Threads: A Fantasmagoria About Distance – curated by Nicolas Bourriaud

“Telegraph and telephone destroy the cosmos. Mythical and symbolic thinking strive to form spiritual bonds between humanity and the surrounding world, shaping distance into the space required for devotion and reflection: the distance undone by the instantaneous electric connection.”
Aby Warburg

Fantasmagory, both as a technique and an ideology of the image, could be the forgotten historical model for today’s art practices: the way artists embroider stories in a mixture of fictions and social reality, inhabiting the interstices between the real, the illusion, the image and its interpretations, seems to connect to the ambitions of the 18th century’s ‘fantasmagorists’ — their will to include the viewer into total environments that recall our installations, the way they combined scientific ambitions, esoteric knowledge and spectacular practice.

Already at the end of the eighteenth century, Philidor and Robertson, the first ‘fantasmagores’, share some traits with contemporary artists: between enlightenment and entertainment, science and magic, painting and theatre, prestidigitation and political issues (Robespierre and Danton were among the revolutionary figures invocated by Robertson in his spectacles), they appear as prototypes for the contemporary artist… Contemporary to the fantasmagories was the invention of telegraphy (from the Greek word tele, far and graphein, write), the long-distance transmission of written messages without physical transport of letters. A semaphore network was invented by Claude Chappe in France, which operated from 1792 through 1846; an electrical telegraph was independently developed in the United States in 1837 by Samuel Morse.

Threads’ ambitions are both to approach the form of fantasmagoria and to address the way today’s artists include the notion of distance in their works: in a globalized and digitalized world, how does art deal with transportation, real time communication? What is the current shape of the presence/absence dialectics? How do artists present absent realities? “Move bits, not atoms”, said the web activist Nicholas Negroponte in the 1990s.

As a metaphor, Threads also stresses the parallels between today’s art and the spectacle of fantasmagory, focusing on the similarities with this proto-movie theatre both in terms of techniques and intellectual issues, and leads the way to another possible history of art, where feature films and installations would share a common ancestor.

By doing so, it alludes to the spectral as an emerging mode of visualisation anchored in internet culture: furtive apparitions, gaseous, infra-thin or filigree-like images, pseudo-telepathy, ventriloquism or magnetic phenomena are part of a new culture of the visible aiming to reconcile science and poetry, technology and image analysis, but in a production context dominated by digital tools.

Based on this link between science, poetry and spiritualism, Threads is an exhibition about art as a system that connects itself to a different time and/or space. The artwork as a telegraphic device, entering into contact with something happening somewhere else, in another realm, world, place or times…

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Katja Novitskova, Pattern Of Activation (On Mars), 2014. Installation, mixed media

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Katja Novitskova, Live Broadcast of Pattern Of Activation (On Mars) in Kaunas

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Kelley Walker, Nine Disasters (Florida City; Maui; Moran; San Fernando Valley; Anchorage; Kobe; Elba; Los Angeles; TWA Flight 800), 2002. Digital print

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Lothar Hempel exposition in Kaunas Central Post-Office building, Kaunas Biennial, 2015

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Lothar Hempel, Baccha Paranoika, 2009. Mirror, photograph, wood, paint and plastic

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Lothar Hempel, Slowdance, 2015. MDF, inkjet on dibond, painted steel, tree branch, paint

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Roberto Cabot, Ventilation No. II, 2008. Silicone on ventilation grills from Palast der Republik, East Berlin, former GDR

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Pakui Hardware, Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker, 2015. Stock data from Bond Market Flash Crash (16/10/2014), 3D motion graphics for 3 LED TV monitors, acrylic glass, plastic net, artificial leather cup, MDF sheet

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Pakui Hardware, Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker, 2015. Stock data from Bond Market Flash Crash (16/10/2014), 3D motion graphics for 3 LED TV monitors, acrylic glass, plastic net, artificial leather cup, MDF sheet

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Pakui Hardware, Crave That Mineral, 2015. Magnesium and aluminium alloy rims, silicone, Fiji mineral water, edible Sky Blue pigment, PVC hose pipe, water pump, plastic liquid container, LED lighting system

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Pakui Hardware, Crave That Mineral, 2015. Magnesium and aluminium alloy rims, silicone, Fiji mineral water, edible Sky Blue pigment, PVC hose pipe, water pump, plastic liquid container, LED lighting system

