Lopud Seminar – Unpredictability and Speculations
September 13–16, 2012 | Lopud Island, Croatia

2002 – 2012 – 2022: This year’s symposium on the island of Lopud forms the center of a sequence of dates dominated by the number two, and divided by gaps of ten years. The ten years between 2002 and 2012 have seen TBA21 grow from a small private collection to an art foundation that has established an international presence and esteem, but first and foremost a loose network of artists, performers, musicians, writers, curators, critics, and others who are actively or peripherally forming the art world. This network however is based – we would like to think – on a concept of mutual enthusiasm, on a desire to create and enable creation, and especially, on the notion of friendship.

The island, the number two, and the academy. Three concepts that contain much of what we hope to address this year on Lopud. The “secret society and eccentric commune“ we evoked in our invitation is certainly an insular model. We invite everyone to collectively retire to Lopud’s Franciscan monastery (please think of the word’s root: monos, or the monad, the arithmetical unity or Leibniz’s “ultimate unit of being”), to meet in conclave and to regroup at least for a few days as the heart and soul of the foundation. 

The number two, then, shall signify a practice of dialog, or discourse, of action and reaction, of opposition or co-incidence. As Sandra Noeth has beautifully put it in her Wish for Lopud, “the figure of two invokes symmetries and reflections, serials, but also intersections, interfaces and transitions. It raises questions of the self, individuation, in- and exclusion and illustrates the dichotomous dispositive of theoretical reflection and aesthetic practice – of art and life.” The figure of two, then, shall serve as our notion of friendship.


September 13

Welcome of Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza

Reflections on the Contours of Ecological Conflicts
Amar Kanwar 

If we are trying to understand the contemporary, the ecolog- ical crisis and the possible role of a contemporary art insti- tution then it maybe useful to understand the nature of eco- logical conflict at present and how it may evolve in the future. Also useful may be to examine the experience of individuals/ communities/activists in their resistance to the crisis. And it may be interesting to see how various forces within this crisis have related to culture. 
Amar Kanwar will present a few thoughts and reflections, mainly as learnings/conclusions from the experience of work- ing in Orissa in the last ten years. His main interest is the role contemporary art occupies in understanding, conceiving and catalyzing of different forms of institutions and on the respec- tive issues these institutions support and nurture. His presen- tation is an attempt to open up this terrain, outlining trajecto- ries to compliment or identify new processes to create. 

Open Forum
Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Phillip S. Lobel, Jana Winderen 

Starry Nights Film Screenings
Amar Kanwar, The Scene of Crime, 2011
Single channel HD video. Color, sound, 42 min

Simon Starling, Black Drop, 2012
Single channel HD video. Color, sound, 26 min

September 14

Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Daniela Zyman

Imagine the contours of an institution of contemporary art like TBA21 mantled by an ultra-thin membrane of supersen- sitivity, a permeable skin connecting the inside to the out- side, a living peripheral tissue that reacts, overreacts, super- reacts to information. Let me call this model an institution of supersensitivity. The perceptivity of this institutional body to stimuli would be so developed that all receptors, nerves and conductors would be triggered by variations in chemical, atmospheric, thermal, political, economic, personal – and ar- tistic data. A curator in an institution of supersensitivity would never pause, never stop, never withdraw, s/he would dwell on interconnectivity, circulation, processing and outputting. It is a symptomized sensitivity, of course, expressing most likely a disbalance or pathology of the system. And yet, perhaps we need more supersensitivity, and more than ever. 

The Lopud Experiment: Out of the Chaos Always Comes a New Order
Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Michael John

The world around us—from the declining coral reefs to our precious but endangered cultural heritage—needs more than preservation projects; it needs inspired revitalization. Finding new ways to infuse new life, meaning, and purpose into the world requires more than knowledge about its preservation; it requires a lot of creative thinking, courage, and faith. It is too easy to get stuck in the rut of arguing about how to conserve or restore value systems, financial models, architectural structures, and the environment. The challenge is taking the essence of what is, as opposed to what was, and transforming it or allowing it to transform itself into something completely new. 
The random “collision” of images, spontaneous reactions, information, and data that captures the essence of the creative process, life regeneration, and knowledge production is what will inspire people who stand on the peripheries of expertise to come up with new solutions and methods of making a difference. We need a change of “frequency” in order to trigger that evolution. Particles of knowledge that bump into one another by accident or by synchronistic force driven by positive energy can then start a new life. We are searching for the art equivalent of the Higgs boson. 

