William Cooley exhibition

From an environmental perspective, the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident was unprecedented in human history. An estimated 8,000 people died in the explosion’s immediate aftermath, and soil and ground water within a thirty kilometer radius of the city were severely contaminated with radioactive particles, some of which will not decay for millions of years. In August […]

The idea and nature of cultural exchange

Jamelie Hassan’s deceptively simple-looking Even Onto China questions the idea and nature of cultural exchange as well as the idea of the replica-memento and its meaning for the museum visitor. Comprised of a display stand topped by a Plexiglass case divided in two, one side of the case was filled with specially packaged hairpins which […]

Brute cultural force

Is it any wonder that this sort of brute cultural force has sprung up in the guise of cloned museums? From Germany to Canada to Spain, similar museum collections and exhibition programs have proliferated. In Spain, we too, like “the West,” are dissatisfied with these museums, but for a different reason: the museums contain only […]

Deleuze’s terminology

Deleuze’s terminology graphically evokes the way in which elements from the past may disrupt the present signified in an image. A recollection image is an image that exists on the plane of the present but has the power to evoke a plane of the past. If an event is represented as a smooth, consistent plane […]

Films that are produced in contexts

Films that are produced in contexts that breach the boundaries of nation and question nationalist narratives can be called transnationalist documentaries.  They neither describe international trajectories that leave national boundaries intact, nor remain within the levelling and totalizing narratives of multinational capital. Transnational documentary, then, traces the effects of cultural and national intermixing at a […]

Doug Buis (exhibition)

A university gallery seemed an unlikely venue for Doug Buis’ show, “Home and Oasis,” which sought to undermine common Western notions of the earth’s existence. However, such a conservative academic milieu served to accent the work’s ironic content. Buis has been addressing ecological issues since the mid-1980s and his most recent work offers fictional accounts […]

The transnational object

In Marta Rodriguez’s Love, Women and Flowers (1989/90) the transnational object is a carnation that travels from Colombian hothouse to KLM jet to European florist. The film takes a highly cultivated flower — it seems to grow right in the refrigerator — and endows it with the haunting histories of women’s labor. The flower’s low […]

Karas Company and Ballett Frankfurt

Like visual art, contemporary dance is under reformulation in relation to new technologies, challenges to notions of audience and spectacle, and cultural hybridizations. With Karas’ Noiject and the Ballett Frankfurt’s Eidos:Telos, audiences at the Festival international de nouvelle danse this year witnessed large-scale productions which posited an experimental public or social space, circumventing the space […]

The End(s) of the Museum

“The End(s) of the Museum,” an exhibition and related conference held at Fundacio Tapies in Barcelona last spring, posed questions about whether the museum as we know it in the West could be coming to an end. (1) Alluding to “the end of history,” and taking their cue from Derrida’s Les Fins de l’homme, co-curators […]