Kunsthalle Lissabon | Mauro Cerqueira: Sua boca, aberta para gritar, estava cheia de terra

Sua boca, aberta para gritar, estava cheia de terra from mauro cerqueira on Vimeo.


Press release for Mauro Cerqueira's Sua boca, aberta para gritar, estava cheia de terra:

Mauro Cerqueira is presenting, in what is Kunsthalle Lissabon's second exhibition, the project Sua boca, aberta para gritar, estava cheia de terra. The title of the show, a direct quote from the Portuguese translation of Hermann Broch's The Sleepwalkers. The Realist (Part III), refers to the artist's interest in developing a body of work that is anchored more to an ideosyncratic praxis than to the production of a verbal discursivity (or at least one that could be verbally translated). Split in two different, yet complementary moments, the show will open on September 10th in a Kunsthalle Lissabon completely altered in order to welcome a unique performative exercise by Mauro Cerqueira who will then leave the results, and the remains, of that performance accessible to Kunsthalle Lissabon's visitors. One week later, on September 18th, the final part of this project will be presented. Departing from the preassumptions, but mostly from the consequences of his initial performative action, the artist will develop a second body of work that will not only establish a dialog, but also will try to answer to the questions left unanswered by the initial episode.

Mauro Cerqueira was born in Guimarães in 1982. Having studied Artes/Desenho at Escola Superior Artística do Porto – Extensão de Guimarães, he now lives and works in Porto. Cerqueira has started his artistic activity recently, in second half of this decade and some of his solo shows include Lição nº 2, Espaço Campanhã, Porto, 2009; Desenhos do Sol, Round the Corner, Lisbon, 2009; Derrapagem, Galeria Reflexus, Porto, 2008 and A Festa do Fim do Mundo, A Sala, Porto, 2008. He also was part of the following group shows: Entroncamento, Espaço Avenida 211, Lisbon, 2009; Prémio EDP Novos Artistas, Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon, 2009; Part-ilha, Spike Island, Bristol, United Kingdom, 2008 and Pilot: 3, Venice, Italy and Chelsea College of Arts & Design, London, United Kingdom, 2007. He is also responsible, in partnership with André Sousa, for the curatorial project A Certain Lack of Coherence, in Porto. More recently, Cerqueira has been awarded an honorary mention at Prémio EDP Novos Artistas 2008. He is represented by Galeria Graça Brandão in Lisbon and by Galeria Reflexus in Porto.

O galerista deseja que o artista mantenha o anonimato

(comissioned by Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporânea for the project with the same name)

O que é que um nome esconde? Uma filiação, um contexto específico, uma idiossincracia auto legitimada? Tudo isto e provavelmente mais. Um nome age como marcador (um identificador, se preferirmos) que diferencia o individual do colectivo, o pessoal do comum. O nome delimita uma personalidade e, consequentemente, uma subjectividade. No caso de o nome referir um autor, a questão torna-se mais complexa. A marca autoral dá continuidade, e coerência, a uma prática, torna-a apreensível e explicável à luz da tal subjectividade que já mencionámos. Mas funciona também como garante de relevância cultural, e através da comodificação dessa mesma relevância, de valor económico. Um nome vale dinheiro.

O título deste projecto é auto explicativo; ele é, simplesmente, o que o título indica: o galerista deseja que o artista mantenha o anonimato. O mecanismo de comodificação da ficção autoral, de que a figura do galerista depende para sobreviver, é aqui aniquilada num jogo irónico e a prática comercial automaticamente posta em causa. Quem irá adquirir para a sua colecção privada (ou institucional) algo sobre cujo autor não se sabe absolutamente nada, identidade incluída? Como é que se prescreve a atribuição de um preço, quando o artista (o autor) não sendo anónimo (porque não o é) também não é revelado? E como, fazendo o percurso inverso, se poderá aferir da relevância cultural, que neste caso poderá, ou não prescrever o valor económico, se a continuidade autoral é absolutamente desconhecida?

Se o autor é uma ficção, o que serão estes projectos?

O galerista será o único que saberá responder...

Kunsthalle Lissabon | space opening and Nuno Sousa Vieira: X-Office for a Sculpture


Curatorial statement for the overall project (Portuguese only):

Uma exposição pode ser pensada como um ponto fulcral onde convergem conceitos e convenções relacionados com a prática artística contemporânea. É também o local onde os objectos que têm origem nessa mesma prática são tornados acessíveis a uma audiência e, também, onde narrativas específicas são activadas. Além disso, toda a forma de apresentação de um conjunto de obras não só estabelece relações entre artista, arte, instituição e audiência, como dá origem a rotinas e rituais de consumo, apreciação e interacção específicos. É exactamente este poder de atribuição de significados, criação de contextos e posicionamento da audiência que sugere a relevância de um possível reequacionamento crítico e de uma eventual subversão de modelos expositivos tradicionais, das suas convenções de apresentação de obras e construção de significados. Estratégias mais contextuais de realização de exposições podem, e devem, desafiar as hierarquias e categorizações existentes, através das quais relações na arte contemporãnea e, de modo mais abrangente, na produção cultural actual, tendem a ser reproduzidas de forma automática e incessante.

Kunsthalle Lissabon é um projecto de João Mourão e Luís Silva


Press release for Nuno Sousa Vieira's X-Office for a Sculpture:

X-Office for a Sculpture is Kunsthalle Lissabon's first curatorial proposal and it is the direct result of an invitation done to artist Nuno Sousa Vieira to develop a context-responsive project.
Departing from the physical space Kunsthalle Lissabon occupies and using an architectural structure already existing there, Sousa Vieira presents a project that recontextualizes the characteristics or properties of that pre-existing structure, operating what can be called an architecural deviation and, by doing so, also reconfiguring and recontextualizing the space that contained the original structure.

Nuno Sousa Vieira was born in Leiria, Portugal in 1971. Having studied Visual Arts at ESTGAD, Caldas da Rainha, he lives and works in Leiria and Lisbon. Sousa Vieira has started his artistic activity in the first half of this decade and some of his solo shows include Chão Morto, Carpe Diem, Lisbon, 2009; To Draw An Escape Plan, Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon, 2009; Redesenhar, Empty Cube, Lisbon, 2008; SP(H)É(I), Galeria Graça Brandão, Porto, 2006; 1 Hour Later e Impossible Rectilinear Space (m/m# 1/6), CAV, Coimbra, 2005.

Kunsthalle Lissabon | Words Don't Come Easy: Nuno Sousa Vieira


Conversa entre Nuno Sousa Vieira, João Mourão e Luís Silva, a propósito da exposição X-Office for a Sculpture, realizada na Kunsthalle Lissabon, em Julho de 2009.

(versão em PDF)

O X, replicado exaustivamente e consequentemente automatizado através de expressões como, por exemplo, "X marks the spot", representa uma incógnita, o desconhecido, mas também se constitui como o local onde duas linhas concorrentes, dois percursos, se preferirmos, se interceptam, criando um ponto, definido única e exclusivamente pela sua localização no espaço. O que é que o X no título deste projecto, X-Office for a Sculpture, sinaliza?

