Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ferhat Özgür, "Conquest", double screen video, 2017, still.

The Old Left and the New Right
April 4–July 13, 2017

The Extreme Centre: April 18–19, A symposium on the future of politics in populist times with Tariq Ali, Ágnes Heller, Srećko Horvat, Saskia Sassen, Andreas Speit, Teresa Forcades. Performances: Michael Portnoy, Laibach
Volksbühne am Rudolfplatz, Aachener Str. 5, 50674 Cologne
Ever since the end of the Cold War, the conventional categories of Left and Right have been in doubt, yet it is especially in the last five years that there has been a fundamental global shift. New populisms arise not only in Europe and the US, but also in the Middle East or in Asia, and often they defy clear political classification. Authoritarianism and plebiscitary democracy blend, as former leftwing constituencies are captivated by nationalist and protectionist agendas. Conservatives cast themselves as reformers or even radicals, appropriating cultural techniques for anti-establishment resistance traditionally associated with progressives and anti-capitalists. What does the rise of this new right mean to the old left, and where do these categories become meaningless or suspended? Is the matter so simple as a mere retribalization of politics? These are the questions that guide Academy of Arts of the World program of the spring 2017, PLURIVERSALE VI: The Old Left and the New Right.

Opening on April 4, the group exhibition Enigmatic Majorities at ACADEMYSPACE features works by Anne Arndt, Xiao Ke/Zi Han, Cristina Lucas, Ferhat Özgür, Anand Patwardhan, Tomas Rafa, and Chulayarnnon Siriphol, and addresses the global dimension of the current shift. In their films, artists face “the people” in moments when that category is celebrated or only just constructed as an “empty signifier” floating in space, ready to gravitate this way or that.

The cornerstone of the season is the symposium The Extreme Centre on April 18 and 19 at Volksbühne am Rudolfplatz with the participation of historian and author Tariq Ali, sociologist Saskia Sassen, philosopher Ágnes Heller, journalist and writer Andreas Speit, social activist Teresa Forcades and philosopher and activist Srećko Horvat. The symposium takes its title from a recent book by Tariq Ali and looks at the future of politics in populist times.

On April 18, at the end of the first day of the symposium, Academy is proud to premiere a performance by New York–based artist Michael Portnoy, who, with his usual touch of paradox and sense of humor, will artistically reflect upon current political debates, in particular so-called “character assassination," the deliberate destruction of reputations through the misrepresentation of facts. The symposium ends April 19 with a live performance by one of the pioneers of antifascist subversion, the legendary Slovenian group Laibach.

As a follow-up to the symposium, Academy Member Mark Terkessidis, journalist Richard Gebhardt and anti-fascist activist Bianca Klose explore the rise of right-wing populism and the simultaneous decline of old-school right-wing parties in a discussion at ACADEMYSPACE on May 11.

Later in the program, the Academy presents the German premiere of the most recent monumental film by renowned Indian documentary filmmaker and political activist Anand PatwardhanJa Bhim Comrade (May 30 at Filmpalette). Also premiering are new artistic productions and coproductions by the Academy, among them Katarina Zdjelar’s new film on German choreographer Dore Hoyer’s work in the GDR inspired by Käthe Kollwitz (June 20at the Kunsthochschule für Medien KHM) and Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s new film Germany: Year 2071 on June 25, the latter made in cooperation with Impulse Theater Festival. This year, the Academy also presents the results of its new experimental Open Call in the Paris region, initiated by Academy Member Monika Gintersdorfer.

On July 13, PLURIVERSALE VI ends with a lecture by British American political scientist Arun Kundnani on the relation of the right-wing with Islamophobia in the West and another Academy commission, a new sound performance by Academy Member Terre Thaemlitz, reflecting on the bourgeois, heterosexist notions of marriage, family and childbearing in their global dimension.
This season, the Academy also continues its educational program, the Youth Academy, with new guest artists, Bik van der Pol. A new reading group accompanies the entire program, following its themes with deeper readings.
Curated by Ekaterina Degot, David Riff, Aneta Rostkowska and the entire Academy team.

A full program of events will be presented shortly on

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