Luke Willis Thompson
Untitled, 2012
spray paint, garage doors from Mahia rd, Manurewa

"My last work was a set of three garage doors that were tagged by a Maori youth who was chased down and stabbed to death by the property owner, a white middle-aged vigilante. The doors were monuments and mute witnesses to an episode that many people in New Zealand really wanted to forget, but the details of the killing were achingly familiar in their design, almost to the point of being prototypical. So the project intentionally asked moral questions, though the only answer it offered was that the museums that exhibited the work helped to conserve the material evidence, so maybe the question could continue to be examined."

Luke Willis Thompson
Untitled, 2012
spray paint, garage doors from Mahia rd, Manurewa

"My last work was a set of three garage doors that were tagged by a Maori youth who was chased down and stabbed to death by the property owner, a white middle-aged vigilante. The doors were monuments and mute witnesses to an episode that many people in New Zealand really wanted to forget, but the details of the killing were achingly familiar in their design, almost to the point of being prototypical. So the project intentionally asked moral questions, though the only answer it offered was that the museums that exhibited the work helped to conserve the material evidence, so maybe the question could continue to be examined."

Arriving at the gallery to see inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam the audience is redirected by an invigilator to a taxi that will deliver them to a house in Epsom. Nobody is home, but participants of the artwork sense that people live here. Further, they gather from the objects around the house that the family is of Pacific Islander descent. Once the epistemological excursion has concluded the viewer is returned to the quiet of the gallery to think again. In a later extension of the artwork, the taxi took guests to a panel beater’s workshop to view a screening of a short film Thompson made about his Fijian father’s funeral. Esche labelled inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam a ‘quite extraordinary intrusion of art into daily life (that) cuts through the protocols of the exhibition system like a knife … its formal qualities, to speak in art critical terms, require a commitment in time and thought’. (via ARTAND | News | News | Luke Willis Thompson wins 2014 Walters Prize)

Arriving at the gallery to see inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam the audience is redirected by an invigilator to a taxi that will deliver them to a house in Epsom. Nobody is home, but participants of the artwork sense that people live here. Further, they gather from the objects around the house that the family is of Pacific Islander descent. Once the epistemological excursion has concluded the viewer is returned to the quiet of the gallery to think again. In a later extension of the artwork, the taxi took guests to a panel beater’s workshop to view a screening of a short film Thompson made about his Fijian father’s funeral. Esche labelled inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam a ‘quite extraordinary intrusion of art into daily life (that) cuts through the protocols of the exhibition system like a knife … its formal qualities, to speak in art critical terms, require a commitment in time and thought’. (via ARTAND | News | News | Luke Willis Thompson wins 2014 Walters Prize)

HF: In The Anti-Aesthetic I argued that there was a shift from the transgressive to a resistant model of the avant-garde. Maybe that language needs to be revised. For several years now there has been talk about the post-critical, but I do not buy it. The young artists and critics I know are very concerned with critical projects. They simply approach the critical in different ways. On the one hand, it is a moment to insist again on the semi-autonomy of art as a basis of critique, and to find, in art making, models of subjectivity and sociality that are blotted out elsewhere in the culture. That seems crucial to me: There are sensuous and cognitive experiences that art still allows and that screen culture does not. On that score, then, art now and art forever. On the other hand, one might argue that all this does not matter anymore, that all that is left to art is to use art as a disguise or ruse with which to do other things—to be activists or educators or hackers or whatever. That argument makes sense to me too. And no doubt there are positions in-between. But unless young artists, critics, and curators develop the terms for these options, nothing much will be developed at either extreme or in the positions of mediation in-between. OH: In reference to the two poles you have established— art as the sensual and cognitive, and art as disguise for activism and participation—does the latter endanger the former? HF: Of course they challenge each other. That is part of the point! But they are the terms of a debate at least, if they could be made precise. It is not to decide one way or the other, it is to develop each position agonistically. That is a debate that is needed, it seems to me.
It’s amazing how pliant the national media has been in this scare campaign. When it comes to reporting on Operation Sovereign Borders, the media is barely allowed within cooee of asylum seekers or their detention facilities. The reason? “Operational security.” But when the topic is a terror plot in our suburbs, security agencies are not just writing the script, they’re shooting the footage.
Regrettably, for some time to come, Australians will have to endure more security than we’re used to, and more inconvenience than we’d like. Regrettably, for some time to come, the delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift. There may be more restrictions on some so that there can be more protections for others. After all, the most basic freedom of all is the freedom to walk the streets unharmed and to sleep safe in our beds at night.
Things could always be otherwise and therefore every order is predicated on the exclusion of other possibilities.
Kristina Norman is half Russian and half Estonian. She devoted three years to the project After-War, investigating the conflict surrounding the statue of the Bronze Soldier in Tallinn. In St. Petersburg, she is introducing a sculpture of a Christmas tree outside the Winter Palace in the midst of summer as a part of her research critically interrogating the notion of historical ‘truths’. The project is also testing different possibilities to make visual and semantic connections to the main squares in other cities of the former Soviet Union and in particular Maidan in Kiev and depicting the site as a place for permanent negotiation in post-Soviet society. (via Kristina Norman “Souvenir” | Manifesta 10)

Kristina Norman is half Russian and half Estonian. She devoted three years to the project After-War, investigating the conflict surrounding the statue of the Bronze Soldier in Tallinn. In St. Petersburg, she is introducing a sculpture of a Christmas tree outside the Winter Palace in the midst of summer as a part of her research critically interrogating the notion of historical ‘truths’. The project is also testing different possibilities to make visual and semantic connections to the main squares in other cities of the former Soviet Union and in particular Maidan in Kiev and depicting the site as a place for permanent negotiation in post-Soviet society. (via Kristina Norman “Souvenir” | Manifesta 10)

That metaphor was not lost on Russian authorities: two days after Norman premiered “Souvenir,” Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky issued an unusual statement about the piece. “People, be aware! Maidan caused chaos… Disturbances can be borne out of innocent entertainments,” he warned, insisting that “Souvenir” advises against such upheaval. “The Palace Square is vulnerable,” he explained. Yet Norman’s installation immediately revealed as much — the artist used little more than a fake Christmas tree to turn St. Petersburg’s symbolic seat of power into a site for interrogating that same authority.