Felons, 2005


Gallery III, RHA, 10 February – 20 March, 2005
An exhibition curated by Alan Phelan  

With work by Hans-Peter Feldmann, Paul Ferman, Yona Friedman, Wolfgang Paalen and Marko Peljhan 


A catalogue for the exhibition will be published on 10 March, 2005 with essays by Michel Peillon, Pelin Tan and Alan Phelan 

download texts as PDF 

Opening Reception: 
6pm-8pm Thursday 10 February, 2005 



Felons is the third in a series of artist curated exhibitions at the Academy. In 2002 artist Willie McKeown presented The Holiday Show, followed by artist Sarah Pierce’s Living in a Cloud in 2003. 

The title for the show comes from the spell check prompt of Alan Phelan’s surname in Microsoft Word which returns ‘felon’ as the correct spelling. It is from here that the first selection criteria emerged – all the artists in the show have names that sound like the name Phelan. The show includes work by Hans-Peter Feldmann (Germany), Paul Ferman (Australia), Yona Friedman (Hungary/France), Wolfgang Paalen (Austria/Mexico) and Marko Peljhan (Slovenia). A catalogue will be published on March 10 which will also include texts by Michel Peillon (France/Ireland) and Pelin Tan (Turkey). 

 As a way of selecting artists for any exhibition this would seem rather arbitrary if not egotistical. The process is intended to question the way a group exhibition is put together and recent developments with the emergence of the ‘creative creating’ and indeed the ‘artist-curator’. In these practices the curator has become more of an author or the central personality surrounding the exhibition, best seen in large international exhibitions like Documenta or various Biennale where the theme dominates individual artist’s work. 

 Felons brings together a seemingly arbitrary group of artists which mirror the dynamic of these exhibitions (only on a much smaller scale). The show includes utopian architecture, surrealist paintings, conceptual sequences, photography and hi-tech practices.  

 Yona Friedman (b.1923) presents a cardboard model and print from his 1950’s Spatial City project for a mobile architecture built in the air space above existing cities. Several paintings, catalogues and documentation from Wolfgang Paalen (b.1905 d.1959), show the artist’s involvement with many of the central figures of his day from the surrealist movement, charting visions of the unconsciousness in that social and cultural context. Hans-Peter Feldman (b.1941), a much celebrated German conceptual artist, borrows shoes from RHA employees, ironically engaging moments of displacement and projection. Paul Ferman (b.1948) photographs suburban curb-side rubbish which become a kind of sculptural monument to urbanised living. Finally the video animations of Marko Peljhan (b.1969) are taken from his S-77CCR project which created urban counter-surveillance systems to monitor public space. 

 What binds the show together is not the organisational conceit but rather the interaction between the artworks which examine representations of social spaces interpreted through architecture, abstract forms, personal structures, documentary and industrial systems. The coherence of the final selection of works reflects instead on the relationships between lived spaces and the individual 


For more info or images please contact Elaine Fallon, Press officer at  t: 016612558 ext 111, f: 01 6610762  rhagallery1@eircom.net.
Royal Hibernian Academy,  Gallagher Gallery, 15 Ely Place, Dublin 2, Ireland 
T + 353 1 6612558 F + 353 1 6610762  www.royalhibernianacademy.com (old site now www.rhagallery.ie)

 opening hours: Tues – Sat 11am to 5pm, Thurs 11am to 8pm, Sun 2pm to 5pm 

For more information on the artists please check out the following websites:
Yona Friedman http://www.naipublishers.nl/architecture/friedman_e.html
Wolfgang Paalen http://www.paalen-archiv.com
Hans-Peter Feldman http://www.303gallery.com
Paul Ferman http://www.paulferman.com
Marko Peljhan http://s-77ccr.org 


texts from the Felons catalogue – RHA, Dublin:

Dangerous Urban Coincidences
Alan Phelan

Felons brings together five artists and two writers for a project that at first appears quite random – the selection process was limited to artists whose name sounded like the curator’s surname – Phelan. This was partly inspired by the spell-check prompt from a word processing program that suggested ‘felon’ as the correct word for Phelan when it did not appear in the machine’s internal dictionary. From then the name acquired a kind of transgressive potential, freed from an individual identity, to become a collective mistake, double-take, or doppelganger. By giving up the self, others could be found, other mismatches and coincidental players. What emerged were other sequences and narratives which connected these artists and writers through their work not just their names. Within what should be conflicting practices, histories and concerns there is a connective discussion about urbanism that makes another kind of sense.

