marți, 4 decembrie 2018

The Merger, and other films at the Migration Film Festival 02 December 2018

I was invited by Alternative Fictions, which works with film and multimedia to explore issues around representation and storytelling,   to attend round-table discussions around migration and representation in the London Migration Film Festival.

For some reasons, I did not see the invitation and I did not manage to attend this great initiative. Looking at the list of films screened I saw the trailer for The Merger.

Image result for the merger movieImage result for the merger movie 

I like the title of this movie and the very idea of merging.

It is a comedy, and yes we know that very often experiences of migration are far from humorous... But at the same time I think dislocation, and all the bitterness and hardships surrounding the migration process, offers to all those who live through it, and to all those who support 'the migrants,' also possibilities of wonder and of irony and humour, and last but not least playfulness - with all the staging that it presupposes. What it is needed in a society to be accepted?

Maybe the very act of merging, which is so difficult to be done in classical museum displays, is something that could be used in future exhibitions about migration.

sâmbătă, 30 iunie 2018

Below the Surface

Promotie Vitrine

Are you bored with museums? This museum in Amsterdam seems like a good remedy for that.
I did not see it, but I would love to. This one and The Museum of Jurassic Technology!
Let's start a list of the weird independent sector.

marți, 19 iunie 2018

Local History Museums and Ordinary Curating in London

Have you ever wondered why some people around the world are so fascinated with heritage, local memory and local history?
If the big museums in London are too predictable, you can take a different route: the small local history museums, that seem to exist in each London neighbourhood and where ordinary curating finds its home.

For example,
What can be more interesting than to see a micro museum about a big museum project - The Crystal Palace?

The Crystal Palace Museum

The Crystal Palace Museum tells the story of the Hyde Park and Sydenham Crystal Palaces using photographs and displays of original documents and ceramics.
The museum is located inside the only surviving building built by the Crystal Palace Company circa 1880.
Anerley Hill, Crystal Palace, London SE19 2BA
Tel: 020 8676 0700
OpenSat & Sun 11:00 - 3:30
Admission - FREE

joi, 17 mai 2018

Cambridge conference on the future of ethnographic museums

The SWICH conference derives from a project co-funded by the European Council: Exhibiting Culture, Exhibiting Empire, Exhibiting Europe.

Looking at the list of speakers,  one could see some of the 10 institutional partners: museums in Oxford (Pitt Rivers), Berlin, Leiden, Hamburg, Wellington (Te Papa Museum), Stockholm, Dublin, Rome, Marseille, Lubliana. Really curious about the outputs of this event.

This image from a shop in London (2008) represents my contribution to the topic. The future of ethnographic museums is to be found outside the ethnographic museums!

SWICH Summative Conference

King’s College, University of Cambridge

Wednesday 11 – Friday 13 July 2018


15:30 – 16:30 KEYNOTE 1:

 Sharon MacDonald,

 Alexander von Humboldt Professor, Institut für Europäische

 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

 Respondent: Claudia Augustat
16:30 – 18:00 PANEL 1: _NEW DIRECTIONS_

 Chair: Guido Gryseels, RMCA, Tervuren

 Panelist 1: Christian Schicklgruber, Weltmuseum, Vienna

 Panelist 2: Barbara Plankensteiner, Museum für Völkerkunde, Hamburg

 Panelist 3: Laura van Broekhoeven, Director, Pitt Rivers Museum

 Welcome from Nicholas Thomas


09:30 – 10:30 KEYNOTE 2:

 Arapata Hakiwai

 Kaihautū (Māori Co-leader), Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


10:30 – 11:00 Coffee

 Chair: Malavika Anderson (Wellcome Trust, London)

 Panelist 1: Rosa Anna Di Lella (Museo delle Civiltà, Rome)

 Panelist 2: Michael Barrett (Värdskulturmuseerna, Stockholm)

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 14:00 INTERVENTION 1: Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyen


 Chair: Mark Elliott (MAA, Cambridge)

 Panelist 1: Dean Sully (UCL, London)

 Panelist 2: Michel Lee (Värdskulturmuseerna, Stockholm)

 Panelist 3: Judith Finlay (National Museum of Ireland, Dublin)

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee
16:00 – 16:30 INTERVENTION 2: George Nuku

16:30 – 17:00 Discussion

19:00 – 21:00 Conference Dinner

09:30 – 10:30 PANEL 4:    GIVING IT BACK?


