Notes from trembling community in a wilful state of flux
Taking its inspiration from the writings of poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant (1928-2011) Notes from a trembling community in a wilful state of flux focuses on the movement and multiplicity of language, cultural identity, and the production of knowledge.
With his book Poetics of Relation (1990) Glissant offers us a tool to reimagine the most pertinent questions of our time. ‘Instead of fixed places of origin, he offers sites of connectivity, where multiple histories and ways of being can coexist. Instead of roots, he offers the dynamic process of creolization, a poetics defined by its openness to transformation. Instead of a world of nations, he offers the archipelago, an image of the world in which we are all connected while remaining distinct.’ One of the guiding principles in Glissant’s thinking, as well as this exhibition, is the concept of opacity (opacité). Opacity, unlike transparency, welcomes the untranslatable and unknowable. Glissant claims a ‘right to opacity’ and invites people to accept that which they don’t understand.
Notes from a trembling community… experiments with different modes of relation and production through working collaboratively, and reimagining the process of exhibition making. The starting point for the project lies in a residential house in Berlin where a fluctuating group of artists, social scientists, children, musicians, curators, workers and thinkers came together last July. Here, starting with the organising principle of a daily meal together, they inaugurated a process of research into the poetic borders distinguishing and connecting them. Since then the invitation to contribute has been opened up further to a wider network of friends and like-minded people across the globe.
The installation at HMK is not meant as the final stage of the project, but as another phase of a longer dialogue using Glissant’s ideas as a methodology and praxis, connecting multiple voices while keeping their distinctiveness.Notes from a trembling community… is conceived as a four-dimensional archipelago, giving the audience the possibility to draw their own lines to this ongoing project through work-in-progress, sound, video, performance, images and ideas.
Exhibition from September 7 till October 20, 2018. With: Tomás Bartoletti, Oliver Bulas, Season Butler, Coletivo Kókir, Maurits Koster, Judith Lavagna, David Magnus, Mahony, Gerald Mandl, Luz Peuscovich, Pablo Pijnappel, Esper Postma, Aiko Tezuka, Leo Zhao
Gerald Mandl & Mahony
Sound piece, 5 min, 2018
This sound piece consists of voices recorded during Commonplace: a series of lectures, discussions, screenings, and lunches organized in preparation for this exhibition that took place in Berlin between Wed 18th – Sat 21st of July 2018.
Raising Stars consists of three stacks of different silk screen prints, free for the public to take. The prints show workers in the process of renovating the emblematic Euro-monument in Frankfurt am Main. Framing the workers in their interaction with the sculpture’s iconic shapes, the prints are curiously reminiscent of the aesthetics of historical propaganda posters. The imagery of National Socialism and Stalinism glorified the proletariat by associating workers’ bodies with ideological symbols and monumental architecture. In the prints of Koster and Postma however, it is the ideology itself that is under construction. Symbolizing the current fragility of European unity, the icon is shown stripped of its covers, thereby exposing its inner mechanics.
The term ‘transkutir’ is a neologism made up from the words ‘trans’ and ‘kuti’, the latter being borrowed from the Aymara and Quechua, two indigenous groups from the Andes. The word kuti implies a perpetual movement, a re-appearance of something, but never in the same way. The term was convened during a series of meetings that took place under the name Cruz del Sur in 2015. These meetings formed a platform for artists, curators and academics to exchange ideas on topics related to the construction of Otherness, postcolonial aesthetics, cross-cultural dialogue and the problems of their translatability. The installation is an intuitive interpretation of the text that extends into the space searching for ways to relate to the other works in the show.
“God is dumb, until the drum speaks.” – ancient African proverb
Under the pavement, the beach, and during the process of collapse, a possible revival: a fragmented and rejoined tapestry of estranged polyrhythms from disparate places and times, lacerated by history; a possible transient image, ephemeral model, uncertain map of our collective, connected, multiplicitous, hybridised, mystical, high-tech, and egalitarian future, where without loss of individual character, without placation of sweet tensions, seemingly divergent narratives and modes of being fuse and cross pollinate in simultaneously conflicting and harmonious ways.
A figure sits in a courtyard cracking nuts. The homeliness of the place suggests belonging, but is this home or a hinterland? This performance-to-camera reflects on the relationship between labour and identity, particularly the use of ‘race’ as a means of classifying workers and stratifying the working class. In a liminal space between labour and leisure, home and abroad, here and elsewhere, both destructive force and productivity are present. Removed from the coercive conditions of industrial production, and the alienation which accompanies them, repetition is meditative and peaceful. Filmed in Lishi Hutong, Beijing, China.
