Detail Is All

Detail is all
Review by Kate Sutton

Consider David Burliuk a pioneer of the ‘paparazzi stroll’. The self-proclaimed ‘Father of Russian Futurism’ is perhaps best known as a co-author of the fiery 1912 manifesto, ‘A Slap in the Face of Public Taste’, which advocated ridding society of its ‘filthy stigmas of “common sense” and “good taste”’. Burliuk attempted this through a series of guerilla gestures meant to signal a programmatic rejection of societal norms. In the days before Burliuk’s proto-futurist group, the Knave of Diamonds, held public debates, the artist would drum up publicity by leading the group’s other members down Kuznetsky Most – then, as now, one of Moscow’s chicest streets – with wooden spoons tucked brazenly into their lapels. While decidedly inconsequential in form – a slap in the face is no knock out punch – the staged fashion faux pas was just enough to rile its audience.

A century later, Burliuk’s micro-provocations find resonance in ‘Detail is All’, a group exhibition that valorizes minor disruptions of conventional behaviour. The show brings together nine contemporary artists who wield their own respective wooden spoons. Curated by Stefanie Böttcher, the gestures collected here hover between public and publicity. Many of the works specifically operate on the level of pranks or viral videos, a format of performed public disobedience that co-opts social intervention into entertainment. For instance, the guerrilla makeovers of unsuspecting parked vehicles documented in Ahmet Öğüt’s slideshow Somebody Else’s Car (2005) recall the antics of shows like Punk’d or Candid Camera. Meanwhile, Klara Lidén’s Paralyzed (2003) – a three-minute video in which the artist erupts into a near-Delphic state on the Berlin U-bahn – plays out like a one-person flash mob.

Samson Kambalu tweaks the tropes of the viral video in his ‘Nyau Cinema’, a body of short films based on site-specific performances created according to a set of rules determined by the artist. Emphatically lo-fi and improvisational, the films adopt the anachronistic aesthetic of overexposed black and white film, with rough cuts that suggest Buster Keaton in league with the situationists. The 12 films in Kambalu’s installation Metropolitan (2016) forge links with the show’s older works. Most obviously, Kambalu’s Pickpocket (2013) echoes Vito Acconci’s similarly rule-driven Following (1969–ongoing), but there is also correspondence between films like Cathedral (2016), which shows Kambalu mysteriously striding through a cathedral’s brick facade, and Neša Paripović’s N.P. 1977 (1977), in which the artist courses through the city of Belgrade in a burgundy coat and flared pants, impervious to whatever obstacles might lie in his path – flower beds, highways or apartment buildings. If Kambalu passes through the spaces of his films via the blatant manipulation of the medium, Paripović hurls himself through with physical effort, shimmying down drainpipes or flinging himself over picket fences. After each obstacle is cleared, the artist dusts off his jacket and continues, seemingly oblivious to the stupefied crowds in his wake.

If Paripović’s disregard for private property manages to tug at a small thread of the social fabric, then the true tear comes with Pilvi Takala’s Bag Lady (2006). The slide show excerpts a week-long performance for which the artist drifted through a Berlin shopping centre with a clear plastic bag full of cash. Malls, as Walter Benjamin famously observed, are spectacles of conspicuous consumption, but the transactions within them require their mechanism – money – to remain explicitly inconspicuous. As Takala makes her way through the stores, trying on trousers and hanging out in the food court, she is shunned by sales clerks, questioned by mall cops and repeatedly offered more discreet bags by concerned fellow shoppers. If selfie culture has helped normalize acts of exhibitionism or deviant behaviour in public, Takala reveals that the social spaces still have entry points for intervention, and that public taste can still feel the sting of a well-placed slap.

Kunsthalle Mainz, Germany
24/06/16 – 16/10/16

A Rule By Nobody

Image Credit: Liz Magic Laser, still from The Thought Leader, 2015

A Rule By Nobody
Presented by Third Object
As part of the Fall Curatorial Residency
at Sector 2337

The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N. Milwaukee
Sunday, October 16th, 7 pm, $5

A Rule By Nobody is an exploration of the boredoms, frustrations and pleasures of bureaucratic routines. Drawing its title from Hannah Arendt’s definition of bureaucracy, the exhibition takes the bored energy of office labor and channels it into a multipart dive into the sublimely overflowing inbox, the inky warm Xerox room, the balled up wads of red tape, and the moments of escape that punctuate the droning beige sameness of nine to five.

