LAZNIA 1 2008 - IMMEDIATE ART - Christian Hübler (Knowbotic Research) TRANSLOCAL PRACTICES
24.04.2008, at 6 p.m.
TRANSLOCAL PRACTICES / KR, knowbotic research
A large number of contemporary social, cultural, and political processes take place in translocal spaces. KR latest projects focus on artistic practices engaging within and about these spaces. How to approach such temporary spaces? How to deal with systems of circulation, borders, migration, and with cultural and geographic translations? What forms of visibility and representation can be developed in such projects?
Translocal spaces are created through the selective connection of distributed, local spaces and actors into a new space for agency. This space is built using digital and analogue communication and transportation infrastructures, enabling the circulation of people, goods and information. Translocal practices and the spaces that emerge from them are often barely visible or accessible for outsiders. Therefore, they are not related to traditional forms of the public, rather they define themselves through a specific configuration of visibility and invisibility. Translocal spaces are always specific, as they exist only for as long as they are produced by the practices which rely on the circulation of resources. Translocal processes take place on all levels of society and comprise the full spectrum of actors, ranging from the dominant, for example in the economy, to the marginalized, for example in migration.
The effect of these processes on established regimes can be both stabilizing or destabilizing.
What these spaces have in common is that they can create new geographies and new cultural patterns and that they transgress and change the local spaces from which they are built. The space of agency for translocal actors is not bound by the nation state. It is at the same time smaller and larger than that. Specific localities, which can be distributed across multiple nation states, are connected and are thus made accessible to the actors creating the space.
Specific projects to be presented:
BlackBenz Race - project in public space, 2007
focuses on the often hidden space of Albanian migrants in Switzerland. BlackBenz Race is aiming to render temporarily visible the dynamics of the Swiss/Albanian migrational space by conducting a semi-fictional car race from Zurich (CH) via Bari (IT), Tirana (AL) and Tetovo (MAZ) to Pristina (Kosovo, UNMIK controlled) and back to Zurich. A number of Swiss or Albanian participants will be recruited to participate in the race with their black limousines. The race is ‘fictional’ in the sense that the primary goal of the participants is not to get anywhere the fastest. Yet it is a ‘realistic’ race in the sense that a group of drivers will physically drive along the entire route.
By connecting all the different places, the cars act as the central metaphor for the project. They provide the infrastructure for mobility as well as a contested status symbol in all cultures; yet by relocating the cars at each node their symbolic qualities are subsequently transformed
see: and
Naked bandit: here, not here - installation, 2004
The project deals with the mechanisms of detainment of so-called ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ or simply ‘Naked Bandits’. ‘Naked Bandits’ are prisoners which are defined by a sovereign as ‘here’ yet being ‘elsewhere. ‘not here’ at the same time. They are caught in prison but are defined to be not anymore on the territory of the nation state, and are thus banned from the legal framework which the nation state guarantees. 'Naked Bandits' are caught in a dilemma.
The related status of detainer and detainees is presented via an autonomous indoor flying robot system, developed in the context of scientific research by Autonomous Systems Lab and EPFL Lausanne. A blimp (zeppelin) filled with helium is controlling and attacking balloons which in contrast to the flying robot don't feature any technical control devices and are thus floating in space. They serve both as targets and as orientation and navigation patterns for the sovereign robotic logics. This scenario represents the ‘Sovereign - Naked Bandit interdependency’ while visitors of the installation are disturbing the logics of the flight machinery by serving as additional targets.
Be Prepared! Tiger! - project in public space, 2006
Central to the project is the re-enactment of a stealth boat as depicted in a propaganda video of the Tamil Tigers, the Tamil liberation army. The video footage was found on the internet and shows an attack boat on patrol in a river delta. The boat seems to be a formal adaptation of the US stealth bomber F117, a myth of invisibility and invincibility. The crew is captured in heroic poses, thus creating a rather theatrical appearance.
KR has re-engineered and rebuilt the boat. It appears to be unmanned, although navigated in the harbour environment by a person hidden inside the boat. Equipped with a silent electrical engine it stays invisible for a radar station positioned on the river bank.
A further layer is added to this scenario by a website through which the stealth boat is offered up for sale. It is thus fed back into a commercial public context where its technical invisibility becomes a good that must be shown.
Municipal Institution of Culture