized texts. Hypertext programs and the Net are webs of footnotes without central points, organizing principles, hierarchies.
She wanders through the cities of deserted islands. She drifts through the exhibition in the Museum of Post Digital Cultures that unfolds over the consecutive Sundays in May and June—following the original YGRG format and expanding on the YGRG archive with non-linear fictionalized narratives, constructed through background artwork, text, image and link constellations. Taking as a point of departure our immediate environment, we construct a story that can be read from any one point leading to any other. One finds within the story no end and no beginning, only middle, lines of flight; she brings us closer to the de-territorialization of our own subjectivity.
She wanders through the cities of deserted islands and reads through selected chapters of:
—texts that we find particularly relevant after two years of YGRG meetings.
She is a portrait of an immortal androgyny, she lies formless in the middle, unlike a tree or their roots. She connects any point to any other point, and her traits are not necessarily linked to traits of the same nature; she brings into play very different regimes of signs, and even nonsign states. She is the fluctuating center.
She is there where we end and where we begin, on the limits of the cities of deserted islands, becoming a denominator both within our texts and, as we hope, within language.
The Social Relationship
We started the Agatha Valkyrie Ice project by creating and developing a fictional post gender character, ‘Agatha’, within an existing confined framework of social media: facebook, soundcloud, snapchat, tumblr, tinder, 3nder, grindr, etc. Going through each of the existing categorizations including age, picture, gender, date of birth, body features, weight, diet, hobbies, interests, family status, height, sexual preferences etc..
We attempted to insert Ai within established systems and observed and analyzed the clashes and controversies this move created. Ai is our consideration of what a post gender person can be today — totally generic and post-sincere, shameless in mixing different stereotypes of individuality to the point where there’s a new confidence in being unoriginal.
Agatha still lives in profiles that currently open up as sites for all forms of expression. Agatha exists in parallel to the realities of YouTube clips of cats, of playing guitar or dancing, dogs dressed as humans, Sunday hobbyist instructional videos, Museum of Internet and eBay wish lists (called ‘my swag’.) Agatha has become a companion species, here to think with and to invent a body and a sexuality of one’s own. Agatha is immersed in a constant process of becoming; a loop of re-posting, re-staging and re-appropriating expressed in textual form, on social media as well as IRL.
Through a multiplicity of voices Agatha is articulated in the world of materials as moments of performance, installation, sculpture or constellation of scents, as was the case for instance in Agatha 126.96.36.199 (in collaboration with Clemence de la Tour du Pin). Agatha is being transformed into a materialized agency through actions that involve inserting Ai into positions of responsibility as the director of OSLO1O . We see that we live in a world surrounded by multiple types of becomings of which we are an integral and fluid part. We see Agatha as a possibility to #buildyourown#body, to achieve various forms of becoming, such as becoming-woman, becoming-animal, becoming-molecular, and becoming-imperceptible.**