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Circulating AiR
past exhibitions









Ideas, but in things
12.06. - 26.07.2015
Curated by Bjørn Inge Follevaag
Co-curated by Malin Barth

Opening speech by Håvard Haarstad
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Geography, University of Bergen, Norway.

Commodities are objects that satisfy human needs and desires. Commodities are the fundamental units of capitalism, a form of economy based on the intense accumulation of such objects. The basic criterion for assessing a commodity’s value is its essential usefulness, what it does in the way of satisfying needs and wants. This usefulness is its use-value, a property intrinsic to the commodity. Exchange-value allows one to determine what one commodity is worth in relation to another commodity. In his work “Das Kapital” Marx points out that on the surface a worker’s salary appears to be the price of his labour. The value of labour is expressed in monetary terms, thereby not only eradicating the meaning of value but converting it to its opposite.

In February of 2012, industry victims of the Italian recession placed 10,000 yellow helmets around Maurizo Cattelan’s middle finger monument “L.O.V.E.” in front of the Milan Stock Exchange. This protest was enacted in order represent each individual who lost their job within the construction industry in Italy. This day is known as the “day of anger” (Giornata Della Collera). Workers came together to express their protest on the recession, including each person who was directly impacted by the economic downfall. It solidified the idea of a peaceful protest exhibition. Most importantly, instead of raising chaos during this hard time and evoking a violent protest, the Italian men and women who were affected organized these helmets to show their mutual discontentment. As a result, it has created a lasting impression.

In her exhibition «Ideas, but in things» Ingrid Berven also addresses the concept of values – among other works in videos, paintings with genuine pearls, also with work helmets in Carrara marble. The discussion about values has been a consistent feature in her artistic practice for years. Especially values relating to art, as seen in many of her former exhibitions. By the use of artistic metaphors and in choice of materials she challenges the audience to question their concept of value. Concretely, and figuratively speaking she questions time, society, humans and attitudes. The artworks and how we perceive them may be revealing as well as unsettling. They are significant statements to social development. Perhaps we need to be reminded of the importance of looking beyond monetary value and rediscover different measures of contentment.

Man’s need is boundless, and capitalism’s focus on personal need binds us to a spiral of destructive consumption. When monetary values become the measure of success everything else loses its value. These ideas are what Berven asks us to consider.

- Bjørn Inge Follevaag

Publication: "Ingrid Berven", 2015
ISBN: 978-82-6900017-0-9
Can also be purchased at 3,14

The Last Rites
12.06. - 26.07.2015

Opening speech by Håvard Haarstad
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Depar tment of Geography, University of Bergen, Norway.

The Last Rites, is a silent film, depicting the shipbreaking yards of Chittagong, Bangladesh, which serves as a final destination for hundreds of ships that are to old to ply the oceans. Shipbreaking has become essential to Bangladesh’s industrial growth. Apart from providing more than half the steel the country of nearly 160 million people uses a year, the government collects a lot of money in revenue from an industry that employs more than 50,000 people directly, and another 0.1 million people indirectly. These ships are also in a way part of a «green industry». Almost everything on the ship and the ship itself is recycled, reused and resold. However, there is a dark side to this beaming industry, mainly environmental pollution, and worker rights violation.

Among other environmental issues, oil residues and other refuses are being spilled, mixed with the sea water and left floating along the entire seashore. Explosions of leftover gas and oil fumes in the tanks are the prime cause of accidents, but there are many other safety hasards. The employees are often barefoot, and are given no protective gear. Hundreds of men have died over the last 10 years, on average, one worker dies in the yards a week, and every day a worker is injured. There is an elemental struggle between man and metal, which is elevating throughout Yasmine´s film, as men carry the weight of steel ropes over their shoulders, pull huge parts of the vessels inland, and bear great metal plates. The last Rites is a portrayal of the consequences of the shipbreaking industry, and the agony of hard labor.

London Dispatch
A response to Yasmine Kabir´s film “The Last Rites”. By the London critic Alisa Lebow >>>

Parabolic loudspeaker:

"Materials Recovery Facility"
Stereo audio; duration variable.
12.06. - 26.07.2015

This album was recorded at the materials recovery facility (MRF) run by Casella Waste Systems, in the Charlestown area of northern Boston. The facility receives truckloads of commingled recyclables from many surrounding municipalities and universities. Fed through the facility on a network of massive overlapping conveyor belts, the materials are separated for recycling using automated methods including trommels, disc screens, optical sensors, precisely directed blasts of compressed air, eddy currents, magnets, and a large staff of human workers, who manage much of the separation by hand.

This piece formed the basis for a collaboration with Pawel Wojtasik and Toby Kim Lee that resulted first in an installation at the Museum of the Moving Image in NY, and then an audiovisual work for cinema with 5.1 surround sound, Single Stream, which was exhibited at the Whitney Museum in NY and had its international premiere at the Locarno Film Festival.

Originally published online in Sensate: A Journal for Experiments in Critical Media Practice, Summer 2012

Ernst Karel makes experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance. His recent projects are edited/composed using unprocessed location recordings; in performance he sometimes combines location recordings with analog electronics to create pieces which move between the abstract and the documentary. His sound works Heard Laboratories, Swiss Mountain Transport Systems, and Materials Recovery Facility have been exhibited in New York at the Whitney Museum, Diapason Gallery, and Film Society at Lincoln Center, and at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Audiorama in Stockholm, the Viennale Film Festival, at Tuned City Tallinn, and elsewhere. Recent nonfiction vilms on which he has done sound work include Detour de Force, The Iron Ministry, Manakamana, and Leviathan. He currently manages the Sensory Ethnography Lab and the Film Study Center at Harvard University, where as Lecturer on Anthropology, he teaches a class in Sonic Ethnography.