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Reading Room #01, a discursive platform at Extra City, Antwerp

Parallel to the inaugural presentation of the video installation The Residence in Argos Vermeir & Heiremans present Reading Room, a discursive platform set up in close collaboration with Extra City, Antwerp. The project is conceived as a format for knowledge production, consisting of a number of public lectures and discussions. Reading Room takes place in a display feature that is developed as a performative space for reading and browsing materials, for meeting people, talking and having a drink. It presents itself as an evolving cabinet of curiosities that contains a collection of visual and textual materials from the research the artists have conducted in preparation of their video project. Reading Room is designed in collaboration with the Chinese architect Ma Wen. The output of the presentations and reading groups will be integrated in an upcoming publication.

Performances, screenings, lectures and book presentations by Justin Bennett, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Bert De Muynck, Liu Ding, Christine Gerrard, Luis Jacob, Carol Yinghua Lu, Daniel McClean, Cuauthemoc Medina, John McTague, and Robrecht Vanderbeeken.

For program details and practical information please check:

The Residence (reading room)

Opening: Thursday 02.02 | 6 pm
6pm Carol Yinghua Lu (CN) & Liu Ding (CN), Little Movements, lecture
8:30pm Justin Bennett (UK), Cricket Orchestra, sound performance

Saturday 18.02 | 6-9pm
Luis Jacob (CA): Commerce by Artists, book presentation
Julia Bryan-Wilson (US), Precarious Futures, lecture

Saturday 25.02 | 6-9pm
Daniel McClean (UK): A Lawful Experiment, lecture
Robrecht Vanderbeeken (BE): Drunk on Capitalism, book presentation

Saturday 10.03 | 6-9pm
Bert De Muynck (BE): Creative City in China, lecture

Saturday 17.03 | 6-9pm EXTRA READING ROOM

Screening Program selected by Michnea Mircan (RO)
Cuauthemoc Medina (MX): On Goethes Faust Part 2, lecture

Saturday 24.03 | 6-9pm
John McTague (UK): The South-Sea Bubble in the Press, lecture
Christine Gerrard (UK): Representing the Bubble, lecture

Finissage: Thursday 29.03 | 6-9pm

Free entrance / All presentations will be in English


Opening / Thursday 2 February 2012 | 6 pm
6pm Carol Yinghua Lu & Liu Ding: ‘Little Movements’, lecture
8.30pm Justin Bennett: Cricket Orchestra, sound performance

Carol Yinghua Lu & Liu Ding

Liu Ding and Carol Yinghua Lu will speak about their recent project Little Movements: Self Practice in Contemporary Art,
which they initiated and organised together with Su Wei. The inaugural presentation took place last year at OCAT
Programme for Emerging Art Practitioners, Shenzhen, China. In 2013, it will open at Museion in Bolzano (Italy).
Taking its lead from the concept of ‘global art’ as proposed by Hans Belting (ZKM, Karlsruhe), which surveys contemporary
art practice worldwide and sees an art world with multiple centres, Little Movements examines and presents new modes of
thinking and working in artistic and theoretical practices, both international and local, past and present. Some of the
processes and forms of these practices can be described and summarised, while some are difficult to convey or sum up within the existing categories of artistic practice. They employ independent values, attitudes and working methods to rethink, resist, shake and influence universal values, standards, systemic forces and all forms of inertia. They consciously defy and actively cast doubt on the discourse of systemisation and standardisation, and remain in a perpetual state of selfdoubt.
It is because of this state that they gain the power and vitality to persevere in their practices. In the views of the curators, these practices are not of immediate gain. They have no short-term goals. They refute clear political standpoints and value judgments, while maintaining the potential and power for participation and change. It could be said that Little Movements are the critical political imaginings and ideas of artistic practice.

Carol Yinghua Lu is a young Chinese curator and writer. She studied English Literature (BA) at the Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou and graduated in Critical Studies at the Malmö Art Academy, Sweden. From 2005-2007, she was the China researcher for Asia Art Archive. Carol Yinghua Lu is one of China’s most active and dynamic curators and critics.
She is a contributing editor for Frieze and writes frequently for international art journals and magazines including e-flux journal, The Exhibitionist, Yishu, and Tate. Her texts on contemporary art have also appeared in art catalogues, books, publications, and critical readers. In 2011 she was on the selection panel for the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale. She has recently been appointed one of the Co-Artistic Directors of the 2012 Gwangju Biennale.
Liu Ding’s Store is an ongoing project begun by the artist in 2008, a platform on which issues around the role of artist, the relationship between the value of artwork and consumption, the ethical limits of art institutions and art systems are investigated. Liu Ding has participated in a number of major exhibitions such as the Second Guangzhou Triennial, the Fourth Seoul International Biennale of Media Art, and the Chinese Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. His works have also featured in many museums and galleries in China and abroad.

