To search for an exact match, type the word or phrase you want in quotation marks.
A*DESK has been offering since 2002 contents about criticism and contemporary art. A*DESK has become consolidated thanks to all those who have believed in the project, all those who have followed us, debating, participating and collaborating. Many people have collaborated selflessly with A*DESK, and continue to do so. Their efforts, knowledge and belief in the project are what make it grow. At A*DESK we have also generated work for over one hundred professionals in culture, from small collaborations with reviews and classes, to more prolonged and intense collaborations.
At A*DESK we believe in the need for free and universal access to culture and knowledge. We want to carry on being independent, remaining open to more ideas and opinions. If you believe in A*DESK, we need your backing to be able to continue. You can now participate in the project by supporting it. You can choose how much you want to contribute to the project.
You can decide how much you want to bring to the project.
# According to the “Lugano Report”, the best way to do what is necessary, to radically decrease the world’s population, is through exercising power over others, war, famine, pestilence or straightforward prevention of population growth. All these are well-known methods successfully tested by history.
There should be no doubt about it: if the free-market, globalised capitalist system and its main motor Western culture are to survive in the 21st century, the worlds’ population must decrease drastically. The resources simply won’t cater for everybody as the system is threatened to fall by its own logic. The arguments for executing such radical measures range from ideological-ethical and economic, to political and psychological, as in the past. Although these measures are to be consciously enacted by those in power they ought to be concealed from the majority of people. Otherwise they won’t function.
Written in the manner of a specialist report commissioned by the multi-disciplinary Working Party concerned with the survival of the present system, Susan George’s “Lugano Report” (1999) makes chilling reading. At first glance it might appear dystopian in the tradition of George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxely’s “Brave New World”. It even comes across as absurd, not least because of its dry, matter-of-fact style borrowed from the world of politics and business. But on closer examination her scenario draws plausible conclusions from available information about the contemporary economic and political situation. Having researched and written extensively on economic development she should be in a position to know. # Whether we like it or not we are at the moment experiencing a serious transformation of the structure and dynamics of economy, society and culture. As the sociologist Manuel Castells explains in the book “The Network Society” (1996-2000) this transformation was made possible in the last quarter of the 20th century because knowledge and information became a material basis for economy and its network- oriented forms of organisation and major developments and inventions in information technology acquired global reach. Other contributing factors are the implementation of flexible management methods, deregulation of market and labour laws and the resulting diversification of work and relationships, decentralisation and networking inwards and outwards which affect and create global integration of financial markets, as well as dissolution of traditional communities, institutions and social movements. We encounter these phenomena and their effects on a daily basis. As the entrepreneurial spirit in project-oriented work, as manufacturing production concentrated in non-western regions, anti-globalisation protests at political and economic top-meetings, the dismantling of the social welfare-state, as conflicts like the one in Afghanistan get a global reach although it concerns one nation and its culture, albeit the single superpower left. It is a problematic and questionable development and nevertheless a reality that requires attention, one which also offers other prospects and potentialities. The urbanist Saskia Sassen, for instance, claims that the informalisation and flexibilisation of work in general is to the benefit of women and immigrants as subordinate groups and that it in the long run even has empowering and liberating effects for them. Economists like Joseph Stieglitz and Amartya Sen are not only critical towards the current conditions, they have also pointed out alternative perspectives, stressing the need for ethical concerns like freedom, justice and equality, as well as more diversified views on human ‘economic’ behaviour within modern national economy. They also share an interest in pragmatic, self-help solutions, which potentially can have concrete effects for a large number of individuals.
