Mar 14–May 9, 2010

On Rage

Exhibition, Film, Discourse

Opening: 13.3.2010

Is there a new “culture of rage” in the current economic and political crises and states of emergency? How can this rage be tapped for positive future developments?

The exhibition works (including a number of commissioned works), as well as a film program, lectures and discussions address these questions. They examine the impulse of “rage” in trans-cultural and trans-historical perspectives. In the process, they will thematize the various points at which rage erupts under specific living conditions and in communities, as well as its political, social and creative references. To what extent is the spread of this primary effect related to globalized life, with its complex ramifications? How far does its emotional thrust reach? Which new geographies and phenomenologies of rage and wrath are observable in the political and cultural spheres?

How do different cultural spheres experience this elementary emotion?

The different parts of the program in which ON RAGE approaches its subject are closely interwoven and linked in an open forum: The exhibition formulates artistic statements that intervene in the discussions, readings and talks. The discourses and films also make it possible to approach the various artistic positions in a new way. The workshops in the "Rage Room" mediation program provide space for engaging in a creative debate with the exhibition works.

The Exhibition

Shoja Azari, Jimmie Durham, Regina José Galindo, Tadeusz Kantor, Klara Lidén, Michael Rakowitz, Reloading Images and Seher Shah are participating with their works. They formulate and channel their rage by exposing repressive and unbearable conditions. At the same time, they create space for that moment after the rage has subsided.

In his perfomative installation “Klasa szkolna dzielo zamkniete / The Classroom – Closed Work, 1983-1985,” Kantor focuses on the trauma of a childhood spent in Poland during the World War, when he was faced with the experience of omnipresent death. In her drawings, Seher Shah combines the symbols of regions waging war with the global destruction of urban contexts. With his video work Final Judgment, Slhoja Azari devotes himself to uses of the martyr-cult by the media and politicians. Regina José Galindo translates colonial exploitation into a metaphorical gold performance. Michael Rakowitz follows on from his work "The invisible enemy should not exist" in which he thematizes the plundering of Iraqi museums as an imperialist paradigm. For ON RAGE, he will recreate the replica of the Ishtar Gate in present-day Iraq. Set in an architectural interpretation of the UN Security Council, “On How to Appear Invisible: The Negotiation” by Azin Feizabadi and Kaya Behkalam (of the international artist collective “reloading images”) deals with different forms of negotiating conflict. Interactions between historical, literary and fictive positions on rage and resistance are staged in a multi-channel video projection that places them in the context of dramaturgical patterns of negotiation.The project will be on show in Berlin as well as in Cairo and Beirut. It was done in cooperation with Homeworks V (Beirut) and the Townhouse Gallery (Cairo). Klara Lidén will also be represented with a commissioned work. The artist, who lives in Berlin, explores very personal and intimate forms of resistance to socially accepted norms and role conceptions. In her installations, in which she also uses video and sound, familiar spaces are alienated and assigned new functions. In this way, she creates possibilities of feeling and behaving beyond the realms of the familiar. In his installation “Building a Nation”, which arose during a series of live performances in 2006, Jimmie Durham examines the history of the systematic genocide against the indigenous population of North America. Quotes from famous people from American democracy reappear between the simplest materials – found, pieced together, forgotten.

Geographically, the artists cover a vast terrain, yet they repeatedly succeed in creating perspectives on complex interrelationships of local-national, globalized, individual and international relationships of repression.

Performances by Klara Liden and Tvillingarna (Andreas Nelson, Paul Sigerhall and Emily Sundblad), Reloading Images, Oreet Ashery (with films by Larissa Sansour), Discoteca Flaming Star and Jimmie Durham supplement the exhibition.

A work of assembly architecture specially developed by the ifau collective (institute für angewandte urbanistik) creates a setting – the “spatial heart” of the accompanying program – for discursive negotiations within the exhibition.

Lectures and Discourse Program

Who breaks out in rage and why? At which point do wrath, indignation and revenge blaze new trails? Four lectures held in March and April draw up a contemporary phenomenology of rage in post-colonial, philosophical and political fields of tension. Yhana Milev and Abdelwahab Meddeb focus their attention on those spaces for thinking and acting in which rage and the abandonment of restraints explode the accustomed order – as psychological monstrosities, as socio-political states of emergency and as psycho-social terror.

The range of rage also always points to fault lines within society: from middle-class depression and the absence of meaning to war, repression and injustice; from the indifference that becomes intolerable to acute questions of survival. With scientists, intellectuals, artists and actors from the most diverse spheres of everyday life, the Summit on Rage / Gipfel der Wut explores (at the big table in the exhibition hall) the societal and political ruptures where upheavals occur. It follows both the traces and histories of protest and resistance, and the visual languages and legends of rage. Also at the centre of debate are the current “tipping points”, the protest practices and techniques of rage that assume the forms of war, terrorism and drive people to run amok.

In dialogues, representatives of diverse disciplines and from the most varied cultural regions enter into "talks about rage" and explore, in spontaneous dialogues, topical questions about rage. Re-readings of selected key texts open new perspectives on the history and fields of tension of rage and wrath.

Authors, artists, actors, intellectuals and participants in the rage summit are invited to read and comment upon key texts on rage from Sloterdijk to Lao Tse, from the Beat Poets to the Communist Manifesto, from Wallenstein to Seneca from an unspecialised and naïve standpoint – walking and renegotiating in the archives of rage.

The films

The film program is composed of two parts. A three-day Open Seminar run by Georg Seeßlen – conceived and organized by the Guardini Stiftung in partnership with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt – examines, in nine works of fiction and documentations, the genesis and different forms of rage and the way it is reflected in films: By looking at the individual and the way he/she deals with the rage triggered by everyday impositions and by examining the cinematic glance at states of emergency and the disintegration of society, actionist responses and, last but not least, the innermost core of rage.

As the second pillar of this part of our program ON RAGE, documentations and feature films take up the themes of the lectures and talks in their own specific ways: in a threefold program comprising discourse, an exhibition and films.

Conceived and organized by the Guardini Stiftung in partnership with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Learn and Experiene: Rage Room

Here, school classes, groups of senior citizens and participants in the most diverse educational programs have an opportunity to do their own artistic work. Starting off by tracing relics and the witnesses of social, political and emotional states of emergency, they can develop ways of expressing their emotions in the ways best suited to them: performances, film, presentations and radio features intervene in the debate on the phenomenon of “rage.” More about Rage Rooms...