My Phantasm: The Idiorrhythmic
Olaf Nicolai

“It is merely important to understand that a phantasm can only exist if there is a setting (a scenario), that is to say, a location. Athos (where I have never been) offers a mixture of images: the Mediterranean, terraces, mountains (every phantasm filters; here we are fading out: dirt, faith). Basically it is a landscape. “Idiorrhythm”, “idiorrhythmic”: that was the magic word by which the phantasm transformed into a field of knowledge. This etymological reminder is important for us: 1. Idiorrhythmic, nearly a pleonasm, because rhythmos is by definition individual: interstices, fleetingness of codes, the way the subject inserts himself into the social (or natural) code. 2. Reference to subtle forms of ways of living: Moods, instable configurations, oscillations between depression and excitation; in short, the opposite of a rigid, unrelentingly uniform beat.” From: Roland Barthes, How to Live Together

A Polylogue of propositions
David Rych

Every period encapsulates a particular notion of what we are and of what we are possibly able to achieve within the strata of our current state of knowledge. Vision and memory are strongly tied to it and they don’t seem to work without an- other. This means memory institutions, their technologies and practices set some of the conditions for what is remembered, individually, collectively and culturally. An art foundation such as TBA21 keeps a specific role and responsibility in sustaining history in a qualitative way, as to provide access to particular concepts and ideas, to save them from being forgotten, to learn from and teach on. The chance of art is its ever-surprising combination of unorthodox thought of different cultural configurations, carried on in a polylogue of ideas and propositions to explore our approach to future epistemologies.

Art is not a Science
Bruce Ferguson

Bruce Ferguson addresses the notion that aesthetics are po- litically impotent and that a work of art is not political per se but rather gets its force from its reception. Exemplified by two recent examples - juxtaposing Amal Kenawy’s “Silence of the Lambs” with Francis Alys piece called “Multiplication of Sheep” from the series Patriotic tales he will propose a read- ing on two squares that are political (Tahrir and Zócalo) and how they are represented by art - in one case provocatively and in the other case representationally due to reception.... one potent and the other liberal... 

The Future Archivist
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

The Future Archivist is about the present, the moment and the archive to come. It will be as much about reading the moment(s) we are living as it is about resisting the obsession with the now, the immediate that simultaneously produces vast amounts of material only to render it obsolete in a continuous stream/sea of information. 

The Sorrow of Syria
Marc Otte

Marc Otte was EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process from 2003 to 2011 and Adviser on Defence and Security Policy to the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security (from 1999 to 2003). He held various assignments among which Consul General in Los Angeles, Ambassador to Israel and Director for Security Policy and Disarmament. He holds an MA in Political and Social Sciences and postgraduate of the Institute for Developing Countries, University of Louvain, Belgium. Currently, he is Director of Policy Planning, MFA Brussels Belgium.

Open Forum
Basel Abbas, Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Marc Otte, David Ryche
Moderated by Bruce Ferguson 

Starry Nights Film Screenings
Omer Fast, Continuity, 2012
Single channel HD video. Color, sound, 40 min

Evening performance
Carl Michael von Hausswolff

After last year’s other-wordly debut in Lopud with recorded EVP (electronic voice phenomena) messages from the monks and past occupants of the Franciscan Monastery, a return visit by Carl Michael von Hausswolff. CM is a Swedish artist (working with sound, light and image), composer, curator, an expert on electronic voice phenomenon, pioneer researcher of Friedrich Jürgensson, producer, founder of the label Radium 226.5. His main tools are recording devices (camera, tape deck, radar, sonar) used in an ongoing investigation of electricity, frequency, architectural space and paranormal electronic interference. 

Music DJ
Tommi Grönlund 

In response to the particular atmosphere of the monastery, Tommi Grönlund will present a special musical set based on his long term collaboration with Mika Vainio’s, focusing on Vainio’s releases on Grönlund’s Sähkö label. 

