57 Transition

Zehar #57

57 Transition

In October of 1995, Zehar 29 featured an interview with Catherine David about documenta X. Some of the ideas that were analysed marked the editorial line of future issues; but that issue of Zehar also marked the beginning of a transition period, and from then on, the magazine worked with the idea of the archive as a documentary space.

Over the last few years, the development of digital technologies has made it possible to give a fresh impetus to the function of the archive. This plays a leading role in the contemporary art scene. Numerous works, events, exhibitions and publications have recently been organised around this idea. In a period of aesthetic excess, artistic interest is turning toward the document which becomes a new object of desire. However, the archive as an institution has a long history; traditionally it has been responsible for preserving the memory produced by different cultures, and this is where its great potential lies. The archive may now also be a temporary project, and documenta 12 magazine, in which Zehar has been invited to participate, is a good example. This project will work as a decentralised publishing tool that allows for the production and distribution of associated contents. It will mark a transition period in publishing art and contemporary culture magazines.

Transition is the name chosen for this issue; it is meant to convey the idea of progress and change. Although aware that these states sometimes cause instability, they also provide the basis for a dynamic interactive process. In this respect, it tackles two political transitions: the transition to democracy in Spain, which is dealt with briefly, and the transition in Armenia, which is presented through the voices of four citizens. The idea of dissent or, in the words of Chantal Mouffe, the concept of “friendly enemies” that Leire Vergara includes in her interview, and artistic practice as an aesthetic and political project, are the threads running through the various articles. This issue also analyses the future of cultural policies, which often serve to legitimise political interests, and the debate on financing artistic production. In the Forum section two new texts are presented about royalties and the licences that manage their rights.

zehar 57 ingles-cast.pdf — PDF document, 1653Kb


Copyright and the Brave Digital Future of Museums. Natxo Rodríguez

Not so long ago, before we all knew the impact that new technologies were going to have on museums, there was a lot of speculation about a promising new future. As we analyse in this text, however, copyright has curbed that promise, promoting a culture of “scarcity” rather than fostering a culture of affluence.

Rodriguez_eng.pdf — PDF document, 143Kb


Concerning the Truth of the Useless An Interview with Belén Gopegui. Miren Eraso

The third Periferiak meetings were held in May and June 2005 in Bilbao and San Sebastián under the general title, Democracies of War and Territorial Futures of a Global Economy. One of the principal speakers was Belén Gopegui (BG). In this interview, conducted by e-mail, we tried to address some of the issues raised at her lecture and to investigate further her relationship with politics, fiction, the real, and writing.

Gopegui_eng.pdf — PDF document, 113Kb


Transition in Armenia. Karen Andreassian

This text is a fragment from the conference “Transition” that Andreassian and Miren Eraso jointly presented at the Writing Europe congress, organised by the British Council in Kiev from 28 June to 3 July, 2005. The conference, which took place with two voices, presented the political context of recent decades in Armenia and the Spanish State, places of residence of the conference participants. Apart from outlining a situation or a determined space/time, it established a bridge between two sociopolitical realities with the common denominator of artistic practise.

Andreassian_eng.pdf — PDF document, 139Kb


Art, Possibility and Democracy Interview with Charles Esche. Leire Vergara

The Irish city of Cork is the European Capital of Culture 2005. Cork Caucus was one of the activities included in the programme of events. The project involves artists, production structures, writers and theorists, and has developed into an educational platform intended to encourage conversation and debate on the collective will. The organisers of the programme: Art-Not Art, Charles Esche(CE) and Annie Fletcher, in collaboration with the National Sculpture Factory, have proposed that the cultural legacy of this European celebration should take priority in working on the specific conditions of this context.

Vergara_eng.pdf — PDF document, 105Kb


New Media, Technology and the Arts Unhappy Marriage or Perfect Synthesis? Geert Lovink

Why is new media arts perceived as such a closed and self-referential scene? Why can’t artists who experiment with the latest technologies be part of pop culture and the arts market?

What’s the after-effect of the ‘exuberant’ dotcom era? And why is there such a subordinate attitude towards academic science within new media arts? And is the educational sector the only way out?

Lovink_eng.pdf — PDF document, 101Kb


Where “Feminism” is Still a Bad Word. Anna Barsegnian

The 20th century was the century of women’s activism for access to education, for access to the public sphere, which was denied to them due to gender division of work.

Barseghian_eng.pdf — PDF document, 104Kb


Creative Commons Licences in Spain. Ignasi Labastida i Juan

Until a couple of years ago, few people had heard of the Creative Commons licences1, but the term is now beginning to be associated with a standard format of licence for free digital works on the Internet, just as the licences developed by the GNU project (GPL, LGPL)2 are associated with a standard format for free software. In recent years many different initiatives have grown up to facilitate access to culture and provide a means of sharing it using legal mechanisms3.

Labastida_eng.pdf — PDF document, 96Kb


Now Playing: Marclay. Cecilia Andersson

Christian Marclay
Barbican Art Gallery, London
From February 17th till May 2nd 2005

It was a misunderstanding. I had been meant to interview Christian Marclay over the telephone. I would call him from Liverpool at 3pm, and he would pick up in New York at 10am. I was excited and had my first question prepared; it was about his obsession with telephones. But when at 3pm, he picked up the phone, he didn’t want to be interviewed. He had informed the press person at the Barbican in London about this, only she hadn’t told me. So we spoke briefly and hung up. But I forgot to ask him about his obsession with the telephone. At the Barbican where a major retrospective of his work is currently on display, 750 plaster casts of telephone receivers are strewn out on the floor in what is reminiscent of a mass grave. The cordless white receivers are stripped of their connections and now lie in silent tribute to numerous past conversations. Boneyard (1990) is only one of the works in the exhibition where telephones appear as a recurrent theme.

Andersson_eng.pdf — PDF document, 89Kb
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