Mobile DocumentaA new work by David Goldenberg for Fordham Gallery
Poster for “The time of Post Autonomy,”10th Istanbul Biennial, 2007. “The time of Post Autonomy” 2, Visualisa- tion room, Your-space, Vanabbemuseum, The Nederlands, 2009.
The current project by David Goldenberg, the London based art-ist, curator and writer, continues ideas staged for Fordham atNetwerk, Aalst, Belguim 2006, 10th Istanbul Biennial 2007 (withk2 Info lab), and, Your-space, Vanabbemuseum, The Neder-land’s, 2009; examining “participatory practices” and establish-ing a “new model” of contemporary art under the name of “PostAutonomy” through establishing a space beyond a Euro-cen-tric tradition of art. The mental process for imagining and work-ing through the stages for materialising Post Autonomy is via themethodology of a Visualisation room. The visualisation room offersthe capacity for mentally inhabiting and working through a rangeof roles. This new project continues this visualisation process.[For more information please see http://www.postautonomy.co.uk]Mobile DocumentaMobile Documenta is intended as a sequence of activitiesthat takes place in a range of forms that question a sta-ble and normalised reading of culture. What I understandby a Mobile Documenta is in the form of an “idea” anda “material form” that embodies a Mobile Documenta, sothis text begins to sketch out some of these ideas. In bothcases a Mobile Documenta encapsulates the disengage-ment of contemporary culture from its past function, andimagines the effect of staging a Documenta in differentcultures and countries. The mental image of Documentais intended here as a frame or limit that is necessary totraverse in order to develop another model of art, which, Iwant to claim here opens up into the space into Post Au-tonomy, where Post Autonomy exists as the language andagenda for mapping and recognising a new model of art.Since Fordham gallery currently exists in a mobile form, it issuitable to begin to think about a Mobile Documenta here.[Please see programme notes and the post autonomy web-site for future events]. This sequence aims to piece togetherhow it is possible to build a new Model. From the outset itis intended to chart a realistic picture of contemporary cul-ture, the issues and problems faced in establishing a new
Diagram of floor draw-ing, produced for Your-space, Vanabbemuesum,The Nederlands, 2009.
5IntrodutionThe current project by David Goldenberg, the London based artist, curator and writer, continuesideas staged for Fordham at Netwerk, Aalst, Belguim 2006, 10th Istanbul Biennial 2007 (with k2Info lab), and, Your-space, Vanabbemuseum, The Nederland’s, 2009; “participatory practices”and establishing a “new model” of contemporary art under the name of “Post Autonomy” throughestablishing a space beyond a Euro-centric tradition of art. The mental process for imaginingand working through the stages for materialising Post Autonomy is via the methodology of aVisualisation room. The visualisation room offers the capacity for mentally occupying a rangeof roles and what those roles involve. This new project continues this visualisation process.[For more information please see http://www.postautonomy.co.uk]Mobile DocumentaMobile Documenta is intended as a sequence of activities that takes place in a range of formsthat question a stable and normalised reading of culture. What I understand by a Mobile Docu-menta is in the form of an “idea” and a “material form” that embodies a Mobile Documenta, sothis text begins to sketch out some of these ideas. In both cases a Mobile Documenta encapsu-lates the disengagement of contemporary culture from its past function, and imagines the effectof staging a Documenta in different cultures and countries. The mental image of Documenta isintended here as a frame or limit that is necessary to traverse in order to develop another modelof art, which, I want to claim here opens up into the space into Post Autonomy, where PostAutonomy exists as the language and agenda for mapping and recognising a new model of art.Since Fordham gallery currently exists in a mobile form, it is suitable to begin to think about a MobileDocumenta here. [Please see programme notes and the post autonomy website for future events].This sequence aims to piece together how it is possible to build a new Model. From the outset it is in-tended to chart a realistic picture of contemporary culture, the issues and problems faced in estab-lishing a new model, including the actual room for material change within the existing model, along-side locating and understanding those ideologies and claims that deny the possibility of change.The image/interface of Documenta is intended as an idea and a framework showing a total viewof contemporary art, but also as a project we can point too that address’s the question of a Euro-centric tradition of arts relationship to a Global context, the Colonial mechanism of contempo-rary art, multiculturalism, the role of Politics within contemporary art. Our point of departure forunderstanding Documenta – i.e. contemporary art in its totality, is through a reading of OliverMarcharts book examining the recent history and ideology of Documenta in the Belgian theo-rist and philosopher Dieter Lesage text “The next Documenta”. The text outlines a convincinganalysis of the purpose of the existing structures for displaying and presenting contemporaryculture, which in turn colours or influences any statement made by a work within that system.”In his book Marchart describes museums, biennials, and other large-scale art exhibitions such
Camp Aalst, Back to back by David Goldenberg, Fordham at Netwerk, Aalst, Belgium, 2006.model, including the actual room for materialchange within the existing model, alongsidelocating and understanding those ideologiesand claims that deny the possibility of change.The image/interface of Documenta is in-tended as an idea and a framework showinga total view of contemporary art, but also asa project we can point too that address’s thequestion of a Euro-centric tradition, of artsrelationship to a Global context, the Colonialmechanism of contemporary art, multicultural-ism, the role of Politics within contemporaryart. Our point of departure for understandingDocumenta – i.e. contemporary art in its total-ity, is through a reading of Oliver Marchartsbook examining the recent history and ideol-ogy of Documenta in the Belgian theorist andphilosopher Dieter Lesage text “The next Doc-umenta”. The text outlines a convincing analy-sis of the purpose of the existing structures fordisplaying and presenting contemporary cul-ture, which in turn colours or influences anystatement made by a work within that system.
