“Reading Jack Segbar’s text about the state of contemporary art and the role of Rib as space where “practice” is “performed” reminds me of returning as an adult to an amusement park one used to enjoy as a kid. This, of course, is not the rejection of his eloquent understanding of the issues at hand. However, perhaps, I will be pointing to the arguments’ impending expiry date by painting a moving picture of the radical changes in the global workforce of art production. My text might prompt us to reconsider Segbar’s points, aiming for a re-articulation of the status of contemporary art and the place of Rib in its production and circulation.
Art, either as in real art, or its sacrificial substitute, will continue to survive or even thrive in the future, but it seems that we are reaching the end of the concept of “artist.” And we have nobody to blame for artists’ downfall but themselves. This event is not some kind of human cleansing or annihilation of a breed of people by external forces. The end of artists is death by something like the opposite of suicide, a demise caused by mass replication. Artists are disappearing like how zombies eat each other in movies. Or, like how cancerous cells crowd out their healthy brothers and sisters in living tissue. It is like when a particular radio wave runs out of all available signal range to dedicate to a new station. It is when the sound of the radio stations bleed into each other, so much that it is impossible to listen to anything because all one hears is white noise.
What does this scenario mean for spaces which have been explicitly identified with the figure of the artist? I am thinking, for example, of artist-run spaces like Rib? What will happen to these spaces, which played a crucial role during the rise and dominance of contemporary art in generating new methods and languages for making art and addressing it? Responding to this question requires us to keep in mind the colonial and exploitative relationship between more extensive operations like commercial galleries and kunsthalle/museum and artist-run projects. This unequal collaboration often amounted to small artist-run spaces being instrumentalized as recruitment offices for identifying and training global art stars. How does this relationship will have to evolve to respond to the end of the concept of artists? If artists are gone, would there ever be a need for artist-run projects in the larger space galled global contemporary art? We will return to these questions after completing after diagnosing the terminal illness that will perhaps be wiping artists from the face of the world's cultural map. […]”
Read: ‘The Haunted House of Art’ by Mohammad Salemy
“An introductory note: this text continues as a kind of response on the previous text about the Rib (the place that is definitely not a gallery, and is probably best defined as “artist-run space”) written by Jack Segbars [link]. It is highly recommended for the reader to attend to the Jack’s text before reading what follows in order to get introduced with the works produced and presented by Rib this text continues the more general line of discussion and provides no such information.
As a part of different Rib’s moves to produce the own reflection or what is often mistakenly equalized with institutional critique1 and what this text would view differently as a certain “Production of Space”2 this series of texts is initiated by Maziar Afrassiabi (the founder, director, curator and first of all the artist of Rib)3. It is envisioned as a kind of a critical debate among the several commissioned critics but it is also allowed to immediately break lose and dissolve in the messy world of critical writing.4 Themes topics methods and approaches in contemplating the existence and the consequence of Rib are left entirely open and at the discretion and sovereignty of the writers (what is not to be equalized with an “open-ended” approach; the argument for this will be proposed towards the end of this text). And so is the future of this debate at the moment it is probably only Maziar who can be aware of all the possibilities this series of texts can bring to the fore and in what shape and form this correspondence will surface to the public as another “production of Rib”.
On a personal note this particular text presented me with one yet unexperienced difficulty to bring it to (any) end.5 Surely I am not alone in this and it is probably so 2018 thing to say. Let’s see if 2019 offers any endings if that is what we need for the world to be set in motion once again. […]”
Read: ‘Notes on Rib, RibRib, RibRibRib: PREDICAMENTS PREDICATES PARADIGMS PEDAGOGY’ by Vlidi Vladimir Jerić
1 This according to the formula: Institutional critique = ouside of institutions = interventionism Institutional Reflection = inside of institutions = reformism (credit: Jelena Vesić).
2 In the first part of this text Rib will be observed as a “production of a (certain) space” (any and all references to the Lefebvre’s book intended) and will offer a more direct response and dialogue with Jacks’ text. The second part will be purely speculative and hopefully also propositional. Or it will be the other way around. Let’s find out along the way.
3 This alone makes Maziar Afrassiabi a proper curator and not just an enabler a producer or manager a middleman with a vision and an entrepreneurial urge or capacity or instinct. The role of the function and of the figure of “curator” will be examined further in this text. Probably.
4 [This is how I imagine was the perspective of Maziar during the previous 18 months or so: the entire “writing project” became a kind of immediate transfusion of the particular problems and dysfunctions from one realm to another. The writers will want to answer on the questions no one actually asked in the volumes not comprehendible nor manageable by the artists or any other humans finishing their work way later than anyone expected. What was supposed to be a quick affair of instigating the chain of responses to what seemed a (relatively) straightforward question of Rib became a long and exhausting campaign to extract and make sense of any particular statement from the exhausted but also exalted pool of half-mad writers.]
5 It has been a year ago when I started filling page after page with both how I imagined what a “response” to Jack’s text should be—I have never tested this procedure formally before—and with what I thought is something I could bring to this debate. All these pages appeared eventually at odds with the ways of the world and the facts of life rapidly collapsing into a single dark spot both as a cold measurable fact and as a personal subjective affair. Nothing I wrote seemed relevant anymore. The sense of helplessness and depression can be perhaps explained but is hardly understood on the other hand the experience of 2018 is something we understand as happening but seems not easy to explain. Eventually I decided to archive my non-understandable research and response HERE in the hope it will make sense once what remains are the non-explainable parts as you are about to witness in this text.
