Co- Re-Creating Spaces: a group exhibition curated by Carolyn Sortor & Michael A. Morris

What if any agency do we have in relation to existing systems, institutions, or attitudes we encounter and often feel powerless to change? Shared systems/spaces of information/imagination – the law, the economy, history, the news, language, etc. – constitute the contexts within which our lives unfold. Although we live within them, these contexts endure only because of our witting or unwitting collaboration in their perpetuation. Gene Youngblood predicted that new technologies would give rise to "reality communities . . . defined not by geography but by consciousness, ideology and desire." Given new tools to facilitate creative conversation, can we construct alternative contexts to intentionally inhabit, rather than continuing to support systems or spaces in which we don't enjoy equal creative power? "As constituents of these communities we shall hold continuously before ourselves alternative models of possible realities." (See

Co- Re-Creating Spaces is a group exhibition curated by Carolyn Sortor and Michael A. Morris
Opening reception: Saturday, November 17, 6-10 pm
Exhibition runs from november 17, 2012 to January 5, 2013


Co- Re-Creating from Michael Morris on Vimeo.

* Expanded Cinema was an exhibition of new video art works wrapping the exterior of the Omni Dallas Hotel, Texas, with audio simulcast by 91.7 KXT public radio, presented as part of the 25th Dallas VideoFest. Mike and Carolyn both made pieces included in the program, and Carolyn also served as the project coordinator.

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  • Carolyn

    As some of you may recall, this exhibition was inspired by one co-curated by Oliver Ressler and Gregory Sholette, called "It's the Political Economy, Stupid," and included some of the same art works. The "Politcal Economy" show has gone on to be shown at several other venues, and there's now a book out on it; here's an update I just received with more info:

    It's The Political Economy, Stupid
    Gallery 400/University of Illinois at Chicago
    Opening: November 1, 5 PM
    November 1 – December 14, 2013
    Curated by Oliver Ressler & Gregory Sholette

    Artists: Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler; Filippo Berta; Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson; Julia Christensen; Paolo Cirio; Noel Douglas; Field Work; Yevgeniy Fiks, Olga Kopenkina, & Alexandra Lerman; flo6x8; Melanie Gilligan; Jan Peter Hammer; Alicia Herrero; Institute for Wishful Thinking; Sherry Millner & Ernie Larsen; Isa Rosenberger; Dread Scott.

    Globalization, privatization, flexible work schedules, deregulated markets; 30 years of neoliberal capitalism has driven most of the world’s governments to partly or wholly abandon their previous role as arbitrators between the security of the majority and the profiteering of the corporate sector. It comes as no surprise therefore that when problems in the US real estate and financial sectors resulted in a global financial crisis starting in 2008, governments all over the world pumped trillions of dollars into banks and insurance companies, essentially creating the largest transfer ever of capital into the private sector. One argument often cited for this unprecedented action was that many of these transnational corporations were “too big to fail.” Still, despite these enormous expenditures millions of people soon lost their homes and livelihood, and the economic and social damage has not yet ended. The cost of these bailouts is staggering. States borrowed capital to rescue financial institutions resulting in growing national debt and virtual insolvency for some countries. Managing these budget deficits might have been possible if wealthy transnational corporations were forced to assist the economy, but neoliberal governments instead chose to introduce belt-tightening programs that radically reduce public services and social welfare. Needless to say, these austerity measures do not necessarily reflect the will of the majority, and increasing voter apathy is one serious side effect of such top-down decision-making.
    Today, we are facing a catastrophe of capitalism that has also become a major crisis for representative democracy. The very idea of the modern nation state is in jeopardy as the deterritorialized flow of finance capital melts down all that was solid into raw material for market speculation and bio-political asset mining. It is the social order itself, and the very notion of governance with its archaic promise of security and happiness that has become another kind of modern ruin. Theorist Slavoj Žižek puts it this way, “the central task of the ruling ideology in the present crises is to impose a narrative which will place the blame for the meltdown not on the global capitalist system as such, but on secondary and contingent deviations (overly lax legal regulations, the corruption of big financial institutions, and so on).” [1]
    It’s the Political Economy, Stupid [2] brings together a group of superlative artists who focus on the current crisis in a sustained and critical manner. Rather than acquiesce to our current calamity this exhibition asks if it is not time to push back against the disciplinary dictates of the capitalist logic and, as if by some artistic sorcery, launch a rescue of the very notion of the social itself.

    [1] Slavoj Žižek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce. Verso Books, London/New York 2009, p. 19
    [2] The title It’s the Political Economy, Stupid is a re-phrasing by Slavoj Žižek of the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid”, a widely circulated phrase used during Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign against incumbent President George Bush Senior.

    Different versions of the exhibition It’s the Political Economy, Stupid were presented at Open Space, Open Systems, Vienna (A), 2011; Austrian Cultural Forum, New York (USA) 2012; Centre of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki (GR), 2012; Pori Art Museum, Pori (FIN), 2013; and Center for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade (RS), 2013.

    A publication by Pluto Press with the same title accompanies the exhibition with detailed analysis of the artworks and theoretical contextualization related to the representation of the crisis and capital. Authors of the texts are internationally renowned artists and thinkers, including Slavoj Žižek, David Graeber, Judith Butler and Brian Holmes. The book combines artistic answers on global economical problems with the analysis of those radical theoreticians, expanding the borders of a critical approach towards financial breakdown and its consequences.