26/03/2019 – 27/09/2019

Schau_Raum: Scheitern

Museum für Neue Kunst

Wildlife in the Centre of Conflict broaches the issue that the politics in the Middle East conflict is failing, but creates an unexpectedly 'positive' dimension for the local wildlife. Discussions about diverging artistic positions, like those in East Coast West Coast or the fight against stereotypical images in Mass of Images however, fail entirely.

26/03/2019 – 26/05/2019  
Amir Balaban
Wildlife in the Centre of Conflict

2013 - 2017, 24 Min

“Wildlife photographer” Amir Balaban is Co-director of the Jerusalem Wildlife Observatory and the Gazelle Valley Park in Jerusalem. In his film, a work in progress, he deals with the environmental impact of the barrier between Israel and the West Bank. As a result of the unsuccessful political efforts for a peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians, the barrier is a symbol of failure. While viewed by large sections of the international community as being contrary to international law, it also offers the Israeli population protection against the existential danger of attacks. For the Palestinian population the border fence stands for additional discrimination in day-to-day life, harassment and exclusion. In his work Balaban introduces a third perspective, which asks about the consequences for local ecosystems. This results in a surprisingly 'positive' meaning of the border system, which has inadvertently transformed into a protected habitat for the gazelle. The failure of a political resolution as the cause of the border fence dissolves in Balaban's work in the aesthetics of nature photography. However, even in the idyllic nature of the border fence for wildlife, there are almost ironic scenes of failure between the animal protagonists: two young gazelles following their instincts attempt to fight each other, but the fence stands between them. Thus, in the 'natural idyll' of the border fortification, its tragedy is reflected in an ironically broken way.

28/05/2019 -  28/07/2019  

Nancy Holt                   
East Coast West Coast
1969, 22 Min

In Nancy Holt’s film East Coast West Coast, we are confronted with the failure of interpersonal communication. In a staged scene, two cliché-like types of artists, one from L.A and one from New York are facing each other, represented by Nancy Holt herself and Robert Smithson. While the New York artist thinks in terms of concepts, systems and structures, Smithson relies on the power of intuition. His disdain is for intellectual talk, preparation, big words, consciousness, planning - all that Holt embraces. The divergence goes to the point where she questions his artistic existence, because of his lack of planning. Their discussion escalates into personal insults and mutual deprecations. Here, the ability of two people to relativize their point of view in favor of a conflicting perspective fails. From the outset, their discussion is doomed to fail. Rigidity and mental immobility of both protagonists are so strong that they cannot find common ground.

30/07/2019 – 27/09/2019
Ulysses Jenkins
Mass of Images

1978, 4 Min

American video and performance artist Ulysses Jenkins portrays his powerlessness facing the stereotypes of African-American representation in the American media. In his wheelchair, he slowly and poignantly circles around a pyramid, made out of TV sets. Familiar stereotypical images of African Americans from film, television and books are inserted, such as D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, Mammy from Gone with the Wind, The Little Rascals, Uncle Tom's Cabin and the blackface depictions of Al Jolson, Laurel and Hardy, and Bert Williams. Instead of a solution, Jenkins's work shows the failure in the fight against the perpetuation of racist narratives in the audiovisual medium. The ‘liberating blow’ with the hammer, which he attempts at the beginning of the video, cannot be accomplished. As he strikes out, he notes, “Oh, I would love to, but they will not let me.” There is no triumph in the fight against the imposed image and its ongoing burden.