Lopud Seminar – Nightfall
August 9–14, 2005 | Lopud Island, Croatia

The meeting is geared at creating an exchange between practitioners, researchers, curators and artists on topics relevant to contemporary art and its institutions. As a true symposium it combines intellectual exchange with the enjoyment of a site, encounters with artists/institutions in Croatia and the appreciation of art and life. Most of the events are conceived as nightly star-gazings, looking out for the Tears of St. Lawrence, whose maximum period of activity is expected on August 12. The Symposium is held on Lopud Island and in Dubrovnik with a program of conversations, film screenings and visits to Sipan and Lokrum. 

Welcome to the Tears of St. Lawrence – An Appointment to Watch Falling Stars by Olaf Nicolai commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, and launched at the Biennale di Venezia in 2005 within the context of the exhibition “Always a Little Further”, curated by Rosa Martinez is the point of departure for the symposium "Nightfall".

Following Nicolai's instructions, a group of artists, curators, and friends gathered on the island of Lopud to enact the stargazing. "In the hours after midnight between the 9th and 14th of August watch the northern starry sky facing northeast at an angle of approximately 45° away from the radiant in the constellation of Perseus. At these times and specific locations you will see a rain of falling stars, >The Tears of St. Lawrence<."

At the Venice Biennale, Nicolai proclaimed this event as an exhibition contribution: The project is featured in the Biennale catalogue and on posters, distributed in Venice, comprising scientific notation, coordinates and dates for the observation as well as a photographic documentation of Novas, Meteors, and non-cooperative objects in our skies. However, the “Appointment to Watch Falling Stars“ are to be held wherever the constellations in the ambit of the “Perseides” may be observed in darkness. “Welcome to the Tears of St. Lawrence“ can be considered as “exhibition object,” whose realization is independent from site and the occasion.

Time Art / Date pieces
August 9

Lopud Fortress

Participants: Olaf Nicolai (Artist, Berlin), Gianni Jetzer (Curator, Neue Kunsthalle St. Gallen); moderated by: Daniela Zyman (Curator, TBA21, Vienna)

Film Screenings
Plan 9 from Outer Space(1959, dir. Ed Wood)
Phillippe Parreno: The Boy from Mars, 2003
Jane and Louise Wilson: Dream Time, 2001
Steve McQueen: Once Upon a Time, 2002
Bas Jan Ader, Nightfall, 1971
Haluk Akakce: The Measure of All Things, 1999
Doug Aitken: Monsoom, 1995

August 10

La Villa Garden

Case studies of representations of stars, zodiac, constellations in the arts of the Italian middle ages or renaissance: identification of the morning star / Madonna, mythological representations (Perseus), the influence of the stars on human activities, painted horoscopes of the renaissance.
Presentation by Lorenzo Fusi (Curator, Palazzo Papesse, Padua)

Transonic Cosmologies
BLACKSPACE - Video/Vinyl/Slides
August 10

Lopud Fortress

Michaela Melián and Thomas Meinecke will guide you through the astro-futuristic intergalatical black music of the past four decades. At the time of the US civil rights movement, the diasporic musical community in America has developed both an aesthetic attitude, but more so a political self-awareness by defining itself as extra-terrestrial.
Sun Ra’s ancient Egyptian cosmic mythology influenced an entire generation of black musicians in their search for sonic, social, aesthetic autonomy. Talk and Music samples.

Participants: Michaela Melian (artist), Thomas Meinecke (writer, music historian); Introduction by Olaf Nicolai

Film Screening of Space is the Place, 1974 (dir. John Coney with Sun Ra)

(Art) Spaces in the Cosmos?
August 11

Presentation by David Adjaye (architect, London) on the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Pavilions (Lopud and general concept as well as screening of film documentation Venice Pavilion and Your black horizon by Olafur Eliasson, 2005) followed by a discussion.

A relevant issue in today’s ever expanding art world is the question of seeking new structures and formats for art institutions. As museums no longer serve as paradigm for the future, new models are been tested which incorporate ideas of impermanence, flexibility, immateriality, and decentralization. T-B A21 is seeking contributions and dialogue in shaping its role and in defining its future.

Participants: David Adjaye (architect, London), Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza (Chair, TBA21, Vienna), Arno Brandlhuber (architect, Cologne), Olaf Nicolai (artist, Berlin)

August 11
Monastery Fortress, Lopud

Film Screening and Presentation of
Jane and Louise Wilson, Dream Time, 2001
Jane and Louise Wilson, Star City, 2000
Jane and Louise Wilson, Proton, Unity, Energy, Blizzard, 2000
Charles and Ray Eames, Powers of Ten, 1977
John Glenn: American hero, 2003 (documentary)
Late late night (optional):
Dark Star, 1974 (dir. John Carpenter)

Site-Specific Art Project
August 12

La Villa Terrasse

Within the critical discussions concerning present-day site-oriented art, one tendency has been to valorize the nomadic condition for having abandoned the phenomenological oriented mode of site-specific art. Moving beyond the inherited conception of site-specific art as a grounded, fixed (even if ephemeral), singular event, the works of these artists are seen to advance an altogether different notion of a site as predominantly intertextually coordinated, multiple located, discursive field of operation. Adam Budak traces in his presentation a short history of site-specificity and the "functional site" (James Meyer) to distinguish recent site-oriented practices from those of the past and embracing the idea of meaning as an open, unfixed constellation, porous to contingencies.
Presentation by Adam Budak (Curator, Kunsthaus Graz)

Point of Departure: Dubrovnik
August 13

Lazareti Art Space, Dubrovnik

Panel discussing the issue of the relation of artist production to a specific place, region and history, the role of institutions and curators, of the artistic diaspora and possible cross-seminations.

Participants: Renata Poljak (artist, Split / Vienna), Andreja Kuluncic (artist, Subotica / Zagreb), Braco Dimitrijevic (artist, Dubrovnik / Zagreb), Slaven Tolj (artist, Dubrovnik)
Antun Maracic (Director, Museum of Modern Art, Dubrovnik); moderated by Branko Franceschi (Director, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka) 

Followed by a concert "Rambo Amadeus"

Only the Sky is the Limit
August 14

Lokrum Nature Reserve

Time, Space, Astronomy: Conversations on the occasion of Olaf Nicolai’s project Welcome to the Tears of St. Lawrence. An Appointment to Watch Falling Stars with Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza and Alen Brkovic (Astrophysicist, Dubrovnik)

Once a year, there is a natural phenomenon that makes itself available to billions of humans to share and enjoy, many of whom will experience it for the first time... The "Perseids" loom. No telescope required. No photoelectric photometer, spectrograph or multi-million dollar infrared observatory. Just you, a lawn chair and some company.

Watching late into the nights of the 11th, and the 12th, when you'll see fewer meteors but with characteristically longer and sometimes jaw-droppingly dramatic trails. For days before and days after, one can see some of these as the count builds up, but this evening is the "sweet spot" of the showers. Meteor showers are the visual result of Earth smashing through a space borne river of sand, metallic bits/chunks and rocks. A sort of celestial flotsam composing the left over cookie crumb trails left behind comets. In this case, the comet Swift-Tuttle (named after co-discoverers) is the culprit. The comets responsible are usually elsewhere, so don't worry about trying to see that.
August 9–14, 2005
Lopud / Dubrovnik, Croatia