Being critical towards traditional politicians and intellectuals, no matter how radical, as they are unable to change people’s lives, Minerva Cuevas opts for small-scale actions placed in the middle of the social fabric, between goodwill and sharp social protest
# These developments cannot be detached from very clear economic conditions. What happens if we take a look behind the veil and reflect some of the basic processes which they depend on, without losing sight of the central questions? What if we shift focus and direct it towards exchange and the transformation that normally follows it? How can forms of skepticism and disagreement, criticism and protest be expressed in relation to these foundational processes – exchange and transformation – today? And how do we do this without locking out the current state of affairs? How does flexibilisation of thought relate to other kinds of flexibilisation? Is there a way towards constructive parallelism? Or would that mean a naive co-option by the dominant discourse? # Subway tickets given away for free during rush hour, self stamped envelopes, tear gas for personal protection, student IDs and letters of recommendation issued to anybody asking for them, safety pills with caffeine distributed to stay awake in the New York subway, free cleaning of subway stations and barcode stickers with manipulated, low prices. The list of products and services offered by the Mejor Vida Corporation (Better life association) and Minerva Cuevas is a long one. Mejor Vida Corporation is an economic fiction, but with literal effects. It is a company in the business of contemporary hope based on interventions in daily life, attempting to achieve public good, albeit in vain, with the help of art. Its headquarters is in a modernist high-rise in Mexico City. This one woman corporation is not aimed at growing – its economy is never profitable. On the contrary it wants to refuse accumulation of wealth and instead work with exchange of time and money from the side of the artist and experience and comments from the side of the ‘customers’. Being critical towards traditional politicians and intellectuals, no matter how radical, as they are unable to change people’s lives, Minerva Cuevas opts for small-scale actions placed in the middle of the social fabric, between goodwill and sharp social protest. For E&T(A) she is distributing ‘magic seeds’ in little plastic bags in public spaces in Munich. The seeds embody potential growth and therefore wealth, in a self-consciously basic way. Carey Young’s connection to corporations is of another order. Beside being an artist she is earning her living as a management consultant and therefore has professional knowledge of the corporate world. Her art work often brings these two spheres together, using ready made-formats such as negotiation skill courses and brainstorming sessions while referring to Josef Beuys’ notion of social sculpture.
The video “I am a Revolutionary” is set in a corporate office space with wall to wall carpet and large windows overlooking a glass-covered courtyard. Two smartly dressed people are involved in a verbal exchange, more precisely a teaching- learning situation. A man is patiently trying to coach a woman – the artist Carey Young – into saying “I am a revolutionary” in a convincing way. He is a professional communication trainer and makes her repeat the same phrase again and again – she never succeeds in convincing us. Probably because she does not believe what she is saying. In her second video in E&T(A), “Everything You’ve Heard is Wrong”, she is presenting a speech at Speakers’ Corner in London about how to give a convincing speech that people want to listen to. After about five minutes she has gained an audience, despite competition from more spectacular-looking speakers. By inserting her artwork rather smoothly into a business context rather than intervening and disrupting it, she generates a particular type of ambiguity. What kind of critical relationship can you establish with a system that permeates contemporary existence when you are on the inside of that system? What is the value of criticism if it is not based on contextual knowledge?
# In comparison with the work of Minerva Cuevas and Carey Young the work of Simon Starling exists outside corporations and the business world. His work can even appear archaic at times. Nevertheless it thrives on that which is at the core of the kind of economic and business processes suggested by the others. Exchange and transformation of objects and materials takes place in such a way that new values appear. He is often studying a new process, sometimes learning a craft. In one case he even learned how to produce aluminium – a notoriously complicated and energy-consuming process. By doing this he often pays homage to particular people, setting up a complex network of references, both thoughtful and poignant. There is something around ideas of purification in all this, as well as something romantic with alchemical undertones. What does the labour of the hand actually stand for today?
Awareness of time and the desire to go about things slowly rather than quickly is typical of Simon Starling’s work. This keenness to produce things laboriously by hand, often transforming an object from a certain context and with certain connotations into something very different, takes one material into another state, with all the implications of that transfer. He has, for example made a Charles and Ray Eames chair, a do-it-yourself version of a 50s design-classic which today is an expensive status-symbol denoting wealth and style. Through this process he has taken the democratic promise of the design quite literally. In E&T(A) we can follow the chair as it comes into being in a sequence of four photographs. In order to bypass the expected industrial means of production and to activate his second work in the exhibition, “Sonnenschein Malmö”, he has to make a form of ‘pilgrimage’ to Lichterfelde in Berlin where the aviation pioneer Lilienthal made many of his kite experiments which later on became important for the flying tests of the Wright brothers. He will sit on the hill that Lilienthal built in an otherwise flat landscape in order to have something to glide from and harnesses solar energy in a battery. When the battery is full, which normally takes a week depending on the weather, it will be sent to the exhibition space where a lamp will be lit by this solar energy, and used until it is empty. A text on the wall will state how long he had to sit on the hill for each ‘reactivation’ and in which exhibition the energy was then spent.
