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Bolero 2021 Stories – Thomas Maestro

Today’s story is that of Thomas Maestro who starts with a quote by George Perec.

“The daily newspapers talk of everything except the daily. The papers annoy me , they teach me nothing. What they recount doesn’t concern me, doesn’t ask me questions and doesn’t answer the questions I ask or would like to ask.

What’s really going on, what we’re experiencing, the rest, all the rest, where is it? How should we take account of, question, describe what happens every day and recurs everyday: the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infra-ordinary, the background noise, the habitual?

To question the habitual. But that’s just it, we’re habituated to it. We don’t question it, it doesn’t question us, it doesn’t seem to pose a problem, we live it without thinking, as if it carried within it neither question nor answers, as if it weren’t the bearer of any information. This is not longer even conditioning, it’s anaesthesia. We sleep through our lives in a dreamless sleep. But where is our life? Where is our body? Where is our space?

How are we to speak of these ‘common things’, how to track them down rather, how to flush them out, wrest them from the dross in which they remain mired, how to give them a meaning, a tongue, to let them, finally, speak of what is, of what we are.

What’s needed perhaps is finally to found our own anthropology, one that will speak about us …”

Georges Perec, L’infra-ordinaire, 1973 (excerpt, translation Ubuweb)

In their book La vie, mode mineur (2015), Catherine Remy and Laurent Denizeau evoke research practices as dependent on two modes: the major mode, and the minor mode. In urban research, the major mode “refers to normative expectations and shared behaviors — the immediately visible layer — of urban situations” (in: Cuny, Färber, Jarrigeon, L’urbain par l’image : collaborations entre arts visuels et sciences sociales, 2020). The minor mode concerns “behaviors that, while going unnoticed, introduce a mismatch, play or irony in relation to the ongoing action” (ibid). In urban research (intellectual research and formal research), these two modes are fundamentally linked to our way of understanding space and time. In my process of the urban collection of abandoned objects, I activate the major mode by my simple presence in space. The minor mode is activated by my behavior breaking with urban dynamics that would like me to be on the street in a simple act of movement. In fact, attention to latent objects acquires the same status as these objects. Thus, my behavior is marginal, as well as the presence in the world of these objects.

As part of the Bolero project, I ask myself the question of the political involvement of my work, considering that the essence of the project is to work from the newspaper as a formal and conceptual material. There is in the idea of a newspaper, something that seems too frontal to me, a relationship to the real that is too direct (which is the nature of a newspaper). My work, in the forms they take, do not have this direct political involvement. In fact, this is hijacked. This is my process, amassing, caring for scraps, which is part of a political framework that is interested in what is on the margins. The minor mode is therefore my preferred mode. So how do we treat a material like the newspaper, which firmly belongs to the major mode? I chose to use the journal not for what it presents (by choosing for example a page dealing with a news item) but for what it is: an exhaustive tool of the major mode, but also a malleable, pliable, blurable material. So I chose to use newspaper pages as cases for the abandoned objects recovered from the street and which are exclusively of the minor mode. The crumpled journal thus surrounds these objects, protects them.

Thomas Maestro, September 2020

Bolero 2021 runs until 10 April and can be visited on the square in front of the Centre André Malraux as well as in the rue des Bons Enfants in Rouen. You can make a virtual visit here.

Alexandra Dementieva in LASER Talks CYLAND Saint-Petersburg

Join Alexandra Dementieva Saturday 10 April for the LASER Talks CYLAND Saint-Petersburg on the theme of Space Exploration.

The motto for this talk is Konstantin Tsiolkovky‘s remark “All the universe is full of the lives of perfect creatures.”

Apart from Dementieva the other panelists are Oleysya Turkina, Andrey Bartenev and Matthew Lee. The moderator is Natalia Kolodzei.

Saturday 10 April

Register here to attend the talk.