 Panelist 1: Wayne Modest (Research Center for Material Culture, Leiden)

 Panelist 2: Nicholas Thomas (MAA, Cambridge)

 Panelist 3: Ulrich Menter (Linden Museum, Stuttgart)

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee
11:00 – 12:30 PANEL 5:     _SWICH FUTURES_


 Panelist 1: Salvador Garcia Arnillas (Museu de Cultures del Mon,

 Panelist 2: Bojana Rogel Skafar (Slovenia Etno-Museum, Ljubljana)

 Panelist 3: Sandra Ferracuti (Lindenmuseum, Stuttgart)

 Panelist 4: Veerle Taekels (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren)

 Panelist 5: Mikael Mohammed (Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et
de la

 Méditerranée, Marseille)

 Michael Cooke (Arts Council England)

 Henrietta Lidchi (Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen, Leiden)

 Benoît de L’Estoile (CNRS, France)

13:00-14:00 Lunch

marți, 15 mai 2018

On line communities

A hub, an on-line museum of people, things, ides, events, with key workers in many parts of the world, all volunteers, bringing together material, information, news, content about the Japanese diaspora. the interesting thing is that the design of their web-site was changed from glamorous into more classic - to get in tune with their audience.

Jobs, residencies and internships for artists and curators

Are you an artist? Not sure. Me neither.
I  often think that anthropologists and ethnographers are so close to the field of art and rarely have the strength to step out of academia and see if they could have something to say/ work/ in this field.

I thought of putting together a list of websites where jobs, internships, residencies in the field of art could be taken. They are all in the UK. A friend of mine told me about all three of them.

I suppose all these sites might be a good hubs for all those who want to push forward their projects, gain some money from residencies, find about regulations (like data protection in the field of arts).

miercuri, 2 mai 2018

Ordinary Curating in Micro Museums

The Cornice Museum of Ornamental Plasterwork in Scotland

Have you wondered why sometimes visiting a small museum makes people feel nostalgic about the past? What is it so powerful and special about ordinary curating? How objects are exhibited, labelled, explained? How specific designs are associated to feelings?

An introduction into the world of micro-museums by Fiona Caitlin.

joi, 2 noiembrie 2017

refugee art art with and about refugees

Engaging with refugees and migrant experiences - Counterpoints arts.

I specifically found interesting the idea of creating art in a truck/ van - mobile exhibitions, see the work of Alketa Xhafa-Mripa - 'Refugees Welcome' at Tate Modern - and more...

miercuri, 21 iunie 2017

Things fall appart and other strange exhibitions at

the Chemical Heritage Foundation. 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. The museum is free and open Tuesday - Saturday (so, closed on Monday).

visit to the Museum at CHF is a journey through the weird and wonderful world of matter and materials.

marți, 20 iunie 2017

Liar's Poker: Representations of Politics, Politics of Representation by Brian Holmes

Liar\'s Poker
Representation of Politics/Politics of Representation
Brian Holmes

Basically, what I have to say here is simple: when people talk about politics in an artistic frame, they\'re lying. Indeed, the lies they tell are often painfully obvious, and worse is the moment when you realize that some will go forever unchallenged and take on, not the semblance of truth, but the reliability of convention. In a period like ours when the relationship to politics is one of the legitimating arguments for the very existence of public art, the tissue of lies that surrounds one when entering a museum can become so dense that it\'s like falling into an ancient cellar full of spider webs, and choking on them as you struggle to breathe. Now, the mere mention of this reality will make even my friends and allies in the artistic establishment rather nervous; but it is a reality nonetheless. And like most of the political realities in our democratic age, it has directly to do with the question of representation.