Vera Lutter’s method also harks back to pre-industrial and pre-photographic techniques and the camera obscura. She uses the architecture of the buildings as the camera, wallpapering whole rooms and containers with photographic paper on the inside, where she often spends long hours overseeing the slow process of rendering the photograph. The resulting images are unique negatives where everything is strictly indexical: but only slow movements and static is visible – quick movements don’t leave any traces. The events taking place in front of the ‘camera’ accumulate visibly, albeit in ghost-like form. Her photographs could be described as a catalogue of places, spaces and buildings representing developments within 20th century economies. A contemporary equivalent to 19th century historical painting. The photos show shipyards, factories, vast industrial areas, oil rigs, skyscrapers and airports. It is development from capitalist industrialisation and its transformation into a mobile service-related economy that is being depicted in this highly process- orientated manner. These photographs are the opposite of snapshots they are unable to compromise time. It is straightforward work but uncanny in its results. For the first two months of E&T(A) we will show a work developed at a derelict Pepsi factory in Brooklyn, New York, and for the last two months a work produced at Frankfurt airport.
# If Simon Starling’s and Vera Lutter’s work contradict the streamlining efficiency of contemporary culture and circumvent technical inventions, Ursula Biemann’s video “Remote Sensing” looks at precisely how technology is employed in a restructuring of an old business. In the footsteps of deregulation and with the help of new information technology, goods and people are transported across the globe like never before. In this video she is tracing a widespread and sophisticated network of trade with humans, namely the trafficking in female prostitutes. In this trade the women’s bodies are precise equivalents to products on a market with supply and demand . This has already become an industry which is not dissimilar to the slave trade, where women are literally sent around the world to cater for new markets and never ending source of customers. Her subjective video essay is based on documentary material which also problematises the role of new information technology and the military complex within this trade: whereever there are military bases there is a concentration of prostitution.
“Remote Sensing” is part of Ursula Biemann’s larger project involving the investigation of the role of women within the corporate world and global capitalism. The project of Bundesverband Schleppen & Schleusen, schleuser.net (The National Association of Smuggling of Migrants), focuses on how mobility across geographical borders is developing and being treated in parallel with the presumably free movement of information, money, products and labour, how within the context of Germany the construction of different classes of migrants have become accepted and how certain behaviours are being illegalised. For one month they will use KM as its temporary office space. The three people working with the organisation, Farida Heuck, Ralf Homann and Manuela Unverdorben, will move in with computers and telephones and reply to newspaper articles, write texts, do research and inform the audience about the current situation of migration. Constantly questioning yet another border, the one traditionally drawn between art and politics, Schleuser.net functions as and looks like a form of lobbying organisation, whose purpose is to affect public discussion about geographical borders and migration in the most effective way possible.
Exchange involves different forms of transformation and strategies of informalisation, as well as media jamming and the import and export of labour
# In the midst of the so called new economy, it is relevant to look at the question of exchange and transformation in contemporary art. As a theme and a modus operandi it apparently interests a number of artists and it appears in and is a component of many art works. E&T(A) brings together art works which in various ways look at, investigate, problematise and establish circuits of exchange and processes of transformation. The concerns span from questioning the creation and dissolution of values within various types of economies in a basic Marxist sense – meaning the value theory of Karl Marx in “Das Kapital” – to more Georges Bataille-like reflections on the relationship between production, utility and non-productive expenditure. From curiosity about the function of a gift along the lines of Marcel Mauss’ description of the anthropological ‘potlatch’ – a system of exchange in which hostility, dependence and power are crucial – to the circulation of goods, ideas, information and desire in various combinations. In this sense exchange involves different forms of transformation and strategies of informalisation, as well as media jamming and the import and export of labour.
The idea of exchange and transformation also implies an activity within the local context, including the Kunstverein München, and a wider, even global, arena. Interests in the strategies and methods of corporate culture and its globalisation are an undercurrent to this, as is the relationship between the public and the corporate, between manufacturing and industrial production, mass production and the tailor- made. These issues are clearly connected to the emergence of – and sometimes reactions against – network societies and work in relation to developments in the new knowledge-and service-based economy and its inter-organisational relationships on both micro and macro levels.
