Exhibition: "Really Useful Knowledge", 29 October 2014 – 9 February 2015 / Sabatini Building, Floor 1, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid.
"The notion of 'really useful knowledge' emerged at the beginning of the 19th century alongside the workers' awareness of the need for self–education. In the 1820s and 1830s, working class organisations in the UK introduced this phrase to describe a body of knowledge that encompassed various 'unpractical' disciplines such as politics, economy and philosophy, as opposed to the 'useful knowledge' proclaimed by business owners who had previously begun to invest more heavily in their companies' progress through financing workers' education in 'applicable' disciplines like engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics. In this reference to the long–forgotten class struggles of early capitalism, the title of the exhibition suggests an inquiry into 'really useful knowledge' from a contemporary perspective.
The exhibition endeavours to position the notion of critical pedagogy as a crucial element in collective struggles, and explore the tension between individual and social emancipation through education with examples that are both historical and current, and their relation to organisational forms capable of leading unified resistance to the reproduction of capital. In doing so, the exhibition highlights the collective utilization of public resources, action and experiments, either forgotten or under threat of eradication, taking the museum as a pedagogical site devoted to the analysis of artistic forms interconnected with actual or desired social relations."
(Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
Charlotte Kates, a spokeswoman for seven Vancouver–based groups calling themselves the Palestine Awareness Coalition "said the images, which went up in Vancouver on Tuesday, show the steady occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel. The coalition got the idea for the 'Disappearing Palestine' campaign from similar ads that have run in American cities like New York, Seattle and San Francisco.
'We wanted to draw attention to and shed light on the ongoing human rights violations ... against Palestinians,' she said.
'The Canadian government has been such a strong voice in support of Israel ... so we think it's particularly important that people in Vancouver and other Canadian cities learn about what's happening in Palestine now and what's happened there historically.'
Jewish groups have declared strong opposition to the ads, which are displayed at a wall mural in a Vancouver SkyTrain station as well as on 15 buses, and have tried to have TransLink, a government agency, remove them."
(Kim Nursall, 28 August 2013, The Canadian Press)
"This diagram was meant as a challenge to the prevailing art world hegemony. It was created to prove the argument that graffiti and street art were already at the center of the art world whether they were officially recognized or not.
Utilizing the same graphic vocabulary as Alfred H. Barr, Jr (the first director of MoMA for the cover of the catalog for Cubist and Abstract Art exhibition in 1937) to create an impression of authority equivalent to his diagram. The Feral Diagram picks up chronologically where Barr left off, thereby subverting and redirecting the officially recognized historical trajectory.
Six years after the first draft of this diagram, the acknowledgement of graffiti and street art as important movements within the fine art community, if not the most important movements at the beginning of the new millenium, has come to light with major museum retrospectives, a never ending stream of books on the subject, websites, products, etc."
(Daniel Feral, 2011, Flickr)
Fig.1 revised "Feral Diagram 2.0" version.
"[Mikhail] Bakhtin's concept of carnival as a subversive, disruptive world–upside–down event in which the repressive views, lies, and hypocrisy of the officially run and dominated everyday world are unmasked provides a powerful theoretical concept for any study of Iranian popular theatrical and related musical forms. Bakhtin was concerned with polyvocality and the fact that from the onset of the European Renaissance the voices of the common people were increasingly not heard. The Islamic Republic's ban on the performance of improvisational comic theater would seem to support this theoretical stance with empirical evidence of official reaction. In the European context analyzed by Bakhtin, a writer, exemplified by Rabelais, enacts an important role because he or she reflects the voices of the low, the peasant, the outcast. In Bakhtin's view, the healthy voice of the low, which questions the high–the church and the state–is an important check on oppressive officials in a healthy society.
A full–fledged carnival–such as those in Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans–does not exist in the Iranian culture sphere. By carnival I mean a massive demonstration of excessive eating, drinking, and sexual and bodily exposure, popularly associated with Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, that does not occur within an Islamic/Iranian context. Threads and themes of carnivalesque and grotesque subversion, however, can be found woven through the fabric of the Iranian world. Here the needle that pricks the official religious, social, and political powers most is the traditional comic theater in its many guises.
In many ways siyah–bazi and ru–howzi embody Bakhtin's notions of the grotesque and the carnivalesque. Gholam–siyah, the blackface clown, the 'low Other,' always wins over his master: the world upside down. Gholam–siyah's extravagant clothing, movements, speech, and lower–class language demonstrate Bakhtin's dictum, 'the grotesque...cannot be separated from folk humor and carnival spirit' (Stallybrass and White 1986, 43). Gholam's bright red costume and conical hat, for example, are probably the closest thing to carnival costume in the entire Middle East. William O. Beeman, a scholar of Iranian linguistics, discusses the blackface clown: 'The clown distorts normal physical movement by jumping, running, flailing his arms, and twisting his body into odd shapes' (1981, 515). This is, of course, part of his repertoire, for sight gags make up much of the comedy of traditional comic theater. This grotesque twisting of the body is also part of the dancing that occurs in the comic theater, especially by the male characters."