1. Research Exhibitions

        Spacecraft Icarus 13: Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere

        8 October–23 December 2011

        BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht (NL)

        1. About
        2. Images
        3. Program
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        Patty Chang & David Kelley, Route 3, 2011, Installation View
      2. The exhibition Spacecraft Icarus 13, as its title suggests, symbolically collapses together the narrative of the mythical flight of Icarus with that of a concrete historical saga, namely the United States’ space-conquering mission Apollo 13. In so doing it creates a ground from which to seek out the contemporary Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere indicated in its subtitle. The Apollo space program, which played out the US’s competition with the USSR in the ideological fight for Cold War supremacy under the flag of “progress,” saw its 1970 mission fall short when grave technical failures made a lunar landing impossible. Similarly, if an imaginary “Icarus 13” set out on a mission to the sun—as one of the works in the show proposes—it would necessarily fail: just as in the case of its Greek predecessor, getting too close to the sun would cause the craft to fall to its death.

        Yet the absurdity of such a mission is not what’s at stake here, and neither is a desire to revitalize the discussion about the divisions of the world driven by the doctrine of progress. Despite the complex philosophical, political, and historical controversies the notion of progress invites into the discussion, there is a powerful motivational aspect inherent in it. As a forward-looking ideal of improvement, it invites us to think the future beyond today’s devotion to the principle of unfettered global economic growth. This is what curator Cosmin Costinaş had in mind when he brought together artists from various parts of the world—but mainly from “elsewhere”— in order to identify a network of knowledge and dialogue from beyond the territories once (directly) involved in the Cold War rivalry. The works speak powerfully about the necessity to think beyond, in Costinaş’s words, “today’s neoliberal brand of progress,” which repackages “decay and confusion” into its incessant hegemonic practice. And although it might seem improbable to imagine an end to this neoliberal mission—perhaps as implausible as landing on the sun—where if not in the space of art can we shift the limits of what is imaginable, and with it the boundaries of possibility? (Maria Hlavajova)

        Artists: Neïl Beloufa (Paris); Patty Chang (New York) and David Kelley (New York); Kiluanji Kia Henda (Luanda); Federico Herrero (San José); Alejandro Jodorowsky (Paris); Mikhail Kalatozov (Moscow); Cristina Lucas (Madrid); Yasuzo Masumura (Japan); Omar Meneses (Mexico City); Mauro Restiffe (São Paulo); Glauber Rocha (Rio de Janeiro); Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Chiang Mai); Lin Yilin (New York/Beijing).
        Curator: Cosmin Costinaş

        Film program and lectures as part of the research exhibition Spacecraft Icarus 13:
        Location: Het Utrechts Archief (NL)

        Bypasses to Modernity:
        30, 60 and 100 Years of Chinese Transformation: The Dialectic between Autonomy and Opening
        Lecturer: Wang Hui.
        Film screening of  Revolutions Happen Like Refrains in a Song (1987), Nick DeocampoThe Vampires of Poverty (1978), Carlos Mayolo and Luis Ospina.

        Against Amnesia and Apathy
        22 October 2011
        Film screening of Melancholia (2008), Lav Diaz.

        Excavating a Cinematic Future
        5 November 2011
        Lecturer: Keiko Sei.

        The Political Carnivalesque
        19 November 2011
        Lecturer: Wendelien van Oldenborgh.
        Film screening of Entranced Earth (1967), Glauber Rocha.

        Revisions of African Representation
        3 December 2011
        Film afternoon curated by Kiluanji Kia Henda.

        Spacecraft Icarus 13 is a research exhibition within the framework of the project FORMER WEST.