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"The Experiment 3: Utopia Travel - Emanuel Danesch and David Rych"
2001-05-16 until 2001-05-27
Vienna Secession, Association of Visual Artists
Vienna, , AT

Since March 2000, Emanuel Danesch and David Rych have been concerned with video works by artists from the following ten cities: Cairo/Beirut/Istanbul/Sofia/Skopje/Belgrade/Sarajevo/ Zagreb/Ljubljana and Vienna. The selected films reflect the cultural, geographical, political and social situation of the respective cities and their inhabitants. The works are presented in a mobile videotheque installed in a taxi, with which the two artists will drive from Cairo to Vienna in Fall 2001 with stops in the cities named above. At the same time, posters at the Secession announce the respective stations and presentation dates.

During their exhibition in the series Das Experiment from May 17 to 24, Emanuel Danesch and David Rych transfer their project office to the Grafisches Kabinett of the Secession. From this base, they will continue to investigate video works, organize the drive from Cairo to Vienna, plan the presentations in the ten cities and inform exhibition visitors about the development of utopia travel.

With their project, the two artists Emanuel Danesch and David Rych follow the artistic practice of the laboratory, a setting characterized by certain structural preconditions, which focuses on process and the resultant insights or materials. This project opens up the field of art, and the artists produce a mix, in which representatives from various culture studies disciplines participate from the beginning and art and science are intended to merge with one another. Creation and reflection on it are inseparably linked. The boundaries between making and consuming, between the artwork and its documentation are to be largely dissolved. The theme is sensitive and complex and may hardly be treated from a fixed geographical perspective: cultural identities along a south-north line leading from Africa through the Balkans to Vienna. The point of departure is Cairo and the destination is Vienna, between them a series of places, which are respectively linked by a respectful view to the European north and a disrespectful view to the African/Balkan south. Since Gramsci, much has been written about the projections of north and south, of occident and orient as foundations of cultural and socio-political identity. Many symptoms of this dichotomy have been analyzed in art and literature. The project utopia travel goes beyond mere analysis: the two artists contrast the other as a foundation of cultural and political identity with the utopia of a homogeneous society, global culture and universal language. Their intention is not only to analyze and reflect, but also to allow something new to emerge through the mobility of their project, transport this and thus break open old structures. The core of the project is a dynamic videoteque, which treats found material from all the locations, but also incorporates and reflects on the process of selection and viewing. In this way, the work is also a commentary on the narrativity of the art video and its placement between fiction and documentation - documentation of cultural projection, which may in turn itself become a projection again. Another central point is the direction of the project: the conventional perspective in art always goes from the west to the outside or addresses the role of the outside in defining western art. utopia travel starts in Cairo, the resulting knowledge is transported in the direction of Europe. In this way, it may be hoped that something arrives here, which is not determined by a western concept of autonomy and can thus open up an alternative polylogue that is independent of location. Rather than simply tracing a journey to the orient, here the destination becomes the point of departure. Yet this does not mean that what arrives here cannot in turn redefine the basis of art in this location.

(Martin Prinzhorn)

utopia travel,
Secession 2001

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