[NetBehaviour] WarinWar and Breath: Memory

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Tue Jul 12 14:41:53 CEST 2022

dear all

I just listened to "WarInWar" by Alan and Azure, and it surely isn't easy listening and hardly intended to be so. Thank you for making it difficult for everyone!  and yet I was also wondering whether during such times as we live in, any ordinary communal events can or should go on, how do they go on, how is music or sports performed, or art produced and exhibited now? do we attend poetry readings? watch european soccer championships? 

And if, for a moment, one were to collect all the ink written on documenta 15, one might wander whether the noise, or the debates surrounding this global art scandal, is related to (any) concerns we might share or experiences we may have had? 

The collectivist curation (ruangrupa and their 'lumbung' snowball system of involving many more/other collectives mostly from the global south) and the current mediation (including confrontational debates in the German Bundestag) of the offensive antisemitic caricatures and the scandal it caused through the large "Wimmelbild" 'People’s Justice' (by the Indonesian collective Taring Padi) -  the defensive excuses of the documenta management, the city, and the many attacks by critics, they now all add up to a desperate, ugly spectacle, and the images of the veiled triptych (before it was taken down) in a public square, a misshaped and horrribly-gone-wrong faux Christo, they linger on. 

No Nongkrong, really, no truth and reconciliation.. 

Yet on occasion commentaries appears that make me wonder (have we done this here?) how we, in times of war and on-going racist discrimination and violence against human life, reflect on binary thinking of the Cold War -- where is the global south, where the colonial north (including Israel)?  how does such polarization (also of former East, and former West?) do justice to the history of the Jewish nation-state, to Putin's propaganda machine calling Ukrainians Nazis who need to be exterminated, to histories of diaspora, enslavement, persecution and dispersal, and how are refugees uncollectivized and distinguished, and why would Kassel and documenta 15 now abrogate all responsibility after "appointing" an Indonesian agit-prop collective to curate a major show of art in the West?

I just heard that Hito Steyerl has withdrawn her video installation "Animal Spirits" at the Ottoneum, telling the managing director that she had no faith in the organizers to mediate and translate complexity...."Dies bezieht sich auf die wiederholte Weigerung, eine nachhaltige und strukturell verankerte inklusive Debatte rund um die Ausstellung zu ermöglichen, sowie auf die faktische Weigerung, Vermittlung zu akzeptieren."

What mediation does she actually have in mind? between who, between what? 
Would others here like to comment on what all this noise means?

Johannes Birringer

(see also, this short article on "how to rethink the ontology of art" --

From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Sent: 12 July 2022 05:23
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity
Cc: Alan Sondheim
Subject: [NetBehaviour] WarinWar and Breath: Memory

WarinWar and Breath: Memory


Azure Carter voice/song; Alan Sondheim, rubab/revrev
[You may have heard "It's not a war" before; I suggest
you listen to this first, and "In Memory" second, no
matter what; the interpretation depends on careful
listening, memory, reading along, remembering, if not,
forgetting, sound and noise, unmemory.]


{ It's not a war, its butchery
It's not a war, its genocide
It's not a war, its slaughter }


Death / and times death
The promise of / one last breath
Hiding from / the universe and death
Snuggled / the world calmed / for just a moment / breath
Depression is / already death
Darling give / me your last breath
Of the world / until ones death
Space / shift / cave / slide / breath
Forgetting birth / and on the way to death
The speech which rides / the breath
The balance of / life and death
The real challenge/ to breath
Bone-time / our-time / the time of death
Im waiting for / your breath
Every moment / rushing towards her death
Youre stumbling / faltering / and losing breath
I am surrounded / by death
The beauty of / slow / slow / dying breath
There are no dealings / with death
Death never stops / for breath
Death never stops / for breath
Death never stops / for breath

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