Sinaliza a incógnita de um ponto de partida. No contexto da minha produção artística, o espectador é constantemente convocado para um tempo que não é o que está a ser experienciado naquele momento. Em todas as obras existe um momento de aparição - o X tempo e lugar, onde a obra se dá a ver ao seu produtor e, para mim, esse é o lugar da obra, lugar esse que contém um tempo, que se inscreve vertiginosamente no passado. O meu desejo de revisitar esse lugar de criação e de o partilhar com o outro requer uma marcação.
No momento em que eu desenvolvo um projecto existe um grau de imprevisibilidade face ao que vai ser o resultado de determinado procedimento, já que não imagino os meus trabalhos dotados, à partida, de uma forma específica. No decurso da realização de uma peça surge uma acção, que resultará obrigatoriamente numa forma, mas essa só se tornará visível diante dos meus olhos após a sua materialização; facto que constitui o X como incógnita.
Por outro lado, o X de duas concorrentes é uma das três possibilidades de definição de um plano e o plano, bidimensional e não matérico, existente apenas no mundo das ideias, é a mais elementar parcela do meu trabalho, as minhas esculturas não são tridimensionais, são os procedimentos que sobre os planos desenvolvo que os tridimensionalizam.

Neste caso concreto, estás a convocar o espectador não só para um tempo diferente, o passado, como para um contexto diferente, um escritório. O material que usas nas duas esculturas não só tem origem, como define e delimita esse passado e esse contexto prévios; a tua intervenção parece então operar não só uma alteração formal e conceptual da estrutura que utilizas como, nesse processo re-articula e redefine as próprias premissas do espaço, de maneira a acompanhar e proporcionar um contexto coerente e significante para as tuas peças. Quando desenvolveste este projecto tiveste em mente as consequências dessa redefinição das premissas do espaço pela tua acção sobre o que lá existia, ou é uma espécie de subproduto que não te interessa particularmente? Ou dito de outra maneira, é de alguma forma diferente, apresentares este trabalho na Kunsthalle Lissabon de o fazeres num qualquer outro local (genérico)? Fazemos-te esta pergunta porque o convite para desenvolveres este projecto e seres o primeiro artista convidado não foi gratuito: resulta do interesse, quase subversivo, em ser o artista, pela sua prática, um dos agentes privilegiados de transformação (e sobretudo, legitimação) de um espaço qualquer num espaço expositivo, numa Kunsthalle, e não o oposto.

A convocação de um outro tempo acarreta sempre um novo contexto. O que me interessou neste projecto foi sentir e intuir as potencialidades do espaço e ter percebido de que forma é que seria possível articulá-lo com o trabalho que tenho vindo a desenvolver. Os meus últimos projectos convocam o espaço do meu ateliê como material e matéria de produção. Um outro espaço poderia ser perigoso: o facto de repetir alguns procedimentos poderia ser entendido como a aplicação do mesmo princípio num outro local. Os meus trabalhos não pretendem ser site-specific, mas a sua elaboração e produção contemplam algumas das premissas dessa tipologia de prática. O espaço da Kunsthalle não tem qualquer aproximação, do ponto de vista físico, com o espaço do meu ateliê; as dimensões são opostas, o tempo é diferente, a função de cada um dos espaços não é a mesma. O meu ateliê era uma antiga unidade fabril e a Kunsthalle está sediada num espaço que funcionava para a prestação de serviços mas, existe, no entanto, um ponto de aproximação entre eles, ambos estão desactivados e mantêm elementos que os conectam com as suas anteriores actividades. Estão desactivados e não degradados e em nenhum deles foi a deterioração da estrutura que motivou o seu abandono.
No meu trabalho existe um desejo de recolocar no patamar do visível elementos, objectos ou situações que estavam condenados ao abandono e ao desaparecimento. A arte tem essa capacidade de transformação e de recolocação e isso interessa-me bastante. No meu trabalho, no entanto, procuro manter características que permitam a identificação e o reconhecimento. O que está diante dos olhos do espectador convoca uma outra situação, dirige para um outro tempo, mas passa sempre pela possibilidade de identificação do que cada um daqueles elementos, objectos ou situações especiíficos foi ou ainda é.

Pode então dizer-se que há um trabalho de cristalização de uma memória específica? Uma estratégia de preservação, não descontextualizada, mas antes recontextualizada, de um passado recente? A metáfora da arqueologia acabou de nos aparecer como relevante no teu processo de trabalho...

Sim e não. Existe da minha parte um desejo de tentar perceber e conhecer ambos os lados e colocar um ao serviço do outro. O objecto, que confronta o olhar do observador é um pretexto, uma espécie de embuste, que fomenta e possibilita o confronto, por vezes desviante, entre o que a obra é, de facto, e o que é dado a ver.

Essa dialéctica embustiva, se assim a podemos chamar, entre aquilo que a obra é (que por si só já é algo problemático) e aquilo que é dado a ver, pode ser articulada também em termos de realidade e percepção, que é outra porta de entrada para o teu trabalho. Cortes, torções, desvios, rotações constituem, de alguma forma, elementos de uma gramática muito específica que visa deteriorar (ou pelo menos causar um efeito desestabilizador) a percepção e, consequentemente, a relevância dada à empiria como modo privilegiado de acesso ao real. Podemos encarar o teu trabalho como uma crítica da empiria?

De certa forma sim… nos meus trabalhos existe uma certa ironia, aparentemente e num primeiro momento, está tudo resolvido; o desconforto, o desvio, o embuste estão lá, e sempre estiveram, mas só se tornam evidentes quando o espectador começa a articular as diversas partes e elas não se interligam segundo os mesmos princípios, tornando-se necessário voltar atrás e começar tudo de novo, procurar novos caminhos e novas perspectivas. Não existe um só percurso para um fim, nem existe sempre a mesma lógica de percurso.

Mas a possibilidade dessa tal leitura crítica relativamente a um certo determinismo empírico deve ser algo que é recorrentemente apontado na tua prática... o legado da representação geométrica e as experiências de cariz formal que desenvolves em estruturas eminentemente arquitectónicas apontam nesse sentido...

Não me parece… é recorrente o facilitismo com que, por diversas vezes, assisto a posturas que reduzem a prática artística a conceptual ou formal, como se uma existisse sem a outra, como se alguma delas existisse em absoluto, como se não fosse uma utopia ou um desvio da realidade ou, menos interessante, como se não existisse mais nada. Isso seria bom, seria tudo mais fácil e muito mais simples; o reconhecimento e o entendimento saíam facilitados, mas por ventura tornar-se-ia menos interessante. No meu trabalho recorro ao legado da organização, conhecimento, reconhecimento e utilização do espaço. Nesse sentido, a arquitectura faz sentido, a representação geométrica faz sentido, a observação cósmica faz sentido, as acções fazem sentido...

Mas a ligar todos esses aspectos a que recorres, ou a dar-lhes sentido, se preferires, encontra-se a ideia do desvio, que nos faz voltar ao início desta conversa... existe uma pulsão recontextualizante associada ao desvio (de carácter eminentemente semântico) que pode ser considerado o fio condutor?

Existe. Não sei se poderá ser considerado fio condutor, mas sem dúvida que o embuste e o desvio são características do meu trabalho e, em última instância, a minha primeira abordagem a um plano metaforiza esse desvio. Ao tentar efectivar a marcação de um rebatimento do lado menor sobre o maior, o quadrado não se constrói, uma das linhas sai desviante e é um trapézio que se desenha, um trapézio rectângulo, ou melhor, um quadrado a dois tempos. Este pode ser o primeiro embuste ou engano, mas existem mais; não sei se se efectivam como fio condutor.

E neste projecto concreto, X-Office for a Sculpture, qual é o embuste?

