WORKING ENCOUNTERS II in Innsbruck
June 22- 26, 2021
Kunstraum Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
Soft Opening on Tuesday, 22 June from 3 pm -7 pm
Events with artists:
Thursday, 24 June, 6 pm Artist Talks – Part 1
Friday, 25 June: 5 – 6 pm Artist Talks – Part 2; 6.30 pm – 8 pm Readings (Tanja Šljivar & Tamara Antonijević); 8 pm – 10 pm Finissage
Participating Artists: Tamara Antonijević, Rodrigo Batista, Cristina Gagiu, Nicola Gunn, James Jordan Johnson, Jovana Kocić, Lea Kukovičič, Marija Marjanović, Rita Natálio, Ariadna Rubio Lleo, Zuzana Sceránková, Tanja Šljivar, Vanda Velagić, Mohamed Yusuf Boss, and researcher Dan Podjed.
On Other Stories. On Villains, Aliens and Superheroes is an experimental artistic project that gathers fourteen international artists from around the globe, who were invited to respond to the topic. The Working Encounters is conceptualized and organized by a group of editors: Bojan Đorđev, Siniša Ilić, Nataša Mačkuljak and Ivana Marjanović, together with Dragana Jovović and as a cooperation between Kunstraum Innsbruck, United Artists Labour (Belgrade) and Create to Connect -> Create to Impact Network. Working Encounters is supported by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. Each of the exhibiting artists was invited by one of the network’s partner organizations.
The exhibition is a presentation of an exchange process by fourteen international artists, initiated in 2020 in the context of Covid19 virus pandemic and the ‘new reality’ of working online, with all its emerging rituals. On this occasion, the artists and editors are meeting for the first time in real space at Kunstraum Innsbruck.
The possibility of a different order of terms and narratives from the title – other stories, aliens, villains and superheroes, or alien villains, superheroes, antiheroes and other stories, suggests the complexity of the relationship between these terms and the society that assigns and needs those roles, leaving space for their interpretations.
The exhibition questions the binary division into ‘good’ and ‘evil’, ‘weakness’ and ‘strength’ through the figure of an alien, who stands outside the system, society, established norms. It observes them, recomposes it or even develops even better performance for survival in society. An alien is thus an entity that can be the key to understanding the established, taken for granted social order around us.
The research process set the project moving through a spectrum of global topics, such as bodies in cohabitation with disease or structural change, bodies in the digital space, media personalities, popular culture and its images that construct or deconstruct stereotypes, class positions in society, written and unwritten rules of patriarchy, mythology, the history of resistance and the tradition of colonial relations and anti-colonial struggle.
The topics that the research defines, draw our attention to the tension, pressures, saturation of society, the opening of new fields of struggle, and living conditions around us. The question of whether the new normal, post-covid reality, or whatever one calls it, is time to think about the skills that will keep us ‘alive’ online, but also the more demanding offline space of the struggle for survival, and how we will fight the transformations of public spheres and space, remain open.
Cultural and media space is a terrain of proliferation as well as dispute and struggle regarding these topics: heroes and superheroes are everywhere, but whose heroes are they and for whom? From mythology, to antifascist and anti-colonial struggles and all the way to pop culture and media celebrities, the notions of hero and heroine carry many references and possible readings.
The current heated debate on the future of life on our damaged planet, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic crisis, also creates its own heroic figures (in plural) looking beyond the “one and only” human. If, as Boris Buden says, society is no longer a medium for realising the utopia, are superheroes the harbingers of society’s imminent apocalypse, or a piece of ideologically charged neoliberal propaganda claiming that society does not exist? Do we “need” superheroes so as not to expect anything from society, but instead pin our hopes on supernatural powers? If heroes are real and superheroes figures from folklore, vernacular and fiction, is this line separating the rational from the irrational so straight? What are other narratives and other stories?
Heroes and their nemeses – villains – are figures made of ambivalence, values and acts on the border of ethics and politics or “right”/“wrong”, politically “in/correct”. Who is seen as a “villain”, who is seen as “heroic”, “a hero” and why? What is the meaning of a hero in history and today? What are the differences between heroes in popular culture and in real life? What powers do heroes have? What do heroes reveal about the condition of the society that generates them? Are heroes only human? Who are the aliens within?
Situated and local views are important to us, but we are also aware of the interactions that are necessary for equilibrium, be it political or ecological. Who are the heroines in our history and life and who are the superheroes in yours? What are the threads that connect them, where do they meet?
More on Kunstraum Innsbruck’s website!