Luz Peuscovich’s work starts from the natural materials she collects from the places she visits, reflecting on the inhabitants and the particular qualities of the ecosystem of that location. For Poetic Borders Peuscovich used seeds taken from the garden of the house in Berlin where the artists in this exhibition gathered over the summer. Poetic Borders acts as a spatial divide as well as a way of connecting the physical exhibition space in Hoorn with the community of artists in Berlin. The fragility of Poetic Borders would not prevent any human movement through it, but would rather mean the dissolution of the border itself.
The term ‘Cool White’ describes a type of fluorescent lamps, widely used for exhibition lighting, that promises a normalised, shadowless viewing standard. In this work the exhibition space is approached both as a physical space for placing and displaying objects, as well as a metaphoric space for recognizing and questioning learned standards and dominant narratives of a society.
Fragile Surface – 2017-012
Unraveled fabric, 2017
“I always have double vision and wonder how it would be if I didn’t choose the way I choose, how it would be if I chose the way I didn’t choose. Unfortunately, we always have to choose one way, but we can however redo it if we thought it was wrong. The world is covered by a surface that restricts us from seeing inside. I’m dreaming to see that which is hidden and what we might have chosen at some points in the past.” Aiko Tezuka, September 3, 2018, Berlin.
Transcription is the trace of a live action, generated from the 7 September recitation of The Cosmic Manifesto. It is a record of an encounter, an account of an account. Like a court reporter creating an ‘objective’ record of what was said, Butler refers to this traditional recording method to challenge and critique the idea of objectivity, conservative institutions and their near-obsolete technologies. It asks how the event and the record speak to each other across distinct but connected territories. Instead of presenting documentation as final and concrete, this piece shows a process and an ongoing composition which continues to reach for further horizons of understanding.
Land’s End is a piece of rock Mahony chipped off the most western part of Great Britain; one of the formerly supposed ‘ends’ of the Western world. Despite its mundane appearance this rock raises questions about essentiality and authenticity, as well as the history of land appropriation and the acts of naming and mapping as essential parts of colonialism. For this version of Land´s End, Mahony collaborated with electro-acoustic composer Gerald Mandl who composed a soundscape for this stolen object from the end of the world. In his sound-collage he uses various digitally processed and manipulated stone-sounds, combined with the interview recordings with people at Land’s End.
Embracing the inherited limitations and impossibilities of interpretation, the artist used Google to translate a dream into Dutch, rendering the account – originally transcribed in Portuguese after waking up one morning – more incoherent. Due to the fact that Google Translate’s primary source is English, a second translation of the dream was done in two steps, first to English and then to Dutch, generating a slightly less opaque version.
The Cosmic Working Group – report on findings to date is a reproduction and performance of The Cosmic Manifesto, a fictional, speculative text composed during a workshop led by the Russian art collective Chto Delat at the Impulse Theatre Festival in Düsseldorf in 2016. Influenced by the multiple heritages of social realism and soviet cosmology as well as by the collaborative process of this exhibition, the work plays with the idea of an invisible community, exploring the geographies of human introspection and cosmological models. The work is performed during the opening of the exhibition together with the work Transcription by Season Butler.
Fruteiras Mordidas is a series of baskets woven in the traditional style of the Kaingang, an indigenous group in Southern Brazil. Recycled ventilators and found synthetic fibers stand in for the traditional plant material that is no longer available due to destructive farming on indigenous lands. Bite marks disrupting the circular shapes reflect the hunger the Kaingang have to endure, in a physical sense, as well as the hunger for respect, sensitivity, and reciprocity. Combining tradition with modern urban materials Coletivo Kókir shows that the indigenous people of Brazil cannot be confined to a fixed place or history, and affirms the actuality of indigenous artistic production.
Oliver Bulas, Untitled (One Particle In Two Places At A Time) Performance, 2018.
Unable to come to Hoorn himself, Oliver Bulas participates in this exhibition by sending instructions for a performance to be enacted by the other artists present during the opening. As a consequence of the group process, the decision of including Bulas’ piece or not caused such a discussion that it left the issue unresolved until the last minute. To be continued…(?)