Picture Politics

Does anyone doubt there exists a politics of representation? Such people have clearly not looked at the television during a political campaign. But worse, they have not looked at social movements. They have not witnessed the endless capacity of people who do not occupy positions of elite power, and who do not enjoy direct access to major media, to project their messages nonetheless, by means of signs, images and gestures. Nor have they realized how effectively artists can work in such »outside« contexts: one need only think of Gran Fury, amidst the New York Aids activism of the eighties; of Ne Pas Plier, with the jobless people\'s movements in Paris in the nineties; or of the many artists who have participated in recent counter-globalization demonstrations and campaigns. Artists can play a vital role in this kind of »picture politics«.

At the same time, it is easy for artists to heed the injunction of the museum, the magazines and the market, which say: »Picture politics for me.« Do a picture or a sculpture of politics, carry out the representation of political conflict, as in the installation piece by Thomas Hirschhorn, Wirtschaftslandschaft Davos, shown at Kunsthaus Zürich when Hirschhorn won the prize for »Young Swiss Art« in 2001. This work uses model houses, toy soldiers, real barbed wire and other ready-made materials to represent the besieged Swiss valley where the world\'s most powerful people annually meet. Hirschhorn\'s style can be referenced to »dadaist collage«, observes one critic; but his major source is »the practice of excluded people who know perfectly well how to get their messages across, by using whatever they find.« [1] In this case the excluded people are those who confront the barbed wire at the World Economic Forum. And since counter-globalization has been a hot subject, representing them is a perfect way to become popular in a museum.

Hirschhorn goes further, though, because he turns a bit of ordinary life into a representation of politics, with his Bataille Monument in a Turkish quarter of Kassel. This life-sized library, snack bar and makeshift TV studio is a participatory project, whose effects in the neighborhood itself I won\'t presume to judge from a distance. What concerns me is the way he manages its relations to the artistic frame. On the »taxi stand« where visitors awaited to be ferried from the Documenta 11 to the site of the monument, Hirschhorn placed a quotation from the American artist, David Hammonds: »The art audience is the worst audience in the world. It\'s overly educated, it\'s conservative, it\'s out to criticize, not to understand and it never has any fun... So I refuse to deal with that audience, and I\'ll play with the street audience. That audience is much more human, and their opinion is from the heart. They don\'t have any reason to play games, there\'s nothing gained or lost.« Hirschhorn claims to have abandoned the framing structures of contemporary art, for a more authentically engaged social practice. But if that\'s the case, why the taxi, why the exposure of the site to visitors\' eyes, which turns the social project into a representation? What kind of game is he playing?

In his case there are certainly things to be won - like the prize for Young Swiss Art, or the Marcel Duchamp prize for the promotion of French artists, awarded to Hirschhorn by the ADIAF association in the year 2000. The Duchamp prize is sponsored by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a transnational consulting company, specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Kunsthaus Zürich, where Wirtschaftslandschaft Davos was shown, is regularly funded by the Private Banking subsidiary of Crédit Suisse, which ranks 31st on Fortune\'s Global 500 list. Documenta 11 was sponsored by Volkswagen, Deutsche Telekom and Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. Does all this sound familiar? In the contemporary art game, the picture of excluded people\'s politics is worth a lot to the included - including transnational corporations. Of course I\'m aware that the prize commissions are independent, just like exhibition curators. Their independence supports the notion of an autonomous artistic sphere, separate from the economic nexus that sustains it. These kinds of separations, between abstract financial decisions and their substantive effects, are exactly what the protestors at the Davos meetings refuse. Hirschhorn retains an interest in the artistic frame he claims to leave behind. Yet he seems particularly uncomfortable there; and it\'s intriguing to see how he ups the symbolic stakes in the Davos piece, formulating a direct critique of transnational capitalism even as he is pursued and courted by the corporate-backed prize commissions.