This is an artist curated exhibition. Thematic group exhibitions in general tend to be free of individualistic or self-referential characteristics such as the inclusion of friends, major interests and influences. However the artist curated exhibition seems to deal with these factors, mainly because the opportunity for an artist to organise or curate an exhibition is fairly infrequent and the focus is on the personality of the artist not on another dominating theme. What was interesting to think about then was how group exhibitions are selected and organised by artists and how this impacts or is different from other aspects in contemporary curating.

There are many newer approaches to curating which are more creative than the standard art historical custodian selection process, having assimilated aspects of the artistic process into exhibition conception and actualisation. The arrival and predominance of the auteur curator, creative curator or artist-curator has been cautioned by many as a shift in creative power, turned onto the organiser and away from the artist. More than that, the power of interpretation has been strategically annexed by the curator, guiding audiences through different patterns of meaning that had previously only come from the hand of the artist. But In a world of displaced identities, discursive meaning and shifting signifiers this argument does not sit well.

Curators have always been important in the development of meaning around an art work or exhibition. Group exhibitions need thematic structures to fill in the gaps left by small selections of practice. Social, critical or historical narratives bind the most disparate works together. The problem that has arisen is that this narrative theme has in some cases come to dominate the art. In other instances artworks have been resurrected or reconstructed (no artist required) or more perversely hundreds of artists participate in large exhibitions where the only voice that is heard is the curator (all for one and one for all).

The mega international exhibition has proliferated in the past few years with biennale and triennale popping up in almost every major city worldwide. With some discussions surrounding these exhibitions the artist is placed generally last on a list of concerns that get swallowed up by the concerns curator persona, the over-arching theme, questions of contextual engagement, viewer participation, etc. What was interesting to see last year was an artist taking on many of the characteristics of these exhibitions in the service of a solo exhibition. John Bock with his ‘Klutterkammer’ show at the ICA, London, reversed the flow of knowledge from curator to audience by selecting over fifty artworks from other artists that included friends, major interests and influences. These were all presented with a chaotic sculptural framework of corridors, constructed spaces and dead-ends – assimilating the others but presenting them all the same.

Felons brings together a group of artists which mirror the dynamic of these exhibitions (only on a much smaller scale). The show includes utopian architecture, surrealist paintings, conceptual sequences, photography and hi-tech practices. What binds the show together is not the organisational conceit but rather the interaction between the artworks which examine representations of social spaces interpreted through architecture, abstract forms, personal structures, documentary and industrial systems. The final selection of works reflects instead on the relationships between lived spaces and the individual. It is a space best described as a heterotopia – the external space that is actually lived and socially produced by human geography.

The heterotopia is capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces – several sites that are in themselves incompatible, as developed by Michel Foucault and then by Edward Soja. They have a function in relation to all the space that remains. This function unfolds between two extreme poles. Either their role is to create a space of illusion that exposes every real space, in which all the sites inside of human life are partitioned. Or else, on the other hand, their role is to create a space that is other – another real space, as perfect, meticulous and well arranged as ours is messy, ill constructed, and jumbled.

Between the art and texts for the show there is an argument proposed for reassessing urban and social spaces, from civilian surveillance to buildings constructed in the air-space above cities, from suburban refuse to surrealist primordial fantasies. Indeed this is developed more directly in Michel Peillon essay which discusses the rise of the suburbs and how urban sprawl can be reassessed, one that embraces conurban residents as the new universal class. Similarly Pelin Tan seeks to identify the space that can present a collective form of knowledge that has the potential for a critical discourse in public space. Both address real concerns in the field of urban planning, sociology and architecture which the others in the exhibition are apparently not so directly linked to.

The one exception is of course Yona Friedman. As a utopian or visionary architect the work for this exhibition shows versions of his ‘Spatial City’ (‘La Ville Spatiale’) project developed in the 1950’s for a mobile architecture built in the air space above existing cities. As future or alternatives to Peillon’s conurbanites, Friedman’s residents engage with an architecture that encompasses the on-going changes required to provide social mobility. The city can be composed and re-composed, depending on the intentions of the occupants and residents within a spatial structure raised up on piles above the city, water or wastelands. As a vision of maintaining the city along a horizontal plane, yet developing it’s vertical potential, Friedman’s spatial cities are about negotiating change and allowing for a democratic architecture to emerge both socially and politically.

Possibly the furthest from the urbanism debate would seem to be the work of Wolfgang Paalen. But to paraphrase Dr. Andreas Neufert from the Paalen Archive, Paalen’s art is not dedicated to the discovery of the contents of the subconscious but much more to the invention of a new order of things, i.e. the discovery of a sphere between possibility and actuality. The 1930’s Surrealist paintings, drawings and documentation on show only from a small part of his lifetimes work but one where chance does not represent a contained reality in itself as in Surrealist theory but understood here as the likelihood of an effect resulting from causally determined events.

