[-empyre-] Welcome to empyre Week 4:Rethinking Curatorial Options: Globally

Christiane_Paul at whitney.org Christiane_Paul at whitney.org
Sat Apr 28 00:16:13 EST 2012

Hi Calin,
thanks again -- the Carlova project looks beautiful! You mention that the Romanian art scene is currently focused on painting. I'm interested in the role that "new media" art plays in the Romania -- is there a 'scene,' is this art shown within Romania (and if so at what venues) or does it migrate to the festival scene of other European countries?
From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of reVoltaire [revoltaire at gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2012 4:03 AM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Welcome to empyre Week 4:Rethinking Curatorial Options: Globally

Thank you all for your comments and kind words.
(Christiane, your book "Digital art" is on kinema ikon's library, and
the exhibition organized by Tim - "Contact Zones: The Art of CD-Rom"
we consider it a reference for the way we started our research in new

Excerpt from kinema ikon catalog published in 2003
Contextual history of kinema ikon by George Sabau*:
(*G.S. is the founder and the theorist of the group)
"After the fall of the communist regime in 1989, we could answer the
invitations addressed to us, the most important being that, already
mentioned, at the G. Pompidou Center, only just to become aware of
having missed all of the trains of experimental movie, because the
trend, the interest were already focused on video art, while the
multimedia technology had had a powerful start too.
As regards the
reception of the ki movies, a question from the audience in Cinéma du
Musée stuck to my memory: “How come that in a regime you considered
totalitarian you could freely (sic) produce anticommunist movies?” No
author in no film proposed such an objective, in the first place
because this would have been fatal for the workshop’s destiny, and,
secondly, because the group members were simply preoccupied by the
relevance of new audio-visual expression. Therefore, it was not about
a cultural dissidence – all the dislike of the ki members towards the
communist system taken into account – but a workshop open to young
artists from various domains, and having the vocation of experiment
upon cinematographic language. I accept the fact that, after an hour’s
projection, a confusing reception effect, of a subtextual nature, was
produced, in the sense that the global perception of the movies
pregnantly revealed the suffocating climate of an oppressive regime."

Truth is that we only in 1994 succeeded in purchasing a computer for
kinema ikon for the sole purpose to edit the first issue of the
intermedia magazine – a magazine that wishes to create topics rather
than to comment on them. Toiling on the first issue I learned the way
a computer works and logically, I tried to produce some art works
using this new medium. What truly fascinated me was how the HELP of
each soft worked – in other words, I was captivated by hyperlinks.
This is how we made the group’s first cd.rom – opera prima in 1996.
Then I started the series of personal interactive works that were
accepted in new media festivals (Osnabruek, ISEA Liverpool and ISEA
Paris, FILE Sao Paulo, Art on The Net Tokyo, Viper etc) and during
those early beginnings, I had no idea how other works on cd.rom
After the internet big bang I truly got connected into the digital
world. In Romania there was a certain reticence towards new media.
However, several fine projects were produced: the "context" project
for the Romanian pavilion at the Venice Biennial in 2001 (curators:
Patatics and Bertalan), 00101010 exhibition Soros Center for
Contemporary Art (Curator: Calin Dan). In the last years, the Romanian
art scene is occupied by painting – the so called Cluj School of
painting (Adrian Ghenie, Serban Savu, Plan B Gallery Berlin/Cluj).
About the kinema ikon group: it is not involved politically,
ideologically or socially.  We had this type of experiences between
December 1989 – 1994 when we published the “Conversatia” magazine and
when we thought we can directly contribute in changing things: "from
communism 2 capitalism with good intentions" (it could be an
exhibition title). But we understood that we are good only at being
simply playful and atypical.