# Rather than merely representing the subjects mentioned, the art in the exhibition from which the ideas behind the project have emerged, often simultaneously concretises them. Hence it sometimes also does what it speaks about. Some of them use these processes as their subject matter, others carry them out and put them to the test on the level of how the work operates. Others combine the two approaches. Some of the works emerge out of E&T(A) and carry on their lives long afterwards, and yet others are completed works making a stop-over in Munich. Sometimes they are directly connected to the new economy and its concrete effects while at other times operating at a distance. Rather than placing themselves at the fringes of economic development, the artists invited and art works selected develop a structural – and personalised – position which is either before or after and at a slight remove from ‘the midst of things’. Therefore the exhibition itself functions as a network where the works exist in nodal clusters rather than as a collection of works all sharing the same thematic or lowest common denominator.
The critical potential of this art is less driven by an agenda ‘to be critical’ in the usual sense, and it is heavily involved with considerations of various kinds of processes. Unlike the classical form of institutional critique it does not necessarily make a halt at pointing out problems and short-comings but takes the discourse a step further. It is not based on a polemical paradigm, with a presupposed conflict of interests between artists and the institution. Instead this ‘constructive institutional critique’ tends to involve models and proposals, parallels and even alternatives to the dominant order. Although these ideas can be related to the theories of writers like the ones mentioned above, the content and form of the projects emerge from the sensibilities and inner logic of the art itself and the discourse of the artists. Just as this art is often based on some kind of thematised communication and exchange the projects should consciously involve these processes, in other words a project working with these issues must necessarily reflect them on the level of its own structure. The constellations within each node as well as between the nodes will indeed partly change during the course of the exhibition, as things start to feed on each other and then even start to change places.
# A lot of this art takes the institution as its starting point but ventures out into the surrounding reality. It wants to interact with daily life, at the same time as it establishes a dialogue with the institution about – among other things – the role that each of them is expected to play. In light of this, the format of a classical institutional exhibition – meaning employing discrete works confined to a designated space – becomes limiting. Therefore E&T(A) in various ways connects with the city of Munich as well as other further contexts in order to establish different kinds of exchanges and transformations.
A commission to design a new social and work space for the artist run space Studio Gallery in Budapest is the starting point for the work of Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol for E&T(A). They have made a copy of the functional elements of design of Apolonija Sustersic’s new lobby at Kunstverein München, including the rubber floor, painted walls, bar and work station, and installed it upstairs, in the exhibition space. As an important part of the project the installation upstairs was mounted by the people from Studio Gallery, as a first step in the exchange. Not yet functionalised as a bar it will operate as a setting for several works in the exhibition, for Elin Wikström, Schleuser.net and the Oda group in particular. After the exhibition the copy of the lobby will be dismantled and shipped to Budapest where it will be installed permanently. Historical function and contemporary usefulness of architecture and spaces, buildings and places, is an important aspect of the work if Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol. Constructing spatial facsimiles of certain rooms and transferring them to a new context they set up discursive situations directly aimed at exchange. A good example is their work (together with Peter Fillingham) on the ICA bookshop and its contents. As part of their participation in E&T(A) and as an extension of their ongoing project “Nomads & Residents” they will also organise a series of meetings, involving and inviting people who originally used to live in the Munich area, and have now moved elsewhere.
A prevalent phenomenon in the footsteps of deregulation is the intensified focus on security, from gated communities to what feels like ever-present surveillance cameras in public spaces. Fear of others and of crime in general is playing an increasingly important role in media while politicians talk about the ‘right to security’. In this discussion the city of Munich likes to present itself as the most secure city in Germany, with the most secure subway in the world. It was not without pride that the local politicians hosted a security conference earlier this year. The way that phenomena like this are related to self-understanding and the construction of identities is at the core of Pia Lanzinger’s work, especially in relation to women. For a number of years she has established collaborations with people from outside the art world, encouraging them to discover and possibly form exchanges with people and phenomena that they normally don’t encounter. Workshops and guided tours are formats which usefully combine many of these concerns.
For E&T(A) she is organising a guided tour on the subject of security, on foot and by subway, starting at KM and moving around a number of places and institutions in the city centre. During the tour people from various professions who all work within the field of security will talk about their tasks and views on the subject. In the exhibition space Pia Lanzinger will make a bulletin board for her project: a drawing of Munich on the wall will indicate places of interest connected with security and she will add material from the sites and the tours. A specially made city map will also be printed. # Within the anarchistic spirit of Hakim Bey, Elin Wikström has for the last 10 years continuously been subverting the established forms for the creation and exchange of values that form the basis of our society. For the piece “Poor Patricia’s Complete Receipts” (1995) at De Appel in Amsterdam she used one of the few rules in favour of consumers, the right to return purchases within seven days. During the exhibition period she took on the persona of ‘Patricia’, a young woman in search for her identity, and went shopping for clothes. After having taken a photograph of herself in her new daily outfit at de Appel she returned the clothes the following day, using the returned money for a new outfit, and so on. In the piece made for E&T(A) she is refraining from wearing any mass-produced, bought clothes for one year. Instead she will make her own clothes, turning KM into a workshop over a six week period.