Olesya Turkina is a senior researcher at the Russian Museum and an associate professor at St. Petersburg State University. She has been a full member of the Northwest Branch of the Russian Federation of Cosmonautics since 1999. Since 1997, she has collaborated with the Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles), and since 2012 with KSEVT (Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies, Slovenia). She has curated countless exhibitions of contemporary art, including space-related shows, and has written numerous articles and books, including Soviet Space Dogs (FUEL, 2014).

Alexandra Dementieva is a multidisciplinary artist. Her installations use dance, music, cinema and performance. She raises questions related to social psychology and theories of perception, suggesting solutions to them by contemporary artistic means. Her works have been exhibited worldwide. Her recent essay in Leonardo “Homo Sapiens, Mnesitardigrada Class and Umwelt: A Dialogue on Interspecies” focuses on existing knowledge about interspecific communication and hypothesis about the spread of interplanetary civilizations. It is expressed as an imagined communication flow between a human earthling scientist and a Kquaanian–human hybrid who is an artist by earthly occupation.

Andrey Bartenev is a multimedia artist, sculptor, experimentalist, and creator of many provocative, interactive installations and performances. Bartenev, who since the 1990s has been known as the ‘Performance Man’ and the ‘Master of Installations’, perceives the world through contrasts of colors and volumes, textures and surfaces, an active interplay of materials and shapes. In 2002, he worked on a performance entitled “The Stairway of Red” in the summer center of the Watermill theatre in the Hamptons, NY. In 2007, Bartenev participated in “Click I Hope,” the Russian pavilion’s group exhibition at the 52nd Venice Biennale. In 2017, he took part in Burning Man Festival with the camp entitled “Aliens? Yes!”.  In 2018, Bartenev won the Alternative Miss World as Miss UFO. 

Matthew Lee is a poet and also a quantitative hedge fund manager. He holds a PhD in Physics from UCLA where he studied Theoretical Elementary Particles and also Non-linear Dynamics. He has dreampt about black holes since he was a child. And feels everyone should have a pet Tardigrade 

AnneMarie Maes – Sensorial Skins and Woven by Nature

Sensorial Skins and Woven by Nature is a double exhibition by AnneMarie Maes curated by Camilla Colombo. The works on show focus on membranes and surfaces, on organic materials and on tactility, on processes and transformations, on bacteria and life.

Sensorial Skins and Woven by Nature is a journey into working with natural elements and co-creation with living organisms.In April and May 2021, two complementary chapters will be presented, at PILAR gallery – the house for Art and Sciences at the VUB and at iMAL, Art Center for Digital Culture and Technology in Brussels. Part 1, Sensorial Skins, displays a universe made of warm earthy colors and organic materials. Part 2: Woven by Nature, zooms in on the element of water, the preferred ecosystem of bacteria and the basis for the origin of life.

Opening Sensorial Skins at PILAR: Thursday 8 April, 6pm
Finissage: Friday 23 April, 6pm Opening hours: Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 2pm to 6pm

AnneMarie Maes, No Time for Paradise and L’Origine du Monde

Annemarie Maes is a visual artist whose research-based practice combines art and science, with a particular focus on biotechnology, ecosystems and almost-alchemical processes.
She works with a range of biological, digital and traditional media, including live organisms. She exhibited internationally in a variety of contexts, and was awarded an Honourable Mention at Ars Electronica 2017 for her ongoing research project The Intelligent Guerilla Beehive.
Camilla Colombo is a curator and producer focusing her practice on interdisciplinarity at the nexus of art and sciences. She is co-founder of Ohme and Saloon Brussels. Currently based in Brussels, Camilla holds an MA from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) and an MA from Goldsmiths College (London, UK).

Join us for LASER Talk Brussels with AnneMarie Maes and Camilla Colombo on Tuesday 20 April at 7pm. Register here.