How does picture politics work, when it is associated with a proper name and presented within the contemplative frame of the art institution? Invariably it produces statements like these: »I represent the people«, or »I represent a social movement«, or »I represent the excluded« - which are the classic lies of representative democracy, when it serves to conceal private interests. [2] Of course, this root fact makes myself, a self-styled »critic« writing in catalogues and magazines about the relations of art and politics, into one of the baldest liars of them all. And for some perverse reason I want to tell you how it\'s done.

Rules of the Game

Liar\'s poker is easy to play. The deck is composed of kings and aces. One person draws, and names the card in his hand; the other judges if he\'s telling the truth. If you draw an ace, it\'s easy: you have no choice but to say it\'s an ace. If you draw a king, then the game begins: because you can always bluff. Each time you claim to hold an ace, the other player must look in your eyes and decide if it\'s real. If he thinks it\'s not, he calls your bluff; and if he\'s right he wins a dollar, or ten, or a hundred, depending on how high you\'ve set the stakes. If he\'s wrong, you win the same. And if he doesn\'t do a thing, he loses fifty cents, or five bucks, or fifty dollars, and the card goes back into the pack, so that no one ever knows if you were telling the truth.

For our purposes, the artist draws the cards, and the public calls the bluffs. Nowadays, of course, the artist often plays as a team with the curator or the critic; so those relations are never entirely certain. As for the cards, the ace is political reality, and its image in the museum is highly attractive. This gives the artist a great advantage: because to prove an ace is a bluff, you have to go out looking, whereas the public prefers to stay inside the museum. The artist, however, also has a great disadvantage, which is that the house - I mean the people who run the game, the founders, the funders, the boards and directors - actually can\'t stand aces, and if they think the artist really has one, they will never let him or her set foot inside the museum. So in both cases the artist has to bluff his way through, either claiming political engagement to live like a king inside the white cube, or hiding it to siphon off money, resources and publicity for use by a social movement. Occasionally, when the lie is too grotesque, the public will call the bluff; and then the artist has to give up some cultural capital. Even more rarely, it turns out that the artist is really involved in a social movement, in which case he or she is soon fated to disappear from the museum.

Now there\'s an obvious question: Why would anyone want to play such a game? In fact the question can be asked about anyone playing by the unbearable rules that hold in almost every social field today. These are the rules of inequality, exploitation, domination - those nasty realities we have to lie about in polite democratic society.

For the entire article please follow the link:
Retrieved from: on 20th of June 2017

sâmbătă, 13 mai 2017

Visualising the Voices of Migrant Women Workers​
Visualising the Voices of Migrant Women Workers was an exhibition curated in Hong Kong, featuring materials collected from different parts of the world. The exhibition was based on collaboration between reserchers in University of Hong Kong, activists from different associations like Refugee Women and Voices of Migrant Women Workers Association, and migrant women workers themselves.

The footage presented on you-tube was aired on TVB Pearl HK. It intriduces the exhibition from minute 1.03 up to 5.50.

Research with similar associations working with migrant women workers in UK, HK, Canada (as discussed in the work of Geraldine Pratt, Deirdre McKay and other researchers writing about Filipina migrant workers) show similar interests in empowering migrant women workers. It seems a trend now  - in trying to make migrant workers learn how to become leaders, managers, make films and even exhibitions about themsleves...

marți, 2 mai 2017

A personal in making list of contemporary researchers doing and writing about exhibition making

Paul Basu
Exhibition Experiments

Horia Bernea and Irina Nicolau

Philippe Bourgeois

David Crowley

Craig Campbell

Jean Gabus - performance, journalism and exhibition making

Jacques Hainard

Julie Ham
The University of Hong Kong


Kirshenblatt Gimblett

Sharon Macdonald

Horia Bernea and Irina Nicolau

Alexandra Schussler
Villa Sovietica

Kevin Walker, Royal College of Art

marți, 21 martie 2017

Again about exhibiting Archives

As a reminder to myself, more than anything else: Christian Boltanski's installations of every day photographs (1968, 1988).