Essa pergunta não se faz (risos). A sua resposta mataria o projecto…
Não existe um embuste no sentido de este projecto específico recorrer a um embuste específico, e o projecto anterior recorrer a outro. Não se trata de uma carteira de embustes a que eu recorro e da qual selecciono um para cada novo trabalho; o que existe é que, a determinada altura, a obra aponta para coisas que não se efectivam segundo os padrões definidos. Por exemplo, o meu trabalho é escultura, mas não é escultura, é uma superfície bidimensional que, por acção do tempo, se tridimensionalizou… assim sendo, aquelas esculturas são, na realidade, desenhos.

Tens razão... não falemos do embuste... falemos então dos títulos das peças e, mais especificamente, da referência que fazem a um buraco ou um furo (hole, em inglês). De onde vem esta referência (Hole for Wall, o título da peça principal, e The Hole of the Wall, a escultura feita a partir do material que removeste da peça principal para lhe conferir aquela inclinação) e qual a relação, se existente, com o título da exposição, X-Office for a Sculpture?

Os títulos são o que são, um caminho de entrada, mas não o único caminho permitido. Existe, da minha parte, uma evocação para o processo, a forma final é um pretexto que documenta uma acção e os títulos convocam precisamente para esse momento de génese criativa, onde a matéria prima, que era produto acabado, se transforma em objecto artístico.

Reviews: Kunsthalle Lissabon | space opening and Nuno Sousa Vieira

Arte na Avenida - Celso Martins
Expresso/Actual: #1917 - July 25, 2009


Espaços Off - Rui Gonçalves Cepeda
Diário de Notícias/Notícias Sábado': #185 - July 25, 2009


Entrevista com João Mourão - Teresa Pizarro
"Molduras"/Antena 2/RTP: July 24, 2009


Uma casa de crítica e experimentação - Miguel Matos
Time Out Lisboa: July 8, 2009


Kunsthalle Lissabon abre com Nuno Sousa Vieira
Notícias Sábado': #183 - July 11, 2009

LX 2.0: carlos katastrofsky - vir.us.exe


vir.us.exe is a windows program, communicated and spread by e-mail announcements, mailing lists and other networked (viral) press activities.
katastrofsky explains that a virus lives upon the reproduction of itself with the aim to survive as long as possible. However, the most dangerous parts of such an infection are not always the harmful cells a virus is based upon; it is the psychological concept of fear acting invisibly in the background. The project thus strips down the mechanisms of a viral infection and transfers its core principles into the digital realm. By avoiding everything a virus should do, only the virus itself will be left. This way it will become a meta-virus spreading not because it is an actual virus but because it is perceived as such.
vir.us.exe is commissioned by KURATOR and LX 2.0 for their INFECTED project, as part of the Anti-Bodies programme co-ordinated by Relational with support from Arts Council England, granted the London 2012 Inspire mark as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

vir.us.exe

(originally published in SUTZL, W., & COX, G. Creating Insecurity: Art and Culture in the Age of Security, pp. 53-56. Autonomedia. Brooklin, 2009.)

Computer virus have long been considered our machines' most fearsome foes. Able to replicate themselves and spread uncontrollably throughout communication networks, they constitute a direct threat to all the information we keep in our disks and hold so dearly. But computer virus, like their organic counterparts, function, even if we tend to perceive it as one single effect, on two different levels. First of all, they INFECT, their rogue activity has consequences, damaging the hosting systems and spreading their reach; and secondly, they also THREAT, causing a generalized feeling of insecurity and fear, originated by the perception of the eventual infection's outcomes.

carlos katastrofsky's project vir.us.exe (2009), co-commisioned by Kurator and LX 2.0 for the Anti-Bodies programme, departs from and investigates this dual nature that defines viral activity. vir.us.exe is a windows program that once downloaded by the user and executed in her machine, will simply delete itself. Despite such a harmless and even self-destructive behavior (on the antipodes of a common viral infection), the program is defined and promoted as an actual virus, that one, if brave or careless enough, can install, risking her computer and in the process compromising her own security.

Reminiscent of Russian Roulette (2006), a p2p-related piece in which a call was launched inviting users to upload files of their choice that could later be randomly downloaded by other users who had no knowledge whatsoever of the content of those files, possibly threatening the integrity of their machines, vir.us.exe is, like so many other katastrofsky's projects, a silent project. One of two things can happen: either the user perceives vir.us.exe as an actual threat and doesn't engage with the application, maintaining her system safe; or she will download and run the application, leading to its self deletion, and as in the previous situation nothing much will happen. Or will it? The core of the project doesn't lie in running or not a piece of software in order to obtain a certain outcome. The application is simply an excuse, a set-up that is carefully created by the artist to trigger a response in the user, to confront her and investigate how the psychology of fear works (we're not far from the strategies and methodologies of early social pshychology experiments) and causes one to react. vir.us.exe isn't a virus because it infects a computer, it is a virus because it triggers the exact same responses every virus triggers, regardless of causing an actual infection. In that sense we can say it becomes a meta-virus, not threatning, but being perceived as a threat.

Curating a routine

Forcing myself into visiting a contemporary art show every day (Monday to Friday, resting on weekends and holidays), how long will I endure? A matter of empirically-driven and self-imposed lack of reflexivity as a primary basis to a dis-ideologized curatorial practice or a simple affair of availability versus selection, chance versus choice?

Getting too close to art: An email conversation between Les Liens Invisibles and Luis Silva


Luis Silva: So, how close did you get to Duchamp’s bicycle?

LLI: Too much I think. With the ambiguous title Too close to Duchamp’s bicycle — one of our last small pieces — we wanted to suggest our poetical proximity with Duchamp’s conceptual approach, but, at the same time, the necessity to find a way out of that complacent mannerism often abused in many contemporary art practices.


In what way is your work (for instance subvertr or A Fake is a Fake) close to Duchamp’s conceptual approach? And in a time where every artist proclaims his or her closeness to Duchamp, what is the relevance of such a statement?

Duchamp has influenced net art as well as all contemporary art, but I don’t think there is a strict connection between that kind of approach and the one ofsubvertr or A Fake is a Fake(FIAF). The detournement of popular web services like flickr or word press, is a practice that involves both a conceptual and a pop approach. Regarding your second question, I think that relevance is not so important in our statement. Words are like a funny playground: you can have a lot of fun with them, but, in times of semiotic saturation and media proliferation, you shouldn’t give words too much importance, especially if we are the ones who spoke them.


The conceptual approach is self evident, but I got really curious as to what you mean by a “pop approach” in works likesubvertr or fiaf. Is this notion of pop a reference to the pop culture as we know it in the early 21st century (a certain MTV generation, if you wish…) or to pop as the movement in the field of visual art, that to a certain extent reacted against more conceptual (and cryptic) approaches to art making? Can conceptual and pop coexist in one of your pieces?

As the Pop Art movement came out from the massification produced by rising visual commodities and the popular mass culture, we think that our approach to the newest media homologation sources like social networks and tagging process is quite similar: used to work with brands and style of the image society, we manipulate web 2.0 symbols and imagery isolated from their original context. This attitude is most evident insubvertr where we encourage our users to embrace this practice in first person.