We had a period when we produced only digital works, after 2005 we
integrated a younger generation that gravitates around the KF coffee
shop/alternative venue and they are comfortable in using any type of
media. With this generation I will organize the new ki exhibits in the
future white cube at the art museum in Arad. Soon, very soon.
But I'd like to present you a recent project, a dadaist diary: in late
70's an experimental underground new wave romanian band called Rodion
GA was commissioned to compose the soundtrack for a SF movie. I don't
know why but another musician was selected and the Rodion's music
remained unused.  So, I illustrated the soundtrack using rare footage
from my personal archive (filmed by an amateur filmmaker in the 60's)
combined with the titles of the only 5 poems written by one of the
pioneers of romanian literature - Vasile Carlova (1809-1831). This
ready media files contains some major events of my childhood: the
carnival, the annual trip to Debelagora, the visit to Shoes

calin man

On Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 6:24 AM, Timothy Conway Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu> wrote:
> Dear Calin,
> Thanks ever so much for sharing your informative post with the -empyre- community.  Although we've had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate in the past, I've never heard your fascinating account of the ideological/political trajectory of your work over the last 27 years of Arad.  You provide a fascinating account of 'Rethinking Curatorial Options, Globally.'
> Regarding your comments about the early risk of your work, I'm wondering whether you might elaborate of the relation of your early work on the internet in relation to risk.  Was the virtual framework considered to be an alternative to risk or its extension?  Your comments reminded me of the days when I carried your CD-Roms and those of about 40 other artists across various borders for a few years when curating "Contact Zones: The Art of CD-Rom" (https://contactzones.cit.cornell.edu/).  When camouflaging the artworks as "music" when crossing national borders, I was responding to concerns about the risky nature of virtual responses to sexuality, pornography, politics, and ecology that were so elaborately and enigmatically presented by that generation of new media artists.  Even when mounting the show in museums and public spaces, I found myself being encouraged not to call attention to the particularities of content embedded in so many files.  I thus find myself wondering about the political or ideological thrust of the kinema ikon group, or even its aesthetic thrust in relation to digital media.
> Looking forward to hearing more.
> Best,
> Tim
> Director, Society for the Humanities
> Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
> Professor of Comparative Literature and English
> A. D. White House
> Cornell University
> Ithaca, New York. 14853
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of reVoltaire [revoltaire at gmail.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:39 AM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Welcome to empyre Week 4:Rethinking Curatorial Options: Globally
> hi everyone!
> thank you Renate for the introduction and invitation, thank you Tim.
> it is my pleasure to be guest on this list.
> from "Happening mise-en-Seine" to "Wunderkammer & Other Apparatus"
> (http://revoltaire.net/empyre)
> It is quite possible that my intervention will seem rather
> unprofessional due to the autobiographic references that lace the text
> henceforward. My activity as a curator was and still is tied to my own
> work and the work of the kinema ikon group. Now is the time to mention
> that I live in a small town called Arad, in western Transylvania,
> where I can still find the Austro-Hungarian spirit scattered in the
> small things. The museum where I work was founded 99 years ago and I
> am with it for the last 27 years. In the beginning I was a
> photographer, and since 1990, when the kinema ikon group became a part
> of the museum, I became a curator along with the founder of the group,
> George Sabau.
> In the ‘80s, the communist regime got to decide who is an artist and
> who is not. I, as a major in literature, was not allowed to display
> visual art except in special places, where amateurs were corralled.
> Rebelling against the professionals/amateurs rift, I chose to exhibit
> my works in unconventional and sometimes prohibited places. To display
> photos in the central park was an assumed risk in those times (see
> Landscape Pleonasm).
> The texts I wrote couldn’t be published as they were not compliant
