2016, Sat, Apr 02

Solidarity in Question

With Kader Attia and Doreen Mende, introduction and moderation: Paz Guevara

What if the internationalist project of “solidarity” continued the global Cold War by way of images, exhibitions and architectures? What if solidarity itself was a particular form of political paradox? The conversation addresses questions of solidarity constituted around 1980 between East-Germany, Palestine, Algeria and Chile. A moment in which the act of “showing solidarity”, in the words of East German filmmaker Iris Gusner, became a “bureaucratic act.” A moment in which solidarity as a declaration of socialist internationalism overlaps with the United Nations discourse of human rights that aimed to supersede it. The question of solidarity thus emerges in the tensions within and the torsions between state-sponsored programs and informal alliances, socialist friendships and emancipatory camaraderie, between protocols, policies and pathos.

Kader Attia grew up in both Algeria and the suburbs of Paris, and uses this experience of living as a part of two cultures as a starting point to develop a dynamic practice that reflects on aesthetics and ethics of different cultures. He takes a poetic and symbolic approach to exploring the wide-ranging repercussions of Western modern cultural hegemony and colonialism on non-Western cultures, investigating identity politics of historical and colonial eras, from Tradition to Modernity, in the light of our globalized world, of which he creates a genealogy. For several years, his research focuses on the concept of Repair, as a constant in Human Nature, of which the modern Western Mind and the traditional extra-Occidental Thought have always had an opposite vision. From Culture to Nature, from gender to architecture, from science to philosophy, any system of life is an infinite process of repair. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at the Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts de Lausanne, Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Beirut Art Center, Whitechapel Gallery, London, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, participations at the Biennale of Dakar and dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel, and group shows at MoMA, New York and Tate Modern, London.

Doreen Mende is a curator and theorist. Recent research projects include KP Brehmer Real Capital – Production (2014, Raven Row, London); Travelling Communiqué (2014/13, Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin), Double Bound Economies (2013/12, Halle 14 in Leipzig, centre de la photographie in Geneva, ETH in Zurich, Thomas Fischer Galerie in Berlin), KP Brehmer: A Test Extending Beyond the Action (2011, CAAC, Sevilla). Project-based collaborations in Ramallah, Beirut, Addis Ababa and Tehran. Mende is co-editor of e-flux journal 59 on Harun Farocki (2014), resident of the blog for Manifesta Journal (2013/14) and editor-in-chief of the publication series Displayer at University of Arts and Design/ ZKM Karlsruhe (2006–09). PhD in Curatorial/Knowledge, Goldsmiths, University of London. Associate faculty member of the Dutch Art Institute. Since September 2015, responsible professor for the Research-based Master-Program CCC on the practice and theory of curatorial questions in geopolitics at HEAD Genève. Mende lives in Berlin and Geneva.