Questions about individuality and conformity, risk and trust, rights and obligations are all exposed in the project. What happens when lifestyles and patterns of behaviour within an industrial contexts lose their meaning? When do we have to actively and consciously take decisions about identity? How are the roles as individuals, citizens and consumers changing and relating to one another? The actions, or staged situations as she calls them, of Elin Wikström can at first glance seem simple and even simplistic, but on further consideration they turn out to be both complex and disturbing. She is often putting the concept of ‘personal is political’ to the test. To what extent are you ready to commit to what you claim to believe in? How far are you able to go as an individual?
For Oliver Ressler, art and political activism are one and the same. In a series of recent works he has focused on and challenged the images that media tend to give of non-parliamentary opposition and its protests in conjunction with prestigious meetings by organisation like WTO, IMF and G8. His text and image based montages function as counter information in this context. “This is what democracy looks like!” is a video documenting a demonstration in Salzburg (2001) against the World Economic Forum, a private lobbying organisation. The demonstrators are presented as speaking subjects rather than violent trouble-makers or innocent losers and the direct confrontation with the police is not concealed. It is a disturbing document of an ever more prevalent repression of public opinion.
For E&T(A) Oliver Ressler has made a new piece taking place on billboards in the city center of Munich thematising the events around the NATO security conference which took place in Munich in February 2002. A zero-tolerance policy was adopted by the local authorities, the permission to demonstrate was withdrawn and a three day- prohibition instated. Being in the city at the time of the conference felt like being in a city under siege with police on every street corner. Using this event as a starting point he is asking what is happening to our constitutional rights, which we used to take for granted, and how are they being interpreted? Who has the privilege to make authorised interpretations of events like non-parliamentary demonstrations in the spirit of anti-globalisation? What is the relationship between protection of property and protection of right to demonstrate?
# Gay culture and art history are two fields which overlap in the work of Matts Leiderstam. Both are based on specialised knowledge of codes which give access to certain groups. He takes the gay activity of ‘cruising’ into art museums and books, playing with desire and the gaze. For E&T(A) he has set up an exchange between an art student at the Academy and two paintings in the Schack-Galerie, both in Munich, as well as between this art museum and Kunstverein München. In this new work, Selbstbildnis, he has rehung two portraits from the collection, a self-portrait by Franz Lenbach as a young man and a copy by the same artist of a 16th century portrait, (considered a self-portait by Andrea del Sarto) opposite one another in one of the rooms at the gallery. Like Madeleine, the mysterious woman in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo, who keeps returning to the same museum and the same portrait of a woman and who gradually takes on the look of the portayed woman, the student will visit the Schack-Galerie every Sunday throughout the exhibition period and spends one hour in front of the two paintings. During the same period he will refrain from shaving. In both institutions a folder providing museum-like background information about the project will be available.
What happens when lifestyles and patterns of behaviour within an industrial contexts lose their meaning? When do we have to actively and consciously take decisions about identity? How are the roles as individuals, citizens and consumers changing and relating to one another?
In “Selbstbildnis” Matts Leiderstam is intertwining reflections about the difference between an original and a copy, between the norm and the subordinate, and contemplations about how one can represent oneself. Self-inspection is a tool here, as well as questioning how meaning is constructed discursively, in relation to professionalised fields like art history and images in general. When many of the formerly stable societal and cultural structures are dissolving identity, who you understand yourself to be appears as an increasingly important source of meaning, if not the main one. It easily becomes the basis on which meaning is organised. This is yet another example of the effects of what occurs when capitalism as we have known it is profoundly restructured. The new informational, global and networking economies force us to formulate new questions as well as posing some old ones, in a different light.