September 15

On reefs . . . 
Phillip S. Lobel, Jana Winderen

Jana Winderen will present “Silencing of the Reefs”, an ongoing sound project in which the artist records reef habitats from TBA21 vessel and discuss current issues on reefs conservation with oceanographer Philipp S. Lobel. The conservation agenda is beginning to have a significant impact on our contemporary world. Slowly, issues such as over-fishing, pollution, extinction and the importance of bio-diversity are rising to the top of the political and artistic agenda and present challenges, which TBA21 is keen to address. Despite their invaluable environmental benefits as one of the world’s most vital ecosystems and their contribution to our planet’s resources, coral reefs are in the process of dying, irreversibly vanishing from planet Earth. In the context of a wider cultural dialogue lead by the TBA21-Academy, some artists and scientists as well as conservationists are challenged to celebrate the coral reef – its creation, its growth and its decay. For the coming months, the focus of the TBA21-Academy vessel will be the Mesoamerican Reef that is the second largest barrier reef in the world. Not only is it host to an enumerable variety of species, but also around two million people are dependent on its healthy ecosystems for water, food and income. 

Open Forum
Katiana Orluc, Jana Winderen, Phillip S. Lobel, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Tommi Grönlund
Moderated by Tony Myatt

Girl Gang Manifesto
Chicks on Speed

“If we consider to read Olympe de Gouges’ appropriation of the Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen, published as Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne on September 14, 1791, as first feminist manifesto, what kind of poetological effects does that have on a discussion of the manifesto as genre?”, wrote late Gudrun Ankele, writer, performer and activist. In her memory, COS will read and sing and perform feminist manifestoes and discuss the recent clamp down on the Pussy Riot movement in Russia in a long tradition of Naked Protests.

Boris Ondreička

I can listen to the television of my neighbors. I use their wifi (anonymously). Architecture is an emblem, a metaphor of Private & Public nomads: Pubrivatelics. An Institution (as well) is an emblem, metaphor, oscillation between private and public (but also semi-private and/or semi-public), between being together and alone. An Institution is open and closed (if it’s closed it does not mean that it is not working), distant and close, entrance fee or entrance free. 

Utopias of the Contemporary
Paul Feigelfeld

The first ever transmission of knowledge between China and the West in the 17th century highlights the functionality and operability of incompleteness and misunderstanding, the re- and misappropriation in the creative production of artistic and scientific knowledge: a recursive function of science and fiction, difference and repetition. The contemporary utopia of the Baroque - universal knowledge - begot the cybernetic death wish of the 20th century. Today, we live, think and work in the utopia of the contemporary. What are the tools we need to appropriately probe the histories of the present? How can institutions participate in the probing?

Open Forum
Chicks on Speed, Sandra Noeth, Ragnar Kjartansson, Boris Ondreička, Brad Kahlhamer

In the highly commodified space of contemporary art, the artist’s body has been charged with competing agency. Delegated performance indicates that the site of the artist’s body can in fact - as in the realm of theater - be occupied by paid professionals (or other substitutes). Is then a certain form of resistance still IN the body? Does durational performance, as proposed by Ragnar Kjartansson with the inherent “testing of the limits of the body of the performer” still vouch for authenticity and autonomy? Or is its resistive quality to be found in the exhaustion of the audience, often enduring long and repetitive actions? Sandra Noeth uses the French term déposition to think about the movement of stepping aside, of creating space for the other and thus developing a being-with-each-other as a choreographic act. And what happens when the choreographed body leaves the space of representation and corrupts regis- ters of decency: stripping the body of its cover to reveal the naked is not only an ironic comment on 70’s performance proposed by Chicks on Speed, but has recently been employed by Pussy Riot with very real political and personal implications.

