You are cordially invited Working with Allan Sekula
SATURDAY, 16. 8. 2014, 15.30- 22h
Welcoming: Karin Rebbert (Managing Director nGbK)
Introduction: Team „Working with Allan Sekula”
Aneta Szyłak (Leiterin/Director Wyspa, Gdanks) /skype/tbc
Bankleer (Karin Kasböck / Christoph Leitner, KünstlerInnen//Artists, Berlin/Köln)
Brigitte Werneburg (Kulturredakteurin/journalist, taz, Berlin)
Christine Würmell / Michael Baers (Künstler/Artist, Berlin)
Jeremiah Day (Künstler/Artist, Berlin)
Dierk Schmidt (Künstler/Artist, Berlin)
Fred Lonidier (Künstler/Artist, University of California San Diego) /skype
Gerd Elsner (Fotograf/Photographer, Stuttgart)
Hartmut Bitomsky (Filmemacher/Filmmaker, Berlin)
Hemma Schmutz (Kunsthistorikerin & Kuratorin/Art Historian & Curator, Wien)
Ina Steiner (Fotografin/Photographerehem. Assistentin von/ former assistant of Allan Sekula, Berlin)
Iris Dressler / Hans D. Christ (LeiterInnen/Directors Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart) /tbc
Marie Muraccuiole (Leiterin/Director Beirut Art Center, Beirut/Paris)
Mario Pfeifer (Künstler/Artist, Berlin) /skype
Monica Bonvicini (Künstlerin/Artist, Berlin)
Roger Buergel (Leiter/Director Johann Jacobs Museum, Zürich) /letter
Ruth Noack (Kuratorin/Curator, Berlin)/letter
Stefan Römer (Künstler/Artist, Berlin)
SUNDAY, 16. 8. 2014, 12-19h
Filmscreenings with short introductions:
12.00 Performance under Working Conditions, 1973, 20 min
12.30 Talk Given by Mr. Fred Lux at the Lux Clock Manufacturing Company Plant in Lebanon, Tennessee, September 15, 1954, 1974, 25 min
13.00 The Reagan Tapes, 1984, 10 min (with Nöel Burch)
13.15 Tsukiji, 2001, 43 min
14.00 Disney Hall Gala, 2005, 24 min
14.30 The Lottery of the Sea, Part 1 & 2, 2006, 179 min
17.30 A Short Film for Laos, 2007, 45 min
18.15 Art isn’t Fair, 2012
(Films: Courtesy of the estate of the artist and Michel Rein, Paris/Brussels)
as well as:
The Forgotten Space (2010), 112 min, together with Noël Burch
(friendly supported by Doc.Eye Film, Amsterdam)
In August 2013, Allan Sekula died of cancer at the age of 62. We have lost one of the most multifaceted and advanced proponents of political art, a good acquaintance and yet an artist unfamiliar to many people.Allan Sekula would have been a prototypical artist of the nGbK: politically and aesthetically committed, globally oriented and networked, incredibly knowledgeable in art history, at once a literary, visual and conceptual artist. Would have been – because he is no longer here, but also because the nGbK, because we almost shamefully neglected him in this frame until now. The news of his death caused a shock and immediately prompted us to remedy this with a survey of his films, with discussions on his works, insights into his diverse working formats, and testimonies of his huge influence on colleagues.
Allan Sekula was a photographer and conceptual artist, a teacher and art theorist, who – shaped by the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1970s – dealt with themes critical of capitalism. He also did path-breaking work in the area of teaching and the theory of photography along with the attendant discourse on realism. In his essay from 1978, “Dismantling Modernism, Reinventing Documentary (Notes on the Politics of Representation)”, Sekula advocated a new critical, socio-documentary practice.
His best-known work is most likely “Fish Story”, presented for the first time in 1995 at Witte de With in Rotterdam and to a larger audience at documenta11. The piece raises questions as to a contemporary “iconography of work” in the age of globalization. As photographic fieldwork, “Fish Story” was made over a period of six years against the backdrop of a political and economic reordering of the world. But it is also a work on the representation of photography, more specifically documentary photography in the art field. The sea and the port repeatedly appear in Sekula’s work as metaphors of crucial intersections of a changing global economy, for example, in “Titanic’s Wake” (1998–2000) or the film essay “The Forgotten Space” (2010) produced with Noel Burch.
Workers were always present in his art, especially since labour is not disappearing but being globally shifted and tending to become (or be made) invisible. The machines in the automated port of Rotterdam no longer have eyes, but are remotely navigated through the huge premises to retrieve cargo. The cameraman working alone there has to watch out that he is not hit by the robotized mobile cranes. At the other end of the production chain, companies make an effort to hide the exploitative production conditions and the workers protesting against them. Allan Sekula equally reflected upon the image production of work in social and art history. He always sought the proximity to unions and was an activist himself. “Fish Story” , for instance, was shown during the WTO Summit in Seattle in 1999; dockworkers gave tours of the exhibition. During the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Sekula was present in the poster series “Holy Damn it”.
Allan was a widely esteemed artist’s artist and a studied writer. We see many commonalities in the practice and attitude of Sekula and the nGbK. We would therefore like to present his filmic work in the gallery spaces of the nGbK on a long weekend. Especially his early video pieces are hardly known here. These presentations are to be supplemented by the Heiligendamm poster series, publications, if possible Sekula’s slide series, etc.
Moreover, we would like to invite persons who knew him, worked with him or were influenced by him and his works with the aim of initiating a discussion with short statements, anecdotes, analyses, performances and other contributions to make the varied facets of Allan Sekula and his work experienceable. These personal statements are meant to commemorate him and honour his active work: Working with Allan Sekula.
Working with Allan Sekula is organised by Jochen Becker, Elke Falat, Branka Pavlovic, Renate Wöhrer and Florian Wüst.