For a more detailed analysis of Boltanski's installations:

Image result for boltanski archives 1988

marți, 21 februarie 2017

Exhibition: Visualizing the Voices of Migrant Women Workers

Visualizing the Voices of Migrant Women Workers - HKU Exhibition

Organizer: Hong Kong University, Department of Sociology
When: 11 February- 5 March 2017

This exhibition features stories of journeys, work abroad and letters home as visualized by migrant women including migrant sex workers, domestic workers, marriage migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, women who have been trafficked, and informal workers. These participatory media projects with women in The Netherlands, India, Nepal, Taiwan, Indonesia and Hong Kong are based on Dr. Vivian Wenli Lin’s research project for Voices of Women (VOW) Media, Visualizing Our Voices: Self-made Audiovisual Media by Women from Social, Economic and Cultural Margins in the Era of Global Migration.
This collaboration with Dr. Vivian Wenli Lin (Voices of Women Media) and Dr. Julie Ham (Department of Sociology, HKU) is supported by the HKU Knowledge Exchange Fund granted by the University Grants Committee.
Opening hours
Open Tuesdays – Sundays, between 10:00 am – 5:45 pm
Venue: MC3 @ 702 Creative Space, 7/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
Launch and panel event
A special launch event will take place on 10 February 2017, 6-9pm, with a panel talk starting at 7pm featuring the following panellists:

  • Lin Chew, Executive Director, Institute for Women’s Empowerment

  • Pooja Pant, Co-Director, Voices of Women Media – Nepal

  • Eni Lestari, Chairperson, International Migrants Alliance

  • Freya Chou, Curator of Education and Public Programmes, Para Site

  • Dr. Ju-chen Chen, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Chinese University of Hong Kong

joi, 10 noiembrie 2016

Artists as cultural workers

Jonas Staal (n.1981), is a Rotterdam- based artist whose works include interventions in public space, exhibitions, lectures, and publications that interrogate the relationship between art, democracy, ideology, politics and propaganda.

Propaganda against what New Word Academy in Holland calls 'cultural imperialism' - meaning the effects of neo-liberalism on poor countries...
Isn'it ironic that such discourses are written down and thought in countries such as Holland itself?

joi, 11 februarie 2016

Red Africa


Are you interested in getting to know more about USSR's friendships among African Countries?

The Red Africa Exhibition (4 February  - 3 April 2016 ) takes place at the Calvert22 Gallery in London.

This exhibition can be seen also in relation to the bigger project Socialism Goes Global.


vineri, 30 octombrie 2015

CfP: Artistic re-enactments as Vehicles of Cultural Transfer in Eastern European Performance Art

AAH2016 Annual Conference and Bookfair
University of Edinburgh
7 - 9 April 2016

Artistic Re-enactments as Vehicles of Cultural Transfer in Eastern European Performance Art, 1960–present

Amy Bryzgel, University of Aberdeen,
The re-enactment of artistic performances and actions is a topic that has garnered much attention in recent years, most notably catalogued in Amelia Jones’ and Adrian Heathfield’s substantial publication Perform, Repeat, Record: Live Art in History (2012). Given the fact that, in many cases, artistic transfer from one generation to the next did not occur in the traditional manner – through the academies – in Eastern Europe, re-enactments of artistic performance can function, in the region, as a witness to the forgotten past, functioning as a vehicle of cultural memory. Additionally, it can facilitate the transfer of ideas, history and practice from one generation to the next.
This panel invites papers that discuss artistic re-enactments of performances from across the former communist and socialist countries of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe in recent artistic practice. The papers in the panel should interrogate some of the following questions: What are the various functions of artistic re-enactments of performances in Eastern Europe? How do these functions compare with current understandings of re-enactment in the West? How can re-enactments be used to access a lost or inaccessible history (such as performance art in Eastern Europe)? Also welcome are papers that consider revisiting culturally relevant or historically significant places by artists or within the context of artistic re-enactments.