Anyway, beyond this playful and glossy appearance our works want to be a vehicle for conceptual messages — this is what we mean when we talk about invisible links. Peking 2008 can be considered an example of the exact bipartition of these two components: behind the hijacking of the event’s popular brand and the rising mediatic context of the Tibetan repression, a pixel advertising system offer allowing everyone to buy visibility: a manifest criticism of the attention economy.


subvertr is a very interesting example, when you encourage users to interact with it (whatever that means…) you are encouraging them to do the exact same thing as if they were using flickr, so the process is exactly the same, it is the underlying concept of subversion that changes. Could one say that there’s no difference between flickr and subvertr? That they are one and the same thing and that it is the use one makes of it that makes the difference? To me, it seems like such a great wake-up call, you know, returning agency back into the hands of the user, the individual… which is in a way, the case of A fake is a fake

Of course, using flickr is not different from using subvertr, from a strictly practical point of view. So if you already have used flickr before you can find a seeming familiarity with the application and its workflow.

Besides this undeniable advantage of usability copying, this kind of detournement makes self-evident the different goal behind: while many people still think that user generated contents are going to build up a huge global networked mind, with the practice subvertagging instead of usual tagging you can realize that this so-called global mind is not a sum of all human intelligence at all, but its least common multiple, a global flattening trend where an homologation needing prevails against individual imaginaries.

In the same way, A Fake is a Fake is born from the disillusion of the nano-publishing revolution. Detourning one of the most famous blogging platforms - the Word Press platform - AFIAF wants to be the ironical answer to the visibility needing of the small blogs, where independent contents have difficulty to come out.


Detournement is an expression you utilize very frequently. Is it a key element for defining and understanding your work? And can there be work by Les Liens Invisibles outside of such strategy?

Cut&Paste techniques are very common in digital/remix cultures. The reappropriation of logos, symbols, pictures and videos taken from the web (or from any other medium) is a funny and joyful activity. We often utilize the expression detournement just because we want to stress the political implication of the process of manipulation. I mean, it’s not just art for art’s sake but a kind of reaction against the violence of the hyper-representation of the real.

Of course, outside the detournement strategy there are many approaches and techniques we like to play with too, and that’s why, as you noticed, some of our works (Too close to Duchamp’s bicycle or Neverending Happy End) look very different from other ones.


One of the most obvious remarks one can make when paying attention to your work is that you can be easily affiliated to a critical/political discourse towards the medium you explore and from there to society in general. Do you consider yourselves activists? Why?

Well, it all depends on what you mean with activism: activism is a complex body of practices and, in recent times, due to the exponential pervasion of technology, there has been a lot of attention to its new forms of recombination with art and technology (e.g. artivism, hacktivism, media-activism). We like to cross the borderlines between art, politics and technologies but even if, as you say, in our works the critical/political component is fundamental, we generally don’t consider ourselves activists. We play with any kind of representation of the real taken from mainstream contexts in order to shift meanings and to ridicule the aura of media. People tend to give too much importance to media and their representations of the real. This is why we do not consider ourselves activists: we just work with reproductions of reality. I think activism today mainly needs the participation and the interaction of the body with other bodies and it’s quite strange to remark that in the era of self-organized social networks, what’s lacking is a new culture of body-based political participation.


But by making visible those “invisible links”, by simply working with mediated representations of reality, and bringing awareness to them, what do you expect to achieve? Why do you do it in the first place? For instance, going back to one of your recent projects, Google is not the map, what led you to get interested in Google Earth and Maps?

A peculiarity of all the mediated representations of reality - of which our life is oversaturated - is this drive to explain their particular truth in order to persuade people with their particular message.

On the opposite side, in each work we do, we look for those things that we usually call invisible links (les liens invisibles): an invisible link is like a hidden path toward a state of uncertainty and possibility. We are interested in throw a doubt in the spectator, as a starting point to reveal the ephemeral layer on which perception is based on, and to discover the importance of his own subjective reality against the imposed/suggested ones.

That’s why we got interested in Google Earth. Maps — and we’re not referring here only to Google Earth/Maps — are one of the most influencing medium for the perception of physical territories around us. Beyond its scientific appearance, a map, though it is supposed to neutrally reflect the physical space, imposes its particular point of view. But dots, lines areas and any other cartographic element exist only as will (of who detains the power to control and manipulate them) and representation. Think, just for instance, to maps’ boundary lines: boundaries are non-existent perimeters, invisible overlays over people’s mind which generates identitarianisms, struggles, conflicts and discriminations. The subversion of the conventional grammar of maps is the way we chose to refuse and subvert their implicit, dogmatic rules: maps become geoPoeMaps, absurd and poetical points of view in which any dot, any lines, any area becomes sign of a joyful abstraction.


You tend to call your video works small pieces (Too close to Duchamp’s bicycle and also Neverending Happy End). Is there a hierarchy of importance between video and your “bigger” pieces?

It’s not a matter of hierarchy and it’s not strictly referable to our video works, we love all our projects in the same way. We used to call them small against our other works just because their creation is not planned: their realization is more spontaneous and takes us less time than other long-term work likesubvertr.com or FIAF.

Being more spontaneous, they don’t seem to be as engaged in “linking the invisible” as your other work. They’re more cheerful, or playful, in a way. Would you say they are the opposite of your other projects?

We’d like to consider them not as opposing each other but coming from opposite sides and converging to the same point. Tracing new directions, we want to stress one more time that different ways of reaching the same goals are always practicable, and they might look funny too. This kind of approach is often useful even for ourselves: really, we don’t like to take us too seriously…


In your website you define yourselves as “an imaginary art-group from Italy”. If you’re imaginary whom am I talking to?

Well, this is quite simple. You’re talking to Clemente Pestelli and Gionatan Quintini two — among many others — human interfaces between you and the invisible.


And Guy The Bore? Who is he? A boring version of Debord? And why did you choose it, or how does it relate to Les Liens Invisibles?

Guy The Bore is just a name taken from a text of Luther Blissett. But this is not so important. There are many alias in les liens invisibles: Guy McMusker, Angela Merelli, Guido Segni, Guy The Bore, Rudolph Papier, etc. They are like dresses: we can have a funny and/or serious interface depending on the context of communication where we are acting.


Why do you need those interfaces?

The point is not about the need for interfaces. It’s the same as asking why we need clothes or names. The point is about needing identities when they are nothing but conventional labels. As artists working on the internet we think it is just too narrow, naive and frustrating having to replicate online the same identity games we play in the real world.


But choosing them isn’t without a purpose, or is it completely random? I mean, their existence serves a purpose, within the Les Liens Invisibles existence, or not?

We choose names for our aliases as a writer chooses the names for his characters. I mean, sometimes we choose a name just because of its sound, sometimes for its evocative power, sometimes for its symbolic meaning. So Guy The Bore, for instance, just evocates Debord but it is also a reference to Luther Blissett and it tastes ironical. Our attitude to handle and manipulate all these names depends on our point of view on mediated realities: identities, like other fiction-based media, are conventions, and a fake, in the end, is only a fake, anyway. Let’s just play with’em.

Kurator and LX 2.0: INFECTED - VIRAL CALL FOR VIRAL WORK


KURATOR and LX 2.0 are looking for a new work to infect the Olympics.

We will commission two online projects that respond to the idea of the 'virus' for 'Anti-Bodies: Beyond The Body-Ideal', a series of projects that reflect on the ideal 'body-machine' of the Olympic athlete. By virus we mean to draw attention to any agent that is able to reproduce itself and spread over communications networks and infect the host body. For instance, a computer virus describes the self-reproducing activities of a program that can simply spread and affect other programs, and thereby reflects the structural properties of the computer and the network it operates through. Moreover, the cultural form of a virus embodies the principles of negation in keeping with the anti-bodies theme.

