05 May – 25 June 2016

Peace of Mind

All images (+8)

An exhibition and an urgent call for peace.

With works by:

  • Morehshin Allahyari
  • Marwa Arsanios
  • Khaled Barakeh
  • Don Driver
  • Harun Farocki & Andrei Ujică
  • Matthew Galloway
  • Bouchra Khalili
  • Şener Özmen
  • Savaş Boyraz
  • Khaled Sabsabi
  • Hito Steyerl

Public programme
Thursday 5 May
Welcoming speech with Khaled Sabsabi.

Saturday 7 May
Curatorial Tour with Misal Adnan Yildiz and Artist Talk with Matthew Galloway.

Saturday 25 June
Closing event “What about ‘foundation(s)’ of (P)eace in NZ?” Participants TBA

Off-site in May & June

Workshop: Understanding damage
Co-edited by Şener Özmen, Savaş Boyraz, Hito Steyerl and Misal Adnan Yildiz, Diyarbakir, Turkey.

Poetry Evening: Flower Power
Hosted by VAR in San Francisco, USA.

In December 1968, a new newspaper appeared in Venice, California with the call:

This paper is a poem. It is the first of a series. Your participation will decide how often we appear. This paper is a poem for the people. We decided not to sell it to some of you, but to give it to all of you. It is a poem for all the people. It is also a paper made by people who love to make poems and dig doing a newspaper which is also a poem. >Our subject this issue is Venice. Our purpose is to create a community. We would like to give you a new poem every day. We hope to do it now, every two weeks.

• Şener Özmen

Poster installation.
Courtesy of Pilot Gallery.

How to tell of peace to a living dove?
HD video, 4min32secs.
Courtesy of Pilot Gallery.

For this exhibition Diyarbakır based artist and writer Şener Özmen’s photographic series, entitled Supermuslim (2003), is adapted as an installation of posters for the Artspace’s entrance. What happens when the super hero, who is supposed to save us, also prays to God for salvation? Parallel to this install, his recent video installation entitled “How to tell of peace to a living dove?” (2015) is narrated in Turkish by the artist’s son, Robin, whose mother tongue is Kurdish, with clear references to the early stages of learning to read and write. The artist’s conversation with the bird includes a cynical tone in its reconsideration of the white dove as a global symbol for peace.

• Morehshin Allahyari

Material Speculation: ISIS/ Download Series
Digital Files, USB Key.

Plug your laptop into the USB cable to download a digital artwork by Morehshin Allahyari.
Available for download concurrently at this physical location, and at artspace.org.nz as part of the exhibition Beachhead’s PEACE OF MIND.
Combining diverse strategies of being an artist, a researcher and an activist, Iranian born Morehshin Allahyari investigates the possibilities of reconstructing, reanimating and resurrecting the artefacts, which are destroyed, lost or damaged by cultural terrorism or religious conservatism. Her ongoing project Material Speculation is a recreation of the Syrian cultural heritage in Palmyra, destroyed by ISIS on 23 May 2015, as open source digital files, 3D printed forms and their photographs. Allahyari develops an open form of resistance by positing ways in which one can reconstruct hope for the survival of intellectual property and the sustainability of historical memory.

• Khaled Barakeh

Untitled Images
Digital print.

For the series Untitled Images (2014), the Damascus born and Berlin based artist Khaled Barakeh manipulates printed images of victims of the war in Syria, and removes the photographic representation of their bodies leaving only the texture of the paper, taking away their glossy surfaces. Earlier than the global headlines on Alan Kurdi, the three year old Syrian boy found dead on the beach in Bodrum, Turkey, on September 2, 2015 and the subsequent discussion surrounding the ethics of representation, Barakeh had already, instinctively, pointed to the question of how refugee crises have been shown in the media. In his work the presence of displaced persons can be felt, and their voices heard, ironically, through their absence in the images.

• Don Driver

Basic Planes
Mixed media.
Courtesy of Carolynn & Nigel Whiteman.

• Don Driver

Mixed media, courtesy of Fiona Clark.

Two works from one of the most challenging NZ artists, New Plymouth’s Don Driver, are included into this exhibition with clear references to Aotearoa’s history of protest against nuclear energy and the tradition of asserting our freedom of expression. Transforming the banality of everyday life, Driver turns found objects into poetic forms of sculptural thinking, and his work has created critical thresholds on the predictability of signs, symbols and everyday reality. His “Basic Planes” from 1995 includes tags such as “Caution Radiation” or “Keep Clear” on its orange coloured wooden surface, which are most probably derived from a ‘cablewheel’ while the work “Spinning”, dated 2000, is an assemblage of films posters, and CDs.

• Savaş Boyraz

Evin’s Story
Video, 2min19secs.

