Issue

2.20 / From a Distance

June 30 2011

Introduction

June 30, 2011. This morning, I noticed that still pinned to a sweater in my closet was the “Free Ai Weiwei” button I have been wearing periodically over the last two months. Given that last week Ai had been freed on bail after confessing to tax fraud and for health reasons, according to the Chinese government, the button suddenly amounted to little more than an outmoded accessory. It is also a prime example of what Hou Hanru describes in his letter to Hans Ulrich Obrist as the type of symbolic gesture that reduces the complex realities and needs of different realities to simple representations, a simplification that Matthew Rana confronts as well in his encounter with the images and work of Ahmed Basiony in the Egyptian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Is it possible for art and artists to speak beyond such gestures, or away from such gestures, as Hou proposes? What does a true gesture of solidarity look like?— PM

Features

URGENT IS TO TAKE A DISTANCE

URGENT IS TO TAKE A DISTANCE

By Hou Hanru

It has been a time of so many interesting events and exciting subjects upon which to reflect. However, I have preferred to wait until the chaos has calmed a bit and the swirl settled. This is not necessarily a sign of wisdom, and may only be a sign of coming age. At least, it points to the necessity of leaving space for things to fully play out; time is actually the very condition for the urgency of such a space.

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Interview with James Voorhies

Interview with James Voorhies

By Bad at Sports

“Bureau” suggests there’s some sense of organization, while “for Open Culture” reflects where we are now. The Bureau for Open Culture is an invitation to lots of people from different disciplines to participate in projects, and also this shape-shifting space between artist and institution that allows lots of different things to occur, which is happening all over the place under the realm of contemporary art.

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