There are a number of precedents for artists dealing with the virus as metaphor in the broadest sense. An example is the 'biennale.py' virus that contaminated the Venice Biennale's web site (produced by 0100101110101101.org with epidemiC, for the Slovenian pavilion of 2000). For the programmer Jaromil, the source code of a virus is potential lyrical poetry. Related to this, the elegance of his Unix shell 'forkbomb' (2002) encapsulates this aesthetic approach in presenting only thirteen characters to dramatic effect. Once entered into the command line of a Unix shell and run, the program exhausts the system's resources, causing the computer to crash. It was also included in the exhibition 'I Love You: Computer, Viren, Hacker, Kultur' (held at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, in 2002), referring to the 'I Love You' virus (of 2000) that spread through the communities of the Internet. The destructive potential of a virus operates in the spirit of auto-destruction and Dadaist tactics to negate the destructive tendencies of the social world.

The commission fee is UK£1000. In addition, the artists will be offered a short residency (up to 10 days) to develop the work with the Art & Social Technologies Research group at the University of Plymouth in UK (http://www.art-social.net). Accommodation and travel will be covered (up to UK£500 /per commission).

Anti-Bodies is co-ordinated by Relational, supported by Arts Council England and has been granted the London 2012 Inspire mark as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

LX 2.0: Les Liens Invisibles - Google Is Not The Map




"The world is my idea": this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness.
Arthur Schopenhauer from "The world as will and representation"

Since ancient times cartography has been used to describe the world as a geometric ensemble of measurable points, lines, areas and data-labels on a plane.
While the world slowly fades away in an increasingly multiplication of self-representations, the map making process - missing its real reference - becomes nothing more than an empty-meaning abstract practice: so, what do all those maps stand now for?
In order to disclose this contradiction - or just to give a paradoxical point of view about it - the imaginary art-group Les Liens Invisibles has explored the world along its self-referential techno-linguistic layers, moving through its hidden mechanisms and forcing the grammar of its public-released API code.
Commissioned by LX 2.0 - a project by Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporânea, Google Is Not The Map (GISNTM) is a collection of over35 GeoPoeMaps, a series of works in which ordinary maps become the unusual surfaces used to disarticulate perception of the world, to trace new routes across the boundaries and to draw new imaginary geometries of the possible.

Reviews: LX 2.0 - Les Liens Invisibles

"Google Is Not The Map (GISNTM)"  by Les Liens Invisibles by penelope.di.pixel

Google is Not the Map by Frédérique Entrialgo

Google is not the Map by Baudelot

La subjectivisation des cartes by sumoto.iki

Mandalas and Incense Holders: an email conversation with Aleksandra Mir

(originally published by Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporânea for Aleksandra Mir's solo show Mandalas and Incense Holders, from November 14 to December 31, 2008, Lisbon)

Mandalas are of Hindu origin, but their principles can be found in a few other religious systems. They may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts, as a spiritual teaching tools, for establishing sacred spaces or as an aid to meditation and trance induction; Carl Jung saw them as representations of the unconscious self... what interested you in this subject?

Their universality, really. The Mandala can be seen as a scientific map of an expanding universe or of a tiny molecule, or as the very center of one's soul. It's graphic principle -- a central focal point around which other matter is revolving through an actual or seemingly gravitational pull -- is well represented in nature. Think of a flower's stigma, surrounded by petals; a star and it's planetary system. In our bodies, the iris of the eye and the nipple of the breast are designed in a way to draw in our attention and focus. Every culture through the ages has riffed on the theme through elaborate and decorative representations of the divine (Catholic stained glass rose windows stand next to the Tibetan ephemeral version made out of sand), but this heritage doesn't seem to make being serene and centered any easier today. My own kitchen-sink Mandalas are for the alcoholic in all of us. The first one I made was made up of Jack Daniel's Bottles.

Despite this poetic underlying tone, two things, constant throughout your body of work, come to mind when looking at the Mandalas, a certain political (or critical, if you prefer) position, and derivative or not from the previous, a humorous and playful (or ironical, perhaps) approach to the subject. Is this something you like to achieve in a conscious way or can it be considered a by-product of your artistic concerns? Do you consider yourself a skeptical?

The humor is central in my own work and to the art of other artists that I appreciate the most. The construction of a great joke makes for masterpiece in my mind. It is therefore not clear to me why we have chosen to banalize humor, or to see it as anti-intellectual, when we all agree that the best jokes contain the sharpest and quickest analysis of our societies and selves. And sure, skepticism or irony or at least an attempt to try things out, only to fail, but still be able to laugh, makes for a big part of my method.

How do the Incense Holders relate to the Mandalas series?

They are these little accessories I made, unique for this show, to accompany the Mandala drawings. They are basically these spontaneous paper sculptures in all shapes, with bends and folds that are held up by nothing but the memory of my drawing paper. Their function is to hold up a colorful incense stick. I thought it could be pretty and fragrant in the gallery.

Since you use all media available to you, why did you choose drawing for this project? The title "The Church of Sharpie" comes directly to my mind.

Drawing is the most immediate way for me to work out an idea and have it speak back to me. In art school we learn to associate drawing as a preparatory method for painting. I couldn't be further away from that idea. For me, drawing is an extension of writing and of performance, the physical trace of movement and the direct imprint of language.

Is there any connection between the spiritual aspects of Mandalas and the community (a certain togetherness) aspects explored in that project?

That is a little far fetched but OK. I often hire assistants to help in my work and we do form a type of community around the labor, the conversations we have while we work, the food and music that we consume, but this is not particularly unique to the Mandala project.
The 'Church of Sharpie' was a title born out of the recognition of a devoted community, but it is hardly spiritual in its impetus, simply kept together by a social (capitalist) contract of work between myself, my galleries and my assistants. The development of my concepts also precedes the collective work in the studio. I do most of the thinking alone, in front of the computer.

Sharpies became a signature mark of your work, despite the fact your work is so hard to categorize in terms of traditional artistic disciplines. You've written that they are the marker of your time and the trace of a frail act of performance. What is it that interests you in these marker pens?

Using a marker pen that is simply part of my daily environment is a handy way to make something contemporary and to demystify the artistic process. Art can be made with anything, anywhere at anytime. So "traditional media" seem quite limiting to me.

The demystification of the artistic process seems to be a very central aspect of your production. Departing from contextual social practices and personal histories and arriving to open systems that people can relate to, you undermine pre-established conventions of art-making.
Once a critic told me " walking with a big umbrella in the middle of the street isn't art". How come did this this become a concern and what would your answer to that critic be?

I have nothing to hide, nothing to lose, and I sleep well at night.

Sobe, sobe, balão sobe [Rise, rise, balloon rise],


sang Manuela Bravo at the Eurovision Song Contest of 1979, the year of André Gonçalves' birth. The singer's performance can be easily found on YouTube and, on looking at it, we cannot avoid finding ourselves confronted with a certain temporal discrepancy, a nostalgic feeling, a refrence to a time that is no longer ours, that no longer exists, but which is still near enough to be present in our memory. The choice of this subject is no coincidence, as can easily be seen in the song's title and exhibited work, and is not gratuitous either. Most of André Gonçalves' works explore the feeling of discomfort resulting from the lack of adequacy of technological cultural artifacts to a contemporary context, due to their quick obsolescence. Thus, the use (recycling) of outmoded equipment and a work method that embodies autodidactism and the DIY ethics (and aesthetics) as its organising principle are fundamental to our understanding of Gonçalves' approach. The DIY logic is especially important here, not only as a fundamental modus operandi of contemporary culture and, more specifically, of what is termed "digital culture" by a certain academic discourse, but also as a strategy that runs through all the production of this artist, be it in musical or contemporary art terms.

