Cannot do everything
Civil and social disobedience at the interface between art, radical politics, and technology

Mujeres Creando, Coco Fusco, Andrea Geyer/Sharon Hayes, h.arta, Sandy Kaltenborn/ Pierre Maite, Nasan Tur
invited by Jens Kastner and Elisabeth Bettina Spörr

14. Juni bis 26. Juli 2008

Büro Bildwechsel
Sandy Kaltenborn/Pierre Maite
live and work in Berlin.

Various posters, 2006-2008.

"Ichstreik. Prekarität, Arbeit und Alltag" ["Ego on Strike. Precarity, Work, and Everyday Life"]-a slogan that both calls for and muses about disobedient behavior. It was prominently displayed on a poster from a series designed by Büro Bildwechsel [image-shift] for Mayday 2008, the mobilization of the so-called precariat on May 1, in close collaboration with the Mayday coalition.
Büro Bildwechsel has now existed for ten years. Its work in communications and graphic design focuses on social and political struggles and discourses; its clients include both political initiatives and social and cultural institutions. Kaltenborn and Maite develop graphical solutions not only for specific occasions such as events, festivals, and political campaigns. Their work also includes books, posters, and web sites, which are often created in close collaboration with their respective "customers." They see their applied art not as a service but as part of a communicative practice, always emphasizing the socially constructive aspect of design and always already reflecting on its ambivalent function: calling themselves an "office for design and other inviabilities," Bildwechsel [image-shift] address, as it were, themselves and their others without unwarranted faith in mutual understanding. As a sign of their awareness of their own entanglements, the picture gallery on their homepage includes, besides an ad for the legalization of refugees, a colorful postcard inscribed "Trust me, I'm a Designer." JK
Literature: Sandy K. (2002): Just Posters, Stuttgart (Edition Schloß Solitude).

Coco Fusco
lives and works in New York

a/k/a Mrs. George Gilbert, video, 2004.

Coco Fusco's videos, multimedia performances, and numerous publications engage racial and sexual discrimination. In a number of works, she has examined the problematic situation at the Mexican-U.S. border with respect to illegal immigration on the one hand and the exploitation of cheap labor on the other hand. In collaboration with Ricardo Dominguez, a co-founder of the Electronic Disturbance Theater, she has developed an online game where players can choose between a Mexican and an American identity and gain a "visceral" experience of how different it feels to live on this and on that side of the border.
In her video "a/k/a Mrs. George Gilbert" (2004), which is part fiction and part based on historical documentary material, Fusco engages the life of the African-American civil rights activist and philosopher Angela Davis. Davis, then an assistant professor at the University of California, was arrested in 1970 because of her membership in the Black Panther Party. The work moreover addresses the systematic surveillance and wiretapping of African-American intellectuals and activists who were, or were suspected of, active in the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s.
Coco Fusco is the author of "English is Broken Here" (The New Press, 1995) and "The Bodies That Were Not Ours and Other Writings" (Routledge/inIVA, 2001) and has edited "Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas" (Routledge, 1999) and "Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self" (Abrams, 2003). EBS

Andrea Geyer/Sharon Hayes
Andrea Geyer, b. Freiburg, Germany, 1971, lives and works in New York.
Sharon Hayes, b. Baltimore, USA, 1970, lives and works in New York.

In Times Like This Only Criminals Remain Silent, poster project, 2005.

Andrea Geyer and Sharon Hayes's collaborative work examines the demonstration, a seemingly timeless and ubiquitous form of protest. Just as the demonstrator's silhouettes on front side of the posters urgently demand to be filled in, they are densely inscribed on the back with questions, raising fundamental issues ("Who do you speak for?") as well as questions that transcend the bounds of the political ("Do I feel it at home?") The works of both artists share an exploration of the spaces of the political as well as a queer-feminist perspective.
Sharon Hayes works on the interfaces between different media, including video, performance, and installation. At the center of her artistic production stand individual and collective ways of collectivization; in her investigation of the latter, she employs not only originary artistic but also academic methods, including anthropological research as well as linguistic theoretical production.
The various parts of Andrea Geyer's work "Spiral Lands" (2007/2008) combined photo series on American landscapes with fictional travelogues and, in the second part, the quotation of an ethnological lecture. Fusing a variety of techniques, Geyer examines the production of knowledge by means of artistic practices, the discourses of truth by means of pictorial techniques, but also the mechanisms by which visibility is produced and the social domination that underlies them.
Both artists have participated in numerous exhibitions in North and South America as well as Western and Eastern Europe, including Documenta 12 (in collaboration with David Thorne, Katya Sander, and Ashley Hunt). JK