Hans-Peter Feldmann adds another human dimension to the exhibition in that it is signalled by absence, displacement and projection. Known more for his sequences of found images, such as postcards, magazine photos, and posters, Feldmann thematises the missing original by showing the omnipresence of reproduction. In the sequence of borrowed shoes from RHA employees, the footwear stands in for a sequence of images, a small archive of presence. As records of people, the shoes show difference, uniqueness and originality in a the moment of displacement and projection that is inherent in every form of representation.

As with the photographs of Paul Ferman, the ordinary is recognised, illuminated, and recorded. The suburban arrangements of rubbish illustrate a social aesthetic of found arrangements. Like Feldmann’s borrowed shoes, or Peillon’s conurbanites, these piles of dumped domestic furniture and debris, offer an insight into the workings and life of the urban dweller.

Marko Pelijhan, however offers another perspective, one from above, as surveillance. But as with much of the work here there is a political element to these representations. His S-77CCR project is a tactical urban counter-surveillance system for ground controlled unmanned aerial vehicles and airborne drones which can monitor public space. In his work, Peljhan is interested in those aspects of the urban experience which are determined by both technology and the major systems of power. The project mirrors the privatisation of security, of public space, yet now returning the power to the those observed.

What we are left with then are variations on the urban within this discussion on curating. There are variants of posturbanism or tranurbanism that occur. The former is characterised by collage, montage and quotation which can be linked to regular forms of curating while the later includes or embraces notions of transformation. Transformation is this sense is the multiplication of information. This is maybe the best metaphor for the exhibition, one that includes many, one that learns from between spaces, one that has possibility to change and transform around an exhibition.


A Conurban Epic
Michel Peillon

Although Utopia has always been portrayed as a city, its urban character never greatly mattered. The city merely provided the setting for the emergence of an ideal congregation of people, pursuing simple virtues and abiding by the requirements of wise governance. Only long after philosophers of one hue or another had exhausted their dreams, did architects and urbanists engaged in the rather fanciful past-time of imagining the ideal city, and of giving it a shape. They all have, to paraphrase Adorno, distilled hell out of their fantasies. They did so mainly because their utopia depicted a collective existence which upheld values which they favoured, and promoted the kind of order they preferred. Collective life is not organised according to one value which would override all others, and provide the organising principle of the city. The complex life of cities is hardly understood in terms of a single value. Utopia seduces mainly because it simplifies; it can only be conjured up, and more ominously implemented, through an absolute reduction to a single dimension. Hence according to David Harvey, the intolerance and the totalitarian nature of utopia.

Real cities never came near to their utopian aspirations, and one should probably be thankful for that. They nonetheless had poets to celebrate them. Charles Baudelaire, eminent poet and intellectual figure of his time, grappled with the meaning of urban living, and attempted to articulate the significance of this experience. In the Paris of the mid-nineteenth century, he identified the heroes of this endeavour. Although he pointed to the flâneur and possibly the dandy as figures close to his way of experiencing both the city and the modern world, he looked into the human debris that is generated by the metropolis to discover the heroes of the urban world. He pointed toward the shadowy world of the city, the seedy side of the metropolis, towards those dodgy characters who, against the odds, come to terms with, and survive in, the city: prostitutes, hoodlums, marginals of all kinds. In the twentieth century, the city has further developed, outgrown itself and expanded at the periphery: it has generated suburbs. Nobody, I reckon, has ever suggested that the suburbs possessed the capacity to uphold even a semblance of utopia. The suburb may have had its poets, but they hardly left their mark. Does that mean that the suburbs have no hero, or that suburban living requires no heroism? Well, not quite.

I can clearly recall my first encounter with the industrial North of England. Everyone who has hitched his or her way around Europe knows that cities never seem to end, that it takes forever to reach their edge and leave them behind. But they do end and, eventually, open on a non-urban world. Of fields, cows and nature. Not in the industrial core of the North of England, where one is rarely quite fully in the countryside, and not quite in an urban environment either. The de-industrialisation of the region had already dotted the landscape with empty mills. But these ugly ghosts of a waning world constituted only a distraction. For what kinds of people had been made to live in this world, neither urban not rural, but in-between? Little did I know that this landscape of the past pointed in fact to the shape of things to come. Two different worlds, the city and the countryside, simply meet and merge: but they never really dissolve into one another and they are never fully reconciled. The language has been left behind in the process and this new urban reality, this new kind of urban fabric, has not been named, or badly named. The words which have been used to designate this new reality, put forward by otherwise foresighted analysts, appear contrived and somewhat awkward: technoburb, polynucleated conurbation, even ex-urban or edge city. Once more, the categories according to which one thinks about the world around us have not followed suit. They represent residues of an era that has passed or is passing. Suburbs remain a phenomenon of the modern, industrial world, in which cities had a centre and various peripheries. The term has lingered, even if it no longer relates to the kind of urban reality it connotes.

