How, if at all, can we start over? How can the world be imagined as a better, fair, equally accessible location? Imagination is the long-forgotten word in mainstream political thinking.
Wyspa Institute of Art is pleased to announce the first Alternativa 2014 exhibition, Political Imaginaries: Making the World Anew by Oliver Ressler, opening on April 29 at 7 p.m. The artist, who is based in Vienna and with whom Wyspa bonded with its inaugural show Health and Safety in 2004, is the key artist shaping our thinking upon matters of alternative forms of organisation of social, economic and environmental life. For Wyspa, frequently working with Ressler, he is the artist who, by his stance, engagement and matters of concern, is the recurring point of reference. How we can get organised? What is our relation to power structures? What are the economic links and dependencies? How, if at all, can these conditions be thought anew? Since the mid-1990s, Ressler has travelled around the world to research, work in the field, document and distribute alternatives to the mainstream models of communal organisation and its economies, modes of protest and environmental issues.
With his first large survey in Poland, Ressler returns to Wyspa to present his individual and collaborative projects and give us an insight into the number of important social movements responding to the global economic crisis. He also brings to the table the examples of brutal implementation of neoliberal order in post-communist countries and broad international perspectives on democracy. He finally poses a series of questions around violence and resistance, a matter which we are to revisit in the context of the recent political situation.
Ressler’s exhibition is taking place in the entire Wyspa building. On the ground floor, the artist brings together five works that address the global financial and economic crisis, the bailout of banks, austerity measures and their social consequences. Two works focus on forms of resistance against how the crisis is being handled: the 3-channel video installation Take The Square (2012), based on conversations Ressler initiated and filmed among activists of the squares and “Occupy” movements in Madrid, Athens and New York, and Ressler’s most recent film, In the Red (2014, co-directed by Ana Pečar) about the Strike Debt group, an offshoot organisation of Occupy Wall Street in New York.
On the first floor, Ressler brings together nine films he made between 2002 and 2013, some of them with his collaboration partners Dario Azzellini and Zanny Begg, that focus on themes such as the alter-globalisation movement, the political changes in Venezuela, global warming and transition problems in former Soviet republics. All these films relate to specific struggles, forms of resistance and organising.
At the opening, the book Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies by Oliver Ressler will be available at Wyspa’s bookstore at a special discount price. The book focuses on diverse concepts and models for alternative economies and societies, all of which share a rejection of the capitalist paradigm and show the current status of the ongoing project. It includes an introduction by Aneta Szylak, the essay Questions from an Artist Who Speaks (and Reads, Writes, Thinks and Acts) by Gregory Sholette, and the transcription texts of video interviews that were carried out by Oliver Ressler for the project between 2003 and 2007.
The exhibition is a part of the Alternativa 2014 framework.