Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Red Thread" Talks and Conversations - 3

11th International İstanbul Biennial
"Continental Drift: The Politics of Perception"
Brian Holmes and Claire Pentecost

February 17th, Tuesday, 18.30.

Garanti Han 115A
Garamti Galeri and Platform Garanti, 5th Floor

For the first time since the 1970s, an economic crisis has upset the geopolitical balance of power, suggesting possible changes in the model of worldwide development. How can artists participate in this potential transformation? How can they warn against the worst of the likely outcomes, while imagining different ways of life, new tomorrows?

Walk around Istanbul -or New York, or Delhi, or Shanghai- with wide-open eyes and camera clicking: you will learn a tremendous amount about the insertion of the city into transnational networks, but almost nothing about the national or regional economy, the cultural conditions driving political-party formation, the long-term shifts in mentalities and attitudes. The circulation patterns of contemporary society foster a structural blindness. Recent attempts to integrate the social sciences with artistic practices are essential to the perception of change at all the scales (global, continental, national, territorial, intimate). But every analysis comes laden with its own viewpoint, its own interests and prejudices. What interests us are experimental groups able to participate or even generate social events, while developing critical questions on the form, process, meaning and ends of their activity. Placing ideas to the test of experience and public debate, these groups may be able to open their own eyes and produce more widely sharable visions.

For the past four years, Brian Holmes and Claire Pentecost have collaborated with the 16 Beaver Group in New York on the autonomous seminar "Continental Drift", bringing together artists, social theorists and activists to look at the influence of geopolitical change on daily life. The most recent seminar was carried out in Zagreb, Croatia, in collaboration with the WHW curatorial collective.

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