Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion

Lightning Ride
“With Lightning Ride, it is now poles of technology, organics and mysticism that collide with  electricity as a connecting point. The video is produced from excerpts of “Taser Certifications”, a sort of ceremony authorizing in the United States the use of Tasers in the condition of being tased by someone else. Filtered with the Photoshop’s “oil painting effect”, slowed down and accompanied by a disturbing soundtrack, the succeeding images show us bodies and faces whose deformations and positions evoke a feeling of pain as well as a Christian ecstacy. Everything unfolds as if the miracle of electricity, symbol of the rationalization of the world, revived paradoxically an aspiration to transcendence, antipodes joining each other and disappearing in profit of a new map of possibilities.” (Sarah Ihler-Meyer)

Thomas Hirschhorn

توماس هيرشهورن
托马斯·赫塞豪恩
תומס הירשהורן
トーマス·ヒルシュホルン
abschlag

Thomas Hirschhorn’s “Abschlag” installation, which occupies the first room on the main floor, offers a lesson in how not to engage with the Russian milieu: the Swiss artist constructed part of a typical Petersburg apartment block out of cardboard inside the full-height space, ripped off its façade, and deposited the refuse at its base, revealing shabby interiors lined with original avant-garde masterpieces (on loan from the nearby Russian Museum) by the likes of Malevich and El Lissitky. The references allude to a politically radical Russian past; the construction debris acts as a metaphor for history. Though Hirschhorn suggests a recovery of the revolutionary communist spirit of the 1920s, he falls prey to a historically revisionist fetish: citing the Russian avant-garde as a generative point for vanguard culture in the West, and offering it as a source for renewed progressivism in Russia. Hirschhorn seems woefully unaware of the Putin government’s branding campaign, one that aims to sell the Russian avant-guard as a nationalist movement in line with the regime’s own values (perhaps he didn’t watch the Sochi opening ceremony). Hirschhorn ultimately proves Zhilayev right — with its political pretenses, “Abschlag” aspires to make a grand gesture against conservatism, but fails because its critique has already been co-opted..
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Encor Studio

Initiation
Initiation is an open-end ceremony initiating the audience to the cult of infinity. The gigantic human-machine-interface is driven by the officiants controlling ancestral tools. As time seems to suspend itself, the crowd emerges into an ever hypnotizing state of oscillation. In this place the swing of the pendulum acts as the ever stimulating vector to guide the audience onto higher grounds.

Timo Toots

Memopol
Memopol-3 is an installation that visualizes visitor’s information field. It’s an Orwellian dystopia which is built on the technology of today. The tools of surveillance economy are abused to create a personal physical surveillance experience. Physical and virtual identities are quantified and processed into a stream of data. After the phases of data collection the visitor experiences a transcendent reflection of oneself that combines the past and the future, physical and immaterial into an audio-visual ceremony.

Rick Owens

Spring Summer 2020
Rick Owens’ Bauhaus Aztec priestesses were some kind of bad-asses. Gliding around the Palais de Tokyo fountain, they presided over a ceremony of wands and bubbles while sporting chrome headdresses glinting like car hood ornaments. It was a kick. Owens was feeling nostalgic, as it turns out. Using blasts of Luis Barragán color, folkloric sequins and volumes with the grandiosity of couture, Owens mined his Mixtec heritage. (His mom, Connie, is Mexican, and his dad, John, worked in the public court system as a Spanish-English translator defending farm workers’ rights.)

Anna Halprin

Parades & Changes
Parades & Changes, replays is a full scale re-creation of the masterpiece Parades & Changes, a major 1965 work of American postmodern dance legend Anna Halprin. The provocative Parades & Changes, Halprin’s first “collective creation” dynamited the codes dominating dance by exposing the process of performance: improvising around several “scores,” dancers dress and undress, inventing gestures and vanishing naked in rolls of skin colored paper. This “ceremony of trust,” as it was named by Halprin, seeks to utilize dance as a medium for being together: her prolific composition addresses the process, the place, the action, and the performer as both unique and corresponding entities.

POTLATCH

Gretchen at the Potlatch Feast

“Potlatch is a festive event within a regional exchange system among tribes of the North pacific Coast of North America, including the Salish and Kwakiutl of Washington and British Columbia.”
The potlatch takes the form of governance, economy, social status and continuing spiritual practices. A potlatch, usually involving ceremony, includes celebration of births, rites of passages, weddings, funerals, puberty,and honoring of the deceased. Through political, economic and social exchange, it is a vital part of these Indigenous people’s culture. Although protocol differs among the Indigenous nations, the potlatch could involve a feast, with music, dance, theatricality and spiritual ceremonies. The most sacred ceremonies are usually observed in the winter.
Within it, hierarchical relations within and between clans, villages, and nations, are observed and reinforced through the distribution of wealth, dance performances, and other ceremonies. Status of families are raised by those who do not have the most resources, but distribute the resources. The host demonstrates their wealth and prominence through giving away the resources gathered for the event, which in turn prominent participants reciprocate when they hold their own potlatches.
Before the arrival of the Europeans, gifts included storable food (oolichan [candle fish] oil or dried food), canoes, and slaves among the very wealthy, but otherwise not income-generating assets such as resource rights. The influx of manufactured trade goods such as blankets and sheet copper into the Pacific Northwest caused inflation in the potlatch in the late eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries. Some groups, such as the Kwakwaka’wakw, used the potlatch as an arena in which highly competitive contests of status took place. In rare cases, goods were actually destroyed after being received. The catastrophic mortalities due to introduced diseases laid many inherited ranks vacant or open to remote or dubious claim—providing they could be validated—with a suitable potlatch.
Sponsors of a potlatch give away many useful items such as food, blankets, worked ornamental mediums of exchange called “coppers”, and many other various items. In return, they earned prestige. To give a potlatch enhanced one’s reputation and validated social rank, the rank and requisite potlatch being proportional, both for the host and for the recipients by the gifts exchanged. Prestige increased with the lavishness of the potlatch, the value of the goods given away in it.

ATSUKO TANAKA

Electric Dress
«‹Electric Dress› is a powerful conflation of the tradition of the Japanese komono with modern industrial technology. Prior to her conception of this work, Tanaka had appeared in a larger than-life paper dress that was peeled away layer by layer, not unlike the peeling away of Murakami’s paintings; she was ultimately disrobed to a leotard fitted with blinking lights. Tanaka began to envision ‹Electric Dress› in 1954, when she outlined in a small notebook a remarkably prophetic connection between electrical wiring and the physiological systems that make up the human body. (…) After fabricating the actual sculpture, she costumed herself in it in the tradition of the Japanese marriage ceremony. Hundreds of light bulbs painted in primary colors lit up along the circulatory and nerve pathways of her body.»
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