IMG MGMT: New York Conversations (Day One)

by Anton Vidokle on September 27, 2010 · 4 comments IMG MGMT

[Editor’s note: IMG MGMT is an annual image-based artist essay series. Today’s invited is New York and Berlin based artist Anton Vidokle.]

New York Conversations
A film by Anton Vidokle

16mm film transfer to DV, sound, 1:06
e-flux films, 2010
Distributed by Sternberg Press, Berlin

New York Conversations is a text film. Shot in a Chinatown storefront converted for this occasion into an improvised kitchen/restaurant, the film documents three days of public conversations between artists, critics, curators, and a free floating public. The talks, lunches, and dinners were organized by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Nico Dockx, and Anton Vidokle in response to an invitation by Brussels-based art journal A Prior to be the subject of their new issue. Instead of commissioning essays or producing artwork to be printed in the journal, the artists decided to rethink the structure by which an art publication is produced and to attempt to do this discursively in a public setting.

The film is a subjective record of these conversations, which explored various topics ranging from questions concerning precarious and immaterial labor in the field of art, possibilities for non-alienated life and working conditions, the feasibility of artistic freedom, and possible means of reclaiming dignity in the work of art criticism, to more immediate questions concerning whether what was actually taking place throughout the course of the event was in fact an artwork. In the tradition of underground cinema, essay films, and experimental language-based films from the conceptual era, New York Conversations insists upon a certain degree of participation from the audience—by way of critical reading—over passive spectatorship.

With: Francisca Benitez, Nico Dockx, Daniel Faust, Media Farzin, Liam Gillick, Egon Hanfstingl, Jörg Heiser, Steven Kaplan, Shama Khana, Anders Kreuger, Miwon Kwon, Valerie Mannaerts, Sis Matthé, Hadley Nunes, Saul Ostrow, Marti Peran, Simon Rees, Els Roelandt, Dieter Roelstraete, Martha Rosler, Joe Scanlan, Maxwel Stephen, Monika Szewczyk, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jan Verwoert, Anton Vidokle, Lawrence Weiner, Andrea Wiarda, Louwrien Wijers and others.

[About Anton Vidokle: Vidokle’s work has been exhibited in shows such as the Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, Lyon Biennial, Dakar Biennale, and at Tate Modern, London;  Musée d’art Modern de la Ville de Paris; Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; UCLA Hammer, LA; ICA, Boston; Haus Der Kunst, Munich; P.S.1, New York; among others. With Julieta Aranda, he organized e-flux video rental - an artwork in the form of a free traveling video rental shop. As a founder of e-flux, he has produced projects such as “Do it, Utopia Station poster project”, and organized “An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life and Martha Rosler Library”. Vidokle initiated research into education as site for artistic practice as co-curator for Manifesta 6, European Biennial for Contemporary Art, which was canceled. In response to the cancellation, Vidokle set up an independent project in Berlin called “Unitednationsplaza”—a twelve-month experimental school involving more than a hundred artists, writers, philosophers, and diverse audiences, a version of which travelled to the New Museum under the name “Night School”. Most currently, Vidokle is collaborating with Julieta Aranda on Time/Bank – a platform where artists, curators writers and others in art community can trade time and skills.]

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse P. Martin

    Criticism: I mean, I get that it’s “serious talk,” but the framing/sepia-toning/doom-flute/etc. makes the whole thing almost unbearably pretentious. It’s like “Two or Three Things I Know About Her,” but without the color or self-awareness (though it’s got scads of subtitles).

    Praise: But I liked watching/reading/listening to it while at one of my precarious-immaterial-labor-stints-in-the-creative-industry on this moody, rainy, early autumn New York City Monday. I like when Weiner busts in like a stranger in a saloon, demanding action instead of all this jibber-jabber.

    Questions: Everyone’s consuming, everything’s given a funereal, “nostalgic” gloss – it’s a representation of the holding-pattern of “neo-capitalism,” right? The Relational Aesthetics dirge? Why is everything so joyless and affected?

    Notes: Alienation, lack of voice, anxious exposed-flute soundtrack, somber, joyless soup-kitchen vibe w/arty-types instead of the actual homeless, smart transients dialoguing in their austere slip-spaces (though converted into an indistinguishable collective/mass via the soporific fade-in, fade-out text blurbs)…

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse P. Martin

    Criticism: I mean, I get that it’s “serious talk,” but the framing/sepia-toning/doom-flute/etc. makes the whole thing almost unbearably pretentious. It’s like “Two or Three Things I Know About Her,” but without the color or self-awareness (though it’s got scads of subtitles).

    Praise: But I liked watching/reading/listening to it while at one of my precarious-immaterial-labor-stints-in-the-creative-industry on this moody, rainy, early autumn New York City Monday. I like when Weiner busts in like a stranger in a saloon, demanding action instead of all this jibber-jabber.

    Questions: Everyone’s consuming, everything’s given a funereal, “nostalgic” gloss – it’s a representation of the holding-pattern of “neo-capitalism,” right? The Relational Aesthetics dirge? Why is everything so joyless and affected?

    Notes: Alienation, lack of voice, anxious exposed-flute soundtrack, somber, joyless soup-kitchen vibe w/arty-types instead of the actual homeless, smart transients dialoguing in their austere slip-spaces (though converted into an indistinguishable collective/mass via the soporific fade-in, fade-out text blurbs)…

  • http://www.judithannbraun.com Judith Braun

    Agree: the only genuine moment was when Weiner came in.
    Gillick: I’ve seen him on panels and he talks over others, especially the women. Are those his relational aesthetics?
    My approach: If freedom is impossible then I’m just gonna fake it.

  • http://www.judithannbraun.com Judith Braun

    Agree: the only genuine moment was when Weiner came in.
    Gillick: I’ve seen him on panels and he talks over others, especially the women. Are those his relational aesthetics?
    My approach: If freedom is impossible then I’m just gonna fake it.

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