Silencing of the Reefs
Jana Winderen

Reef habitats are in danger of being silenced by temperature changes, acidification and noise pollution. Fish, crustaceans and mammals from the smallest fish larva to the largest living mammal on the planet, the blue whale, use sound and some also electromagnetic fields under water to orientate them- selves. Some species are also hearing specialists and they use sound to protect their habitat and find a mate. “Silencing of the Reefs” is an ongoing project in which Jana Winderen listens to and records reef habitats around the coast of the Americas, from the exploring vessel Dardanella. The composition is based on recordings from both under and above water at the starting point of this ongoing journey, on the north coast of Iceland in 2011. Around Iceland there are deep water reefs that are threatened by deep sea trawlers. The cold deep sea coral reefs have evolved for hundreds of thousands of years, and they grow extremely slowly and are very sensitive to temperature changes. The currents are changing and fish that used to feed further south have moved north following their prey into Icelandic waters. Underwater soundscapes have evolved from the beginning of time, and creatures have adapted to and refined their ability to hear and sense under water in very specialised and com- plex ways which are for us still to a large degree unknown.

September 16

Notes on a Practice of Best-Friendshipness. A few movements, several companions and a desire for Lopud. The sea, an island, a constellation of ideas.
Sandra Noeth

In Lopud – and elsewhere, expressed or understood in resonance – there is a place for the creation of artistic, discursive, personal friendship and the desire to always want to create both: a desire and a challenge to the validation of our individual and collective agency. The friendship, which exists as negotiable there, cannot be reduced to consensus or leveling, agreement or principle disputes. Friendship, like the movements of a mobile, can not be comprehended in representative orders or by assignment. It exists first in its performativity, that is to say first in deed, at the moment of its casting off, of becoming heard, of appearance, of opposition – to its own reluctance. Rather it is about working together on a practice of agonal dialoging. Alongside a practice, which needs the fragility and the composed within our position to somewhat extend our artistic and theoretical tools and methods, and which asks carefully for an ethical dimension in aesthetics: about experiences of vulnerability, closeness, damages and recognition. About a practice of friendship that takes on the challenge of the political. 

Inside the Pyramid
Rasmus Nielsen

Sometimes the artworld feels like an Albanian Pyramid leaving us the question of what part of the pyramid we would like to be in. Should we be on top where the flow and bonus is the greatest or should we stay at the bottom where the pyramid exposes itself and chaos reigns. If TBA21 was a person (and here I am not thinking of Francesca as such) and I was an expert in pyramids (a pyramidologist) I would suggest to stay at the bottom. We already know how the top looks like but we don’t really know what happens when the true structure reveals itself in the chaos at the bottom. Now, one can easily get lost in a pyramid and what appears to be the top might just as well be the bottom. Perhaps even the pyramidologist might be wrong on this one. They lose their sense of direction in the pyramid and years later are found dead with a letter saying: “Sorry, but it was the other way”.

The challenge of education and collecting the overlooked
Carl Michael von Hausswolff

What are the scraps? This interests me. Nowadays collectors go for the best pieces or the pieces that they or someone says are the best. What about those small things that some artists have done that almost pass unnoticed ... those tiny little objects that just whisper ... well, we all know that a whisper can create a hurricane, so ... I see an enhanced activity in collecting recorded works and works on paper. The history of recorded works is not longer than the tape recorder and its history is constantly rewritten. New recorded works are being found around the world and there will be more of them Cassette tapes will be dug up from cellars in Novosibirsk and Shanghai - as they were in Cairo and Göteborg: Ilan Mimaroglu just died a few days ago - I told people and even the most initiated didn’t know that he was one of the pioneers in electronic music - but of course he was from Turkey so who cared about that ... Else Marie Pade is from Copenhagen and soon 90 years old (also one of the pioneers of electronic music but from Denmark, eh ...). Bob Cobbing, Henri Chopin, Ilmar Laaban have all died - concrete poets anyone?? Who knows about the brazilians except Hans Ulrich: Decio Pignatari ... de Campos brothers.

Performances on the beach featuring "Satan is Real"
Chicks on Speed with Ragnar Kjartansson

Musical performances are a central part of Kjartansson’s works. The structural moment of repetition, loops and continuity, duration and endurance that he employs can also be found within the coordinates of Blues music. After sundown, Ragnar Kjartansson, accompanied by his guitar, will present the tired, weary Lopudians with some heartfelt Blues and much sad, sad music, and will later be joined by Chicks on Speed, aka the Ramblin’ Soulful Sisters, for an improvised session of a more upbeat nature.
September 13–16, 2012
Lopud Island, Croatia