Video Lounge, CEAC, Xiamen, China.

Video Lounge, Chinese European Art Center (CEAC), Xiamen University, China, Dec 18-Jan 17, 2010.

Backsourcing : a film program part of Video Lounge.

"We have to discuss speculation, because the ultimate test is not the probable, but the possible, that what implies a creation, and thus obliges to become capable of resisting what is probable."

[Isabelle Stengers, Cosmopolitiques review]

In the world of enterprise, outsourcing delegates, as we all know, tasks that are not company core business or that are not profitable to an exterior partner. Carried out under the control and piloting of the company that engages the contractor, outsourcing allows the company to be centered on its core business while operating more flexibly, by diffusing risks and reinforcing control on the contractor. Consequently it has been necessary for marketing managers to invent the word ‘backsourcing’ when the movement of repatriation of tasks towards the company’s own production units had to be named.

Why not re-appropriate this vocabulary wizard, why not poetize it so that it obliges us to re-engage with ourselves. Moreover, we could consider the title of this program as a ‘reclaiming’, as a call to return to ‘the law of the household’ (the original realm of the word ‘economy’). In this way ‘backsourcing’ invites us to question the artistic activity as a potential for political experimentation, acting on the autonomous capacities of each of us to re-enscribe oneself in his proper environment.

How do the artistic practices that are presented here bind empiricism and speculation? A real-fake journalistic investigation on the hidden agendas playing in the context of the creation of a new art institute (Augustijnen), a script for surveillance personnel materializing the gift of a work of art (Cummings & Lewandowska), a narrative script sold by sentences during an auction (Potential Estate), a critique of values in the form of a multi-vocal confession (Fraser & Preiss), a network for artistic tele shopping on a contemporary art fair (Jankowski), ... they all can be considered self curative devices, as well as strategies intended to fatigue cognitive capitalism, and as bets taken on the possible productivity of these new imbroglios. (VM)

Backsourcing is one of the two screening programs in Video Lounge, an exhibition organized by Ronny Heiremans & Katleen in CEAC, Xiamen.

Filmworks by Sven Augustijnen (Belgium) , Neil Cummings (UK) and Marysia Lewandoska (Poland), Andrea Fraser and Jeff Preiss (USA), Christian Jankowski (Germany) & Potential Estate (Belgium/USA) in a program selected by Vincent Meessen

Sven Augustijnen

‘Une femme entreprenante’ (An enterprising woman), 2004, 72min

However unambiguous reality might be or seem at first sight, in the work of Sven Augustijnen it is always unraveled as a complex and troubled subject. In his video’s appearance and reality go hand in hand, balancing on a fine line between revealing and concealing.

‘Une femme entreprenante’ zooms in on WIELS a new centre for contemporary art in Brussels. We meet the figure of Sophie Le Clercq, project developer behind this cultural project. On the one hand the video can be considered a tribute to this forceful woman, on the other hand the author freely uses Mrs. Le Clercq as a catalyst for all kinds of historical and genealogical trajectories on urban development in Brussels. As if by coincidence these trajectories get more and more entangled in the jumble of art, brokerage and politics, ‘the swamp of Bruxelles’.

Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandoska

Capital, 2001, 21min, produced by Chanceprojects. Courtesy the artists.

Collaborating since 1995 their projects have consistently engaged with the cultural institutions that designate and mediate art to their public. ‘Capital’ is a series of encounters between two iconic institutions and the economies they animate: the Tate and the Bank of England.

The Bank of England is the banker to the whole British financial system, and also plays a major role in structuring global monetary relations. The Bank guarantees and distributes the necessary trust, to secure the various financial markets. On the other side of the same coin, is it possible to situate the Tate as the principle institution in a parallel symbolic economy?

Potential Estate

The Crying of Potential Estate, 2008, 14min. Courtesy Potential Estate.

A future ‘residency’ is the key issue around which Potential Estate, a temporary collective of Belgian artists, was conceived. After an exploratory mission, Belgium, a small village in Wisconsin, US – founded by their Belgian and Luxemburg ancestors – was identified as a possible ‘residential’ site.

‘The Crying of Potential Estate’ was an auction that took place on Thursday 24th January 2008 from 7 to 9pm. The story of migration was cut up into 45 lots and put up for sale. A professional auctioneer performed the auction in 4 languages. All lots were sold and with the money brought in, Potential Estate produced a video, ‘The Crying of Potential Estate’, which they are offering as a gift to the village of Belgium, WI (US).

Andrea Fraser and Jeff Preiss

May I Help You? / Orchard document, 1991(text)-2005 (video), produced by orchard & Epoch Films.

‘May I Help You?’ was first performed at American Fine Arts, Co., New York, in January– February 1991 in the context of an exhibition produced in cooperation with Allan McCollum. In its original incarnation, May I Help You? paired an installation of 100 of McCollum’s Plaster Surrogates, 1982, with actors (Ledlie Borgerhoff, Kevin Duffy, and Randolph Miles) who appeared to work as gallery staff during gallery hours for the duration of the show. Their job was to perform a fifteen-minute monologue for everyone who entered the gallery to view the exhibition. Written and directed by Fraser, the monologue engages formations of taste and social class. A video, directed by Fraser with camera work by Merrill Aldigheri and performances by Borgerhoff, was also produced to document the event.

The 2005 version of ‘May I Help You?’ develops on the history of the piece.

Christian Jankowski

Kunstmarkt TV – Art Market TV, 2008, min

Kunstmarkt TV, is basically a home shopping channel for contemporary art.

While his sexy young assistant is all sparkling eyes and grace, the presenter is busy applying his brightest smile and 'value for money' tactic to a series of contemporary art works. The show was streamed on the internet and anyone interested in purchasing the goods could call and get their hands on the artwork of their choice.

Jankowski's work betrays a fascination with visual entertainment media. He gained fame in 1999 with his contribution to the 1999 Biennale in Venice, ‘Telemistica’, in which the artist inquires with five different fortune-tellers on the Italian television about his success at the art biennial.

Thanks to the artists, Auguste Orts, Argos center for art & media.