Magazine article Artforum International

"Routes": Grazer Kunstverein. (Graz, Austria)

Magazine article Artforum International

"Routes": Grazer Kunstverein. (Graz, Austria)

Article excerpt

Translaud from German by Sara Ogger.

"Man is a story-making animal. He rarely passes up an opportunity to accompany his works and his experiences with matching stories." Chinua Achebe, a seminal figure in postcolonial literature, thus sounds the keynote: The theme for this exhibition was storytelling as politically relevant medium. Christian Kravagna's curatorial vision lit upon eight artists who deconstruct narrative models or spin surprising stories on the theme of travel and migration. What effect has global mobility had on the visual repertoire of the present? Who are these new "nomads," and what sends them on their way? How can the reality of whole populations swarming across the planet, not always exactly voluntarily, be translated into images? Terror, war, and poverty create unwilling globetrotters, while self-imposed dislocation has been explained by Stuart Hall, the doyen of cultural studies, in more casual terms: "Well, I don't know if I should just live the rest of my life where I was born."

"We can't literally go home again": Hall's formulation provides the motto for Zeigam Azizov's experimental video project Migrasophia: in between home and globe, 2001-2002, which joins cultural theory and the productive forces of migration. This London-based Azerbaijani artist is a virtuosic editor, cutting video, text, and music to fit an infinite, panoramic stream of images of urban settings for international communication: cybercafes, libraries, and conference rooms. To be at home, Azizov shows, is to be on the move. This is also the theme for Giilsun Karamustafa, who has not been allowed to leave Turkey for the last sixteen years due to her political activities. In her photographs she explores the hotel room as a transitive nonplace. Emily jacir, a Palestinian with American citizenship, deals with phantasms of flight and freedom. …

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