”In his book Marchart describes museums, biennials, and other large-scale art exhibitions such as the docu- menta as hegemony machines, functioning not unlike the World’s Fairs that have contributed significantly to the project of nation-building since the mid-nineteenth century. Following the reflections of Antonio Gramsci in Quaderni del carcere, Marchart defines hegemony as a precarious balance between dominant and subaltern forces that, through the networks of society’s institutions (museums, biennials, and large-scale exhibitions), es- tablishes a momentary primacy of certain forces. These forces can always be overturned, depending on shifts in an ongoing “war of position.” The concept of hegemo- ny can be explained as the way in which consensus is produced as a primordial means of securing the domi- nance of certain forces. Every institution, which may at some moment seem to consolidate dominant bourgeoisculture, may at another point be useful for a counter-hegemonic project—one that could eventually establishanother hegemony. Following Laclau and Mouffe’s radi-calization of Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, Marchartpoints out that subjects and subject positions are onlythe effects of hegemonic discursive formations. The pro-gressive and emancipatory potentiality of institutions asdiscourse producers provides the main reason why theyshould not be abandoned, as a great many leftists havedone out of a belief that institutions as such necessar-ily consolidate petty bourgeois culture. Marchart strong-ly argues for such a potentiality, citing the hegemonicshifts in discourse that were successfully produced byCatherine David’s documenta X (which politicized thefield of art) and even more so by Okwui Enwezor’s doc-umenta 11 (which de-occidentalized the field of art). “From eflux “The next Documenta” 2009.This text provides the point of depar-ture for a programme of online de-bates on the post autonomy website.
LETTERS ON THE AESTHETICAL EDUCATION OF MAN.LETTER I.By your permission I lay before you, in a series of letters, the resultsof my researches upon beauty and art. I am keenly sensible of theimportance as well as of the charm and dignity of this undertaking. Ishall treat a subject which is closely connected with the better portionof our happiness and not far removed from the moral nobility of humannature. I shall plead this cause of the beautiful before a heart bywhich her whole power is felt and exercised, and which will take uponitself the most difficult part of my task in an investigation where oneis compelled to appeal as frequently to feelings as to principles.That which I would beg of you as a favor, you generously impose upon meas a duty; and, when I solely consult my inclination, you impute to me aservice. The liberty of action you prescribe is rather a necessity forme than a constraint. Little exercised in formal rules, I shall scarcelyincur the risk of sinning against good taste by any undue use of them; myideas, drawn rather from within than from reading or from an intimateexperience with the world, will not disown their origin; they wouldrather incur any reproach than that of a sectarian bias, and would preferto succumb by their innate feebleness than sustain themselves by borrowedauthority and foreign support.In truth, I will not keep back from you that the assertions which followrest chiefly upon Kantian principles; but if in the course of these
researches you should be reminded of any special school of philosophy,ascribe it to my incapacity, not to those principles. No; your libertyof mind shall be sacred to me; and the facts upon which I build will befurnished by your own sentiments; your own unfettered thought willdictate the laws according to which we have to proceed.With regard to the ideas which predominate in the practical part ofKant’s system, philosophers only disagree, whilst mankind, I am confidentof proving, have never done so. If stripped of their technical shape,they will appear as the verdict of reason pronounced from time immemorialby common consent, and as facts of the moral instinct which nature, inher wisdom, has given to man in order to serve as guide and teacher untilhis enlightened intelligence gives him maturity. But this very technicalshape which renders truth visible to the understanding conceals it fromthe feelings; for, unhappily, understanding begins by destroying theobject of the inner sense before it can appropriate the object. Like thechemist, the philosopher finds synthesis only by analysis, or thespontaneous work of nature only through the torture of art. Thus, inorder to detain the fleeting apparition, he must enchain it in thefetters of rule, dissect its fair proportions into abstract notions, andpreserve its living spirit in a fleshless skeleton of words. Is itsurprising that natural feeling should not recognize itself in such acopy, and if in the report of the analyst the truth appears as paradox?Permit me therefore to crave your indulgence if the following researchesshould remove their object from the sphere of sense while endeavoring todraw it towards the understanding. That which I before said of moralexperience can be applied with greater truth to the manifestation of “thebeautiful.” It is the mystery which enchants, and its being isextinguished with the extinction of the necessary combination of itse l e m e n t s .
LETTER II.But I might perhaps make a better use of the opening you afford me if Iwere to direct your mind to a loftier theme than that of art. It wouldappear to be unseasonable to go in search of a code for the aestheticworld, when the moral world offers matter of so much higher interest, andwhen the spirit of philosophical inquiry is so stringently challenged bythe circumstances of our times to occupy itself with the most perfect ofall works of art--the establishment and structure of a true politicalf r e e d o m .It is unsatisfactory to live out of your own age and to work for othertimes. It is equally incumbent on us to be good members of our own ageas of our own state or country. If it is conceived to be unseemly andeven unlawful for a man to segregate himself from the customs and mannersof the circle in which he lives, it would be inconsistent not to see thatit is equally his duty to grant a proper share of influence to the voiceof his own epoch, to its taste and its requirements, in the operations inwhich he engages.But the voice of our age seems by no means favorable to art, at allevents to that kind of art to which my inquiry is directed. The courseof events has given a direction to the genius of the time that threatensto remove it continually further from the ideal of art. For art has toleave reality, it has to raise itself boldly above necessity andneediness; for art is the daughter of freedom, and it requires itsprescriptions and rules to be furnished by the necessity of spirits andnot by that of matter. But in our day it is necessity, neediness, thatprevails, and lends a degraded humanity under its iron yoke. Utility isthe great idol of the time, to which all powers do homage and all
subjects are subservient. In this great balance on utility, thespiritual service of art has no weight, and, deprived of allencouragement, it vanishes from the noisy Vanity Fair of our time. Thevery spirit of philosophical inquiry itself robs the imagination of onepromise after another, and the frontiers of art are narrowed inproportion as the limits of science are enlarged.The eyes of the philosopher as well as of the man of the world areanxiously turned to the theatre of political events, where it is presumedthe great destiny of man is to be played out. It would almost seem tobetray a culpable indifference to the welfare of society if we did notshare this general interest. For this great commerce in social and moralprinciples is of necessity a matter of the greatest concern to everyhuman being, on the ground both of its subject and of its results. Itmust accordingly be of deepest moment to every man to think for himself.It would seem that now at length a question that formerly was onlysettled by the law of the stronger is to be determined by the calmjudgment of the reason, and every man who is capable of placing himselfin a central position, and raising his individuality into that of hisspecies, can look upon himself as in possession of this judicial facultyof reason; being moreover, as man and member of the human family, a partyin the case under trial and involved more or less in its decisions. Itwould thus appear that this great political process is not only engagedwith his individual case, it has also to pronounce enactments, which heas a rational spirit is capable of enunciating and entitled to pronounce.It is evident that it would have been most attractive to me to inquireinto an object such as this, to decide such a question in conjunctionwith a thinker of powerful mind, a man of liberal sympathies, and a heartimbued with a noble enthusiasm for the weal of humanity. Though sosurprise to have found your unprejudiced mind arriving at the same result
. Once is nothing, Individual systems, Exhibition of an exhibition. Brussels Bienni- al, 2008. Curated by Charles Esche & Maria Hlavajova.
David Goldenberg is a London based independent art-ist, curator and writer, who has examined the new con-cept of art post Autonomy since 2000. Detailed informa-tion, texts projects and online debates can be found on thePost Autonomy website http://www.postautonomy.co.uk.Forthcoming projects10.10, examining new models of art, New Delhi, India; 2009/10, Plausableartworlds, Basekamp, Philadelphia, USA; Ex-territory, Alexandria, Eygpt; Tourof Romania 2010.Examples of David Goldenberg’s work can be found in “Whose afraid of Red,White and Blue – British art from 1989-98”; Thames and Hudson books “Instal-lation art”, and “New Media in Late 20th Century art”; Artanthology, Dumontliterature und kunst verlag, Cologne; postautonomie reader, Gutleut verlag;Writings can be found in Fillip no 8 & no 10, Atlantica, summer/autumn 2009edition; Control Magazine no 16, AND, MKKM, and London art online. He co-organised the symposium “Curating post institutions” (ACE funded) ICA, Lon-don, UK, 1999; During the1990’s he curated a number of projects, including“Martin”, 1998, Atlantis Gallery & Commercial Gallery, London, and Waygoodgallery, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK & Catalyst arts, Belfast, Northern Ireland.Homeless projects, 1998-2000, London & Germany; “Happy shopper”, 1996,Elephant & Castle, London, UK; “50X50X50X50” (ACE funded), in collabora-tion with John Roberts, 1994, Schipper Krome gallery Koln, Germany; “Flex-ible Response” (ACE funded), 1993, Atlantis Gallery and F-stop, Bath, UK.Recent exhibitions include: 2009, Your-space, Vanabbemuseum, The Ned-erlands; 2009, interpretations and translations, Shedhalle, Zurich, Switzer-land; Avantgarde below zero, Antwerp, Belgium; 2008. Agitpop, printmakersstudio, London, UK; 2007, 10th Istanbul Biennial (in collaboration with k2info lab); 2007, The Space of Post Autonomy, Local operations, SerpentineGallery, London, UK; 2007, Locally Localised Gravity, Plausable Artworlds,ICA Philadelphia, USA; 2006, Fordham at Netwerk, Netwerk vzw, Centrumvoor hedendaagsekunst, Aalst, Belgium; 2006, Jump into cold water, Shed-halle, Zurich, Switzerland; 2006, Art Anthology, Kunst und Austellungsshalleder Bundersrepublik Deutscland, Bonn, Germany; 2005, Les Merveilles DuMonde, curated by Peter Fillingham, Museum of Fine Art Dunkurque, France;2005, Open Congress, Tate Britain, London, UK; 2004, Copyfight, Centre d’artSanta Monica, Barcelona, Spain; 2004 ,Softlogics, kuenstlerhaus, Stuttgart,Germany; 2004, STRUCTUR, Artist network, New York, NY, USA; 2003, Ram4, Nifca, Helsinki, Finland. 2003, 6th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emerates;2003-07 Curating Degree Zero – European Tour; 2003, Art Anthology –Tour;2002-06, How to be a perfect guest? (Version 1), Museum of Modern art, Arn-hem, The Nederlands; Flexplek, in collaboration with Wim Salki, BAK, Utrecht,the Nederlands; 2001, Century City, Tate Modern, London, UK; 2000, What’sto be done? Arts depot, Vienna, Austria; 2000, Infection manifesto, BonnerKunstverein, Germany; 2000, Out of space, kolnischer kunstverein, Germany.
Fordham galleryThe artists and artworks the Fordham gallery has worked with over thepast 10 years are as diverse and challenging as the physical spaces thegallery has been occupying.Starting in 1999 the gallery first opened in a rented Whitechapel sweat-shop.Four years and thirty shows later the gallery forced it’s way intoa disused warehouse on Princelet street (off Brick Lane) where it re-mained for nearly three years, staging shows such as “So far So Good”group show involving thirty homeless artists and a retrospective showof the work Marcel Broodthears. From there the gallery moved to it’scurrent location on Whiteccross Street in 2007.The gallery market stall gives the artists and viewers an opportunity toreflect on artistic propositions in an unconfined way, often just one workon show, no walls, open to discourse with chance passers by.What brings everything together, are the artist’s and gallery’s ability toraise and push through some important artistic issues in a constructivemanner.
How does this material assist in constructing a Mobile Documenta?Open callWe are looking for articles, texts, project proposals and participants in the online debates that ad-dress the following -- Idas for relocating Documenta to the UK- Ideas and images visualising a Mobile Documenta- How can we use the idea of a Mobile Documenta to imagine a practice that disengages from consolidating Nation States, Idedities, Colonisation.- How can we use the idea of a Mobile Documenta to rethink another system and model of art?