Anton Vidokle’s “New York Conversations”


Anton Vidokle’s film New York Conversations 
(2010, 64 minutes, 16mm-to-video)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011
The Camera Bar (1028 Queen Street West)
7 PM

Facilitated by Melanie O’Brian and cheyanne turions

As a special presentation of No Reading After the Internet, September will feature Anton Vidokle’s film New York Conversations. Following the screening, the audience is invited to stay and discuss topics raised in the film over drinks at the Camera Bar. This conversation will be facilitated by Melanie O’Brian, Curator & Head of Programs at the Power Plant.

New York Conversations is a text film. Shot in a Chinatown storefront converted for this occasion into an improvised kitchen/restaurant, the film documents three days of public conversations between artists, critics, curators and a free floating public. The talks, lunches and dinners were organized by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Nico Dockx and Anton Vidokle in response to an invitation by Brussels-based art journal A Prior to be the subject of their new issue. Instead of commissioning essays or producing artwork to be printed in the journal, the artists decided to rethink the structure by which an art publication is produced and to attempt to do this discursively in a public setting.

The film is a subjective record of these conversations, which explored various topics ranging from questions concerning precarious and immaterial labor in the field of art, possibilities for non-alienated life and working conditions, the feasibility of artistic freedom, and possible means of reclaiming dignity in the work of art criticism, to more immediate questions concerning whether what was actually taking place throughout the course of the event was in fact an artwork. In the tradition of underground cinema, essay films and experimental language-based films from the conceptual era, New York Conversations insists upon a certain degree of participation from the audience—by way of critical reading—over passive spectatorship.

With: Francisca Benitez, Nico Dockx, Daniel Faust, Media Farzin, Liam Gillick, Egon Hanfstingl, Jörg Heiser, Steven Kaplan, Shama Khana, Anders Kreuger, Miwon Kwon, Valerie Mannaerts, Sis Matthé, Hadley Nunes, Saul Ostrow, Marti Peran, Simon Rees, Els Roelandt, Dieter Roelstraete, Martha Rosler, Joe Scanlan, Maxwel Stephen, Monika Szewczyk, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jan Verwoert, Anton Vidokle, Lawrence Weiner, Andrea Wiarda, Louwrien Wijers and others.

Melanie O’Brian is currently the Curator & Head of Programs at Toronto’s Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. From 2004-2010 she was the Director and Curator at Artspeak, an artist-run centre in Vancouver. She has also previously worked for the Vancouver Art Gallery as Assistant Curator and has taught at Emily Carr University. O’Brian received her MA in Art History at the University of Chicago, and her BA in Art History from Portland Oregon’s Reed College.

Anton Vidokle is currently based in New York and Berlin. His work has been exhibited in shows such as the Venice Biennale, Lyon Biennial, Dakar Biennale, Lodz Biennale, and at Tate Modern, London. As founder of e-flux, he has produced projects such as Next Documenta Should Be Curated By An Artist, Do it, Utopia Station poster project, and organized An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life, Martha Rosler Library and e-flux video rental (with Julieta Aranda). Vidokle initiated research into education as site for artistic practice as co-curator for Manifesta 6, which was canceled. In response to the cancellation, Vidokle and others set up an independent project in Berlin called Unitednationsplaza—a twelve-month “exhibition-as-school” involving more than a hundred artists, writers, philosophers and diverse audiences.