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Museum Reinickendorf: Interventionen


Joshua Schwebel was invited to participate in the group show ‘Interventionen’ at the Heimatmuseum Reinickendorf in Berlin. Schwebel proposed to work with the museum’s Nazi artefacts. A video was made of the museum director handling and discussing these objects. Schwebel then addressed a letter to the director, proposing an artistic-symbolic reparation:


Dear Frau Dr. Gerner, Director, Museum Reinickendorf:

I am writing to follow-up from our interview last week, and to add a further act to my work. This letter and your response will become part of the work I will display in the upcoming exhibition.

I have been thinking ceaselessly about the objects we discussed in our conversation. How these glittering swastikas and adorned certificates made me tremble. They sat before us in archival envelopes as we talked, and I spoke with you about them as though I, too, recognized their historical value.

In our conversation you described how these objects were ‘donated’ to the museum anonymously and without adequate historical information, and that this lack of correct and complete data is disappointing from a museological perspective. Either the donors felt ashamed to have these souvenirs of NS times in their family’s possession, or else they wished that these objects endure as historical artifacts of the region. In either case, the artifacts themselves ​do​ still endure, and because they are under the aegis of the museum, they survive and are protected. I certainly recognize the importance of documenting, discussing, and acknowledging the historical events from this time, however, I cannot understand why it is necessary to preserve its objects.

I cannot but feel angry that I see no equivalent artifacts of Jewish culture and its everyday history existing in your museum. It is quite evident that there ​were​ Jews living in Reinickendorf, at least until NS times. But Jewish objects did not find their way into museum collections because they were stripped from bodies, which were also melted, burned, or otherwise rendered into fuel for war, hatred, and Capital. Jews are represented by death markers here.

In response to this asymmetry, I wish to work with you to perform a gesture of reversal: A repatriative extraction. Working together with you, I want to arrange for the long-term removal of one of the many Nazi artifacts from your museum. While this extraction can only serve a symbolic purpose, its effect would introduce a real absence into your collection; an absence which speaks more broadly to the collecting activities of museums, many of which retain similar problematic objects also justified by their historical value. The particular artifact and the exact extraction protocol can be negotiated with you, either a long-term loan or bequeathment, but on the agreed-upon date I will put an object in my pocket and leave the museum. I will not photograph, exhibit or sell the object, nor will I destroy it. I will act as a vehicle for the object’s release from the museum, its removal from the historical remembrance it does not deserve, and relieve the museum of the burden of its preservation. The absence remaining in its place – an empty glassine envelope and description of the no-longer present object – will bookend the absence pertaining to the provenance of these objects, and the representational absence of Jewish life in the district.

I look forward to your response,

April 16, 2018
Yours,
Joshua Schwebel

As a result the museum has closed communication with the artist, and refuses to allow the artist to exhibit his letter. Schwebel’s work has been subsequently excluded from the exhibition, and Schwebel has received no response as to whether the museum will honour its contract to pay the artist for his work.
His name is no longer listed online amongst the contributing artists.

Joshua Schwebel
Museum Reinickendorf

Johannes Langkamp: Video sketches, fragment (2012-)

Inspired by the everyday, Johannes Langkamp (Laer 1985) makes short fragments of video with simple means, in a raw and sketchy style. His ideas develop during his experiments with the characteristics and the limitations of his tools (cameras, situations, displays), and through this process Langkamp works out rough sketches into installations that reveal the camera’s relationship with space.

In 2011 Langkamp resolved to make one video every day, during a month. These videos are often short and often a bit awkwardly recorded. The subsequent project was a ‘Video sketchbook’, a series of short films in which the camera itself becomes the main subject: it is crushed between elevator doors or mounted on an electric drill. The work of Langkamp is based on simple observations, presenting physical reality in an unusual and personal way.

JohannesLangkamp.com

Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk: The Standard Book of Noun-Verb Exhibition Grammar (2018)


The Standard Book of Noun-Verb Exhibition Grammar
 is a partial compendium of the different modes of being that inhabit exhibitions. These different modes of being, often placed outside the realm of art objects proper, are described and activated here as crucial players in the world of contemporary art.
Maximizing a poetic resourcefulness, this book proposes the exhibition as an ecology full of things that are infinitely more dimensional than their ascribed functionality would lead us to believe, and creates a space where species meet, where ontological and epistemological registers clash, overlap, and contaminate each other, where the living and inert, organic and inorganic exchange properties, qualities, and performances.

