Skip to main content

synchronicity | Austrian Contribution for the 11th Cairo Biennial

with Roberta Lima and Dorit Margreiter curated by Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein
December 20, 2008 – February 20, 2009

The theme of the Cairo Biennale 2008 addresses the dichotomous
relationship of the self and other under the title - "The Other Is No Other But Myself." Artists Roberta Lima and Dorit Margreiter take up this theme in the Austrian contribution to the Cairo Biennale in their work that will focus on the "Western" perspective on strategies of appropriation applied to Cairo as a site for experiencing cultural alterity. Using their examination of the city and cultural contexts of Cairo as a basis, the artists seek to create illustrative models as (re)constructions of the urban space as a mode of investigating its power to effect and create realities.

Foto: Anja Manfr

The artists will address the employment of the copy, reproduction, appropriation, authenticity and deferral as figures within in (architectural) monuments and (textual) documents; these are "figures" that particularly bring to light the ambivalences in the relationships between territorialism, imagination and the politics of representation. The spatial coordinates inscribed in such relations here are conceived less in terms of socio-geographic statistical data that has been shaped in an artistic process and then presented in a 'readable' format and more in terms of dynamic relations that generate agency. A key idea here is "the world as performance" based on Milton Singer's concept of "cultural performance." Singer's idea refers to the interconnectedness of text and performance, bringing awareness to the transformatory character of culture and incorporating within it the possibility to endow identities and notions of the subject with new meanings that can also reflect moments of intercultural exchange. Within this context the concrete experience of the spatial relations within an exhibition space plays a constitutive role in terms of the aesthetic and cognitive experiences of the elements and factors the space is composed of; hence, the focus on performative praxis is to be understood as a bodily form of perception regarding the performativity of the space itself. This particular artistic/thematic approach is also a point of connection for Roberta Lima's and Dorit Margreiter's artistic practices.

Foto: Anja Manfredi

Through employing different kinds of media, for instance film, video, layout drawings, photography, performance and bookmaking, the work will do justice to the complex languages of the material relevant to the artistic and curatorial research and production process, related to Carl Gustav Jungs definition of "Synchronicity".

Roberta Lima
Please help yourself
Please help yourself is a fusion of video installation and live performance. Inspired by director John Waters and the duality of women characters in film history (the perfect housewife versus serial killer, the glamour movie star versus guerrilla), this work thematizes the role of women icons played in portraying violence featured in diverse media, such as movies, television, news media, etc. For the installation video projections, monitors and surveillance cameras will be arranged in the space - and where later the performance takes place. The live act will be captured on video and broadcasted simultaneously on the monitors.

Dorit Margreiter
In the film piece Aporia two people discuss the history of several urban
landscapes, each of which has emerged as a copy of another famous city. Examples are various versions of the city of Venice as well as copies of Vienna, Cairo and Dubai. In the course of the narrative several storylines about cities are interwoven with the overall story, allowing a poetic description of the origin of (urban) history and its social construction. The plot is conveyed through the filmed gestures of six persons that are then alternated to create a dialogue. The filming site is a recording studio: the epitome of a non-place. The dialogues are then dubbed with the voice of a single narrator. Recurring visual elements in the film are a black screen lasting for several minutes along with images vaguely resembling the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, as a possible site of the plot.
(Co-produced by the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds)