United State of International Artists
Contemporary Group Exhibition
at Lisbon Psychiatric Hospital Center Julio de Matos
The Lisbon Psychiatric Hospital Center Julio de Matos although it was open to the public on April 2 1942, its origins date back to 1912. It us considered one of the best in Europe at the time of its inauguration, this hospital has brought many innovations, including the first unit Psychosurgery in Portugal, where Egas Moniz, the Nobel prize of medicine developed the surgical method leucotomy, authored by. Walter Freeman also where in this hospital for a conference of Neurosurgery in 1947.
Artists like Jeff Koons and the famous Portuguese architecture Eduardo Souto Moura made their exhibition in this hospital last year in 2012, with some mentally ill artists.
I will be showing a piece from the Colour in Motion series
1st-10th April 2013
“The city consists of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past”
- Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (1972, p. 9).
This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from…
The Ludic City. Exploring the Potential of Public Spaces
By Quentin Stevens
This international and illustrated work challenges current writings focussing on the problems of urban public space to present a more nuanced and dialectical conception of urban life.
Detailed and extensive international urban case studies show how urban open spaces are used for play, which is defined and discussed using Caillois’ four-part definition – competition, chance, simulation and vertigo. Stevens explores and analyzes these case studies according to locations where play has been observed: paths, intersections, thresholds, boundaries and props.
Applicable to a wide-range of countries and city forms, The Ludic City is a fascinating and stimulating read for all who are involved or interested in the design of urban spaces.
Cool, going to check this out on Monday!
Gordon Parks, Dr. Kenneth B. Clark conducting the Doll Test, Harlem, New York, 1947
In the “doll test,” psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark used four plastic, diaper-clad dolls, identical except for color. They showed the dolls to black children between the ages of three and seven and asked them questions to determine racial perception and preference. Almost all of the children readily identified the race of the dolls. However, when asked which they preferred, the majority selected the white doll and attributed positive characteristics to it. The Clarks also gave the children outline drawings of a boy and girl and asked them to color the figures the same color as themselves. Many of the children with dark complexions colored the figures with a white or yellow crayon. The Clarks concluded that “prejudice, discrimination, and segregation” caused black children to develop a sense of inferiority and self-hatred. This photograph was taken by Gordon Parks for a 1947 issue of Ebony magazine. (via)
You want to know what is exceptionally fucked up?
The same study was replicated in 2008. Dark-skinned children still by far selected the white doll. Repeatedly.
Dr. Kenneth B. Clark - Panamanian
How do audiences decide on a show? In the same way that they choose an architect to provide a particular service or a wine for a special occasion? Or is this choice based on different criteria and principles that are totally separate from other spheres of everyday life? What mechanisms lie behind their choices, whether of an institution, a cultural good or any other individual commodity? What accounts for the rise or fall in the reputation of a particular cultural institution, such as a theatre? How can we explain the choice of one cultural production rather than another of a similar quality?
Consumers of these and other individual commodities use a series of “judgements” and “reliability indicators” supplied to the market – indicating a reputable institution, a recognised critic, a renowned event’s organiser, a star actor, an award-winning production, preference lists circulating on the Internet or the support of public institutions – to finalise their decision. Yet they do so in terms of private economies, within which choices concerning culture are linked to many other possible choices associated with a variety of other spheres of life.
The processes that lie behind making such choices are difficult to determine, although from the outset this is an interesting exercise if they are associated with other parallel questions: what mechanisms come into play when individuals seek out and acknowledge the work of a cultural institution? To what extent is this recognition a cumulative process, increasing in relation to whatever else an area may be able to offer in terms of culture? What national and international strategies can be used to promote the name of Portuguese theatre groups and, with them, other cultural agents or even the cultural territories with which they are associated? What audiences do theatres have? What are cultural institutions doing to recruit new audiences? What are the intended goals and plans underlying this recruitment? What are the consequences of these dynamics in terms of “enhancing” a territory, its cultural sustainability and the quality of life for people who live there and use its facilities?
In this colloquium, Lucien Karpik (Valuing the Unique, 2007, 2011) and Ann Markusen (Creative Placemaking, 2010) discuss the value of cultural markets, creativity and audiences, showing how the arts and culture, and theatre in particular, make a special contribution to the development of local economies by promoting competitiveness and generating employment. They are joined by Portuguese researchers recognised for their work on theatre/audiences/promotion of culture in cities to present their lines of research, collaborative platforms and activities. Moreover, the debate extends to political decision-makers, artists, cultural producers, journalists, researchers with an interest in this area and the community in general.
end of periphery back to lisbon
Citizens need things to walk between to encourage them to walk, but walkability is about more than proximity to shops, says a new book by Julie Campoli. Check out our review here.
‘Made for Walking: Density and Neighborhood Form’ on amazon.
Luanda, the rehabilitated African port city where artist Kiluanji Kia Henda was born four years after Angola gained its independence from Portugal in 1975, is a place of recurring ellipses. Perhaps it is not so much a case of omission as incompletion that marks life in this increasingly gridlocked capital city on Africa’s oil-rich western coastline. At one intersection where some of Luanda’s tree-lined avenidasmeet, a pedestal that once elevated the statue of Pedro Alexandrino da Cunha, a 19th-century colonial governor-general, stands empty. Outside the National Assembly it is the same: the white Deco-style plinth is also empty, the statue of its former occupant, Alfonso I, Portugal’s first king, stored in a military stockyard alongside effigies of colonial adventurers and grandees of empire.