Anca Gyemant, b. Oradea, Romania, 1977.
Rodica Tache, b. Piteti, Romania, 1977.
Maria Crista, b. Timioara, Romania, 1976.
Romanian women artist's group, founded in 2001, in Timioara and Bucharest.

NATO Meeting (d'après Ion Grigorescu), performance, 2008.

During the NATO summit held in Bucharest on April 2-4, 2008, the three artists walked through the city, which had for the occasion of this meeting been cleansed of misery and deviancy. They were equipped with anti-NATO merchandise: slogans on bags and T-shirts left no room for doubt about their antimilitarist attitude. The photographs they took of each other during this tour of the Romanian capital show plainclothes policemen standing nearby as though by chance. That surveillance should be an everyday phenomenon is something Romanians would associate with the communist regime: in 1975, the artist Ion Grigorescu had photographed the secret policemen standing, as though randomly, on the margins of a "spontaneous" assembly organized by the Party. Through this art-historical reference, the artists simultaneously address contemporary mechanisms of control and surveillance in Western capitalist democracies.
As in this performance, h.arta's work has fused artistic and activist strategies of intervention on a variety of levels. They have engaged the issue of public space as well as the institutions of arts education. JK
Literature: H. ARTA (2008): AGENDA 2008. Cologne 2007 (Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König).

Mujeres Creando
Founded in 1992, active in La Paz, Bolivia.

Various performances, 1996-2005, video.

Mujeres Creando took to the streets in a variety of ways against the lasting effects of the military dictatorship of Hugo Banzer, the Bolivian dictator from 1971 to 1978 and again its president between 1997 and 2002: during one performance, quite a lot of blood is flowing across a square, in symbolic terms the blood of the victims of forced disappearances and torture, until the activist, in a dramatic scene accompanied by background music, is led away by police. Mujeres Creando always anticipate and preempt the scornful remarks from their audiences; the mocking bourgeois woman is part of their standard ensemble.
The feminist collective operates a cultural center called "Virgen de los Deseos" ["Virgin of desires"] in La Paz and has produced a number of performances and films, all of which were broadcast on Bolivian television. (In the German-speaking countries, they have so far been presented only on the feminist show an.schläge TV on the Viennese community station Okto.) "We are making politics, not art," Mujeres Creando write in one of their numerous texts, "and the space where we construct ideas and communications is the street." Time and again, they place graffiti containing feminist catchphrases in public space. One of these slogans painted on the walls of La Paz reads: "Disobedience, it is because of you that I am happy." JK

Literature: Maria Galindo (2005): Öffentlichkeiten der Mujeres Creando. Wir besetzen das Fernsehen genauso wie die Straße, in: Gerald Raunig and Ulf Wuggenig (eds.): Publicum. Theorien der Öffentlichkeit, Wien (Verlag Turia + Kant), 204-211.

Nasan Tur
b. Offenbach, 1974, lives and works in Berlin.

Backpacks, 2006, installation.

A group of backpacks has been placed in a room. But these are no ordinary traveler's utensils that sit here awaiting transportation. Nasan Tur has assembled diverse variants of an equipment set to be used during demonstrations by activists and other participants. The viewer is invited to borrow a backpack adequate to a particular occasion. Nasan Tur thus not only takes up the stereotypical notion of the "riot tourist." He also lends a momentum of activation to his installation to go. The viewer must create the performance that is expected here.
Nasan Tur uses a variety of technical means. Both in formal and in political terms, these endeavors are rarely without a tinge of irony: now a protagonist turns somersaults through a crowded street in a city center, now Tur offers a balcony equipped with a mike and speakers so that anyone who wants can finally tell "the whole world" what he or she has always wanted to say. JK

All texts translated from the German by Gerrit Jackson and cited from:

Jens Kastner and Elisabeth Bettina Spörr (eds.): cannot do everything. Civil and social disobedience at the interfaces between art, radical politics and technology, Münster 2008 (Unrast Verlag), p. 196, German/English, ISBN 978-3-89771-481-6.