> with the political system on one hand but mainly because I was not
> happy with the literary merit of my works. I tried to salvage the
> situation, so I organized a happening which consisted of me throwing
> all my “literature” in the river Mures, in front of an audience. Only
> one text survived, the one called Our Young Man Went to Circus. The
> characters of this remaining work became the core of the future
> reVoltaire archive and they first encountered the public in 1992, in
> the kinema ikon magazine, then called “conversatia”.  I lived the 90’s
> with the enthusiasm of discovering the computer, the internet and
> mainly, interactivity. In 1995, 22 experimental short films of the
> group were shown at the Pompidou Center in Paris. George Sabau
> considered the event a proper closure for an era.
> (http://kinema-ikon.net/2010_ki/filmexp.html)
> That was when I started producing digital works on cd.rom
> (http://kinema-ikon.net/1996_operaprima/op.htm), both individual and
> in groups, we began participating at new media shows, we coined the
> term ready media (http://kinema-ikon.net/1995_readymedia/ready.htm),
> we became exclusivists and elitists, we decided that after so much
> social involvement time has come to make art for the sake of art,
> moreover, we felt that the word "art" was dated, or to be more
> specific, it was confusing, and using “work” instead would be more
> appropriate. This way, the digital world became easier to approach.
> (http://revoltaire.net/)
> The peak of the digital era for myself and the kinema ikon group was
> the acceptance of my project for the Romanian pavilion at the Venice
> Biennial in 2003 (http://kinema-ikon.net/2003_alteridem/alt.htm) and
> the kinema ikon retrospective at the National Museum for Contemporary
> Art in 2005 (http://kinema-ikon.net/2005_worx/wrx.htm).
> Since 2005, the group got a fresh breath of air from the young
> generation of artists that gravitates around the KF coffee
> shop/alternative venue. Meeting with the artists in their late 20s
> keeps up the playful spirit of the group.
> (http://kf2arad.blogspot.com)
> The kinema ikon group was founded in 1970 and in the course of time
> had three generations who produced: experimental films (1970-1989),
> mixed media (1990-1994), hypermedia (1995-2005), hybrid media
> (2005-_).
> Since 1994 I took over the “conversatia” magazine which became
> “intermedia” – completely dedicated to experimental works.
> (http://issuu.com/kinema-ikon)
> An example is the issue consisting of 19 posters that were exhibited
> in the museum but also in the streets, in various places.
> (http://kinema-ikon.net/2009_dprt/_dprt.htm)
> An ambitious project was the one dedicated to photography, named
> kinema ikon 7010, when for the first time, all the kinema ikon members
> participated in the same project, at the same time. The result is one
> of the few objects of the group – a box that contains 53 large scale
> photos. (http://kinema-ikon.net/2010_ki/7010.html)
> The project we started last year is however, the most important:
> Wunderkammer & Other Apparatus. First, we printed in “intermedia” 20
> designs for apparatuses inspired by image producing machinery and
> cabinets of curiosities. The next phase is unfurling as we speak: at
> the Art Museum in Arad I got a space destined to house the kinema ikon
> experiments. I am currently preparing the inaugural exhibition. We
> will create a praxinoscope, a synthesis of the 20 designs, and things
> just start rolling from here.
> (http://kinema-ikon.net/2011_skepsis/_skepsis.htm)
> Paradoxically, after decades of experimenting with alternative spaces,
> I came to coordinate a white cube. It is as when Gabriel Garcia
> Marquez got away with a folk costume at his Nobel Prize acceptance
> speech instead of the requested tailcoat. Not wearing a tailcoat in a
> world where everybody wears one is rebellion. For me, who I never wore
> a tailcoat, rebellion is to wear one. After that, we’ll see.
> reVoltaire: www.revoltaire.net
> reVoltaire at V2: http://revoltaire.projects.v2.nl/pages/revoltaire.htm
> Encyclopedie Npuveaux Medias:
> http://www.newmedia-art.info/cgi-bin/show-art.asp?LG=FRA&DOC=IDEN&ID=9000000000084314
> http://rhizome.org/profiles/calinman/
> kinema ikon: www.kinema-ikon.net
> ki on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/kinemaikon
> kinema ikon 7010: http://kinema-ikon.posterous.com/
> ki publications: http://issuu.com/kinema-ikon
> all the best from Transylvania,
> calin man
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
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