Shortly after independence, in an attempt to establish a new public narrative for its citizens, Angola’s Marxist leadership installed an armoured car used by Agostinho Neto, the country’s first post-independence president, on one of the unoccupied pedestals. It was a grotesquely prophetic choice. Angola’s ruinous civil war, a late-Cold War conflict which dragged on from independence until 2002, plunged the country – which in 1975 was the world’s fourth-largest coffee exporter – into radical decline. News and travel reports since have repeatedly commented on the city’s vacant plinths, proposing them as a kind of metonym for a state in the process of becoming. Despite a recent oil boom, Angola’s narrative of self – one that Kia Henda explicitly allies his practice to – is still in the process of reinvention.
Intrigued by the absent statues and the multiple colonial abuses they signalled, in 2010 Kia Henda visited the fortress of São Miguel with his camera. Set on a position overlooking Luanda’s port, this fortification, built in 1576, was once a major point of origin in the transatlantic slave trade. Similar to photographer Guy Tillim, who tracked down the toppled statue of Welsh journalist and explorer Henry Stanley to a government transport lot in Kinshasa, Kia Henda photographed the sombre effigy of Alfonso I in the open-air stockyard. Aside from weapons of war, the yard also contained disassembled stone pieces that once portrayed seafarer Vasco da Gama, and, illogically, a towering bronze statue of Nzingha, the legendary 17th-century queen of pre-colonial Angola who was held captive in the fortress for resisting colonisation.
Unlike the other statues, the queen, who appears in seven of the 12 photographs comprising Kia Henda’s ‘Balamuka –Ambush’ (2010) series, was only a temporary visitor. Installed on a pedestal on Luanda’s Kinaxixi Square in 2002, she was temporarily moved to São Miguel during an upgrade of the square. It all forms part of an ongoing process of restitution; in January, for example, 35 new monuments and historical sites were presented to Angola’s Ministry of Culture. ‘Balamuka – Ambush’ – the earliest work in Kia Henda’s work-in-progress Homem Novo, an open-ended exploration into the meaning of the ‘new man’ eulogized in the country’s national anthem – is obviously about Angola’s remaking. More formally, it is a descriptive work, which is where many photographers negotiating monuments and memory in postcolonial Africa – Tillim and David Goldblatt in particular – have left it.
Although schooled in southern Africa’s austere documentary tradition, informally at first by his biological brother Cassiano Bamba and adoptive brother Afonso Laixes - who died soldiering in the civil war - and later by the photojournalists Carlos Louzada and John Liebenberg, Kia Henda’s photography is marked by its increasing refusal to simply show. His lens-based practice oscillates between an optimistic faith in the vérité style of documentary, and a more playful engagement with the photographs as pliable fictions, and also as artefacts of the ephemeral, performance in particular. A year after finding the toppled statues, Kia Henda collaborated with Miguel Prince and urban dandy Shunnuz Fiel to produce the series ‘Redefining the Power’ (2011). Luanda’s much-remarked pedestals became the site for stylized performances, which Kia Henda photographed from the same vantage points used in a series of archival tourist postcards he had found. He juxtaposed the new and old photographs to distinguish the colonial ‘then’ from the independent ‘now’.
Self-awareness is vital to his practice. ‘I grew up in an experimental period in a country that is as young as I am, where there has always been, political options aside, a great and accessible cultural and even religious freedom,’ remarked Kia Henda in an interview with Lígia Afonso published last year. He has directed this freedom towards interpreting Angola, which stands at the ‘epicentre’ of his investigative projects, not because of an exaggerated nationalism, but because through the particular he hopes ‘to ﬁnd certain common factors, between various points on the planet, in order to shorten distances and improve dialogue’. The idealistic nature of his project largely owes to Kia Henda’s discovery, while living in Johannesburg in the late 1990s, of photography as ‘a weapon of intervention and denunciation’. This near-militant faith in photography’s activist capabilities is tempered by a rival impulse: photography, as he has acknowledged, is capable of ‘sensationalism, omission or disorientation’, traits that he has recognized as useful. His photographic installation Icarus 13(2008) – which stemmed from an invitation to contribute to a book by Cape Town artists – is instructive. The work, which describes an Angolan scientific mission to the sun, comprises a glass-domed architectural model and eight supporting photographs, one showing the needle-shaped solar spaceship, another the green iridescence from its launch, and an exterior view of the astronomical observatory.
Of course, the purported mission never happened. Icarus 13 is an elaborate hoax: the green cast across the sky came from fireworks launched in a Luanda football stadium, the observatory is an unfinished provincial cinema theatre, and the spaceship is Neto’s incomplete Russian-built mausoleum in Luanda. Reflecting on the work’s sci-fi qualities – which recall Jean-Luc Godard’s conceit with Alphaville (1965) in the way it proposes the ordinary (and in Angola incomplete) as fantastical and speculative – Kia Henda offered what could be construed as a defining motivation for his practice: ‘There are two questions which are vital to the African context: the ability to write and know one’s own history, and the ability to plan one’s own future.’