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Pakui Hardware, Crave That Mineral, 2015. Magnesium and aluminium alloy rims, silicone, Fiji mineral water, edible Sky Blue pigment, PVC hose pipe, water pump, plastic liquid container, LED lighting system

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Katie Paterson, Timepieces (Solar System), 2014. A series of nine clocks that tell the time on all the planets in our solar system, including Earth’s Moon

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Katie Paterson, Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole), 2015. Scented layered candle

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Katie Paterson, Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole), 2015. Scented layered candle

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Arnas Anskaitis, The Traveler, 2014-2015. A poem “The Journey from Königsberg to Memel” (1773) by encyclopedist Denis Diderot (1713-1784) read by Yvan Leclère, a teacher of French, Geography and History at the French School of Vilnius. Two-channel sound recording. A double-page spread from “Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts”, Vol. 17 (1765). Digital print. A map of 10 bilingual dictionaries from the Baltic region states oriented by the cardinal directions

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Katja Novitskova, Pattern of Activation (Rhinos), 2014. Digital print on aluminium, cut-out display; polyurethane, steel cut-out

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Walead Beshty, 16-Inch Copper (Fedex® Kraft Box ©2005 Fedex 330504 10/05 Sscc), International Priority, Los Angeles-Bruxelles Trk#861718438308, August 31 – September 2, 2011, International Priority, Bruxelles-Paris Trk#876303869097, January23 – January24, 2013, International Priority, Paris-Bruxelles Trk#899244571053, May14 – May15, 2013, International Priority, Bruxelles-Kaunas Trk#806093127029, August 25 – August 28, 2015, 2011. Polished Copper And Accrued Fedex Shipping Labels

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Walead Beshty, Copper (Fedex® Kraft Box ©2005 Fedex 157872 Rev 10/05 Sscc), International Priority, Los Angeles-Geneva, Trk#860603386371, March 9, 2011–March 14, 2011, International Priority, Geneva–Kaunas Trk#803581825107, September 2 – 7, 2015, 2011. Polished Copper And Accrued Fedex Shipping Labels

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Bronė Sofija Gideikaitė, The Trip, 2013-2015. Installation. Embroidery, canvas, cotton thread, photo frames, plastic, travel bills

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Bronė Sofija Gideikaitė, The Trip, 2013-2015. Installation. Embroidery, canvas, cotton thread, photo frames, plastic, travel bills

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Bronė Sofija Gideikaitė, The Trip, 2013-2015. Installation. Embroidery, canvas, cotton thread, photo frames, plastic, travel bills

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Liam Gillick, Inside Now, We Walked Into A Room With Coca–Cola Coloured Walls, 1998–2015. Color Tests (Coca Cola), Vinyl Paint On Wall. Dimensions Variables

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Katie Paterson, The Dying Star Letters, 2011. Ink on paper. A series of letters which proclaim stellar deaths

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Katie Paterson, The Dying Star Letters, 2011. Ink on paper. A series of letters which proclaim stellar deaths

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Darius Žiūra, The Monument for Utopia. 2015. Featuring Viacheslav Kovalenko (St. Petersburg) and S (Dublin). 2 tones of stolen books, sculpture

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Hicham Berrada, Présage / An Omen, 2007-2015. Beaker, chemical

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Hicham Berrada, Présage / An Omen, 2007-2015. Beaker, chemical

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Attila Csörgő, Clock-Work, 2012-2015. Tripod, wooden lath, machanical alarm clock, glass cylinder, laser printer transparency film, halogen lamp, 12 V transformer

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Attila Csörgő, Dice Tectonics, 2015. Paper models, Mollweide projections

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Amalia Ulman, Forever & Always, 2015. Wall decals, cushions

 

 

All images: Remis Ščerbauskas

Threads: A Fantasmagoria About Distance
Curated by: Nicolas Bourriaud
Artists: Saâdane Afif, Arnas Anskaitis, Hicham Berrada, Walead Beshty, Roberto Cabot, Attila Csorgo, Bronė Sofija Gideikaitė, Liam Gillick, Lothar Hempel, Carsten Höller, Katja Novitskova, Pakui Hardware (Černiauskaite Neringa & Ugnius Gelguda), Katie Paterson, Amalia Ulman, Julijonas Urbonas, Kelley Walker, Darius Žiūra
Central Post Office, Kaunas, Kaunas Biennial
September 18 – December 31, 2015