ARTONAUTICS | A project by tranzit.org in the framework of the Gdansk City Gallery
A project by tranzit.org in the framework of the Gdansk City Gallery, Poland.
The exhibition is curated by tranzit.org, Vít Havránek (Prague), Dóra Hegyi (Budapest) and Georg Schöllhammer (Vienna) and organized by Patrycja Ryłko, Curator, Gdańska Galeria Miejska.
Exhibited artists/theoreticians: Babi Badalov, Zbyněk Baladrán, László Beke, Erick Beltrán, Curatorial Dictionary (David Karas, Eszter Szakács), Josef Dabernig, Stano Filko, Ion Grigorescu, Vít Havránek, Lukáš Jasanský – Martin Polák, Sung Hwan Kim, Barbora Kleinhamplová, Jiří Kovanda, Václav Magid, Boris Ondreička, Parallel Chronologies (An Archive of East European Exhibitions), Francois Piron, Hedwig Saxenhuber, Ruti Sela, Catarina Simão, Tereza Stejskalová, Sweet Sixties: Local Modernities (Soviet Modernism Styles and Ideological Function), Tamás St. Turba, Mona Vătămanu – Florin Tudor, János Sugár, Jan Verwoert.
What is the exhibition about? Or more precisely – what does the exhibition offer to the visitor to think about or think around?
The exhibition brings together a flux of artworks, documentaries, video-commentaries and archives selected and produced by tranzit – a network of independent initiatives based in Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The display is conceived as an interface that allows visitors to meet artists and cultural producers with whom tranzit has had inspiring continuous or long-term collaborations. Some artists were commissioned by tranzit to comment on their earlier projects, some were asked to reflect on the invitation itself, others were asked to propose an interpretation of a fellow artist’s work and some to realize new commissions. The flux of videos offers an asychronic narrative. The events, artworks, histories and geographic relations presented are not limited by the often narrow boundaries of the (art) world, rather visitors will find inside a mise-en-scene of the tranzit network’s histories, where the present is understood as an overlap of multiple temporal and spatial frames. Without neglecting context, the exhibition proposes an ahistorical, dysfunctional approach to events, artworks and imaginations, while also recognizing that they have a precise date and locality of origin. It recognizes the confrontation between visions of the future and their development, fading out or suspension. All projected futures are determined by political possibilities latent in the present. Social utopias materialize in design, technology, architecture, urbanism and everyday objects — all of which shape social behavior, and vice versa. The Spaceship places different, and at times contradictory, reflections on social utopias in reciprocal interaction. The Spaceship represents Plato’s famous Ship of State as well as the Ship of Fools — allegories that raise questions about “navigation,” autocracy versus ideology and the lunacy that has driven human communities and societies.
What is the tranzit network and how does it work?
Tranzit is a network working independently in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania since 2002. The network has a polycentric structure as a collective of autonomous local units cooperating across various borderlines – between nations, languages, media, mentalities and histories.
Each tranzit works under its own conditions in a variety of local contexts, using different formats and methods, such as critical platforms, exhibitions and other artistic settings (musical, poetical, literary, performative …), lectures, discussions, publications, research, mediation and non-conformist education.
tranzit generates deep experience in the local artistic and intellectual biotopes in relation to continuity, a re-assessment of contemporary history (arising chiefly from the artistic catharsis of the 1960s and ’70s) and in challenging the canons, geographies and master narratives of postwar European (art) histories. The aim of tranzit is to act translocally, i.e. in constant dialectics between local and global cultural narratives.
tranzit’s experience with self-organized activities in progressive cultures dates back to the totalitarian society of the 1970s and ’80s and has continued through the hyper-transformational period and the comprehensive reform of all strata of society in the 1990s and up to the present.
tranzit is engaged in numerous side projects, such as Monument to Transformation in Prague, the Július Koller Society in Bratislava and Vienna, The Free School for Art Theory and Practice in Budapest and Manifesta 8 in Murcia.
What kind of “material” is on display?
Originating from tranzit’s ongoing research projects, video screens display particular moments and elucidate the motives of various forms of cultural production from Central/ Eastern Europe, as well as other pieces from tranzit’s work elsewhere through trans-geographical networks. After the political shifts following the revolutions of 1989, suppressed historical records have played a crucial role in the development of politics and identity in post-socialist European countries. Archives have become a weapon. Over the past ten years, tranzit has created or explored a number of archives, ranging from publications to exhibitions, all aimed at reinterpreting the past from today’s perspectives. These curatorial research-based projects are often realized in transnational collaborations, making previously lacking exchange and comparative investigations possible. By challenging normative methodologies of academic study and investigating unorthodox interdisciplinary approaches, these archival projects synchronize with the complex strategies of artistic exploration. tranzit projects have assumed numerous forms, including: monographic books, often written by or about artists whose oeuvres have not been properly collected or interpreted; an encyclopedia, Atlas of Transformation, a dictionary of personal notations, explaining key terms around political, social and cultural transformation of totalitarian and authoritarian states; thee multilayered research project “Sweet Sixties,” an international partnership that uncovers avant-gardes which emerged in the shadows of the Cold War; and rewritings of the histories of influential yet invisible exhibitions in Parallel Chronologies: An Archive of East European Exhibitions. Like other artists and cultural practitioners, tranzit points at voids in canonized art history by reassembling certain banned practices, finding new categories and applying impure or interdisciplinary methodologies. Some of the featured archives function as time capsules, like that of the pivotal Slovak artist Stano Filko, whose archive of documentary photos and historical records is commented on by Jan Verwoert and Francois Piron.