Spaces of Utopia/Dystopia

20 July–22 July 2012
Workshop | London

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Avi Mograbi, Detail 2 & 3, 2004 (still)
Avi Mograbi, Detail 2 & 3, 2004 (still)

About

The exhibition and free events programme, Troubling Space: The Summer Sessions considers how space is produced through social relations: shaped by our fantasies, transformed through our occupation, or controlled by violence.
The Summer Sessions programme takes recent events in the public space and the shifting (shrinking) space of education as an imperative to put the space of the collection to use, to leave no space un-touched by pedagogy and resistance. Each weekend's events are centred on a spatial question, with presentations by several of the exhibiting artists as well as a number of invited speakers.

FRIDAY 20 – SUNDAY 22 JULY
THE SUMMER SESSIONS:
SPACES OF UTOPIA/DYSTOPIA
This session aims to flesh out society's persistent production of non-places and spaces of imagination. Three artists' work falls under this rubric: Avi Mograbi captures a confrontation with Israeli Defense Force soldiers and questions who has the right to look, to be filmed, to access space, or deny access to others. With her study of men challenging each other in four-wheelers on a Sunday afternoon, Yael Bartana's work mirrors Israel's deployment of high-tech military equipment and its ephemeral geography of boundaries drawn and transgressed. Gregory Crewdson's photographs are suburban portraits, an image of space shaped by disavowed desire.


Friday, from 6pm
SCREENING OF AVI MOGRABI'S Z32 (2008) INTRODUCED BY THE FILMMAKER FOLLOWED BY DINNER AND DISCUSSION

Friday evening will begin with a screening of the film Z32 (2008), in which a young, masked Israeli confesses to his girlfriend the role he played in a “revenge mission" during his military service. Their banter-as-testimony manifests private space's complicity with war. Their mutual responsibility to one another, to the camera and the filmmaker – and by extension to the audience – raises questions about the ways in which violence can engender interdependence. When the filmmaker's wife starts asking about what a confessed killer is doing in their home, the complicities that the film explores take a soberingly performative turn. Following dinner, filmmaker Avi Mograbi will discuss the film in the wider context of his work.

Saturday, 3pm
PRESENTATION BY BRAD SAMUELS
PRESENTATION BY AVI MOGRABI
FOLLOWED BY A CONVERSATION WITH THOMAS KEENAN
DISCUSSION AND DINNER

Militaries around the world are increasingly relying upon "Non-Lethal" weapons for operations in urban environments and situations of civil unrest. One of Situ Studio's founding partners, Bradley Samuels, will present spatial analysis that leverages citizen video and photography to explore the uses and effects of these munitions on the ground. Two case studies will be highlighted and analyzed in relation to the evolving and often murky legal contexts this type of warfare engenders.

Avi Mograbi will give a presentation about Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and who work to stimulate public debate about young soldiers who face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population's everyday life. Mograbi will show a selection of video testimonies and speak about the organization's new publication, Occupation of the Territories – Israeli soldiers testimonies 2000-2010, copies of which will be available for the audience. Thomas Keenan will respond in conversation with Mograbi, followed by a public Q&A.

Sunday, 2pm
PRESENTATION BY ELLEN MARA DE WACHTER.
SEMINAR DISCUSSION LED BY THOMAS KEENAN
FOLLOWED BY TEA

Our shared living environments are subject to increasing control, which has resulted in a distinct limitation in the quality of individual, collective and aesthetic gestures in those spaces. Ellen Mara De Wachter will introduce a screening of works that relate to this phenomenon, by artists including Gregory Crewdson, Mark Leckey, Harold Offeh, Matthew Darbyshire, Twenteenth Century, Mauricio Guillen.

As part of the weekly reading-group and seminar discussion, Thomas Keenan will explore some themes that link two of his earlier texts, on the battle- and media-spaces of the Internet during the conflicts in Kosovo and Iraq. Neither redemptive nor fatally impure, utopian nor dystopian, the media space of the Internet is both a terrain of conflict between combatants and the zone of a battle for public opinion. How are battles fought in media spaces, and what difference do the structures of those spaces (speed and delay, opacity and transparency, emergent agents and unpredictable audiences, etc.) make to the terms in which the conflict unfolds.


The Sessions promote two levels of engagement: open events include artists' performances and guest lectures or conversations between academics and artists on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. For those who wish to engage more deeply, the general public is invited to RSVP to take part in a series of small discussions on Friday and Sunday evenings.
All events are FREE

Gallery

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled Hover Series (Balloons in the back yard), 1996
Gregory Crewdson, Untitled Hover Series (Balloons in the back yard), 1996