Goshka Macuga, “Non-consensual Act (in progress)”

Goshka Macuga
Goshka Macuga, still from Non-Consensual Act (in progress), 2013. Image: Jacquelyn Davis.

Given that Goshka Macuga’s exhibition primarily consists of one twenty-two minute video, Non-Consensual Act (in progress) (2013), one may be inclined to think that it is missing fundamental components. Yet focus on this one work, and you won’t feel inadequately compensated. Macuga visited the Afghan Film Archive in Kabul in 2012, out of both curiosity and concern for how it had been affected in the period of the Taliban’s regime. Due to an ongoing lack of resources, funding and consideration for the archive, newsreels, documentary and feature films were neglected—the material was rarely properly digitised. Macuga, therefore, decided to support the archive and purchase small portions of film discarded via the digitisation process; she was then sent 35mm offcuts as 19 separate film rolls which appeared to contain sexually charged (and thereby censored) scenes which never mad it to the screen. (Strangely enough, these images were sent to her without any specific request for this kind of footage.) Macuga has a history of re-appropriating sourced materials, such as in the series Untitled (2008) which incorporated photographs from a Vietnam War veteran as part of the installation I Am Become Death (2009), as well as with her collaboration with anthropologist Julian Gastelo to realize the documentary Snake Society (2009). Additionally, she displays an ongoing interest in iconography and rituals, as in her artistic research on art historian Aby Warburg and Hopi American Indian art. This is on par for Macuga’s course: she utilises found materials recontextualises them to support the propagation of newly devised narratives.

On hearing the artist’s voiceover during her film, one discerns Macuga’s discomfort when examining the delivered offcuts; these are oftentimes out of focus, comprising the beginnings and endings of reels. In Non-Consensual Act (in progress), we hear the artist express that she is not confident as to whether or not it was a deliberate move of the Afghan Film Archive to send her sexually explicit material which more often than notshows men forcing themselves on women, women objectified or women manipulated as conquests. In Macuga’s patch-work of filmic images (black and white and colour imagery juxtaposed) women are viewed from a distance, in compromising situations, in the midst of precarious and lustful rapports—alongside additional images of me as powerful, oftentimes crazed victors on horseback or dominating domestic scenes, enshrouded in patriarchy. The complicated scenes are askew and foreboding, for what will become of the film industry at large when it is so often manipulated by sociopolitical forces or consciously filtered? From an international perspective, films cater to a target audience—they are created to persuade the mindset of the masses. Images in Non-Consensual Act (in progress) range in source from James Bond to Bollywood, and in content from violence to copulation.

The archive appears to be invaluable, for its existence despite the Taliban’s presence in Kabul was a perilous undertaking: it was hidden behind a wall, and closed to the public during moments of intense turmoil. Purchasing offcuts was supposed to help support the Afghan Film Archive’s decision to repair their roof, but there is no verification that Macuga’s funds were used for renovation. Macuga asks the viewer to consider the context and meaning of this exchange between herself, the archive and those representing the archive. What is implicitly or explicitly relayed by such charged materials being sent to her? Macuga notes that the images used from the offcuts hardly incorporate or utilise dialogue; they instead focus on visuals which are never wholly decipherable. Is the archive attempting to express a perspective that the film industry has been corrupted by women? As in the myth of Pandora’s Box, some eyes may simply not be ready for the offcuts, both literally and metaphorically.

To see the review in context, click here.

Johannes Heldén, “The Exploding Book”

Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén, Clouds, 2017.

As one enters the space temporarily designated for Swedish artist and poet Johannes Heldén’s The Exploding Book at Konstakademin’s in Stockholm, one detects that Heldén is receptive to nuance; each creative gesture confirms his dedication to both text and image, expressed with equitable consideration. More »

Malin Gabriella Nordin, “Floating from Within”

Malin Gabriella Nordin, Veil of Dreams, 2017. Image: Gallery Steinsland Berliner.

Stockholm-based artist Malin Gabriella Nordin is one of many Swedish women artists who resort to the basics – or perhaps the old ways, meaning they’re not particularly interested in the digital. More »

“Survival Kit 9”

Andris Eglītis, Laboratory of Poetic Research, 2017. Image: Jacquelyn Davis.

The 9th edition of Survival Kit is orchestrated by a small team of Baltic and Scandinavian curators: Jonatan Habib Engqvist, Solvita Krese and Inga Lāce. All possess a background in organizing independently and within the confines of institutions, which may be their strong point—their fluidity. More »

The 9th Momentum Biennial

Jenna Sutela, Sporulating Paragraph, 2017. Image: Momentum 9.

Momentum 9, taking place in the industrial town of Moss, Norway, is being curated by Ulrika Flink, Ilari Laamanen, Jacob Lillemose, Gunhild Moe, and Jón B.K. Ransu, who together represent the Scandinavian region. With this biennial’s focus on ‘alienation’, the curators joined forces to determine how alien processes and entities are infused in our lives through technological, ecological and social transformations. More »

Klas Eriksson, “Vet din mamma var du e?”

Klas Eriksson
Klas Eriksson, Evidence of Patchwork, 2017. Image: Göteborgs Konsthall.

Swedish artist Klas Eriksson has developed a practice rooted in examining subcultures via works in public spaces and spontaneous performances. With an interest in how power flows and how crowds function, the artist attempts to unpack sociopolitical dynamics using playful tactics. More »

Lovisa Ringborg, “Night Remains”

Lovisa Ringborg
Lovisa Ringborg, Fountain, 2017. Image: Cecilia Hillström Gallery.

In Lovisa Ringborg’s second exhibition at this gallery, the artist upholds the argument that displaying a set of harmonious works can be more potent than a plethora of free-floating entities. More »

Przemek Pyszczek, “1989”

Przemek Pyszczek
Przemek Pyszczek, Public Relief No 6, 2016. Image: Gallery Belenius.

Polish-born, Canadian-raised, Berlin-based artist Przemek Pyszczek displays new works which are primarily sculptural and mixed media, with stints into collage. More »

Ulf Rollof, “Kleptomaniac”

Ulf Rollof
Ulf Rollof, Hungry Stranded, 2016. Image: CFHILL.

Sequestered above the restaurant Nosh & Chow in Stockholm (designed by Barcelona-based Lázaro Rosa-Violán), renowned Swedish artist Ulf Rollof’s current solo exhibition is the last installment in a trilogy that began in Mexico City. More »


Magdalena Dziurlikowska, Corona Radiata, 2016. Image: Gotlands Konstmuseum.

Differentiating between public and private spheres can be challenging. This group exhibition focuses on how one might successfully share a subjective experience when most individuals are conditioned to distance themselves from others. More »