This video program is a motivational, team-building corporate retreat through other people’s daily grinds. The works in the screening emulate and parody various workplaces and their hierarchical structures to reveal inner formulas, dogmas and breaking points.

Program Details:
Hanne Lippard, Beige, 2013, Germany, digital video, 6m5s, color, sound

Kay Rosen, Sisyphus, 1991/2011, USA, digital video, 2m1s, black and white, no sound

Liz Magic Laser, The Thought Leader, 2015, USA, digital video, 9m21s, color, sound

Simon Denny, Diligent Boardbooks Website Presentation, 2011, Germany, digital video, 1m20s, color, sound

Ellen Nielsen, Flower Office, 2016, USA, digital video, 3m18s, color, sound

Jodie Mack, Unsubscribe #3: Glitch Envy, 2010, USA, 16mm, 5m45s, color, sound

Lawrence Weiner, To and Fro. Fro and To. And To and Fro. And Fro and To., 1972, USA, 1/2” open reel video transferred to digital video, black and white, sound

Pilvi Takala, The Trainee, 2008, Finland, digital video, 13m52s, color, sound

Andrew Norman Wilson, Workers Leaving the Googleplex, 2009-2011, USA, digital video, 11m3s, color, sound

This exhibition series is organized under the Fall Curatorial Residency at Sector 2337. It is composed of a two-part group exhibition, an ongoing back room installation, a video screening at the Nightingale Cinema, a live performance, and a printed publication.

Third Object is a roving curatorial collective based in Chicago. Recent exhibitions include Slow Stretch, Mana Contemporary Chicago; Satellites, The Franklin; Were the Eye Not Sunlike, ACRETV and Fernwey; and Mossy Cloak, Roots and Culture. Third Object is Ann Meisinger, Raven Munsell, and Gan Uyeda.

A Rule By Nobody is made possible through the support of Sector 2337, the Propeller Fund, Direct Office Furniture Warehouse, Video Data Bank and the Nightingale Cinema.

Right of Refusal


Mon 24 Oct 2016

The New School University Center
Starr Foundation Hall, UL
New York City
Free Admission
Mobility in Post Democracy
Post Democracy has recently arisen as a complex and contradictory term: for some it promises a new participatory platform for the mobilizing forces of social media, considered catalysts for political imagination. Others equate Post Democracy with democracy's demise due to the penetration of global capitalism into every regime type coupled with the increasing intervention of international actors in domestic politics. Decried as "democratic melancholy," such skepticism is considered ill placed by yet others for whom "democracy" was never a political system to aspire to.

Under the heading Mobility in Post Democracy, the Vera List Center is presenting a series of interdisciplinary panels, seminars, and lectures that examine Post Democracy as a condition informed by mobility – across institutions, states, and ideologies. The series brings together an international group of scholars, activists, students, and artists to probe the concept of Democracy more generally at the time of the contested U.S. presidential elections, and the concurrent emergence and demise of democratic regimes throughout the world.

Artist-driven, the events aim to ask questions such as: How can new social movements counter networks of power? What creative organizing tactics are being developed to reinvigorate a democratic ethos? What forms of political institutions and alliances are flexible and resilient?

Right of Refusal
With many states on the brink of a democratic collapse, the Mobility in Post Democracy series connects to the simultaneous disdain and opportunity revealed in this moment. On the heels of a keynote address by Wendy Brown, which will reveal the neoliberal mechanisms that have undermined democracy while pointing toward modes of resistance in new organizational models, this panel discussion will consider refusal as another possible strategy to thwart the further erosion of liberal democracy. By framing resistance as a human right, the right of refusal invokes coordinated action, solidarity, and the law to magnify the political implications of individual decisions. These discussions are particularly relevant as voters in the United States consider their options in the forthcoming presidential elections.

Discourses on human rights are primarily concerned with protecting and supporting individuals as active members of society. Active participation requires two general categories of rights: rights that protect individuals from discrimination, oppression, and other forms of harm; and rights to social, political, cultural, and economic resources necessary to participate, often in the form of material support from states.

