— Delphine Bedel

Teaching & Lectures: Flash Back / Flash Forward @Rietveld Academie

Lectures Series Studium Generale / Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam
Autumn 2007: ‘Are You Alive Or Not? Is There Nothing In Your Head?’
Location: De Appel, Amsterdam, Wednesday at 16.00

‘Flash Back/Flash Forward’
In an intriguing text on the future of anachronism in our media and information based society Jorinde Seijdel starts her argument by explaining: “Regardless of the hegemony of the New and the Now, you only need to cast a superficial glance at the world around you to be confronted with numerous anachronisms, things and ideas that are in fact contradictory to the time in which they exist. They are literally ‘out of time’.

The word ‘anachronism’ stems from the Greek: ‘ana’ (back), and ‘chronos’ (time). Whether it concerns architecture, images, objects, or political or social structures, anachronisms are omnipresent. This does not imply that they are always recognised as anachronistic. The reverse is true; many relicts of the past contribute to the manifestation and the experience of the contemporary, which, in order to be able to profile itself cannot do without the ‘old’. The ‘now’ needs continuous signs from the past to prove that it is ‘new’. In a certain sense these ‘desired’ anachronisms are wilfully produced and cultivated in order to suggest that everything happens as if it happened already”. (‘Het einde van de anachronismen’, Jorinde Seijdel, de Witte Raaf, nov.- dec. 2001).

As an upbeat to ‘The Old Brand New‘, a collaborative project in which the Rietveld Academie, De Appel, as well as several other partners, present an ambitious series of lectures on the New, De Appel will host 6 lecturers who are invited by Studium Generale to present their artistic research projects on anachronisms and other wilful manipulations of past, present and future to a combined audience of Rietveld students and participants in De Appel ‘s Curatorial Program.

The coming weeks 6 speakers will convey their very particular sense of time, place and intellectual space. Seminar and presentations of Flash back / Flash forward will be moderated by artist and curator Delphine Bedel.

Jürgen Pieters: Still Speaking With The Dead

Florian Göttke: The ZOO: Enriched Imaginary Environment

Lisette Smits: RAW (Material)

John Heijmans: Futuristic Sounds, One Century Later

Erik Hagoort: St. Petersburg: Cunning Defiance Of Expectations

Delphine Bedel: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, Notes On Tourism

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, Notes On Tourism

‘Chalk cliffs on Rügen‘ (after Caspar David Friedrich): this painting as a cultural artifact has established a popular imagery of romantic nature throughout the Twentieth century. Whilst the painting’s romantic idea of nature is far more complex in relation to the experience of the self and the transcendental, contemporary reception has drawn it to another trajectory of mass tourism and ideological nostalgia. Do the tourist experience of the cliffs and the painting of Friedrich still produce any ideological significance and collective memory? What is the relation between experience and spectatorship? Between art and nationalism? Who owns the past? Do images disappear?

Surprisingly, Caspar David Friedrich’s work was already influential in the 1930’s on artists as diverse as Beckett or Magritte. Becket wrote ‘Waiting for Godot’ after discovering Friedrich’s work in 1936. Reduced to a nationalist artist by the Nazi propaganda; recent exhibitions and publications reconsider his legacy. However uncertain and debated the interpretation of his work remains, it is again part of the public sphere.

Is Friedrich’s landscape of the chalk cliffs on Rügen beautiful or sublime, picturesque or tragic? Whether these chalk cliffs were the ones he painted, or just the fruit of his romantic imagination is still a matter of debate. Like a castle made of sand, the cliffs fell into the sea in 2005; little remains today of this dramatic landscape. But because of the memory of the painting, the chalk cliffs remain a popular tourist destination.
* ‘All that is solid melts into air, Notes on Tourism’ will be released in 2008 by Episode Publishers, Rotterdam.