Rodriguez Foundation
Marina Griznic
Oliver Ressler
Hito Steyerl
José Carlos Mariategui
Marcus Neustetter
november 5
19:00 >> Fundación Rodriguez
20:00 >> Marina Griznic
november 6
19:00 >> Oliver Ressler
20:00 >> Hito Steyerl
november 7
19:00 >> José Carlos Mariategui
20:00 >> Marcus Neustetter

A summary of the conference given by Marina Grizinic on Repolitization and Embodiment at the Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea on 5th November 2003 within the framework of the conferences on Artistic Proposals of today, here and there.

Marina Grzinic is a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy of the ZRC SAZU at Ljbljana (Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art) and also a professor at the Fine Arts Academy of Vienna. Grzinic also works as a freelance media theorist, art critic and curator. She has been deeply involved in video art since 1982. In collaboration with Aina Smid, she has produced 40 videofilms, CD-Roms and various Internet sites. Grzinic has published 8 books. During the 1997-1998 academic year, she obtained the post-doctoral research fellowship of the Japanese Society for scientific advance in Tokyo. In 2001, Grzinic took part in the New York “Apex Art Residency Program”

Marina Grzinic began the conference by declaring that there is no doubt that the way art and culture function has changed. Therefore, in her opinion, we can no longer use criteria such as our own identity to think in these spheres. Marina Grzinic used her own example to illustrate this thesis, “I come from Ljubijana, Slovenia, from a specific place. However, I wasn’t born in Slovenia, therefore my identity is not completely Slovenian”. In Marina Grzinic’s opinion, these are matters that are constantly changing, some artists who possess a clear identity decide to emigrate and therefore their identity is transformed. Until now it was thought that the citizens of a city, its native inhabitants, were the ones who had the criteria to interpret local art and culture. Today, as she explained, these matters are constantly changing.

During her speech, she defended the need to rethink what is happening in art and culture in general. For this, she showed 5 projects which, in her opinion, shed some light on issues such as : Who should be allowed to talk in art and culture? Or, who are citizens of the world and who aren’t? Who possesses an identity?

The first project shown was one by Tania Ostojic, a young woman artist who worked in Belgrade up to a short time ago and who is now working in Germany. Marina Grzinic showed the work Tania had done for the Venice Biennial of 2001: A black square on a white square. According to Marina Grzinic , Tania is primarily a performance artist and tries to show how the so-called Institution art functions. During the Venice Biennial of 2001, Tania Ostojic requested the commissioner to allow her to accompany him in all his public interventions. “She wanted to be his angel or escort, functioning like a beautiful, silent body moving next to him”, Marina Grzinic declared. However not only did she want to be a “beautiful, silent body” she also made the work black square on a white square, based on the same idea. She cut off some of her pubic hair and posted it to thousands of people. “Tania’s objective was to make known the situation faced by thousands of women who, after the fall of the Berlin wall, were forced to become prostitutes. Many people saw this intervention as Tania’s way of getting attention in order to get into Institution art, but in my opinion there is more to it than that”, Marina Grzinic declared. As she explained, Tania wanted to emphasise the question of whether it is worthwhile “taking up prostitution” in order to gain a place in Institution art and for this, she used her own body and the figure of those women emigrants from Eastern Europe.

The second project was “ Blood is sweeter than honey” from the Eclipse group, a duo from Ljbljana, which deals with the merchandising of the body. “For me, the principal questions of this work are: who has history?, who possesses history? And who doesn’t?” Marina Grzinic declared. The works of this duo are always directly related to the aesthetics of the Renaissance, with Pop or Kitsch reinterpretations of it. This work shows the naked body of a woman, but several parts of her body are numbered. “There are names in the art world who own parts of the body, and for this reason the woman’s body is numbered here”, Marina Grzinic explained. Names such as Jeff Koons, David Cronemberg, Madonna, Helmut Newton or Pedro Almodovar are, in the opinion of Eclipse, owners of specific parts of art.

The third project was “Be my guest” another work by Tania Ostojic, made in 2002. The artist was invited to do a piece of work for an Italian gallery. She requested them to set up a restaurant – Jacuzzi in the gallery itself. In Marina Grzinic’s opinion, “Today it is evident that commissioners have so much power that they are crucial factors in the work. It is so important to sell art that we are prepared to do anything to achieve this”. Tania Ostijic decided to function as a social-prostitute in this work, she wanted to criticise the art system and show her body as a work of art, according to what Marina Grzinic explained. “The principal question that Tania wanted to consider was whether it is worth selling our soul in order to get into the system”.

She also showed a work by Walid Raad, a Lebanese artist who works in the USA. His work “the Bahar tapes” questions the limits between fiction and documentary. It tries to investigate how one element relates to the other and the influence of the mass-media on the fictionalisation of reality. As well as these questions, the choice of the protagonist, a Lebanese man that has spent 10 years in prison with five Americans is, according to Marina Grzinic, one of the few opportunities of hearing a Muslim speak in these circumstances. “This issue reveals the difficulty that a large part of the world has to make itself visible, to tell its story. The question of visibility is basic in TESTER and I think that this project is a good example”.

Finally, Marina Grzinic, who is also an artist, showed “The House of the East” a project she has done and which tries to show how the first capitalist world has condemned Eastern Europe to ostracism and how it is trying to get more deeply into globalisation.

[Arteleku] [Rodriguez Fundazioa] [Eusko Jaularitza] [American Foundation Center] [Casa Asia]