Within the frame of the cultural events relating to September 11, White Box,
a non-profit cultural space in Chelsea will be presenting RadioActive. This
project by Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, curated by Tanya Leighton,
attempts to take up questions linked to September 11, as well as give voice
to related questions which have emerged over the last year.
The project will take the form of a radio broadcast that will be played
through speakers in front of the gallery of White Box. Passersby will be
able to stop at different times of the day and listen to a variety of
programs. For one of the programs, a talk show titled "Artistalk", Gabri
and Anastas invited a group of prominent and emerging artists and cultural
workers to gather in a downtown cultural space. Each of the invited guests
was then asked to discuss what influence the events of September 11th had
exerted on their work and ideas.
The artists have not always elected to deal with the questions so directly.
For example, in one of the programs entitled "Middle and East", the artists
attempt to consider the history of the Middle East by creating a radio play
with two characters, one named "Middle" and the other "East". The two
characters attempt to navigate through the region with the aid of an archaic
map dating from the Ottoman period. Both artists originate from the Middle
East and feel like they have a unique perspective towards what took place
and the situation that has been unfolding in the last year.
Anastas states, "We believe that there will be a lot of things to think
about at that time here in the city. It has been a strange and difficult
year for many here in New York, but impacts have also been global. We
wanted to make a work that would address some of the issues that have been
raised for us, but do so in a way that would be interesting and different,
local and global." Gabri states, "The funny thing is that we found that in
approaching some of the more intense issues like terror and war, an artistic
approach was useful. We think that artists have a responsibility to respond
to this situation and try to give people an alternative vision of what has
The global dimension of the project spreads further to the curator of the
show, Tanya Leighton, who before moving to New York lived in Glasgow,
Scotland. Leighton states, "As we know, New Yorkers are a diverse group, and
what we want to attempt in producing this work is to let some of this
diversity have a voice. We also feel it is important for the many cultural
figures living here and elsewhere, to participate in a dialogue with this
community, and respond to what we perceive as extremely urgent political
News on the Hour
13:05 politics of culture
14:05 security and its discontents
15:05 middle and east
16:05 who stands united
17:05 on terror
13:05 politics of culture:
An audio report that collages interviews with a variety of individuals
associated or formerly associated with cultural institutions throughout New
York City (MoMA, Guggenheim, Whitney Museum of American Art, White Box, Apex
Art, and many others).
The participants discuss the two states in relation to culture and politics
of culture after September 11th: Simultaneous narratives – fear of the other
– appetite for (the narrative of) the other. A state of heightened
censorship (sometimes imposed top down or sometimes from within) or fear – a
state of apparent openness, tolerance, even increased interest…
Using these polarities as the framework for the questions.
14:05 security and its discontents:
Overworked police, security guards, patrolmen, naval officers, border
guards, INS workers, national guardsmen, coast guardsmen, reserves, airport
security employees, serve as the population for this program. We found that
as long as we were off the record, many of these individuals had interesting
insights to offer into what "heightened security" means on the level of the
15:05 middle and east:
A narration that combines languages, cities, countries, and associated
sounds to tell a story about two protagonists named Middle and East, who are
trying to find their way with a map which dates back to the Ottoman Empire.
16:05 who stands united?:
An audio piece that playfully uses the lyrics and music from the national
anthems of the Americas as a way to introduce questions related to
nationalism, unity, and the status of "the nation".
17:05 on terror:
The session consists of one of the masterpieces of concrete music by Pierre
Henry ‘L'Homme du XXIe Siecle’ (The Man of the 21st Century.) ‘interwoven
with historical texts discussing terror or alluding to its effects’.
A radio play involving a conceptual war of ideas, sampled from the different
recordings of seminal cultural figures, including: Judith Butler, Gayatri
Spivak, Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio
Agamben, Hélène Cixous, Homi K. Bhabha, Nawal Saadawi, and Edward Said.
A round table discussion with artists at Sixteenbeaver group. The artists
were asked to answer the following questions in relation to September 11:
0. What are the issues that make you/us feel an aversion to the two words
1. What questions, concerns, ideas, have September-11 and the uses of
September-11 elicited for you?
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