Reality Manifestos - Can Dialectics Break Bricks?

A study of détournement as Art Forms


Museum Halls, WUK, Währinger Straße 59, 1090 Wien

Symposium from 19 - 20 January 2012. (Exhibition at Kunsthalle Exnergasse 19 January - 3 March 2012)

Lectures at the Symposium

From performativity of the moving images to their precarization and migration in the working system of cinema and contemporary art, and the economy of the free digital market place

by Dimitrina Sevova

It would seem that under the changed economic and production conditions, control over archives of moving image – characterized by their performativity, but also as agents of transgressive ambivalence – is being dispersed. But is this dispersion providing more accessibility, or is it introducing a new form of exploitation, which projects an enigmatic demand of consumerist desires? Can we then consider that in the end, the dichotomy between production and consumption is lifted, re-enacting a multiplicity of meanings? Even so, we seem to be still concerned fundamentally about preservation, archiving, collecting and curating of both analog and digital archives. Intrinsic to analog archives is their reproduction, transfer and migration from the original works onto digital carriers, finding temporary refuge on a given hardware, software, and encoding, which leaves similarly intricate problems to be resolved later in their next relocation. What opportunities does their migration open up for re-translation, re-thinking, re-ordering, re-contextualizing? We can ask how decisions are made regarding value systems that defend media, genre or form-specificity and materiality both analog and digital. If we perceive the cinematic material as a "unique museum object" this raises the question whether the claim to preserve images in the beauty of their chemical and mechanical processes is not elitist and supports the old working system of cinema with its ideological apparatus. What is in fact preserved, the film as moving images or the experience in the cinema, as an ideological apparatus? Could this imply the preservation of habitus, economical structures, narrative consistency, control and discipline? At the same time, does the precarization and migration of images onto the free digital market place offer a new freedom? How do we avoid that the digital fluctuations and disruptions in the field of power lead to new modes of dependency and control?

Dimitrina Sevova is an independent curator, artist and writer based in Zurich. Her approach as a curator is research-based and involves references across disciplines, with a focus on language with its grammar and hidden hierarchies, on otherness, gender, sexuality, class, race and power relations.