Ultimately this book aims to show that what revolves around, within, and beyond any given system, resolves to be just as serious and important as what that system aims to convey.

Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk: The Office For Curating
Onomatopee

Jon Sasaki: A quarter inch square of a Tom Thomson painting (2013)


At first glance this image appears to be an aerial view of a hilly landscape; a river flowing through the sort of geological rock formations that take shape over eons as various forces act upon them. In fact it is a heavily magnified view of the surface of the KW/AGs Tom Thomson painting, a macro view of the tiny point where three brushstrokes intersect. (demarcated by a rectangle below the red arrow in the second photo.)

Like the landscape itself, this painting is not immune to transformative physical forces. Moisture, heat, cold, expansion and contraction are reconfiguring its surface as well. Cracks appear and brushstrokes slide around like tectonic plates.


Jon Sasaki

Thomson & Graighead: Apocalypse (2016)


‘The biblical narrative of the Apocalypse can be seen as the ultimate human-centred vision of time.
This prophecy from The Book of Revelation predicts that time will end because of human action and corruption.
While the Apocalypse has been depicted in countless paintings and films, Thomson & Craighead took the very corporeal descriptions, with vivid imagery of blood, bile and burnt meat, as a recipe for an intense olfactory evocation, to be worn on the body. Together with perfumer Euan McCall they created a fragrance.

It is the ironical product of a time in which both consumerism and politics feed on instilling us with fear and doom. Apocalypse is a complex fragrance based on olfactory materials detailed in The Book Of Revelation as it appears in the King James Bible first published in 1611.  We established our list of terms from the book and then worked in collaboration with perfumer Euan McCall to develop this chemical depiction of biblical end times’
(text at the exhibition in TENT).

List of terms: thunder; blood; the rocks of the mountains incense; the smoke of the incense; earth; hail and fire; the sea; the creatures of the sea that have died; fountains of waters; wormwood; a rod of iron; the opened earth; a grievous sore; the blood of a dead man; every living soul (who has) died in the sea; plagues; a great river dried up; wine of her fornication; blood of the martyr of Jesus; flesh burned with fire; (and) a lake which burnt with fire and brimstone.

The work Apocalypse is part of Anytime Now at TENT Rotterdam till June 10 2018.

Thomson & Craighead
TENT Rotterdam: Anytime now

Nathan Walker: Action Score Generator (2014)


The ‘Action Score Generator’ is an online writing machine that writes and re-writes an infinite series of performance event scores. The source texts collect together previously performed actions by artist Nathan Walker between 2006 – 2013. The scores are arranged into poetic, six-word-length instructions, aligning performance objects, tasks, verbs, and spaces that are reorganised endlessly by a JavaScript code. The ASG aligns itself with the short poetic texts of Fluxus Event Scores and with rhythms of computational data and visual poetry.

This generator was also published in physical form as a book companion to the website. The Action Score Generator Book is published by if P then Q Press, Manchester. The book contains an Afterword by Mark Leahy entitled ‘An Action Movie (for NW): Reading Time Code Action’.

Action Score Generator
Nathan Walker

TheParallelShow TheBook
Soon available at
JapSamBooks.nl and at your local bookstore!

Kenneth Goldsmith: Please Do Not Touch


We asked Kenneth Goldsmith – a conceptual poet who believes that art and poetry can be found everywhere – to talk about a celebrated sculpture by Giacometti. Here is how he answered:.

“The piece is almost a Monet of geometry,” says Goldsmith of the ‘Please do not touch’ sign placed at the foot of Giacometti’s sculpture ‘Homme qui marche’. The sign has the poet’s full attention and, with great enthusiasm, he describes all its details: “Even though it’s monochromatic, there’s a world of colour here.”

Part of the Kenneth Goldsmith Interview: Please Do Not Touch from Louisiana Channel on Vimeo
Kenneth Goldsmith on Poets.org

Diederik Klomberg: Removals: Johannes Vermeer – The Geographer (2017)


“Vermeer created such intimacy, it is hard not to get personally touched when studying the paintings. It is surprising that we know so little about the painter and his models with whom we are able to feel so related with.
I wondered if these interiors would keep their own intimate character without these persons, in most cases the linchpin of the composition. What is left of these paintings when the central figure is taken out and the remaining parts – table, map, chairs, and window- are left behind? How do we experience that loss ? Does the painting also lose it’s quality of timelessness? And what will appear behind that missing person? How would the painter have filled up the pieces of the map, the plaster or the cabinet in the corner of the room?”

Diederik Klomberg
The Geographer (original)
De Ketelfactory