News From The Brother From Another Planet
by Rana Hamadeh
Each week a spoken column offers a personal reflection on the topic of the previous edition. “I’m not real. You’re not real. If you were, you’d have some status among the nations of the world. So we’re both myths.” (Sun Ra, ‘Space is the Place’, 1974). With this statement Sun Ra, musician and pioneer of Afrofuturism, puts into question the notions of justice and rights from the position of the ‘alien’ rather than that of the ‘citizen’. In response to Libia and Olafur’s ongoing project ‘Your Country Does Not Exist’, the spoken column will problematize the notion of alienness in order to ask whether it would be possible to think the ‘rights of man’ beyond the institution of the nation-state. Can outer space be a productive site for rethinking justice? And what would constitute the political agency of the ‘alien’, understood as both an outcast with regards to the law and an extraterrestrial?
Rana Hamadeh is a visual and performance artist from Beirut based in the Netherlands. In her work, she focuses on speech and conversational practices, questioning the conditions of spectatorship, boundaries, authority and mechanisms of meaning production. Her work has been shown in different international venues including a.o. the Van Abbemuseum, The New Museum, and Beirut Art Center.
One Hundred Thousand Solitudes, followed by a Q & A
by Tony Chakar
Beirut born and based architect, artist and writer Tony Chakar first contacts with the Rietveld Academie were established at the beginning of the 21-st century when a group of students and teachers visited Lebanon and were taken on one of Tony’s famous city-tours. Tony has been a regular guest in the Netherlands ever since. Tony Chakar teaches History of Art and History of Architecture at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux arts (ALBA) in Beirut. As a writer he contributes regularly to European art magazines. His artworks and lecture-performances (often in collaboration with other Lebanese artists such as Rabih Mroué, were presented worldwide at many, many venues from the Sharjah Biennial to the Royal College of Art in London. To introduce his lecture for We Are The Time Tony wrote :
“The body in pieces” has ceased to be a metaphor a long time ago. I don’t know exactly when did this happen, and it doesn’t matter. The body in pieces, the body everywhere, the body in perpetual motion, the body that can give meaning to the city in fragments by moving in and out of every fragment – I always thought of those words as words, as concepts or images, but never as an actuality. But then, I saw demonstrators in Syria filming their own deaths; always in short clips, always in an urgent speech mode interrupted by the sound of a few bullets and then, darkness. Sometimes we would see the movement of the image as the phone (used for filming) falls down to the floor. And, less frequently, the clip continues as the phone’s camera is left on. There is nothing more immediate than that, there, where it happened, and there is nothing more remote, more mediated by so many technologies, here (anywhere, the opposite of there). Most of all, there is nothing like a revolution to exacerbate all possibilities, to bring everything to its logical conclusion; for centuries now we’ve been living within dualities that determined and shaped us and the spaces we live in: inner and outer, subjective and objective, thought and feeling, concept and form, materiality and image, private and public, domestic and political – and while Beirut is drowning into a sea of nothingness and perpetually negotiating with itself, in the cities of Syria, where people are filming their own deaths, never have these dualities been so sharply distinct and so intimately blurred, all at the same time; and the city of Homs, which was the butt of so many bad Lebanese jokes about the Syrians during the Syrian occupation, is now the heart of the revolution. The last is now first, and we live in messianic times. And again, as I wrote in 2003: “Soyons désinvoltes. N’ayons l’air de rien.”
Dolls vs Dictators, 2010, 11min
by Martha Colburn
Dolls vs Dictators constructs a science fiction-like landscape in which the Museum of Moving Image’s puppet collection slaughters the last remaining dictators on the planet.
Martha Colburn is a filmmaker, animator, and multimedia artist who employs a variety of techniques, including puppetry, collage, and paint-on-glass. Many of her works address American history and its relationship to contemporary foreign and domestic policy. Colburn has also directed numerous music videos and has taught workshops on her animation techniques throughout the world. Her work has shown in the Whitney Biennial (2006), Centre Pompidou, Andy Warhol Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (NY).