Berlin

Michael Rakowitz, The Ballad of Special Ops Cody, 2017, HD video, color, sound, 14 minutes 42 seconds.

Michael Rakowitz

Barbara Wien

Michael Rakowitz, The Ballad of Special Ops Cody, 2017, HD video, color, sound, 14 minutes 42 seconds.

If the literary theorist Viktor Shklovsky were alive today, Michael Rakowitz might be one of his star pupils. Over the years Rakowitz has received great acclaim for projects that push gestures of ostranenie, or estrangement, to operatic dimensions: In New York he once served an Iraqi-inspired dish on plates looted from Saddam Hussein’s palaces (Spoils, 2011), and for Documenta 13 he presented copies of books that were burned in the Fridericianum in Kassel during World War II; the copies were carved from travertine collected in the hills of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, where the Taliban blew up two massive sixth-century sandstone Buddhas in 2001 (What Dust Will Rise?, 2012). For Rakowitz, the practice of, lifting an object or material from its given context and embedding it in an unexpected setting or giving it an unwonted purpose lends itself to a multidimensional confrontation that is

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