Tape Loop, the piece which openes this edition of "7 artists on the 10th month" is the result of Gonçalves' interest in "dead media!, previously formulated in works like Pong (2008) or Untitled #06 (2007). Tape loop is, in simple terms, a message written on magnetic tape, that relic from an obsolete analogue past when cassettes provided a widely available means of storing information. "New media" states the tape, provocatively: the "old" (or "dead") as the prophet of the "new". However, this connection between obsolete and contemporary is not as clear as it seems: the latter's support is the former and, this being a loop, we expect the latter to unavodably become the former, "dying too". The loop's logic is, by definition, a circular one, acting here as the metaphor for a process that swiftly creates, uses and destroys new technologies/products.

In Of how we have to leave doubts, expectations and the unachieved, a piece created specifically for the exhibition, Gonçalves deals with another one of his recurring subjects: the technological control of natural phenomena on a personal scale; more specifically, the emulation of the natural dislocation of air, the wind. The use of computer fans, originally used for cooling the machine, preventing its possible damaging through overheating, has been a constant feature in his work (I thought some daisies might cheer you up, 2006 or You got me floating, 2007). In the version shown here, the fans are semi-industrial and the ballons remain, but instead of poetically hanging in the air, by means of a controlled air flux, or perpetually ascending, as in Manuela Bravo's ditty, they now move across a firing range, while camera-controlled paintball guns shoot to destroy them, splattering an amalgam of latex and paint across the installatio's space. This apparatus is apparently self-contained; interactivity, which is both a means of distinguishing the "new media" from the so-called traditional art forms and a utopian promise of a new kind of art, is here inexistent and undesired. The ballons' inconsequent lightness and the guns' automatic violence create a perfect dialectic, which needs no elements extraneous to its own condition. However, even though intractivity is out of the question, the same cannot be said of interference, since Gonçalves has conceived his system in such a way that some balloons can escape the guns'computerised aim and reach the end of the corridor untouched, where more uninhibited or curious viewers may, with some effort, take them and put them back into the system, thus disrupting the piece's apparently self-containedcondition, in which no outside intervention would seem possible.
In previous works, the ballons floated; now they are targets of robtised weapons. André Gonçalve's first piece for an institutional context is also his first piece to show a more violent side, in which the poetics of lightness and imponderability is replaced by the noisy roar of destruction. Have all doubts and expectations been abandoned once and for all?


Comissioned by Gulbenkian Foundation and published in 7/10, the catalogue documenting the exhibition 7 artists on the 10th month, held from October 3rd, 2008 to January 11th, 2009, at Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon. Translated from Portuguese by José Gabriel Flores.

LX 2.0: MTAA - Our Political Work

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
-- George Orwell

Continuing a series of computer-driven self-portraits, MTAA's "Our Political Work" presents the artists in a never-ending state of screaming, yelling, waiting and sometimes laughing. Using 141 filmed moments, custom software randomly selects and joins video clips into a seemingly endless array of undignified action. Begun in 2007 and completed in 2008, "Our Political Work" creates an open-ended depiction of political discourse as Beckett-like action.

Reviews: LX 2.0 - MTAA

MTAA's Our Political Work by Cody Trepte

Questions, comments, reactions? by Marisa Olson
(originally published in Rhizome - October 2008)

Un cri est politique
by Troudair

(originally published in fluctuat.net - September 2008)


Interview with Marta de Menezes

(originally published in Rhizome - August 2008)

Marta de Menezes is a Portuguese artist working at the intersection between art and biology. Last year, Menezes founded Ectopia, an experimental laboratory and artist residency housed at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Oeiras, Portugal. The program fosters collaboration and discussion between the Institute's scientists and participating artists. In this interview, conducted by Rhizome Curatorial Fellow Luis Silva, Menezes discusses her experience with Ectopia and her larger body of work. - Ceci Moss

Luis Silva: Ectopia, the artistic laboratory within the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência that you founded in 2007 and currently run, is an unusual operation, as it allows artists to create and develop projects in close relation to scientists. Its name, "Ectopia", which is a term referring to the abnormal position of an organ or body part, roughly relates to a certain "out-of-placeness." I would like to start this conversation by asking if you think art is out of place, or misplaced, within a scientific research context.

Marta de Menezes: First let me tell you, you're the first to actually ask that question!

I don't think art is out of place in the field of science, and definitely not misplaced within a scientific research facility. If I did, I wouldn't be working in this area, or trying to implement my ideas in a laboratory space. Ectopia, a singular initiative in a "hard science" or a basic research environment like the Research Institute, exists to promote the collaborative research projects between artists and scientists, so that both the arena of art and science can gain, grow and flourish in a new interdisciplinary environment.

Why did you decide to approach the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência with the idea of Ectopia?

A lot of my Portuguese scientist friends had some connection to the IGC at some point in their lives. And even I had already been there, presenting a workshop some years ago with Joe Davis. So, I already knew who to talk to and I knew I could propose the director with the idea. It was not too difficult to arrange. But it also felt like an ideal place to create something like Ectopia. The Gulbenkian Foundation has always been one of the most active institutions to support the arts and sciences, so the IGC was the obvious perfect choice for an experimental art laboratory.

What do art projects and scientific research have to gain from an interdisciplinary environment? Or stated differently, is there a common ground of understanding between scientists and artists, one which would allow a real and fertile collaboration between them?

I feel these are two different questions, so I'll answer both. First, I'm not sure exactly how art benefits from collaborative science projects. It is not, in my opinion, a given fact that art can and will benefit automatically from one project in the broad area described as "art and science." It is my biased opinion that the truly collaborative projects will stand a better chance for real profit and growth from the interaction because of their collaborative nature -- not just because they are situated in the realm of art&science. The same can be said from the scientific perspective. If a project is interesting, and based on a quality interaction between the science, scientists, science technologies, artistic concepts and expression, then it is in a better position to be challenging and rewarding for the scientists, but, more importantly, for the broader field of scientific inquiry itself.

To answer the second question, based on personal experience, I've found that it's very likely for artists and scientists to find a common ground of understanding. All of my projects are very similar in some ways, but also very diverse in terms of the techniques, labs and, of course, the scientists involved. But, in every case, I found that they were very fertile and rewarding for both sides. I suppose that the fact that some of those labs, like the one in Leiden, Holland, still refers to me as "their" artist in residence after 7 years lets me think they are still very content with our collaboration.

Can you give me a couple of examples of such collaborative projects taking place right now, or that have happened recently, thanks to Ectopia?

Ectopia is new, only a year old, so not that many projects are happening right now, yet. All projects (lots of them) will start in the near future (I hope). I am currently one of the artists in residence at Ectopia, I have just finished (not really finished, but made the first exhibition of the piece) Decon. In this project, I used microbiology techniques and bacteria that degrade color from replicas (in agar) of Mondrian paintings. Find out more in www.wikibiotics.net. Also, I worked with a couple of artists to prepare exhibitions for the Polar Year Celebrations in 2008/09. The other artist in residence is Maria Manuela Lopes, who will begin soon. Manuela is starting her PhD project in the U.K. and she will use her residency to develop her work in science labs with different specifications.

In the future, Ectopia will be coordinating a European network of curators and cultural agencies that have been developing work on art, science and technology. It will strategically work for the development, research, production and exhibition of projects of art and science.

