When you take the first step towards the unknown, you are engulfed by the darkness of uncertainty. Co-existence is possible only in the face of the unrecognised. The unknown language is a tangled mass through which you penetrate with despair. It is a structure of sense and nonsense, an architecture of traps and a source of endless uncertainty. The story you tell contains a record of fear and hope.

Aneta Szylak and Hiwa K., fragment taken from "The Darkness Wounded" published at www.przemo-wojciechowski.com

Estrangement shows itself precisely in the elimination of distance between people.
Theodor Adorno

But we are meaning in the sense that we are the element in which significations can be produced and circulate.
Jean-Luc Nancy

The concept of Estrangement developed through a series of discussions and collaborative projects between Iraqi artist Hiwa K. and Polish curator Aneta Szylak as an attempt to create a form for mutual translation and collaborative work that is not restricted to one cultural format.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Estrangement Team goes to CASCO

photo: Estrangement

Casco, Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht

Discussion on Estrangement with curator Aneta Szylak (director of Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk) and artist Hiwa K. on their collaborative initiative 'Estrangement'.
Thursday 9 April at 20.00 at Casco, Utrecht
In the framework of Antagonistic Link curated by Binna Choi

The Antagonistic Link is an experimental setting for drawing transnational links in the form of an agonistic process that assumes the opposing parties to be in a state of conflicting coexistence. The Antagonistic Link uses 'Bye Bye Kipling', a historical satellite event conceived by Nam June Paik in 1986, as a point of departure. The exhibition combines this piece with three other projects initiated by artists and designers from South Korea, as well as other related activities. All these works explore the constructive possibilities of overcoming the sense of distance and antagonism that is the paradoxical product of advancing globalization.

"East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet", the first line of The Ballad of East and West, a poem by Rudyard Kipling, opens up Paik's live satellite link-up of Japan, Korea and the United States – a broadcast featuring different sorts of cultural events and performances. Paik designed and coordinated the event with the intention of countering this poetic declaration (which, to be fair, is also undermined in the rest of Kipling's poem as he suggests that individuals are capable of this after all). The video is a shorter edit of the original broadcast and reveals various ironic and fractious moments in such a linkage. This may be a starting point for questioning the complexities and contradictions inherent in today's communication channels and global links — an inquiry that neither denies nor blithely celebrates the possibilities of transnational connection.
[source: CASCO press materials]