This presentation will develop Eric Cazdyn’s ongoing exploration regarding the category of the blindspot. The blindspot can be conceptualized in many ways (from the unrepresentable to the impossible), but is almost always understood (in philosophy, art, psychoanalysis, politics) as something missing, as a kind of absence that structures what’s present and is “at the bottom” of things. Cazdyn’s provocation is to push these assumptions beyond such depth models–so that the blindspot is also considered to exist on the surface of our world and, in some sort of time-warped way, as coming from the future. He has built what he calls a blindspot machine, a rotating rig consisting of four cameras, each pointing in a different ninety-degree direction so that when viewing the footage of all four cameras (at the same time in four quadrants) a panorama is rendered, but one with blindspots. What’s happening in those blindspots? How do they operate? And what might they teach us about how we look, how we desire, and how change occurs in the world? These questions will be explored by way of a “live film essay” in which the blindspot is not simply exposed (which is the violent desire of state surveillance), but produced. “To produce the blindspot,” it will be argued, can be understood today as a unifying principle of radical art, politics, and criticism.
Eric Cazdyn is Distinguished Professor of Aesthetics and Politics at the University of Toronto (located in the Centre for Comparative Literature and Department of East Asian Studies). He has written the following books: Nothing (Chicago, 2015); The Already Dead (Duke, 2012); After Globalization (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011); The Flash of Capital (Duke, 2002); as well as the novel A Thousand Non-Coincidences (2014). Cazdyn’s research invariably revolves around the same problem: how the impossible (political, aesthetic, personal) is engaged…and how such engagements can enliven the world, effectively changing what is possible. Cazdyn also translates this scholarly obsession into a film practice by foregrounding the problem of the blindspot, for which he has built a unique rig intended to make blindspots rather than to expose them. This “blindspot machine”—together with the real time, over-narrations that accompany the screenings—is a direct intervention into the operations and discourses of surveillance as well as into the desires invested in the image more generally. Cazdyn is currently an Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy of Rome where he is developing the next variation of the blindspot project.
Inspired by progressive cultural practices, signalising trends within these and having the sum resonating within broader cultural scope, Freek Lomme is a host, forerunner, inspirer and node exploring and structuring present culture both in theory and discourse by mediating real exchange on site. His personal motto in life, to conceptualise cultural wonder, mirrors itself within the produced public settings wherein people relate their wonder within the narrated structures on the subjects and challenges he set’s out for with determination and generosity.
In his talk Lomme will discuss the way truths are sourced, how this reflects the foundation of our contemporaneity, what is included and excluded and how we can imagine this differently. He will do so by proposing two forms of truth, as a think model to consider the approach and motivation whereby we portray and engage our reality.
Freek Lomme is a mediator, debater, lecturer and catalyst in cultural positions. He is an (in)dependent curator, writer, editor, lecturer and moderator for diverse commissioners ranging from museums to independent spaces and such, different art schools in different countries and continents, various magazines and more. Nevertheless, he is primarily known as founding director and present cleaner, fundraiser, warehouse-manager and everything else of exhibition space and publisher Onomatopee, which he founded in 2006 together with a friend.
He studied arts and science at the University Maastricht, holds an MA in art policy and cultural identity, but learned in practice. He is particularly interested in visual culture within the experience economy, modes of collaboration and organisation. At large, he practices a sort of poetic and experimental conceptualisation of wonder.
Mahmoud Bakhshi deals with a visual aesthetic that developed in Iran in the aftermath of the Revolution of 1979. He reflects on the recent history of Iran through a recontextualisation of the official symbolism of the propaganda art, and uses deeper historical and traditional formal references to ground this recent history within the larger context of what forms his national identity. Bakhshi’s work weaves complex and often poetic connections between the historical, political and religious dissonances that structure the cultural life of his home country.
In his talk Bakhshi will speak about how he uses the visual language familiar to the millions of ordinary Iranians to highlight the events and circumstances of day-to-day life in the country. He sees his position as that of an observer and is withdrawing any possible commentary or critique of his own of the events he is referring to. Bakhshi’s most recent projects are simply inviting the audience to stop and reflect, they are a visual sketch of the impalpable social mood. Bakhshi will also speak about Bon-Gah project he has been developing in his studio in Keresht just outside Tehran. It is an artist run art centre and residency that is developing new for Iran form of art institution.
Mahmoud Bakhshi (b 1977) is an Iranian visual artist. His previous exhibitions include: The Great Game, National Pavilion of Iran at 56th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia All the World’s Futures curated by Okwui Enwezor, Venice, 2015; Too early, too late. Middle East and Modernity, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna 2015.
In 2004 Bakhshi established artist books publishing named BON-GAH. In 2012 BON-GAH moved to a new warehouse style space just outside of Tehran. The new building has allowed for the project to develop wider and it now incorporated artist studios and production facilities. Throughout his career Mahmoud Bakhshi has collaborated on a number of films as artistic director and also co-producer. Among them, “BAG DAD BAR BER” 2006 and “A Respectable Family” 2012 both directed by Massoud Bakhshi.
Bakhshi’s upcoming exhibitions and projects include: Endless Celebration, temporary intervention to former Lenin monument plinth, Kiev; Locus Solus, De Appel, Amsterdam; he will have a solo exhibition at narrative projects in London, scheduled for January 2017; he is also included in Mohammed Afkhami Collection. Rebel, Jester, Poet, Mystic: Contemporary Persians atthe Aga Khan Museum in Toronto and the accompanying publication published in London by Phaidon. This project is scheduled for February 2017.