Also, we are expecting the participation of lots of international artists in the residency program over the next few years, groups such as Tissue Culture & Art (Australia), and Biotecnika (Canada), artists like Polona Tratnik (Slovenia) and Arcangel Constantini (Mexico).

How did you become interested in the artistic properties/characteristics of biotechnology, having a background and education in traditional fine arts?

It all happened on its own. When I was still in the fourth year of my Fine Arts Degree, I started dating an old friend of mine, Luis Grac, who was finishing his internship for a Medical Degree and was applying to a grant from the Gulbenkian Foudation for a Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences. He got it and started his first year in the IGC before going abroad. During this period, I met many of his teachers, many coming from all over the world to teach at ICG, and was very much immersed in that scientific environment. I guess this was crucial. Luis is now my husband and the connection between science and my thinking process is still very present. I have constant access to developments in basic scientific research, and it inspires me to think about possible art projects to develop.

What interests you most about working with biotechnologies?

The best part is that I can ask lots of questions, try to solve some of them and, in the meanwhile, try out some of the most amazing techniques to produce my work. I also think that we are now living in a time where a lot of our metaphors are of scientific and even biological origin. We use expressions like "it's genetic" without really knowing what it means. We, humans, are facing lots of challenges from our actions and their consequences for our planet, for our health, for our lives in general, and being knowledgeable about biology seems to be the best bet to find solutions.

So for me, both as a person and as an artist, it is very important that I strive to learn more, and working with biotechnology is very relevant!

What do you think is your most successful project so far? Why?

I have a few projects that I think of as accomplished projects, but in different ways.

I guess Nature? was, obviously, a very well received project. It was my first and people still find new things about it that surprise me. And I like doing it again every time I have an exhibition! It is about handling the whole organism. The butterflies are wonderful and every time I see them change into a pupa I get as excited and mesmerized as I did the first time! I worry still if they come out of the pupa well and can stretch their wings properly, and fly well, and if they look happy, etc.

But Tree of Knowledge was a project that also made me very proud due to the amount of work that I got out of it, and even the ethical challenges that it put me through. It was also my first experience doing an art and biology project affiliated to an experimental art laboratory. I did it at SymbioticA, and that was very enriching at so many levels! From the perspective of a residency program, that was probably the most accomplished of my projects.

But, also, you have my Proteic Portrait, which involved many years of work, such a big challenge and such a big leap of faith! I wanted to do it, I found the best scientists to do it with, but nobody knew if it was going to be possible to make, and then we made it! And it worked! And we were amazed! At one point in the project, I started working with a very special curator and friend of mine, Ines Moreira, for the exhibition, and the piece became a beautiful installation piece that made perfect sense as my portrait! I'll say that was a very well accomplished project!

And Decon-- it looked great on the wall!

Nature? is probably your best known work. Could you describe it?

Nature? is a project I did in 1999, that involves the manipulation of the wing pattern of live tropical butterflies. It is shown as a greenhouse, where the butterflies are housed, and manipulated. The installation includes plants, a microscope on a table and a monitor so that people visiting can see how I perform the manipulations. People are invited in the greenhouse so that they can fully experience the butterflies. It is a piece that makes you think about a few things that I find of extreme importance nowadays. I am manipulating the butterflies, which may or my not be very disturbing in itself, but most importantly I'm manipulating them one by one, with a technique that is at the same time so subtle and so low tech that it throws the public off balance. It is not genetic manipulation and the butterfly retains her own natural origin after the manipulation. The question becomes, is the butterfly natural or not? Even being manipulated doesn't satisfy me as a reason to call it man made, or even artificial. So I find myself, and the audience as well, struggling with the concept of natural, which is exactly the point I wanted to make.

Probably due to the modification of butterflies' wing patterns, Nature? has generated a lot of controversy, both from the audience and from the traditional art world. When I invited you to present at Upgrade! Lisbon I even received an angry email from someone with institutional affiliations saying that she was against any kind of genetic manipulation, especially if it had an artistic purpose solely. Care to comment?

Not sure. There are a few things in your question that I would like to discuss. Nature? has generated a lot of controversy, but usually because of texts that misunderstood my words or didn't care to fully consider my proposal. For instance, the butterflies are NOT genetically manipulated. The other thing I find intriguing (and unfortunately not that uncommon) is the idea of art in itself being not that important. I think you know what I mean. I see art as one of the most important areas of our culture. As such, it does not have a frivolous role as many people like to believe. Nature? is not decorative art. It does not exist just to be seen and for viewers to apathetically state "how interesting." It is to be thought about with a critical mind, and also to be made available to anybody, ANYBODY (not just art critics or culturally rich individuals). Its ethical challenges are to be engaging, and provocative, not passive and dismissive!

Is there an ethical dilemma when using biotechnology as an artistic tool? Or is that supposedly ethical dilemma a way of making a political statement? Do you consider your work political?

I think I've answered this question with the last reply, but I'd like to say that I do not consider my work political. The drive behind all of my works, the one to start the process, is very basic and simple. It develops dimensions as it grows and, also, complexity and depth. I find my work ideological, not political.

Also, because of this ideological mark, I find working with biotechnology ethically challenging and interesting, not necessarily a dilemma. There is a lot in biotechnology that is not an ethical problem at all!

What projects are you working on now?

I'm currently developing several new projects. I have an old one I want to make, which is to try and make the stripes on Zebra fish vertical instead of horizontal. I'm writing it down and trying to find a scientist who can help me with it. This project will most likely involve genetics and selection. Also, I'm getting very excited about the idea of trying to make an organism, or a perpetual motion machine. I found that it is possible to do something like a nanomotor that is propelled by bacteria. So I want to create a machine/organism that is symbiotic with the bacteria that propel it. This project will take some engineering skills and cutting edge nanotechnology research. I also found out that there is a lot to be said about sex. And that it is an issue that worries lots of scientists around the world. I found recently that one of my friends in science, that got the Gulbenkian Foundation grant the same year as my husband, is now working on sex with some very exciting organisms that have 7 sexes/genders?! So I plan on learning more and elaborate some sex theories of my own.

I've just started my Doctorate project! I'm working in Leiden, Holland in a department called The Arts and Genomics Center, from the University of Leiden, and they are an excellent group that has mostly worked in theory of art and science. I'm planning to research the variety of art and biology and applying a bioinformatics tool to try and understand the amount of manifestations that contemporary art and the new biological technologies have been throwing at us for the last ten years or so. The bioinformatics tool is systems biology and it is being generally used in biology and lots of other fields of human endeavor. Mostly to make some sense of grand amounts of information...

FW: Re: Re: a selection from Rhizome's ArtBase

Predating the internet itself, email has become a mass communication tool as well as a pillar of contemporary computing culture. The artists featured in this exhibition consider the ways email has become an unquestioned part of our lives; and their diverse works push the traditionally prescribed uses of thie ubiquitous technology. All works are selected from Rhizome's ArtBase.

FW: Re: Re: takes the form of an email. The exhibition will exist solely in people's inboxes and will last until its moved to the trashed or filed and forgotten.

