With Jelena Vesić and Vladimir Jerić Vlidi, at Florida, Lothringer13 space, Munich on December 3, 2016.
‘We are small and we have politics’
Re-claiming neutrality as a politics of de-colonisation, independence, peace and non-alignment with the powerful world empires, the lecture performance On Neutrality draws upon the active positioning of non-aligned and ‚third world countries‘ gaining independence during the Cold War era. In contrast to the moral minimalist concept of neutrality as it is mobilized in liberal governmentalities, across art and politics, the project considers the rich variegated recent history of situated, politicised forms of neutrality concepts. This politicised history of neutrality concepts will be juxtaposed with the waves of depoliticising neutrality, including curatorial neutralisations of politics, which, aided and abetted by the humanitarian rhetorics of contemporary art, persist in attenuating institutional anxiety and agonistic possibilities of production in contexts of re-colonisation by multinational corporations.
On Neutrality was initially a part of Travelling Communiqué research and exhibition project (Museum of History of Yugoslavia, Belgrade, 2014) and became a Non Aligned Modernity book edition (Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Serbian/English). The lecture performance was presented at Savvy Contemporary Berlin as part of the exhibition From Bandung to Berlin: If all of the moons aligned.
I was invited to the Visual Cultures of Work research group in the Discursive and Curatorial Production Initiative of the Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego, to present this lecture ‘Feminist Cinemas of Extraction – Reading Divestment through the Historicity of Labor’
Thursday, November 3, 2016
‘Mining has stood out as an exemplary industry through which labor and labor struggle has been historically imagined, imaged, and understood. Nevertheless, the formal conventions of radical labor film inherited from Soviet cinemas of the 1920s—in placing trope-like emphasis on machinic automation and the patriarchal ‘family’ wage—have tended to contract viewers into materially very limited and highly gendered readings of extractive politics. Feminist practices of art, film, and activism have long since grappled with this problem on an aesthetic level in accordance with the industry’s own revolutions of production. Rachel O’Reilly’s talk will address the intersection of unwaged, feminist sociality and labor cinema’s attention to the theory of value. Focusing on feminist experiments in cinematic form found in Sophie Bissonnette, Martin Duckworth, and Joyce Rock’s 1980 film Une Histoire de Femme—which tracks the work of Franco/Anglophone women in their support and organization of the historic 1978 International Nickel Company of Canada (INCO) strikes that took place in Sudbury, Ontario—O’Reilly will rethink the relationship between aesthetic politics, contractual form, and labor within present day settler colonial conditions with regard to its relevance for our own cultural work’.
The Visual Cultures of Work research group in the DCP Initiative in the Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego examines cross-disciplinary ideas and influences—ranging from art history, film and media studies, the history of science, literature, feminist theory, and political history—in the economy of work within modern and contemporary visual culture. This event is co-sponsored by Critical Gender Studies at UC San Diego.
Die Konsequenz(en) der Kunst, or The Consequence(s) of Art, is a series of four lectures and conversations curated by faculty members Prof. Kerstin Stakemeier and Prof. Lars Blunck and hosted at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg.
On three thematic panels artists, theoreticians, researchers and producers present their takes on the possible consequence(s) of art, followed by a joint discussion with the panel and audience.
I take part in the Demonstrations of Consequence(s) talk alongside cultural theorist Paul Feigelfeld (Lüneburg/Berlin) and artist Susanne Winterling (Offenbach/Berlin). on October 27th 2016 at 19:00.
The philosopher Alenka Zupančič recently proposed the concept of consequence as a measure of our actions. Instead of hoping for the social normalization of our acts, those should rather be directed by the consequence(s) they entail. With Zupančič we can also ask for the consequence(s) of art, its having consequences as much as its being consequential. And it is therefore that the notion of consequence seems geeignet, to foster a discussion in which the arts are not primarily understood from their products and distribution but rather as a composition of actions – of consequential actions, of actions with consequences.
Demonstrations of Consequence(s) – 27.10.16, 19:00 The consequence(s) of the political in its institutionalized and nationalized form are very openly perceivable where states are reigning over their citizens, or – today hardly less virulent – over their non-citizens. But how can the consequences of a political form be demonstrated which engages with life beyond or even consciously averted to such official administrations? Demonstrations of Consequence(s) brings together three panelists who, in their respective fields of work, have proposed and tried out moments of political consequence: in writing, in teaching, in theory, in art …they are testing out the specific capacities of their respective media for critical consequence(s).
Jelena, Vlidi and I were invited to Savvy Contemporary, by the wonderful curators Brigitta Isabella and Renan Laru-an as part of their exhibition ‘From Bandung to Berlin: If all of the moons aligned’. This was the second adapted performance lecture of On Neutrality: Between Non-Aligned Movement(s) and Neoliberal Curatorial Economies.
As part of ‘From Bandung to Berlin: If all of the moons aligned’
At Savvy Contemporary, Berlin-Wedding on October 22, 2016
The lecture-performance On Neutrality deals with the juxtapolitical concept of ‘neutrality’ or ‘neutralisation’ in terms of its use in political and aesthetical position-taking within different ‘international relations,’ especially as a response to discrepancies of power. In contrast to the moral minimalist concept of neutrality as it is mobilized in liberal governmentalities, historically and today, across art and politics, the project considers the rich variegated recent history of situated, politicised forms of political neutrality concepts, which stemmed from the active positioning of non-aligned and ‘third world countries’ gaining independence during the Cold War era and re-claiming neutrality as a politics of de-colonisation, independence, peace and non-alignment with the powerful world empires of the time… This politicised history of neutrality concepts will be juxtaposed with the waves of depoliticising neutrality, including curatorial neutralisations of politics, which, aided and abetted by the humanitarian rhetorics of contemporary art, persist in attenuating institutional anxiety and agonistic possibilities of production in contexts of re-colonisation by multinational corporations.
The project On Neutrality was first presented by Jelena Vesić and Rachel O ’Reilly at Museum of History of Yugoslavia, Belgrade in 2014 as part of the research and exhibition Travelling Communiqué. The lecture coincides with the launch of the book by Jerić, O’Reilly and Vesić titled: On Neutrality, The letter from Melos, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, 2016 (Edition: Non Aligned Modernity; English and Serbian language)
On Tuesday May 24, 6-8pm, I will give my seminar: “Pre-figures of Divestment in Feminist Cinemas of Extraction” at the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA)
It is presented for the seminar series “Precarity//Futurity//Aesthetics”, co-convened by Jennifer Biddle, Anna Munster and Veronica Tello, at the Elywn Lynn Conference Centre (near the UNSW A&D library).
Contemporary mine production involves high salaried contractors negotiating ‘unconventional’ extractive regimes via increasingly privatized, post-democratic licensing and labour agreements, at the anthropocenic limits of land use. In the settler-colony especially, the image of mining labour, once key for dramatizing production (and anti-production, in strike) has been mobilized within the New Economy in ways that fundamentally disturb the figure-ground relations of citizenship through which the mine worker dialectically achieved its value in the first place.
Rachel O’Reilly’s visit to NIEA, UNSW A&D, coincides with the presentation of two series of drawings from her larger research project, The Gas Imaginary (2011-) as part of Frontier Imaginaries, currently at IMA/QUT.
Working through the difference of the contemporary mode of primitive accumulation of the mining contract, this talk draws on an earlier generation of feminist filmmakers’ im-proper and clinamen-like engendering of industry forms and formal ‘movement’, between labour and nature, to substantiate a contemporary aesthetic theory of divestment.
1. Sandra Lahaire, Uranium Hex, 1987
2. Susan Wallace-Babb in oxygen mask, Winnsboro, Texas, Sept. 12, 2011. (Erin Trieb for ProPublica)