Email paper propsals to the session convenor(s) by 9 November 2015. Download a Paper Proposal Guidelines

luni, 27 iulie 2015

reassembling rubbish

I love rubbish:
- the sound of the metal bins thrown on the pavement of Eastern European cold cities in autumn early mornings (more specifically 5,30 a.m.),
- the incredibly rich conversations one can have with people who sweep the streets of towns. Once I heard more women sweeping the streets in a neighbourhood of Bucharest shouting at each-other across the street: 'Hey you! [in Ro: Ce fa!] Do you want to get to clean the streets in the city centre?!'
Folowed by laughter. Ambition is everywhere.
-the tones of garbage thrown in some huge pits and the screams of the seagulls. Dust and diamonds at the same time, and not only because of the dark aesthetics, but also because of the great profit made by garbage companies all over the world.
-the life of those people who manage to live with little - that little which remains from those who have too much.
-the sadness and to a certain degree, the despair of those who have too much and who start living surrounded by things they do not like any more.
-an exhibition I have missed - on waste - somewhere in London.
- a film I love: Les Glaneurs and la Glaneuse.
-this project: - and maybe some others more

miercuri, 17 iunie 2015

Art and Tourism

That Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the world, is not a new thing to say. It has its peculiarities, though. It is based on a major economic inequality: some people have money to travel, some others have barely some to cope with living, and consequently encounter tourists (generally) with a lot of appreciation and happiness.
From this economic and affective juxtaposition some artists manage to draw subjects of inspiration.
Marcus Coates is one of them. I am going to write about two of his projects. One is entitled the Trip, and was commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery in London as part of the project Skills Exchange. It deals with the artist' work for outpatients as St John's hospice asking the question 'What can an artist do for you?' Those who responded suggested various things, among which a trip to the Amazon. Coates did the trip, filmed part of it, screened it and talked to the people who commissioned it - about this journey that he did for them, about fears and strengths, about how much you can push yourself, about meeting the Amazon people through an intermediary - but still feeling great, about storytelling.
The Interview and long conversations between the artist and one of the patients in the hospice were touching in their simplicity and curiosity: what those people were eating, the effects of entering in contact with the white men, etc. At the end of the interview there is an artist's note: That the person who commissioned this trip died not long after this interview. In our last conversation we continued to talk about our trip. He said that he often went down the river into the jungle when de needed to.

The other project of Marcus Coates is the following performance he did in front of an audience of old people living in a block of flats: Trip to the Lower World.

The second artist I want to write about is Martin Parr's collections of postcards. Some of them were exhibited in Barbican's exhibition: Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector.
His books with photos taken by him are just great. Mass Tourism, Small World (a critique of  or From Home and Abroad is one of them.

'Leisure, consumption and communication are the concepts that Martin Parr has been researching for several decades now on his worldwide travels. In the process, he examines national characteristics and international phenomena to find out how valid they are as symbols that will help future generations to understand our cultural peculiarities. Parr enables us to see things that have seemed familiar to us in a completely new way. In this way he creates his own image of society, which allows us to combine an analysis of the visible signs of globalisation with unusual visual experiences. In his photos, Parr juxtaposes specific images with universal ones without resolving the contradictions. Individual characteristics are accepted and eccentricities are treasured.
Martin Parr sensitises our subconscious – and once we’ve seen his photographs, we keep on discovering these images over and over again in our daily lives and recognising ourselves within them. The humour in these photographs makes us laugh at ourselves, with a sense of recognition and release.' Thomas Weski
A model wears a piece from a capsule collection designed by House of Holland in collaboration with the photographer Martin Parr.