The artists assembled for this exhibition explore the ideologies and imagery associated with email and technologically mediated written communication. Several of the projects address email as a medium for curation. For example, New York-based artist and musician Jesse Aaron Cohen has organized email exhibitions since 2005, sending subscribers thematized collections of digital images taken from archives or found over the Internet. Other featured works expand categories of mail and email art. London-based artist Marc Garrett, Ruth Catlow and Lauren Wright have recently curated DIWO (Do-It-With-Others): E-mail Art at NetBehaviour, an email art project on the NetBehaviour email list, that was also exhibited at the HTTP Gallery in London. In the spirit of early Mail Art, this project was completely open to all, as long as they were subscribers to the mailing list. The submission and selection of the works and subsequent curating of the show was done collectively (with others! ) through emailing. Together, the works in the exhibition look anew at a medium that has become so normal that its implications, form and possibilities are often overlooked.

If you would like to receive the show, please visit:

LX 2.0: André Sier - Space Race #1

(curatorial statement)

Space Race #1 is a 3d simulation in which teams of autonomous elements compete for a mysterious green fuel, that allows for a spaceship, the only possible way of escaping, to take them to another planet, the next level of the game.The team members are always organized and operating according to the team’s internal logic, either it being looking for the spaceship and running to it, gathering fuel and working either together or independently. Each member is characterized by unique features and each group is organized in swarms that perform the required tasks in order to achieve their goal, conquering the spaceship and traveling to another world. When they arrive to the new planet, they alert the local population that they are ready to compete with them in search of fuel for the next spaceship that will, once again, transport them to yet another planet.

Space race #1 follows and repeats this logic endlessly, taking on the structure of an abstract computer game, where accomplishing certain tasks and defeating the enemy allows the team to reach subsequent levels. But reaching another level never brings the teams closer to the end of their missions. This space race has no visible end or any kind of possible gameplay for us to interact with it. It is an abstract generative fantasy that explores the language, codes and strategies of contemporary computer gaming.

Reviews: LX 2.0 - André Sier

Endless Race by Tyler Coburn
(originally published in Rhizome - March 2008)


LX 2.0: Carlos Katastrofsky - lastwishes


(curatorial statement)

Carlos Katastrofsky (1975) has been creating net art pieces that question both the notion of what an art work is and the notion of ownership of these processual projects, not defined by physical properties. Projects such as internet art for poor people (2006), free interactive readymade (2005) or the original (2005) are just a few examples of Katastrofsky's interest in exploring alternative ways of distributing and owning net art, always within the institutional art world logic and always through a critical, yet playful approach. His projects are mostly conceptual, not defined by fancy visual effects or sophisticated programming. There is no "beautiful" or "poetic" things to be seen on the screen, just the critical use of massified online tools that he masters in order to achieve his own agenda.

lastwishes, the project the artist created specially for LX 2.0, is a great example of the lack of any visual aesthetics in his work. In a simplistic (yet pretty accurate) way, there is nothing to be seen in his new project. lastwishes deals solely with the principles of communication. Mailing lists are popular tools for the exchange of thoughts and opinions: they make multiple (written) dialogues possible as well as the archiving for future references. In this work the mailinglist-software "mailman" is modified to allow only one single posting from a sender. The user is able to subscribe and to receive messages endlessly but post only once and by this immediately get unsubscribed. The idea of "exchange" is thereby turned into something absurd: one can listen but only talk once. Sending a message thus requires meaningful content, "chatting" becomes impossible.

The ephemeral quality of this sending-process reminds of zen-qualities: be quiet and learn to listen but if you really have to say something meaningful then talk. Above that, the question arises: how is communication possible when there is a quiet, listening mass and no one dares to stand up and speak? According to an Austrian proverb, "talking is silver and being quiet is gold", but being quiet only makes sense within the process of communication.

LX 2.0: On Contemporary Art Galleries and Internet Art


(published in Curating Media/Net/Art by CONT3XT.NET, Vienna, 2007)

LX 2.0 is a curatorial project developed by "Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporânea", a commercial contemporary art gallery based in Lisbon. LX 2.0 is one of the direct consequences of the regular program presented by "The Upgrade! Lisbon", a monthly gathering of New Media artists, curators and interested people, was also held at Lisboa 20.

Extremely interested in the possibilities of the digital medium (and by its contemporary touch) the gallery’s director has shown great interest in creating the gallery’s New Media branch. Because of extreme physical constraints (only one room allocated for the regular exhibition program), it was decided to create an online platform through which Lisboa 20 would commission, display and archive online (Internet Art) projects. The first commissioned artists were Santiago Ortiz (with the project NeuroZappingFolks), Y0UNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES (with the project Manhã dos Mongolóides--Morning of the Mongoloids) and Carlos Katastrofsky (with the project lastwishes). Besides commissioning new works created by artists who have been developing a relevant work in exploring the Internet as an artistic medium, LX 2.0 will also, gradually, create a database of links to different resources, like artists' sites, exhibitions, platforms, publications, and readings, in order to contextualise and allow for a theoretical background for these works and their underlying discourse.

Even though being a traditional concept in the New Media Art field, a feature clearly stated in the project definition, it constitutes a unique exercise in the Portuguese artistic landscape. It aims at achieving a double goal, on the one hand, to bringawareness to the online medium in the Portuguese "institutional" art scene (more than being a partnership with a gallery, LX 2.0 is as part of the gallery as one of its regular exhibitions), educating and informing the audience about New Media Art and its underlying discourse but also, at the same time, to become a relevant project from a global point of view--despite being a small-scale project, based in a peripheral country with little history in New Media Art.

If at a first glance LX 2.0 seems a traditional online project, featuring new art works and linking to various resources, a closer look brings awareness that it is everything but conventional. As it was already mentioned, it is a small peripheral project aiming at becoming a global reference for the international New Media community, but most importantly, it is an online curating exercise done by a traditional, commercial space, a contemporary art gallery. Common sense indicates that commercial, or simply more traditional spaces have an almost religious belief in the impossibility of dealing with New Media Art, especially its more extreme version, Internet Art. This situation occurs simply because traditional exhibition venues (either commercial, like galleries, or institutional, like museums and art centres) are running on the white cube ideology. This white cube model, a recent development in art history, dating to the 20th century, is nothing but a hegemonic ideology that prescribes the correct way of showing art within an institutional context. But being an ideology, and thus a social construct, it bears no absolute value in itself.

A commercial gallery mainly tends to show only artworks that fit into this exhibition paradigm, or into its more recent upgrade, the black box. The reason for this to happen is partly due to the fact that the gallery has to sell the works in order to function. These are the two main reasons for the lack of acknowledgement of New Media Art from the institutional art world. And these are the two main features that LX 2.0 is not only ignoring, but trying to oppose and demystify. It is a project created by a space that operates within the white cube ideology, a gallery, but a space that recognises that the white cube is nothing but an ideology and that process-driven, time-based artworks are calling for new exhibition paradigms. Each new project LX 2.0 commissions is launched at the gallery’s physical space, at the same time that a regular exhibition opens. Invitation cards state both the new opening and the online project launch. LX 2.0. is as much part of the gallery as the shows taking place in the physical space, but it exists only online.

LX 2.0 is also a non-commercial project belonging to a commercial space, a traditional contemporary art gallery. Commercial galleries need to sell, but they also have a cultural role to take. Having that in mind, it was defined, since the very beginning, that LX 2.0 wouldn’t be a commercial project. It didn’t make sense to try to sell online artworks, and it would also mean the failure of the project from the very beginning. Instead, it was decided that the project would be financed by the commercial side of the gallery, which was, to some extent, a conscious critical statement: it is the sale of traditional artworks, such as painting, sculpture, photography, installation, or the like, that finances LX 2.0 and allows it to commission new, unsaleable online works.