artists & participants
"All exhibitions, one can be certain, are held with intent," notes B.N. Goswamy in an article about the 1924 British Empire Exhibition, which, as he continues, is among those that go beyond "intent" and become "part of an agenda, not always or necessarily hidden". With a similar agenda, the Millenium Exhibition, celebrating the thousandth "anniversary" of the Hungarian nation, took place in Budapest in 1898. Participation was expected from all lands and nations under the Austro-Hungarian crown. Croatian artists accepted the invitation, but under the condition that a special pavilion would be built, which they could later appropriate, transport to Zagreb and use for future art exhibitions in the city.
Both the British Empire Exhibition and the Budapest Millenium Exhibition were made following the model of the then popular World Exhibitions, events which only seemingly included a more 'horizontal' and democratic constellation – not showcasing the geographies of empires with their colonies and dominions but, in stead, of the "whole world". The histories of world exhibitions are scripts for the histories of the world, revealing the global economic, political, ideological and power relations of an era, beneath their usual optimistic glow highlighting utopian visions and glorious prospects for the "future of mankind".
The exhibition recalls not the structure or "intent" of the world fair exhibitions, but what is left of the ghosts of their proclaimed belief in mankind and its future. Situated in the historicist art pavilion, exchanged between Budapest and Zagreb at the turn of the last century, it reflects the relations of histories of architecture, photography and the ideology of exhibition with histories of power and subjugation, as well as the histories of past utopian and futurological visions, embodied in the promises of architecture and technology. It wonders if it is possible today, after an era of identity politics and fragmented narratives, to see the world "as a whole" and simultaneously question the very idea of the wholeness as one belonging to the Western imagination and ideas of modernity, progress and colonial equations.
Neither From Nor Towards: Did you, upon awakening today, see the future from the still point of the turning world? does not seek answers to these questions but is rather haunted by them. The newly commissioned and existing artworks it brings together do not serve to illustrate its – oximoronically, deliberately weak – "point" but are recognized as being haunted as well, by similar questions, by unfinished histories, forgotten visions and past futures. It opens itself to reading the "world" in a way that theorist Miško Šuvaković suggested to read the ideology of exhibition: not as "an aggregate of oriented and entirely rationalised intentions of its organisers" but as the difference between the indended and unintended, the conscious and the unconscious, as "a precarious atmosphere (environment) of conceptualised as well as non-conceptualised possibilities, decisions, symbolisations, solutions, proclamations, oversights (erasure), fortuitous choices, selections, proposals, values, tacit insights, censorships, the effects of public and tacit taste, justifications, desires and social functions that form some sort of acceptable reality (…)"
Neither From Nor Towards: Did you, upon awakening today, see the future from the still point of the turning world? is the third in the trilogy of exhibitions based on exploring the relation between narrative structures and Agamben's idea of the immemorable (the unintentional memory beyond rememberance), initiated in 2007 with the exhibition Stalking With Stories. The Pioneers of the Immemorable, Apexart, NY and continued with he second part - And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out taking place in 2009 in Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna.
Vahram Aghasyan, Ben Cain, Alex Cecchetti, Haris Epaminonda, Zachary Formwalt, Tina Gverovic, Eric Van Hove, Gregor Neuerer, Lisl Ponger, Olivia Plender, Marinella Senatore, Guido van der Werve
Curators: Antonia Majaca / Ivana Bago (Institute for Duration, Location and Variables – DeLVe)
Supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb City Office for Culture
Neither From Nor Towards - Did you, upon awakening today, see the future from the still point of the turning world?
3rd chapter on stories and the 'immemorable'
Kuratoren: Antonia Majaca / Ivana Bago
Künstler: Vahram Aghasyan, Ben Cain, Alex Cecchetti, Haris Epaminonda, Zachary Formwalt, Tina Gverovic, Eric Van Hove, Gregor Neuerer, Lisl Ponger, Olivia Plender, Marinella Senatore, Guido van der Werve