Bolero 2021 Stories – Frank JMA Castelyns

Frank JMA Castelyns, Remember…, 2021

In the upcoming week we post some stories behind the new contributions to the Bolero project. To start with that of Frank JMA Castelyns, one of the initiators of the project:

The new work is a continuation of my previous contribution Remember Marc Twain – King Leopold’s soliloquy.
The new contribution Remember… is an ode to Morel, Casement, Harris and all the unknown courageous people who denounced the abuses in Congo at the beginning of the last century.
The title Why a truth commission if the truth is already known? I also applied in screen print like the other text. That was also the question of the newspaper article.

The white lines over the image of the smeared statue of Leopold II are the rivers of Congo that I applied to the original newspaper with phosphorescent paint along with black and white areas. These lines light up in the dark.
I copied the lines from a didactic school stamp used in the 60s and 70s to teach children in Belgium about Congo.

These lines in phosphorescent paint are like tears flowing upstream over the image of Leopold II and can also be seen as a metaphor for the return of the wealth that was once taken away.

Bolero 2021 runs until 10 April and can be visited on the square in front of the Centre André Malraux as well as in the rue des Bons Enfants in Rouen. You can make a virtual visit here.

Frank MJA Castelyns, Remember Marc Twain – King Leopold’s soliloquy, 2010

BUREAU DOOVE in END – Loving Care and Troupe/troep

For our last publication in Empirical Nonsense Daily of this week, we present two other recent projects. Apart from BOLERO 2021 that’s still on show until 10 April in the Centre André-Malraux and in the streets of Rouen, we organized Loving Care with the large-scale paintings of Pierre Mertens in De Blikfabriek in Antwerp last September-October. And end of January there was the group show Troupe/Troep at ChezKit.

Find the page dedicated to these two projects here.

BUREAU DOOVE in END – Nathalie Hunter

In today’s publication in Empirical Nonsense Daily we present Nathalie Hunter. We’ve been working together since Super! Triennial for Visual Art, Fashion & Design in Hasselt (2005). Over the years Hunter has build an impressive oeuvre that touches on several seemingly contrasting fields that however happily intermingle with each other: her (wall) drawings, work on an edible landscape and more recently, her ceramics all connect in an alchemist way. The underlying energy of which, as she says, is always one of transformation, transcendence through daily acts of reconnection. Much based upon the idea of balancing the full and the empty into space and life itself.

Find her page in END here.

BUREAU DOOVE in END – Benoît Géhanne

Benoît Géhanne,
Retenue #16
Oil on aluminium
144 x 120 cm

Today’s publication in Empirical Nonsense Daily is the occasion to welcome Bénoît Géhanne as an affiliated artist. We first worked together for the exhibition Troupe/Troep at ChezKit in Pantin. Find his page in END here.

Featured image:

Benoît Géhanne, Bias #21, 2019, 502 x 125 x 27 cm

BOLERO 2021 in END

Today we publish all the new contributions to BOLERO 2021 in Empirical Nonsense Daily. Find the page here. You can visit the exhibition virtually via this link.

More about the stories behind every contribution next week.

From top left: Willo Gonnissen, Thomas Maestro, Pierre Mertens, Neil Wood, Mulugeta Tafesse, Miguel Angel Molina, Marielou Perez, Jean-Louis Vincendeau, Jason Karaïndros, Héloïse Marie, Hantu, Gaspard Lieb, Frank JMA Castelyns, Driftingspace, Dominique De Beir, Chloé Elmaleh/Marcos Uriondo, Béatrice Cussol

Featured image: Willo Gonnissen

BOLERO 2021 in END – Marcos Uriondo

Marcos Uriondo, Pas ton mon assiette, 2021

Today we publish in Empirical Nonsense Daily the work of Marcos Uriondo, another member of ChezKit that participates in Bolero 2021. Find his page here.

Featured image: Marcos Uriondo, Bon plan, 2020

BOLERO 2021 in END – Chloé Elmaleh

Chloé Elmaleh, Hello, 2020

In today’s publication in Empirical Nonsense Daily we present Chloé Elmaleh with whom we also worked in Troupe/Troep and is now one of the participants in Bolero 2021. Find here page here.

Featured image: Chloé Elmaleh, Tiens toi droite, 2021