IMAG-E-NATION the political & philosophical arts initiative blog

(re)imagining the political and philosophical in the 21st century

The Political & Philosophical Arts Initiative is interested in the ways in which people interact with and compose political and philosophical ideas and actions through the various, diverse media of technology and the arts. Participants in PAI seek to explore the ways in which poetry, literature, music, photography, performance and other creative arts interleave with the political and philosophical life, either as vehicles for criticism, elaboration, theorization, intervention or activism.
The Imag-e-nation blog is a forum for interested parties to share stories, images or other contributions. Contributors range from students and faculty to artists and musicians to professional and casual commentators. Pieces can be short opinions, re-postings of appropriate materials, or original compositions. In addition, the PAI at LUC will make a selection of relevant or provocative news items each week for (re)publication here.


Burning Images, Hanging Dissent: Lecture on 5 November

Burning Images, Hanging Dissent
5 November 2014, 18:00 - 20:00
The Living Lab @ Schouwburgstraat 2, The Hague

A lecture by artist Florian Göttke, with a response by curator Brigitte van der Sande and a discussion with the audience moderated by philosopher Cissie Fu.

Brought to you by the Political and Philosophical Arts Initiative in collaboration with See You in The Hague and i4C Art-Active Lab, coinciding with Guy Fawkes Night.

Hanging or burning effigies as a sign of dissent is a longstanding and recurring practice in political protests, performed in demonstrations all over Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, North Africa, India and many other Asian countries. The practice is full of ambiguities and slippages, as the protesters readily incorporate influences and combine practices from various origins (annual purification rituals, carnival, formal justice, and communal shaming) for diverse purposes.

In his lecture Florian Göttke delineates the practice in US history from the burning in effigy of British tax officials and loyalists in the American Revolution until the hanging and burning of the last two US presidents Bush and Obama. Looking at this alternative history of effigy protests, one can easily trace the societal conflicts haunting the United States: the formation of the Union through the struggle against British rule, the abolition of slavery, the civil war, WWI, depression, WWII, civil rights issues, racial segregation, contentious wars overseas, and the current partisanship.

Enacting this performative practice, the protesters enter the discourse about the constitution of a just society, of legal and political legitimacy, political representation, the role of the citizens, and the possibilities of direct action. As the effigy practices are closely related to formal and informal justice, the lecture draws parallels with Sam Durant's work Scaffold and its subject, the iconic official executions by hanging in US history.
Free entry and registration, with drinks to follow.

Join us for this burning discussion!

One Mind In A Million Heads: sounding out the 21st century

Volkspaleis 2014 opened resoundingly on Saturday 18 October, with The Hague's Zuiderstrandtheater--from the full depth of the theatre stage through the orchestra pit to the great hall--transformed into one colossal loudspeaker.  This site-specific installation, entitled One Mind In A Million Heads, is created by multidisciplinary and multimedia artist Konrad Smolenski and aims to challenge how the audience often experience and relate to performers, performances, and performance spaces, towards precipitating the total effects of spectatorship in the world.  Leaning, full-bodied and without earplugs (complimentary at the door), against the smooth wooden panels encasing the network of speakers pumping life into and out of this monumental structure, one's psycho-physical being is inundated with sonic vibrations and transported to where the synaesthetic meets the architectural, in delicious isolation and disenabled community with other aurally saturated, acoustically synced bodies.

To complement Smolenki's centre piece, music curator Michal Libera has devised a wide-ranging homage to the loudspeaker, with performances, lectures, and screenings exploring the historical, social, political, and philosophical dimensions of amplification from now until 16 November, when Volkspaleis will black-out by fading out into what promises to be an electrifying silence.  He speaks about his inspiration and motivation for his programme, entitled Public Address:     

In counterpoint to sonic amplification is a set of films, mostly silent and in black-and-white, projected on to large, ethereal sheets of canvas suspended in the foyer of Zuiderstrandtheater.  This respite from the loudspeaker consists of meditations on movement--from Maya Deren's outtakes of choreography to Bruce Nauman's hip-led performance art--and interrogations of human ocularcentrism and absurdity--most notably Samuel Beckett's first and last screenplay as realised by Alan Schneider as well as Reynold Reynold's and Patrick Jolley's immersive experimental universe, Drowning Room.

For some serious noise, the live programme kicked off with an opening concert by Wolf Eyes, a trip-metal, post-industrial, noise trio from Detroit.  Identifying as a band as much as a collective mutant ensemble, this art abstraction unit chats about their experience of One Mind In A Million Heads:

Never louder, never better, never more soul-shaking, here is an improvised bridge from Wolf Eye's performance at Volkspaleis, reaching up and out from one deep cavern of primal frequency:

Hear, see, and rock all of this, and much more, for yourself.  Over and out.



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