Perhaps the term conurbation best catches the new urban fabric within which centres have multiplied, and the old city centre has been reduced to an historic core, not necessarily crucial to the life of urban residents. It also stresses the disappearance of peripheries, when centres of all kinds are located nearby, everywhere. This multiplication of centres -loci of work, leisure, sociability, civic engagement, etc.- has transformed the very fabric of urban life. Urban residents living at the peripheries of large urban centres have been labelled suburban. I will designate the residents of conurbations, large urban areas where peripheries have vanished because of the multiplication of centres, as conurban residents.

In the stage of late modernity in which we are now living, conurban residents are located at the forefront, at the very edge of the possibilities of our world. It has fallen upon them to reconcile many of the tensions and contradictions which have multiplied and to retain the ambivalence of social life which alone makes collective existence bearable. Put simply, I wish to argue that conurban residents form the new universal class. They are heroes of late modernity, even when they refuse to accept their fate.

It is the historical function of conurban residents to reconcile contradictory elements, to produce a new, hybrid way of living. Conurban residents have by and large adopted an urban way of life, but they insist on pursuing it in the countryside. Or rather, they imagine that they are living their urbanity in a rural setting. They go to an extraordinary length to describe their urban place as rural. They refer to the shops and services nearby as “the village”, to which they feel most attached and with which they strongly identify. They could of course, if they so wished, glimpse into the depth of the delusion which they so carefully nourish. They could, for instance, listen to their children who, when asked such an odd question, declare that they are not sure if they live in the city or in the countryside. So many houses and so many fields! Not that conurban children are troubled by this kind of uncertainty.

The characterisation of the conurban lifestyle as predominantly rural is also found in constant references to community. The village already connotes this sense of a small place, where relation- ships are personal, people friendly and neighbours helpful. The solidarity of conurban estates is real enough, and the extent to which people identify with the place and feel attached to it is to a large extent determined by the friendliness of people around. Conurban residents think of their place in such terms. They may acknowledge that, in some ways, this community feel is nowadays upheld with greater difficulty than in the past or in a more rural setting; that the unrelenting and sometimes frantic development which takes place in some localities undermines the personalised character of social interaction; that local people are mobilised with great difficulty to address the problems which such localities face. Nevertheless, most of these residents perceive their neighbours as friendly and helpful, and they indicate a high level of satisfaction with the place: they would not live anywhere else.

The language of community, through which the fundamental solidarity of shared residence is asserted, offers a way of conveying the kind of place it is or even the kind of place one would hope it to be. More and more people opt to reside in these conurban estates, as the only realistic possibility. The anxiety of such residents to signify that they live in a community, akin to a rural community, may represent only a pretence, or rather a make-believe. But in a world of simulation where, according to Jean Baudrillard, everything has been transformed into a sign and consequently an appearance, the semblance of community suffices. When enough people pretend that they live in a community and act accordingly, then the place constitutes a community: where people know a sufficient number of other residents; acknowledge each other in the street; help each other on occasions. They may even come together when faced with various local problems. There is really no way of making a distinction between a community and a simulation of community. The sign is as good as its referent. For this reason, conurban residents do not find it difficult to experience their world as communal, while at the same time acknowledging those forces which make it practically impossible for them to form a community. This reconciliation can only be achieved through the kind of simulation which is played out in the new urban world.

The rather large literature on the subject has, in its main thrust, put across a very negative image of suburbs. And nothing seems to redeem suburban, or for that matter conurban, living. It has been associated with broader social processes which are said to be unfolding in the modern world, and particularly this tendency to leave the public domain and retreat into a private world. Suburbs would have been dominated by a succession of standardised and uniform spaces: that of houses and gardens which protect the domestic life of suburban families. Those who, like Richard Sennett, equated suburbs and privatised lifestyle, misread the significance of suburban living. For the suburb has produced a distinctive type of space: the communal space, between the private world of the domestic household and the world of strangers which characterises the streets and public spaces of the city. The call for community is never more than a desire for a mildly empathic world of familiarity, without closeness or intimacy. When conburban residents step out of their private world, when they move from their house into their front garden and into the road, they do not enter a public domain. They enter a semi-public space, where the requirements of civility operate in a forceful way, but where they also need to communicate that they belong, that they contribute to the shared identity of the locality, of the neighbourhood. They evolve in a special kind of space, neither private nor public, not even an in-between world: a space where this tension is addressed but never surmounted, simply contained through the kind of unending interactive work that has been highlighted by Erving Goffman.

