Location: Agora, Park Sonsbeek (basketbal field)
Tickets: free entrance - no reservation
In order of screening
Screening: Cause célèbre (2020, 5’) by Diego Lama
The video documents an action performed at the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Gent, where three art handlers toss a brick between them for a whole hour without dropping it. As the title indicates, the action is an analogy that winks at how a particular political topic is handled, though the setup introduces several layers to its narrative. The museum holds a large collection of paintings from the Flemish canon, which mirrors a contemporary political standpoint. Historically, art handlers have been underpaid to perform high-risk duties, thus serving as the backbone of cultural institutions that are inevitably engaged in a model of art validation and commodification. For the video, they were paid the minimum wage to perform a purposeless task, hence translating governmental bureaucracy into the art system. The brick is an element that represents the potential for construction, but that potential can never be realized while it is trapped in a purposeless game.
Screening: Entre nous (2020, 5’40”) by Paulius Šliaupa
An industrial seascape is filled with traces of human presence. A seductive whisper recounts the job of an artist. This intimate soliloquy superposed with the distant images unfolds matters of youth, longing, love, and the organization of time and daily life in correlation to work.
Screening: Eyes in the Sky (2020, 5'10") by Aziz Hazara
Eyes in the Sky shows kids playing combatants next to old Soviet tanks in the mountains of Kabul. The use of a drone camera puts into perspective everlasting power disputes and the work done backstage.
Screening: Your Order Is on Its Way (2020-2021, 7’29”) by Karel Koplimets
The video Your Order Is on Its Way deals with the scenario in which computers and robots have taken over the labour of humans. We are witnessing a transition, where self-driving vehicles and their manual counterparts coexist. Even if some robots are fully functional, they’re still monitored and tested. In recent years, the transportation sector has started to become increasingly automatic, something which most economic sectors have been moving towards for more than a century. Supposedly in a couple of decades, most drivers and bicycle couriers will be replaced by self-driving cars and robotic delivery vehicles. This growing automation raises questions about different future scenarios: will there be more free time, will the universal basic income become a reality or will new types of jobs emerge, like they have in the past.
Sound piece with captions: Insomnia n०227 – Alternative infernale (2020-2021, 7’13”) by Sandrine Morgante
The work is part of an extensive ongoing series of insomnia pieces, which comprises sound recordings and drawings. In Insomnia n०227 – Alternative infernale, the artist makes observations on her sleepless nights and existential questions, addressing financial preoccupation, artistic creation, studio work and production, intimate relationship, agency, etc. Worrying about being effective at work, these night worries became the work.
Screening: Demarcation (2021, 17’9”) by Che-Yu Hsu
In Mongolia, a demarcation ruled by two legislations seems to have created a fiction within the natural system. On one side, there is a 506 square kilometer conservation area for horses. Human interference is forbidden: either imposing any form of harm or offering any sort of assistance. Every horse is numbered by the time it is born, and is monitored and observed by zoologists and tourists. Like a Truman Show performed by wild lives. On the other side of the region, horses find themselves in a different condition. Living as companions, laborers, mascots for humans' daily activities as well as source of food, their existence is part of the mundane. The artist visited this domestic border in 2019.
Screening: Sunday (2020, 16'5”) by Helen Flanagan
Sunday (2020) is a short fictional film that thinks about the medium of radio and how it was formerly used in the twentieth century as a technique to encourage productive labour in factories. The radio and beat of the music helped control the workforce on the assembly line, creating a constant upbeat-tempo to produce. Using this notion of the radio as a controlling, motivational and affective soundtrack for efficiency, the work experiments with how radio could be reimagined under certain contemporary conditions. The short film involves the figure of the radio agony aunt, a disembodied voice that offers anonymous callers advice. A lady, known as Sandra, calls up talking about how numbers, rhythmic machines and voices are slowly taking over her fatigued body and obsessive mind, working much like the beat of an infectious song.
Screening: Nothing/Doing_Melanie Weill (2021, 62’) by Katya Ev
The film unveils a durational exploration of ‘doing nothing’, its boundaries and in-depth emotional and physical momenta triggered by the experience of creating an intentional void. This paradoxical task, since being defined by negation, was proposed by the artist to the visitors of an exhibition that took place in Brussel (Dec, 2020 - Jan, 2021) in the form of a performative piece. Entitled ‘Visitors of an Exhibition Space Are Suggested to 'Do Nothing’, this participatory set-up indeed invited visitors to ‘do nothing’, but first meticulously spelling out the conditions that ‘doing nothing’ is both subject to and enabled by: visitors sign a contract that was developed by Ev in close collaboration with a lawyer, and which is legally valid and binding. After the performance, they are remunerated and receive a proof of payment. One can ‘do nothing’ for any amount of time, and to be financially compensated for every full hour spent in and on the performance. Melanie Weill, the participant featured in the film, stayed on the chair one hour and 2 min and was paid €10,25 upon the rate of Belgian minimum wages.
This program is part of our conjunction with HISK. HISK contributed to sonsbeek in the form of Agora, a sculptural site that houses the works of several artists, and offers a place for gatherings and activations. During our opening programme, the artists of HISK contribute to the public programme with screenings, performances, actions and hand outs, as a response to the curatorial framework of sonsbeek, referencing labour and sonicity in multifaceted ways.
Agora consists of sculptural contributions by Dries Boutsen, Štefan Papčo, Nokukhanya Langa, Luca Vanello, Gaëlle Leenhardt and Nelleke Cloosterman. Screenings, performances and hand outs by Olivia Hernaïz, Hadassa Ngamba, Diego Lama, Paulius Šliaupa, Aziz Hazara, Sandrine Morgante, Che-Yu Hsu, Helen Flanagan, Katya Ev, Hanane El Farissi, Elisa Pinto and Nikolay Karabinovych.