This seminar focuses on another form of rights that are often overlooked in rights-based discourses: the right to refuse and embrace non-participation. The right of refusal can take many different forms. In the face of increased globalization and hyper-mobility, how can the right to remain stave off urban developers and alter the flow of migrants? Is it possible to opt out of a digital presence through the right to be forgotten? How does the right of refusal challenge the role of the state as protector and provider? For the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, many voters are considering opting out instead of choosing between the Republican and Democratic candidates. What does non-participation mean for our ability to question and critique the government? What are the affordances of collective refusal, as in a boycott? Is refusal a form of protest, a sign of privilege, the mark of apathy, or something else entirely?

The event begins with a film screening/interactive gaming session from 5-6pm in the University Center Event Cafe, followed by a panel discussion from 6:30-8pm exploring the various manifestations the right of refusal may take. The participants in this event argue for the right to refuse action and participation, to remain silent, to reject market principles of efficiency, to refuse to be part of the system. The upcoming U.S. elections provide the context to consider the ramifications of non-participation.

Colleen Macklin, Associate Professor of Design and Technology, Parsons
Lucas Pinheiro, Lecturer in New Media Art History, Parsons
Joshua Simon, Curator and 2011-2013 VLC Fellow
Pilvi Takala, Artist
Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, New School for Social research

What You Get Is What You See: The Body at Work

Sunday, Oct. 23rd, 2016
7:30pm, $9.
With Filmmaker Pilvi Takala
Part of What You Get Is What You See: A Series on Spectatorship
Co-presented with The Vera List Center at The New School

The Body at Work. Laborious Gestures, Awkwardness and Hostage Spectatorship

Using her own body and presence as a research tool, Artist Pilvi Takala places herself in awkward, uncomfortable but constructive places to investigate social situations and human behavior.

In this screening-presentation, she will look at the creative process behind her narrative videos that emerge from her experiments with others. From a community of poker players in Thailand, a corporation office in the Finland to a boarding school and a text message service in the US, we will follow her infiltration and disguised activities in work settings, witnessing how small but subtle infractions can disrupt people’s sense of purpose and seriously threat social order.

Following the screening and presentation, Pilvi Takala will be in conversation with Mathilde Walker-Billaud.

This event is co-presented with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, in connection with the panel-discussion on Monday October 24th: The Right of Refusal.

What You Get Is What You See: A Series On Spectatorship

In What You Get Is What You See, Mathilde Walker-Billaud invites artists, filmmakers and writers to show us how to become more active, more engaged–and perhaps better–spectators. The speakers share their experiences and personal observations as audience members, viewers, readers, watchers, listeners of visual and performance arts, radio, TV, graphic design, cinema and Internet. Through their trained gaze and skilled sensitivity, they disturb and displace our perception of contemporary culture and expose spectatorship as an everyday dynamic act.

322 Union Ave. Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY 11211

CURA. NO.23 - A VISIT TO Pilvi Takala. CCA Glasgow


The Refracting Eye. On Jon Rafman
by Bret Schneider

A year-long section edited
by Anthony Huberman

Arnold Rüdlinger: The Dawn of the
by Lorenzo Benedetti

Carolee Schneemann, Meat Joy
by Vincent Honoré

by Guan Xiao

Ian Cheng in conversation
with Elvia Wilk

Athena Papadopoulos in conversation
with Samuel Leuenberger

Cayetano Ferrer in conversation
with Olivian Cha

Davide Balula
by Daniel S. Palmer

Emmanuelle Lainé in conversation
with Flora Katz

The Clothed Condition. Centre
for Style by Matthew Linde
by Anna Gritz

Pilvi Takala. CCA – Centre for
Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
with João Mourão & Luís Silva

Rachel Maclean
by Siôn Parkinson

Julien Nguyen
by Lorenz Pammer

Louisa Martin
by Frances Loeffler

Antoine Renard
by Philipp Kleinmichel

What’s The Riddle

What’s The Riddle
5 October – 5 November
Private View: Tuesday 4 October 18:00-20:30

Pi Artworks London is pleased to announce What’s The Riddle curated by Berlin-based curator Övül Ö. Durmusoglu. What’s The Riddle is the first of five exhibitions that make up Pi Artworks London’s Curatorial Season that runs from October 2016 – July 2017. For the season Övül Ö. Durmusoglu, Alexandra Schwartz, Sacha Craddock, Oliver Sumner, and Morgan Quaintance have been invited to devise and develop their own curatorial project working with artists predominantly or entirely from outside the gallery’s roster.