Like their kindred in suburban estates, conurban residents are defined, and to a large extent define themselves, by their locality, which constitutes a central part of their identity. For this very reason, and more so than any other group of people which have to come to terms with this dualism of our world, they live according to a tension between local and global points of reference. They accumulate all the signs of global modernity, acquire the technology which allows them to remain in touch with the wide world and cultivate from home their global networks of family and friends. Their identity remains rooted in the conurban locality, and they find themselves at ease in a global world.

Groups other than conurban residents have also been hailed as heroes of late modernity. Gentrifiers, for instance. But they are false heroes, mainly because they have removed the ambiguity from their life. They live according to old categories and show no inclination to confront the contradictions of the late modern world, even less to attempt a reconciliation. Paradoxically, these young people with a bright future do not help define the future. They have opted for an urban world, close to the historic centres of cities, which offers a pastiche reconstruction of the past and allows them to consume a caricature of culture. They have retreated into private enclaves in the urban world, by and large eschewing the diversity and uncertainty of the public domain. They reside in places with which they do not identify, while continuing to treat as home the small towns or villages from which they originate.

Will the future be imagined and shaped in the new urban fabric of the conurbation? Will the latter generate a new lifestyle, will it sustain a new civilisation? Perhaps the question should be reversed. Who, in this new world of ours, lives in the proximity of the major social fractures which alone sustain creative tension? Most groups at the heart of the late modern world have settled for clarity: they have removed the ambiguity of their lives. The emerging culture is not likely to take shape in gated communities, and gentrifiers have very little to say for themselves. The entrepreneurs of the post-industrial economy have long since sold their knowledge and expertise for equity shares. They have embraced culture and transformed it into a means of production. As usual, the future will not be ushered in through revolution or some glorious event. It will unfold as the unintended consequence of the action of conurban residents, among others, grappling with their ambiguity. This constitutes the very substance of the conurban epic.


Liquid Library
a possible imaginative urban space
Pelin Tan

How can an exhibition space present a collective form of knowledge that has the potential for a critical discourse in public space? What kind of practice, representation, or inter-relational knowledge are we searching for in contemporary art? I have been building a metaphor through an art-form in my mind which could present an ‘open discussion’ in socio-political levels. It is one that is ‘liquid’, one that opens paths, reproduces bridges and sometimes squares as a city. A Liquid Library is an epistemological platform combining art practices, scientific research and local realities or knowledge that flows – hence it has memory. A flowing knowledge or an expanding liquid between several localities that cumulates reflections of past but looks for future unexpected relations.

Urban representation insists on complexity and conflict to create several layers of localities. Since the 90s, cities have been influenced by several global socio-economic factors. Huge social segregations within the urban sphere coupled with cultural clashes have been produced by the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and other civil wars. The subsequent ‘normalization’ process has had a big influence on the East European cities together with the political and cultural effects, more recently, of 9/11 and the ongoing war in Middle East. These all have contributed to a change in the conception of border politics, increased migration, aimless security and urban control in most cities. Furthermore, the common ‘global city’ or ‘cultural capital’ images or imagination are still shaping the cities to create a layer of imposed urban discourses.

What are we imagining about cities is becoming more dependent on the individual’s relation between space and conflict. Arjun Apparadui re-introduces the term locality as “primarily relational and contextual rather that an as scalar or spatial”.1 Cities are made up of several layers of localities as he points out. Culturally hybrid forms like migrants from various geographies also influence the urban design and practicalities of the city. Subjects with multiple identities in cities are created through fragmented urban indicators, from the time and space differences constructed by urbanites of different status, to heterotopias where various local spaces co-exist simultaneously. Apparadui’s approach on locality is more like an idea of imagination of social practice, “the work of the imagination allows people to inhabit either multiple localities or a kind of single and complex sense of locality, in which many different empirical spaces coexist”.2 For example, the trans-locality between such cities as Istanbul, Rotterdam or Belgrade is more dependent on trans-migration economy and accordingly it has re-produced cultures and urban spaces.