The symposium “Wechselwirkungen”, which we are organising together with the critic Jan Verwoert (15-16 June), gives us the opportunity to continue the discussion of some of these issues. This important part of E&T(A) involves researchers and writers from different disciplines, asking who is in fact profiting from these reconfigured economic and social exchange processes. What do the changing notion of work imply? Are the most flexible producers that the network society generates the winners? How do these developments affect our self-understanding? Can niche markets, black markets and other parallel economies offer an alternative to the dominant economy? The ambition is also to examine the instruments at our disposal for analysis and criticism of the existing conditions. One of them being art itself. # Art is not an elevated free-zone, liberated from the burdens of the rest of reality, freed from economics and business. It is affected alongside everything else. But at best art can function as a platform within society where specialised research is being made, where discourses investigating and questioning the current conditions can take place, where ideas and forms of behaviour can be produced and tested, alongside and against what is going on elsewhere. In constant dialogue with the surrounding existence, art can be a testing ground for research about the philosophy of actions and pragmatic experiments around complex issues. Surely enough transformative effects can not be excluded from this process.
Many of the artists and art works in E&T(A) thematise and problematise the role and function of contemporary art. They comment and question, by establishing models and prototypes, parallel situations and small-scale concrete social and economic tests, but always with reference to a specific art discourse and its tradition. On-going and sometimes intense exchange between the artist, the work and the ‘experiencer’ is common. In the video “Ra”, Calin Dan is reflecting art as a possible therapeutic device in a disorganised and poor country which more than a decade after major political change is confused about its history and future. The 57 minute long video is a report on Romanian art off the beaten track. Calin Dan uses an archival approach to portray nine artists who all initiate projects in far away villages and suburbs, trying to bring people together and come to terms with their situation. “Ra”, which stands for Romanian Art, is as intimately connected to the local context as is possible, and yet manages to transport issues of the more general concern: what is art good for? The Oda group, consisting of Özge Acikkol, Gunes Savas and Secil Yersel, wants to bridge the gap between artists, non-artists and the communities in a specific neighbourhood of Istanbul, using art as a means to create new ways of living and dynamic possibilities. Galata is situated in the very centre of the metropolis, where entertainment and cultural life has moved in, next to ‘domestic immigrants’ from poorer parts of the country. Since 1997 Oda has rented an apartment in this former Jewish area where they host art projects as well as workshops for children. They describe this as a monument/memorial composed of gestures from everyday life and layers of memories, which they build in collaboration with their neighbours who all have vividly different backgrounds and views on life. In their own words: ‘No need to change but exchange’. In E&T(A) they show documentation of their activities in Galata. They are also developing a project together with children of Turkish origin living in Munich.
# ‘I am a product, freed from the market place. I belong to whoever is able to fill me with imaginary material.’ These are the words of Ann Lee, the manga protagonist in the project “No Ghost Just a Shell”, initiated by Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe but now involving no less than nine artists (Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Liam Gillick, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Pierre Joseph, Joe Scanlan, Francois Curlet and Melik Ohanian). The exploding market for mangas in Japan led to the rapid rise of companies producing manga-characters, ready to be used by the busy makers of series on TV. Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno bought one of those figures in 2000, Ann Lee. She is a side-character, with few characteristics, and she is therefore destined to have a short life span on the screen. This also made her cheap, in comparison to the more developed figures. Having changed her look a little bit they each started to fill this almost empty shell with content. In short animated videos they give her something like an identity, bit by bit and changing. They have then handed her over to other colleagues and friends who have made their own very individual contributions to the story of Ann Lee. The graphic designers and communication agents M/M have developed a poster and a wallpaper which are part of this overall relay race-like project.
Within E&T(A) we show four of the animated videos, one after the other for one month each in the same space, by Philippe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Liam Gillick. They have purchased something from the highly commercialised context of popular culture – which probably is the single strongest force in terms of constructing meanings of identities – according to the logic of that very system and transformed it into a project which is based on separate, subjective contributions which are nevertheless interconnected. In a way they have ‘bought her freedom’, from one part of the market place and introduced her into another, while simultaneously creating and strengthening a community of artists, a network of people with shared interests and ideas, approaches and methods. Philippe Parreno has described No Ghost Just a Shell to a technical course in school: in order to understand something you have to take it apart and then put it together again. But while assembling it you can change the composition and take it somewhere else. After deconstruction comes reconstruction and new construction, together with a whole set of different implications. Like many of the works in E&T(A) this genuine work in progress confronts us with questions about how a form or an image can produce new models of behaviour, action and personality. What is the nature of the tools enabling us to understand the world?
Maria Lind is a curator and art critic.
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)