In her performances, Jutta Koether enacts a highly specific form of entangled action centering on and around specific artworks. Embedded with performative possibility, these objects—positioned in a room, a situation, a city—circuit together in a network of language, duration, and the artist’s active negotiation between producer and produced.*
Jutta Koether, Fifth Season Act, Apotheosically, Artists Space, 2012 (2); Koether (right) and Kim Gordon at the Mike Kelley opening, Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles, March 30, 2014, photograph by Rachel Murray.
The whole MANIFESTOS series is created this way: I put manifestos that I come across in a research file. And then I translate the text of each manifesto into musical notation. All the letters of the alphabet from A to G are converted directly into musical notation. So if the letter A pops up, then that’s translated into the note A. I also translate H as B flat, which is part of a Baroque tradition… All of the letters that are not notes becoming resting silent beats…
The whole idea, of course, is that the music is not produced subjectively. It’s produced following the system. The uncanny thing is that sound is subjectively realized. That happens because of the notational system; it’s a diatonic scale. The notational system is intuitive to anybody familiar with Western music… The listener finds the music meaningful regarding content and representation but fully understands there is no intention to produce meaning, or that the music is an expression of the artist… Whoever’s listening is making the meaning, because we’ve been trained to make those links. In other words, our cultural learning is producing our comprehension of the sound. That’s crucial to all my work. I’m arguing that the idea of the subjective imagination is an ideology, it’s not a fact. — Charles Gaines*
In conjunction with the exhibition CHARLES GAINES—PALM TREES AND OTHER WORKS, the artist’sMANIFESTOS 3—”a multimedia installation that functions as a systematic transliteration of two revolutionary manifestos into musical notation”—will be performed by pianist RichardValitutto at Hauser and Wirth in Los Angeles.
An interpretation of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1967 speech at Newcastle University and James Baldwin’s 1957 essay “Princes and Powers”—a report from the famous 1956 Sorbonne conference of black writers—this MANIFESTOS 3 premiere will be followed by a conversation with Gaines and a book signing of the artist’s current exhibitioncatalog.
We do not feel represented by our governments and do not agree with decisions taken in our name. We witness European nations building giant walls and fences around borders that already didn’t seem useful in the first place, rejecting rescue ships at the harbors. Philosopher Achille Mbembe speaks of the “Society of Enmity.” Queer scholar José Esteban Munoz calls the here and now a “prison house.” People stop using gender neutral language and move from their polyamorous groups into traditional families. Hate speech not only seems acceptable, but becomes a motor of aggressively arresting us into what is considered a normal life. Do you sometimes feel as if you are massively being forced to move backwards?
We have, of course, no recipe. But after taking a deep breath we are up for turning disadvantage into a tool: Let’s collectively move backwards…
Women of the Kurdish guerrillas wore their shoes the wrong way round to walk from one place in the snowy mountains to the other. This tactic saved their lives. It seems as if you are walking backwards, but actually you are walking forwards. Or the other way around.
Let’s take this story as a starting point for the project: Can we use the tactical ambivalence of this movement as a means of coming together, re-organizing our desires, and finding ways of exercising freedoms? Can its feigned backwardness even fight the notion of progress’ inevitability?
We will move backwards and think about the ways in which we wish to live with loved but also unloved others. We will move backwards, because strange encounters might be a pleasant starting point for something unforeseen to happen. — Renate and Pauline
This weekend, Joan presents the United States premiere of Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz’ 2019 Venice Biennale video installation MOVING BACKWARDS.
The Venice iteration in the Swiss Pavilion—curated by Charlotte Laubard—incarnated a nightclub environment, and the opening weekend in Los Angeles will feature a live performance by Marbles Jumbo Radio.
Rainer’s DIAGONAL—part of her 1963 dance Terrain—will be staged by dance artist and certified Rainer transmitter Sara Wookey, and McGregor’s FAR (2010) by former CompanyWayne McGregor dancer Louis McMiller.
Sanou is staging his own work DU DESIR D’HORIZON (2016), and ONLY THEN—the Agami selection of excerpts—is staged by the choreographer and her Ate9 dancers Sarah Butler and Rebecah Goldstone.