Imagining a city also means participating in public space. This requires different urban tactics and strategies in dealing with the political and economic system. Through several projects and exhibitions artists, architects and urban researchers are discovering the localities and shifting paradigms between spaces. An exhibition such as ‘Cities in the Move’3 brought together on one level artists and architects but also other practices that had re-activated several urban spaces in different Eastern and European cities in a trans-local context.

Constructing an exhibition around imaginative action on urban sphere or urban analysis needs inter-relational knowledge and space tactics that could present the relation between conflict and space while also having the potential for an open critical discourse. This also requires negotiation and more conflict, as Hou Hanru discusses, “each exhibition is a construction of its site, a challenge to, a negotiation with, or a conflict with constructed discourse, something that results in the subtle internal change”.4 My concern on working in an exhibition is searching for a structure that has several levels such as the ‘physical’ that deals with the institutional space of the gallery or museum; the ‘conceptual’ that insists on a critical discourse; and ‘collectiveness’ that can create various communication levels with different social groups in the city place for the audience, inviting them to multiply their experiences and to research recent socio- political situations both in local and international context through the artworks. The exhibition had two layers – the first one is the conceptual level that is an investigation of a socio-political

With the project which I participated in Rotterdam5, the exhibition space aimed to create an open approach of the artistic practices by the participants themselves and the second layer is to investigate the institutional space – inside/outside.

The question of local knowledge mutated the project. As Han-Ulrich Obrist explains “there is a dialogue on ‘globality’, but at the same time that the question if local necessity comes up in each place, the instruction art projects take entirely unexpected turns”.6 The project was mainly about the question of public sphere in Rotterdam, a Western European city dealing with the enormous outcomes of globalisation, such as immigrant cultures but also as a contemporary art centre in Europe. The project formed around research on the over-regulated public space of a European capitalist city by artists and architects. The work by Jan Konings and Ralp Kämena – STAY posters, 2004 – is a collaborative project investigating sleeping and domestic life in public space in Rotterdam, which can be accessed from the exhibition web site.7 They deal with over regulated public space and claim that in the Dutch psyche there is a duality between tolerance and law, leaving a no man’s land for local powers to fill. In the recent years the liberal spirit of the Dutch has changed toward protectionist politics. This is most visible in the way immigration laws have changed. From being one of Europe’s most open countries for sheltering refugees, Holland now has one of highest percentages for refusing people seeking asylum. One poster image is of a ‘detention boat’ in Rotterdam harbour, which has 288 beds for illegal immigrants, one of the latest assets to these politics. The immigrants or refugees who leave or escape their home for several reasons such as border politics, civil wars, political engagement or a search for a better life condition, now face new problems that are linked to racism, different border politics and policies, as well as regulations of public space.

In another work by Libia Pérez de Siles de Castro and Olafur Arni Olaffson, a sound installation was hung from the third floor exterior windows of the exhibition space.8 Cables with head-phones went all the way down to street level and a bench was placed in the front of the building so that people could sit, look at the city street where the stories are coming from and listen. In this case, the artists played a role as ‘mediators’ in which they transfered personal intimate narratives into the public sphere, creating a soundtrack of a ‘citytopography’, as Pérez de Siles and Olaffson describe it. The narratives that occur in several ‘trans-space’ contexts, address not only the issue of human rights and social justice but also the personal survival strategies which appear at the level of communication: in language, different social forms, urban spheres and identity. The structure of the work aimed to operate also as an event where unexpected knowledge and relations could explore the socio-political consciousness of the people who are willing to enter in an open dialogue in a contemporary art exhibition.

Simon Sheikh questions the relationship between artistic practices and political representation as he searches for the contemporary definition of public space that is not anymore one entity or one formation.9 I would like to add to that question – how are we defining the public space in a trans- local context in contemporary cities? How can we open a critical dialogue among conflicting subjectivities with creative curatorial practices and inter-disciplinary knowledge praxis in an art institution? As I referred to the beginning of this text, to the metaphor of a Liquid Library, this is a physical entity but also an imaginative urban space that searches for alternative artistic practices with contemporary social discussions. A contemporary exhibition structure could be formed as an imaginative urban space where there is participation, intersection of flowing and crossing knowledge – radical intervention and collectiveness with conflicting negotiation.

1 Arjun Apparadui, “The production of locality”, Modernity at Large – Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, University of Minnesota Press, November, 1996, p.178-199.

2 Arjun Appadurai, “The Right to Participate in the Work of the Imagination”, Transurbanism, 2002, editors J. Brouwer, A. Mulder, L. Martz, V2_Publishing/NAi publishers, Rotterdam, 2002.

