Rachael Rakes

  • Sonja Bäumel in collaboration with Jason Cook, Being Encounter, 2017, glass, chrome foil, mirror, rubber flooring, stones, gelatin, glycerin, water, salt, motors, sensors, 5' 1/4“ x 14' 5 1/4” x 14' 5 1/4". From Momentum 9.

    Momentum 9

    “Alienation” was the stated theme for Momentum 9: The Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art. Organized by five curators––Ulrika Flink, Ilari Laamanen, Jacob Lillemose, Gunhild Moe, and Jón B. K. Ransu––each from a different Nordic country, the biennial aimed to respond to what theorist Lisa Blackman calls the “‘inhumanism of the human’ as well as the ‘humanism of the inhuman’” through three thematic groupings: “bodies, objects and technologies,” “ecology,” and “structures and societies.” In its exploration of past, present, and possible future modalities of the alien, the exhibition sought to

  • Tarek Atoui, WITHIN, Sound Massage Workshop with Thierry Madiot, 2016. Performance view, Grieg Academy, University of Bergen, Norway. From Bergen Assembly. Photo: Thor Brødreskift.

    Bergen Assembly

    A live performance on newly invented instruments staged in an abandoned public aquatic center, Tarek Atoui’s WITHIN I, 2016, highlighted the September convergence of the 2016 Bergen Assembly. This work was emblematic of the collective spirit of this year’s program, being part of an ongoing collaborative sequence involving instrument makers, speaker designers, software engineers, and musicians. The performance was produced as a collaboration between 2016 co–artistic director Atoui, composer Pauline Oliveros, and several local musicians and performers, and was the result of years of research in

  • Andrzej Zulawski, Cosmos, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 103 minutes.
    film August 26, 2015

    Parent Trap

    THIS YEAR’S Festival del Film Locarno offered some of the most exciting films and programming I’ve seen at a major festival in recent memory. The August (and august) showcase in Italian Switzerland has long been a haven for experiments, debuts, and underappreciated gems, but in the past such fare has typically remained semihidden in secondary sidebars outside of the main competitions. In this edition, discoveries ranged across the full program; there was bigger billing for more challenging work and films of greatly different style and scale were given equal consideration. While commemorative

  • Koo Jeong-A, Dearest Young Hoi (detail), 2014, enamel, stainless steel table, 29 1/4 × 78 3/4 × 29 1/4". From Real DMZ Project 2014.

    Real DMZ Project 2014

    It has been twenty-five years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, a fact that acutely informed the Real DMZ Project this year, thanks to the participation as guest curator of the German architect and theorist Nikolaus Hirsch, who worked in collaboration with Real DMZ artistic director Sunjung Kim. Now in its third year, the annual exhibition takes place primarily on the edge of the border zone between South and North Korea. Several contentious “realities” were under examination in this most recent edition, among them the outright paradox of nomenclature—the Korean Demilitarized Zone remains

  • Left: Artist Eduardo Sarabia. (Except where noted, all photos: Rachael Rakes) Right: Dealer Nohra Haime, Cartagena Biennial artistic director Berta Sichel, and Sonia de Haime. (Photo: Ilana Spath Hitzig)
    diary April 10, 2014

    First Start

    “THIS CITY IS A MONUMENT,” remarked Berta Sichel, artistic director for the first Cartagena Biennial, at a recent talk launching a weekend of performances, parties, and discussions organized as a kind of “second opening” for the show. She wasn’t speaking in tropes. Walking around the still walled-in Old City of Cartagena is like being inside a huge diorama. The place wears its colonial history like no other (unwilling) seat of the Caribbean slave trade, all whitewashed walls, carriages, and tchotchkes. The touristy environment provided a fertile and sometimes surreal backdrop to Sichel and her

  • Still from Ben Rivers and Ben Russell’s A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, 2013, 16 mm, color, sound, 98 minutes. Iti Kaevats.


    A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS is the love child of two quite different filmmakers—one British, one American—who have come to prominence in recent years in the experimental-film world for idiosyncratic bodies of work, which, while stylistically distinct, have revealed common thematic interests. Ben Rivers, who lives and works in London, is perhaps best known for his meditative portraits of alternative ways of living, from the sylvan hermitage of his feature Two Years at Sea to the postapocalyptic island ecosystems of his science-fiction film Slow Action (both 2011). In sharp contrast,