Our personal and political environments are shaped and sometimes traumatised by the choices we are asked to make; like or dislike, yes or no, in or out. They offer no solutions to widespread discontent. Perhaps if the answers cannot suffice, then it’s time to reformulate the questions. A parallel reality where things are organically more complex and diverse requires the artistic ability to critique, to imagine beyond the perceived knowledge, and to shift the collective memory. What’s The Riddle brings together artworks that return to fundamental formal questions of artistic work and its system in their alternative conception of time. Kasper Bosmans, Geta Brătescu, Osman Dinç, Rodrigo Hernández, Ad Minoliti, Anca Munteanu Rimnic, and Pilvi Takala search for the riddle, challenge the drive to seek correct answers, and reconfigure their mythologies.

Osman Dinç looks at the essential, earthly knowledge with artistic questions that are plain, direct and poetic. Choreographing elements like metal, glass, and earth together, Dinç is obsessed with working towards new formulations that address essential earthly knowledge. All his artistic life he has worked in series intertwined with each other in an attempt to stop time. Kasper Bosmans works with curiosities, puzzles, riddles and surprises. He gathers material incessantly, collecting it in notebooks and drawings. His drawings Legend Sint Rombout + Vitiligo [2016] are part of the process of making legends to map out his intuitive thinking where idiosyncratic daily impressions enjoy a playful dialogue with universal, ancestral symbology in the way they appear. In Anca Munteanu Rimnic’s newly conjured photographic triptych the artist speaks of a mesmeric possibility between what was, what is and what if'. Her poetic dialogue with the psychoanalytic computer program Eliza from the 1960s tickles her reader with humour, showing what is lost in the interaction between a machine and a human.

Rodrigo Hernández’s anachronistic narratives are composed of fragments of stories, dreams, and visions. He invites his audience into a playful dialogue with these narratives, to be part of a flowing thread of well-learned questions and images they had forgotten over time. Hernandez works with how we perceive and how we make what is perceived our own. In a time of self-affirmations, he prefers to dissipate essences and their mythologies by edging the spheres of our imagination with a dose of very needed ambiguity. The idea behind Pilvi Takala’s Workers Forum [2016] came from her experience working for a service in the United States where users pay for a pretend girlfriend or boyfriend to text them. Takala was fascinated by the potential in the fictional space created in the text message exchange, but like many of the other workers, she was frustrated by the inconsistencies and lack of quality in the existing service. Making Workers Forum she observed that human relationships cannot work without their fictions such as the one provided by the luminescent beep and the machine seems not to function properly without its precarious human prosthesis.

Geta Brătescu video work The Line [2014], made in collaboration with Stefan Sava, came out of her multifaceted thinking on drawing. The camera focuses on her hands as she sketches in her drawing book, the viewer witnessing moments of self-inquiry, discovery, and deviation. The lines make up timeless, abstract and, dynamic forms that Bratescu has worked with all her life. Ad Minoliti creates extensive multimedia spaces in her paintings and sculptures inspired by cyborgs, geometry and abstraction, genderless identities, a sci-fi inspired queer feminist vision, and vintage pornographic magazines. Her humorous personal utopias take place in these spaces shifting the memory of modernist utopias and proposes imaginative ways to transgress our algorithmically fed perception.

Pi Artworks London is open Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 – 18:00 and Saturdays, 11:00 – 18:00. For information, interviews and images, please contact Neil Jefferies: / +44 207 637 8403


October 16, 2016
part of the show A Rule By Nobody at third object (Chicago)

A motivational, team-building corporate retreat through other people’s daily grinds. The works in the screening emulate and parody various workplaces and their hierarchical structures to reveal inner formulas, dogmas and breaking points. 

with Liz Magic Laser, Hanne Lippard, Ellen Nielsen, Kay Rosen, Pilvi Takala, Lawrence Weiner & Andrew Norman Wilson

the Nightingale