Thinking Space

12. April - 24. May 2008


Merz in February
Steve van den Bosch, Koenraad Dedobbeleer,
Olivier Foulon, Alexander Lieck, Willem Oorebeeck, Walter Swennen und
Joelle Tuerlinckx .. invited bySusanne Prinz

16. February - 27. March 2008

"Merz in February" is both an experiment and exhibition. Seven artists from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, have been asked to come together and develop a common exhibition in Berlin addressing the different ways they approach the production, manufacture and presentation process of art in their work. The exhibition is intended neither to join the works under a singular motto suggested by a curator, nor to create an exhibition where the works stand idly beside each other. "Merz in February" rather, should be taken as a collage as means to encourage the works, to reflect, comment and compliment each other. From its initial conception, the exhibition has been defined by an open dialogue and collaborative process. Processes of mutual appropriation, both in terms of form and material as well as quote and comment, have allowed unforeseen overlaps to surface between different notations and perceptions. As Joëlle Tuerlinckx said in respect to another exhibition, visitors of "Merz in February" should experience a process of `seeing and movement´ together, where each step or turn doesn't only offer new possibilities and interpretations on what was just seen, but also on our experience of space and time.

with: Steve van den Bosch, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Olivier Foulon, Alexander Lieck, Willem Oorebeeck, Walter Swennen und Joelle Tuerlinckx, invited by Alexander Lieck and Susanne Prinz


about: safety scaffold
Emmanuelle Antille, Andreas Böhmig, Emanuel Danesch,
Dr. Jens Kastner, Fabian Reimann, Dr. Christoph Schwegmann, invited by Lilian Engelmann

8. January - 2. February 2008

A safety scaffold offers a well-defined protection for an clearly definited activity. But what safety scaffolds do we build when it comes to the whole, and how are these scaffolds then designed? Through the experience of the international terrorism and the changing living conditions in the western world, uncertainty seems to be the new experiential base of society, on which we respond to different in political, economic, but also in the private sector. Therefore, it's clear that the practices we employ to hedge and secure ourselves and world around us are as much instruments of power as the proceedings of fear and insecurity are.
Through a series of week-long exchanges, "about: safety scaffold" will present artists which work with various aspects about safety for one month. Further more, guests from different fields working with security as sociologist, psychologist and politics were invited for lectures.

Bertram Haude

9. November - –21. December 2007

14. September bis 19. October 2007

Opening 14. September 2007, 19–22 Uhr


The most distinguished task of art for Paul Klee was to render the invisible visible. This bon mot has not only remained as a citation - art deals with visualization up to today: there might be worlds between Paul Klee and the artists invited for the exhibition #1, between their artistic motivations possibly not.
The works shown in #1 follow this phenomenon of the „obviously invisible“ – and ask: What under the first layer of life is still present in our fast-moving presence and forms us; the life, the art? What is invisibly visible? What is important: no moral question forms the basis of #1. There are the aesthetic possibilities of a morally often far constricted art which are of interest. According to Jean Baudrillard: »The event is not only strengthened in the picture, but is taken hostage at the same time. It is not only indefinitely multiplied as a copy in media, but also scattered and neutralised at the same time.« (from: The Mind of Terrorism). Which signs and impressions/ imprints then, does such a worked up and consumed event leave at all? And which traces do those events that do not forget, but (collectively as well as in media) were displaced leave?

Wiebke Elzel / Jana Müller

Sven Johne
Walid Ra´ad
Natalia Stachon
Tim Sharp

In occasion of the exhibition #1 an Edition by Jana Müller und Wiebke Elzel is available.