“What forms can cultural production take now? To what changes must it adapt in relation to how cultural production and its work are organized within the totality of life under capitalism, and within the frame of contemporary art? Having started in 2015 as a production-space for art, Rib takes the history and legacy of artistic production and the actual conditions of the current situation as points of reference, and lets itself collide with the tensions in this configuration. Rib positions itself as a smaller player in an institutional fabric that is made up of museums, medium-scale presentation-spaces and so-called small-scale ‘independent’ spaces. Its aim is to test this current institutional constellation of artistic production than can be characterized as having morphed into platforms for artistic production, incorporating the production of aesthetics and of knowledge-production—as form of internal critique—extending the range of functions in artistic production, from which an enhanced potential of institutional production and of political ambition is presented: the ambition of contemporary art. Understood as the trans-global institutional production of art that is to accommodate the geographic and cultural differences in one binding format and time.1 This approach is part of a more general development that can be observed where artists and institutes, reconfigure their modes of production as response, in an effort to reclaim a space of production under capitalism.
It is the multifaceted platform-function of the exhibition-space of Rib itself that is positioned towards this question as a performative medium of exploration, critique and expression. Rib’s operation is to simultaneously address the possibilities and bottlenecks of artistic production now, and to extend on this through its production. What needs to be re-assessed, re-visited, re-framed qua the difference between the potential of art—as ambition towards the realization of conditions to production, and the conditions and operation of production in c a’s current manifestation under capitalist subsumption? The system of contemporary art that produces the artistic object is understood here as the ‘assemblage’ of positions in production: curating, the institute, the artist and communication that jointly author the ‘object’ produced from this assemblage.2 How are the characteristics of cognitive capitalism, as capitalism’s most recent iteration, of effect in the realization of this ‘object’? And how does it contribute to its form that accommodates this space for autonomy, and its subsequent agency?
How can an exhibition-space be thought of as medium for production, and as medium for critique within these conditions? How can the legacies of our artistic past, notably that of conceptual art, within our present conditions inform a trajectory for action. Rib does this by focussing on and deploying the characteristic elements in the current form of production: aspects of distribution and curating, of time and space of production, and the notion of ‘work’ as an integrated form of production, raising once more the problem of autonomy in production. […]”
Read: ‘Rib — Mirroring productionism’ by Jack Segbars
1 I here refer to Peter Osborne’s definition of Contemporary Art’s commission. Peter Osborne, Anywhere or Not at All, Verso, 2013
2 Here I follow Peter Osborne’s conceptualization of authorship in Contemporary Art artistic as issue of the cycle of positions in production, Peter Osborne, Anywhere or Not at All, Verso, London/New York, 2013
Launched in 2018, Rib Unresolved Issues is an online publication of mostly but not only text-based reflections and conversations on Rib’s artistic and institutional trajectory. The texts are mostly part of a chain reaction of commissioned writing using Rib as a model and point of departure for thinking about the future of art production and organisation.
The first text in this chain, is by Jack Segbars. The initial draft of his text was completed before the program of 2019 took off, hence it does not include any examples from our program post 2018. The reaction to this text is by Vlidi Vladimir Jerić, followed by Mohammad Salemy and others, who will be announced later.
Mohammad Salemy is an independent Berlin-based artist, critic and curator from Canada. He holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and an MA in Critical Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia. He has shown his works in Ashkal Alwan’s Home Works 7 (Beirut, 2015) Witte de With (Rotterdam, 2015) and Robot Love (Eindhoven, 2018). His writings have been published in e-flux, Flash Art, Third Rail, Brooklyn Rail, Ocula, Arts of the Working Class and Spike. Salemy’s curatorial experiment For Machine Use Only was included in the 11th edition of Gwangju Biennale (2016). Together with a changing cast he forms the artist collective Alphabet Collection. Salemy is the Organizer at The New Centre for Research & Practice.
Jack Segbars is an artist and writer. He is a PhD-researcher at PhDArts (Leiden University/KABK The Hague). He is primarily engaged with the infrastructural set-up that frames art’s emergence. To this end Segbars investigates within his practice the different positions and aspects that formally shape art: autonomous art, the role of language/art discourse, the role of the curator and the heteronomy set by governance and politics. The focus especially lies on how cognitive capitalism sets the conditions of production. In 2009 he produced the publication All Around the Periphery (Onomatopee). In 2012 it was followed by Inertia (Onomatopee), a travelogue of visits to Palestine. In 2016 a research on the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art Switzerland was presented at Tale of a Tub Rotterdam. Next to his practice as visual artist, Segbars regularly writes about art and art-related subjects including for Metropolis M, Parse and Open!.
Vladimir Jerić Vlidi is a media researcher, editor and author associated with various different groups, collectives and organizations from the field of art, media, social activism and technology. He was a founder and a member of Prelom Kolektiv, TEDx Belgrade, Darkwood Dub, Druga Scena, Slobodnakultura.org, Creative Commons Serbia and other initiatives. A member of the editorial board of Red Thread Journal for social theory (Istanbul), web editor for Reconstruction Women’s Fund (Belgrade) and the author of a number of independent projects, Vlidi holds MA in Communicology from the Faculty of Media and Communication, Belgrade. The recent activities by Vlidi include the “Production of Space” introductory text and video essay for Der fahrende Raum (Munich 2018/19), the collaboration on the MixTape with Vesna Pavlović (Belgrade/Nashville 2018/19), coproducing and taking part in the symposium Art in DataSpace (Venice 2019, collaboration with Georg Schollhammer and Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein), and producing the video essay for the conference in Bucharest Upon All Us Equally (in collaboration with tranzit.org). Find more about his work at networkfailure.net.