Networked_Performance

Live Stage: Electrified Salon [be Ghent]

Electrified Salon: Hacking Public Space — Johan Pas and Alessandro Ludovico :: June 1, 2010; 8:00 pm :: Foyer Theaterzaal, Vooruit, Ghent, Belgium.

Occupied City. Artistic Actions in Urban Space: The Prehistory — Public urban space can be considered a battlefield of conflicting images and meanings. Artists have been using this aspect of the modern metropolis since the years of the early avant-garde. However, the street only became a real artistic platform in the sixties and seventies of the 20th century. Art historian Johan Pas will sketch an outline of the ways visual artists have been dealing with the urban fabric as a context for actions and interventions from the early 1960’s on. The focus will be on American and European artists associated with movements as happening, body art; conceptual art and performance. Their legacy can be read as the prehistory of contemporary urban art guerrilla.

Hacking the Public, Regaining the Commons: Would it be true that virtual space has been created to illude people to still have freedom while being almost completely controlled in physical reality? Artists, and especially inspired digital artists, have historically shown a different virtual reality, unveiling how it can manipulate or being manipulated by the individual at will, especially when clashing in what we still consider the “public space”. Playful, narrative, sarcastic or diabolical strategies have been conceived and applied to show that once you understand technologies and use them, the world around you is never the same again.

Alessandro Ludovico is a media critic and chief editor of the Neural magazine from 1993. He is the author of several essays on digital culture, and he co-edited the ‘Mag.Net Reader’ book series. He’s one of the founding contributors of the Nettime community, one of the founders of the Mag.Net (Electronic Cultural Publishers) organization. He teaches at the Academy of Art in Carrara and Bari and has been a research fellow at the Willem de Kooning Academy. He also served as an advisor for the Documenta 12’s Magazine Project. With P.Cirio and Ubermorgen he developed ‘Google Will Eat Itself’ (Honorary Mention Prix Ars Electronica 2005, Rhizome Commission 2005, nomination Prix Transmediale 2006) and ‘Amazon Noir’ (1st prize Stuttgarter Filmwinter 2007, Honorary Mention Share Prize 2007, 2nd prize Transmediale08) art projects. With support from BAM, the Flemish institute for visual, audiovisual and media art that invited Alessandro Ludovico to a a visitors programme for foreign art professionals.

Johan Pas is Art Historian and lectures at the Royal Academy of Arts Antwerp. He also works as a curator and critic.

Electrified 02 – Hacking Public Space

The S.M.A.K. and the Vooruit Arts Centre are joining forces to overrun the town. Electrified 02 – Hacking Public Space focuses on artists whose field of action is the ‘public space’. Unbounded and virtually unregulated, they hack into the town with unannounced interventions. Traces of this seep into the museum, where new and existing works are brought face to face with flashbacks from the seventies and nineties.

Electrified is the name under which the S.M.A.K. and Vooruit mount this biennial project. This second edition is taking up a decisive position on the crossroads of several directions in the visual arts. At the same time it will expose the friction between the areas where the two institutions operate: the S.M.A.K. in contemporary art and the Vooruit in media art, sound and performance art. In the quest for a shared ‘mentality’ in these different dynamics, the public space is taken as a common thread. In this case, the term ‘public space’ is all-embracing, without losing sight of the actual distinction between real and virtual public space.

In addition to probing the boundaries between the different fields of art and the way artists currently enter the public space, Electrified 02 – Hacking Public Space is also a study of changing trends that have kept the notion of ‘public space’ in vogue for the last thirty years. In this sense, the project presents itself as a complementary triptych: sixteen artists, who operate internationally, with extremely varied backgrounds, will be showing new and existing work in the museum. More than half of them will also be undertaking actions in the town. These actions will be documented and gradually inserted into the exhibition. There is a supplementary Flashback section in which a framework for the project is provided by significant points in the quite recent history of ‘hacking public space’. This will involve the digital display of the work of about thirty artists who can count pioneering actions in the public space among their achievements. From the point of view of the plastic arts, a number of interventions from the 70s and 90s will be selected. They are closely related to, and are the predecessors of, later ephemeral public actions which were also recorded in non-artistic sectors (perhaps there more than elsewhere) as ‘Flashmob actions’. The so-called Flashmob activist entered the public space (usually unannounced) and hacked into it with temporary, interactive artistic actions. The intention was in the first place to arouse an ‘alienating’ effect in the spectator in the hope this would prompt him to engage in socially-critical reflection. This sort of rite-like development was also of some importance in media art. We can cite a number of striking actions from the mid-nineties that illustrate the ‘virtual’ shift in and broadening of the notion of ‘public space’. In recent decades this public domain has expanded infinitely with the rise and accessibility of the internet. In this sense, the term ‘hacking’ refers to the guerrilla-like nature of some actions on the internet and at the same time to the traditional, though equally clandestine ‘squatting’ in the real public space.

Electrified 02 – Hacking Public Space: practical details

Both the Flashback section and the urban interventions are presented in visual form in the S.M.A.K. and the Vooruit. The exhibition itself is in the museum. A Salon evening is also planned in the Vooruit, with talks by Alessandro Ludovico and others. He is the publisher of Neural, magazine for hacktivism and also guest curator of the historical section.

Artists: Ben Benaouisse, Carlos Rodríguez-Méndez, Amilcar Packer, Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost, Dogma00, Javier Núñez Gasco, Roberta Gigante, Messieurs Delmotte, Ivan Moudov, Wilfredo Prieto, Lucas Murgida, Julius von Bismarck, Miet Warlop, Helmut Smits, Christophe Bruno, Pierre-Laurent Cassière.


May 25, 20:19
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