Performances and talks

• Sun 22 10 2017 / 2:30 – 10 pm •
Mad Tea Party: Gonzo Curating and Beyond – Roaming Assembly #16


The Dutch Art Institute’s Roaming Assembly is a recurring public symposium. It takes place once a month during a traveling seven-day-long program for students, tutors, and invited guests. The current edition of the Roaming Assembly has been organized in close collaboration with the Academy of the Arts of the World. “Mad Tea Party: Gonzo Curating and Beyond” is an afternoon of lectures, discussions, and performances inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. What happens when you – like Alice – were not invited to the table but still relentlessly want to participate in the conversation? Curators Aneta Rostkowska and Jakub Woynarowski set up a sequence of unpredictable cultural exchanges following the method of gonzo curating, a site-specific practice of constructing semi-fictional narratives inspired by Hunter S. Thompson’s digressive journalism. This time, gonzo curating will unfold at Cologne’s Christuskirche. Departing from the similarity between the purified and minimalist interior of the Protestant church and the white cube of contemporary art, the event will result in imaginary takeovers and reimaginings of the location ranging from an unusual guided tour, prepared in collaboration with the students of the Dutch Art Institute, Arnhem, to an exhibition created solely in the minds of the audience. The event belongs to the autumn program Stealing from the West at the Academy of the Arts of the World in Cologne related to the issue of cultural appropriation in a postcolonial perspective.


Part 1
- Introduction by Aneta Rostkowska and Jakub Woynarowski
- Gonzo performance by DAI students, Aneta Rostkowska and Jakub Woynarowski
- Ramon Haze’s Cabinet, presented by its deputies H. Feldmann and A. Grahl
- presentation of the work of Yuri Albert Εἰκόνες, Imagines
- Aneta Rostkowska and Jakub Woynarowski, “Brief Introduction to Gonzo Curating”, talk
- Ghalya Saadawi, “Borrowing Enjoyment”, talk
- discussion

Communal dinner

Part 2
Isabella Fürnkas, Dislocated Headquarters, performance
Alexander Nagel and Amelia Saul, Fugitive Mirror, video
Beth Collar, This Is How I've Lived (but, the Mongol Hordes) Mark III: Redux, performance
“We Aimed to Be Amateurs” – book launch and film screening by Jan G. Lee* (Mirage), presented by Sebastian Cichocki and Łukasz Jastrubczak


Ramon Haze’s Cabinet

The cabinet is the art collection of Ramon Haze and it has been investigated since October 1996.
Ramon Haze is a figure living and working as an art detective in the future cultural epoch that replaces the one we live in. As concerned with the preceding epoch (that is our own) he collects objects whose function he can no longer recognize and therefore classifies them as art. In addition to the well-known early works by Jeff Koons, Marcel Duchamp, Ilya Kabakov and Charlotte von Schmerder-Kutzschmann, the cabinet includes also works by Ruth Tauer, Peter and Marlis Steinholz as well as a whole body of work by Edward Baranov-Knepp. Through the activity of Haze, an art critic who is outside of our art discourse, the objects found in his immediate vicinity are freed from their established meanings. As a consequence the viewer confronts a reality different from the one she knows and the criteria of art criticism and historiography are questioned. The cabinet deals with art-internal, art-historical and also art-market-related questions as well as our attitudes towards past and future and the activity of collecting. A non-conclusive work drafts a new thought model of art system, different from the one we are experiencing now. Since the 1990s the cabinet has been shown as a total installation in three exhibitions; in addition, some individual objects have been presented in a couple of group shows. The first scientific publication of the most important works in the collection was published in the form of a book in 1999.

Yuri Albert, Εἰκόνες, Imagines

Εἰκόνες, Imagines by Yuri Albert (2008, LED display, about 5 hours) is an artwork that appropriates the text of Philostratus the Elder, Imagines, which is a description of 64 pictures in a Neapolitan gallery. Goethe, Welcker, Brunn, E. Bertrand and Helbig, among others, have held that the descriptions are of actually existing works of art, while Heyne and Friederichs deny this.

Ghalya Saadawi, “Borrowing Enjoyment”, talk

There are assumed political implications to appropriation and fiction as kin tactics of retaliation in contemporary art. The former is seen to neutralize the original, to undermine the art institution/canon, or to use history as a repository of material, etc. This talk attempts to unpack the terms and limits of these codes that underpin much contemporary art. It discusses the temporality of certain appropriation strategies (for example, that much appropriation is by default past-facing, or that appropriation has been reappropriated, inside and outside art), and asks if appropriation is always tied to fiction, and what are the conditions of that fiction when the author is already dead. Appropriation and fiction via jostling for subject positions and “alternate” voices is no longer sufficient to construct activities, either towards the “restoration of truth”, or towards the building of new strategies for art that wants to have implications.

Isabella Fürnkas, Dislocated Headquarters, performance

In the performance two people interact by means of their voices trying to establish a “conversation”. Using different techniques of singing/fighting and communicating through sound, they move through the space sometimes chasing each other. The unusual encounter produces sometimes harmonious, sometimes cacophonic results. Slowly undressing, the performers present layers of clothes revealing different aspects of culture and forms of disguises. Singers: Theresa Etzold, Eva-Maria Kösters

Alexander Nagel and Amelia Saul, Fugitive Mirror, video

Focused on works by Robert Smithson, Giotto, and Mantegna, the video project “Fugitive Mirror”, a collaboration by Alexander Nagel and Amelia Saul, explores artworks as interruptions in the flow of animate and inanimate matter. Under the provisional conditions of the artistic intervention, death appears inside of life, and life inside of death.

Beth Collar, This Is How I've Lived (but, the Mongol Hordes) Mark III: Redux, performance

Bringing together multiple voices and layering perspectives, from the overly personal to the cold analysis of the historian, the bombast of the cinema, or simply other people’s writing, the performance This Is How I've Lived (but, the Mongol Hordes) Mark III: Redux pivots around a period of time spent at an archeological dig. The work explores how media and fantasy interpenetrate and distort memory.

“We Aimed to Be Amateurs” – Book Launch and Film Screening by Jan G. Lee* (Mirage)
The show features a dead person. The medium mumbles in a low, indistinct voice. She chews her fingernails and rumples her dirty apron. She pours hot wax into a dish of water. She spits at a mirror. She claps and strikes herself on the cheek with a deck of cards. The studio audience becomes bored and unable to summon up any enthusiasm for the old-fashioned performance. When the voice of the dead man is finally heard, it sounds weak and artificial. “Ask me about something,” it implores listlessly. The presence of the deceased electrifies the medium, who smiles and sits up. From a sheet of paper, she solemnly reads out in impeccable English questions that strike the audience as peculiar: “Why are you not a logical positivist?” “Does nature exist for you?” “What is your critical standard?” The dead man answers only the second question. His answer is in the negative.

The book fragments and film screening are brought to you by Sebastian Cichocki and Łukasz Jastrubczak.

Venue: Christuskirche, Dorothee-Sölle-Platz 1, 50672 Cologne
Free admission
In English

In cooperation with the Academy of the Arts of the World and Christuskirche