Stockholm Istanbul based artist Savaş Boyraz works with an interest in creating a personal, subjective and critical filmic language working with the politics of identity, knowledge of geography and control over the landscape. Some of his recent photographic and film works observe Kurdish guerrilla fighters from Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. The short film ‘Evin’s Story’ is based on a staged interview with Zilan who becomes Evin and talks about why she cannot eat fish. The understanding of absence and presence in the narration of this film leaves an emotional space for the audience
to develop a strong attachment to the subject, and her recently lost significant other.

• Khaled Sabsabi

2 channel video from multimedia installation, scent, 2min.

The multi channel video work 99 by the Sydney based Lebanese artist Khaled Sabsabi refers to the 99 names of God as the main references to faith in Islamic theology. Ranging from Australia to Syria, the video material has been collected from diverse geographies to include scenes of war, destruction, and catastrophic events, looping with a whirling ‘dervish’ at its centre. Sabsabi’s interest in Sufism, and Rumi brings a spiritual analysis of our currency as proposing an introspection on peace and happiness rather than a condition related with the outside world.

• Hito Steyerl

Video, 25min.
Courtesy of Andrew Kreps Gallery.

Berlin based film maker and writer Hito Steyerl’s earlier film work November (2004) departs from the story of Andrea Wolf, a close friend of the artist’s since her teenage years, who later became a guerrilla fighter alongside Kurdish rebels before dying from a
bullet wound in the South of Anatolia. Steyerl’s research into the case releases urgent questions on terrorism, feminism and internationalism along with notions of political memory of revolutions and its codes.

• Marwa Arsanios

Have you ever killed a bear or becoming Jamila
Video performance, 25min25secs.

Investigating the story of the Algerian freedom fighter, Djamila Bouhired through the old pages of Cairo’s historical publication, AlHilal, Beirut based artist Marwa Arsanios, through a cinematic narration, casts a critical gaze toward the history of socialist movements, perceptions of feminism and the marginalisation of women within the public sphere, alongside references to anticolonial movements within the Algerian war of independence.

• Harun Farocki

Their Newspapers
16mm film transferred to video, 17min.
Courtesy of Harun Farocki GbR (Antje Ehmann, Anna Faroqhi and Lara Faroqhi).

• Harun Farocki & Andrei Ujică

Videograms of a Revolution
16mm film transferred to video, 106min.
Courtesy of Harun Farocki GbR (Antje Ehmann, Anna Faroqhi and Lara Faroqhi).

Artspace NZ presents two films from the internationally renowed German film maker Harun Farocki; “Their Newspaper” dated 1968, an “agitprop” film that artistically documents the 1968 student campaign against the Springer press group, which controlled popular ‘dailies’ such as the Berliner Zeitung and the Bild Zeitung; and “Videograms of a Revolution”, produced in collaboration with Andrei Ujică (1992), which uses as its subject matter the historical revolution in Bucharest Romania, in December 1989, conveyed through a new media based form of historiography.

• Bouchra Khalili

Garden Conversation
Digital Film, 18min.
Commissioned by Abraaj Group Art Prize, 2014.
Courtesy Galerie Polaris.

In the Conversations space, the Berlin based, Moroccan French artist Bouchra Khalili presents her film Garden Conversation (2014), a 16 minute digital film that re-stages an imagined meeting between Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and the exiled hero of the Rif War (1921–1926), Abdelkarim Al Khattabi. Speculating on what they might discuss today using archival material in the form of quotes from writing by both figures, the work presents several critical questions on the relationship between language and politics.

And what if a young Arab man and a young Arab woman were to meet, literally embodying the words of Guevara and Khattabi, to engage in a conversation about struggle, its means and its purpose? And what if each of them were to speak in his/her own language – Moroccan Arabic and Iraqi Arabic – and yet fully understand each other? And what if they were to meet in one of the oldest colonial possessions in the world? And what if this conversation were to take place in a heterotopian space – midgarden, midforest – bordered on one side by a Spanish military training camp, on the other by the sea, and finally by a barrier, isolating the city from the Moroccan territory, and serving for nearly twenty years to prevent migrants from reaching this piece of Europe on the African continent?

• Matthew Galloway

The Ground Swallows You
Printed posters, vinyl, newsprint publication.

Dunedin based artist, writer and graphic designer Matthew Galloway presents his project and publication The Ground Swallows You (commissioned by Blue Oyster), which is a graphic investigation into the geopolitical implications of shipping on the high seas, beginning with a simple observation of a docked ship in Dunedin and landing in the far more complex, disputed territory of Western Sahara.
The installation starts from the window on the East St. side of the building, and continues through the exhibition developing a walk for the visitor and also a parallel reading of it with the publication, free copies of which are provided in Artspace’s research area, Learning, Unlearning, Relearning.