3 Curated by Hou Hanru and Hans Ulrich Obrist. http://www.rama9art.org/citiesonthemove, exhibition venues: Bangkok, Vienna, Bordeaux, New York, Louisiana, and London.

4 “We’ve Become True Individuals. An interview with Hou Hanru, curator of Shanghai Biennale, 2000”, Zhu Qi., 8 November 2000. http://www.chinese-art.com, 2001.

5 Pelin Tan, “Luggage From Another Climate”, TRACER, TENT and Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2004.

6 Hans-Ulrich Obrist, “Moving Interventions – Curating at Large”, In conversation with Vivian Rehberg and with an interlude by Stefano Boeri, Journal of Visual Culture, Vol. 2 (2), Sage Publication, 2003.

7 http://www.tracerrotterdam.nl and http://www.wdw.nl/luggage

8 TENT and Witte de With, Rotterdam.

9 Simon Sheikh, “Public Spheres and the Functions of Progressive Art Institutions”, February, 2004, http:// www.republicart.net



Hans-Peter Feldmann, born, 1941, lives and works in Dusseldorf. Solo exhibitions include 303 Gallery, New York, and PS1 Museum, New York, 2004; Johnen-Schottle, Colgone, 2003; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Germany, 2002; Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Fotografisches Kabinett Mueseum Folkwang, Germany, 2001; Art Metropole, Toronto, Canada,1999; Guggenheim Museum Soho, New York, 1993; Musee d’Arte Moderne de la Ville, Paris, 1992. Recent group exhibitions include “The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982”, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN and “Utopia Station”, Venice Biennale, 2003; “Big Brown Bag”, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, 2002; “Presumed Innocent”, capc Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France, 2000.


Paul Ferman, born Hamburg, 1948, lives and works Australia. Received Fine Arts degree Univer- sity of Sydney. He has exhibited widely in Australia and Italy, also in Singapore, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Solo exhibitions include Front Room Gallery, Singapore; II Ponte Contempora- nea, Rome; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Gallerie Anita Neugebauer, Basel. Groups shows include Museo di Gallese, Viterbo; Wessell O’Connor, New York; Rip Arte II, Rome; and Queens- land Art Gallery. Collections include Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Michael Shapiro Gallery, San Francisco; and Galerie Montenay, Paris. http://www.paulferman.com


Yona Friedman, born Budapest, 1923, lives and works in Paris. Studied at the Techical University, Budapest and the Technion, Haifa, Israel. He participated in the tenth Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM, 1956) in Dubrovnik, where he presented his manifesto L’Architecture Mobile. In 1957 he established GEAM Groups d’Études d’Architecture Mobile. His theories and proposals have been widely published and exhibited (over 500 articles and several books) including Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1975; UNESCO, 1977-1991; Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam, 1999; Yokohama Triennale, 2001; Documenta 11, Kassel, MoMA, New York and Shanghai Biennale, 2002; and the Venice Biennale, 2003. Awards include Golden Lion Award, Venice Film Festival, 1962; Architecture Prize, Academy of Arts and Science, Berlin, 1972; Honor- ary Fellowship of Royal Academy of Fine Arts, The Hague, 1976; 1992: Habitat Scroll of Honour, United Nations, 1992.


Wolfgang Paalen, born Baden, 1905, died Mexico, 1959. Exhibitions include Galerie Bonjean, Paris, 1932; Galerie Vignon, Paris, 1934; Exposition de dessins surrealistes in Les Quatre Chemins, Paris, 1935; Galerie Pierre, Paris, 1936; he participated in surrealist shows in 1936 at MoMA, New York (Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism), Burlington Galleries, London, and Galerie Charles Ratton, Paris. He collaborated with Marcel Duchamp in 1937 and 1938 leading to the International Surreal- ist Exhibition in Paris at the Palais de Beaux Arts, Galerie Wildenstein, Paris. Further shows include Galerie Renou et Colle, Paris, 1938; Peggy Guggenheims Gallery Guggenheim Jeune, London, 1939; International Surrealist Exhibition in Galeria de Arte Mexicano, Mexico-City; Stanford Art Gallery (Metaplastic),1949; San Francisco Museum of Art, Dynaton group exhibition (A new vision), 1950; Galeria de Arte Mexicano, Mexico-City, 1956. He was also an active writer, publica- tions include DYN, Mexico, 1940; Form and Sense, Problems of Contemporary Art, 1945. http://www.paalen-archiv.com https://wolfgangpaalenorg.wordpress.com/ 


Dr. Michel Peillon teaches in the Department of Sociology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Dublin. Recent publications include Place and Non-Place (with M. P. Corcoran, editors), Institute of Public Administration (IPA), Dublin, 2004; Ireland Unbound. A turn of the century chronicle 1999- 2000, (with M. P. Corcoran, editors), IPA, Dublin, 2002; Welfare in Ireland. Actors, resources and strategies, Westport Connecticut: Praeger, 2001; Memories of the Present. Ireland 1997-98, (with Eamonn Slater, editors), IPA, Dublin, 2000; Encounters with Modern Ireland. A Sociological Chroni- cle 1995-96, (with Eamonn Slater, editors), IPA, Dublin, 1998; The Concept of Interest in Social Theory, The Edwin Mellen Press, Wales, 1990. Chapters in books include “The Irish state in the emerging post-industrial economy”, in Christian Mailhes (ed.), Ireland today: change and tradition, Presses de l’Université des Sciences Sociales de Toulouse, Toulouse, 2003; “Culture and State in Ireland’s new economy”, in Peadar Kirby, Luke Gibbons and Michael Cronin (eds.), Reinventing Ireland: Culture, Society and the Global Economy, Pluto Press, London, 2002; “Strangers in our midst”, in E. Slater and M. Peillon (eds.), Memories of the Present. Ireland 1997-98, IPA, Dublin, 2000; “Rubbish”, in M. Peillon and Eamonn Slater (eds.), Encounters with modern Ireland. A Sociological chronicle 1995-96, IPA, Dublin, 1998.


Pelin Tan, born 1974, Germany, lives and works in Istanbul. Educated in sociology, philosophy and art. Works and teaches interdisciplinary art and architectural theory at the Institute of Social Sciences, Istanbul Technical University. She has curated and collaborated in several art and urban projects with TENT & Witte de With, Rotterdam; Trier University, Trier; Platform Contemporary Art Centre, Istanbul; An Architecture, Berlin; Urban Flashes. She contributed as a editor for art-ist 5 contemporary art magazine, Istanbul and as writer for several magazines and journals on contempo- rary art and urbanism. She has contributed to several books and catalogues including “self service city Istanbul”, Lanz & Esen, b-books, Berlin, 2004; “Kulturelle Topografien”, Borso & Görling; “Stuttgart/Weimar”, Metzler; “nowhere Europe”, catalogue by B. Pietromarchi, Olivetti Fondation. She is the co-partner of LabPlace Istanbul, art project.


Marko Peljhan, born Šempeter pri Gorici,1969. Studied theatre and radio directing at the Univer- sity of Ljubljana and founded the arts organisation Projekt Atol in 1992, activities range from art production to scientific research and technology prototype development and production. In 1995 he founded the technological branch of Projekt Atol PACT SYSTEMS, co-founded LJUDMILA and from 1996 on worked at LJUDMILA (Ljubljana Digital Media Lab). He is also coordinator of the international INSULAR TECHNOLOGIES initiative and the Makrolab project as well as coordinator of flights for zero-gravity artistic projects in conjunction with the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Moscow. Makrolab had its first operational set up at Documenta X, 1997 and since then has been installed at Rottnest Island, Australia, Atholl Estates, Scotland, Venice Biennale, and Kiasma, Finland. Recent exhibitions and festivals include Space Arts, Maison de la Photographie, Paris, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, The New Museum, New York, Transmediale, Berlin, 2003; Contemporary Art of the Balkans, Thessaloniki, Critical Update/ Testtone, Zagreb, Gwangju Biennale, 2002. Awards include Milano-Europa 2000 award, 2001 and Golden Nica, together with Carsten Nicolai, Ars Electronica, Linz, 2001. http://s-77ccr.org/ http://makrolab.ljudmila.org/  https://v2.nl/archive/works/makrolab/


Alan Phelan, born Dublin, 1968. Received BA, Dublin City University, 1989 and MFA, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, 1994. He has exhibited in widely in Ireland and also in the UK, USA, Germany, Denmark and Slovenia. Recent exhibitions include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast; Galway Arts Centre; and the Kilkenny Arts Festival, 2004. Recent commissions include a web project for DCMNR Broadband www.broadbandart.ie. Curated projects include ‘No Respect’, 2004 and ‘Stand Fast Dick and Jane’, 2001. He has also written for Circa, Contexts and Sculptors’ Society of Ireland publications includ- ing the SSI Newsletter, VAN and will be the editor/curator for the 5th issue of Printed Project which will be published specially for the Venice Biennale, 2005.


Related Portfolio