Justin Bennett
British sound artist Justin Bennett developed the soundscape for The Residence (a wager for the afterlife). Part of it
originated from what he calls his Cricket Orchestra. Consisting of numerous clicks and glitches the ‘orchestra’ uses single
sound bites to create a life-like environment of crickets and insects, although sometimes they really go berserk. Justin
Bennett will play his Cricket Orchestra live on the opening night of The Residence (reading room).

Justin Bennett is an artist working with sound and visual media. The everyday sound of our urban surroundings at everylevel of detail is the focus of his work wherein he develops the reciprocity of music and architecture, and sound and image.
Bennett often works with artists from other disciplines. These include the performance group B M B con, theatre maker Renate Zentschnig, and choreographer Eva-Cecilie Richardsen. His recent solo work has focused on urban development and public space, resulting in sound, video, animation and graphic works. His recent projects include the videos Raw Materials and Brunelleschi’s Mirror (2011), Chipka, a 12" vinyl release (2011), Production Line, a solo exhibition at Barbara Seiler Galerie, Zürich (2010), The City Amplified, a solo exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag (2009), Zuidas Symphony, an audiowalk for a new business district in Amsterdam (2009), Drawing Typologies, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2008), The Well, CD and installations for the 10th Istanbul Biennial (2007).

Saturday 18 February 2012 | 6-9pm
Luis Jacob: Commerce by Artists, book presentation
Julia Bryan-Wilson: lecture

Luis Jacob
Artist, writer and curator Luis Jacob (previously at Extra City as artist within the Animism project) will speak about Commerce by artists, a book he edited for Art Metropole in Toronto. Commerce by Artists documents a fascinating range of artists’ projects produced since the 1950s by international artists who have sought to engage, rather than merely represent, the commercial world of which they are a part.
This anthology encompasses canonical works such as Yves Klein’s Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility (1958), Seth Siegelaub’s Artist’s Contract (1971), and Lee Lozano’s Strike Piece (1969), as well as innovative and rarely-documented works like Keith Obadike’s Blackness for Sale (2001), Kelly Mark’s In & Out (1997, ongoing until 2032), and Ben Kinmont’s
Sometimes a Nicer Sculpture Is to Be Able to Provide a Living for Your Family (1998, ongoing).

Luis Jacob's diverse practice has addressed issues of social interaction and the subjectivity of aesthetic experience.
Working in video, installation, sculpture and photography, as well as actions in the public sphere, his work invites a collision of meaning systems that destabilise our conventions of viewing and open up possibilities for participation and the creation of knowledge. His work has been exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg (Mönchengladbach), the Hamburger Kunstverein, documenta12, and at the Animism exhibition that toured the Generali Foundation (Vienna), Kunsthalle Bern and Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen. He recently showed a collaborative work (with Noam Gonick) at Contour 2011: 5th Biennial of Moving Image (Mechelen), and presently has a major solo exhibition A finger in the pie, A foot in the door, A leg in quicksand at the Kunsthalle Lingen.

Julia Bryan-Wilson
In her most recent book, Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (2009), Bryan-Wilson explores the politicisation of artistic labour in the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s within the Art Workers’ Coalition and the New York Art Strike. In it she refers to Carole Pateman’s definition of work, by which “we do not just mean the activity that provides for most people the major determinant of their status in the world, or the occupation that the individual follows full time and that provides him with his livelihood, but (…) refer also to activities that are carried on in co-operation with others, that are ‘public’ and intimately related to the wider society and its (economic) needs; thus we refer to activities that, potentially, involve the individual in decisions about collective affairs, the affairs of the enterprise and of the community, in a way that leisure-time activities usually do not.”
For Reading Room Julia Bryan-Wilson will speak about ideas of precarity, temporality, and the problem of imagining alternatives to work within late capitalism. Her presentation will invite discussion on how art, as an object and a system of signification, circulates as both commodity and sign from a feminist perspective and pose the question: what kind of mode of production does art making involve?

Julia Bryan-Wilson is an author, scholar, and educator whose research includes feminist and queer theory, craft histories, performance, video art, artistic activism, and coalitional politics. She has received fellowships from the Henry Moore Institute, the Smithsonian Institute, the Getty Research Institute, and a joint award from Creative Capital and the Andy Warhol Foundation. Bryan-Wilson taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of California, Irvine, before joining the University of California, Berkeley in Autumn 2011.

Saturday 25 February 2012 | 6-9pm
Daniel McClean: A wager for the afterlife – a lawful experiment, lecture
Robrecht Vanderbeeken: Drunk on Capitalism, book presentation.

Daniel McClean
Daniel McClean specialises in art, media and intellectual property law. He works on the links between conceptual art and the law in terms of immateriality, performance and action. In each case, the contract becomes both the mechanism and the document for recording processes of negotiation and exchange. It excavates relationships, and becomes a diagrammatic structure in a way that is real and binding. McClean states that artists appropriate the performativity of the law, but don’t necessarily rely on its architecture to get there. Filling the gap that emerges between the two, he defines his role as a designer of situations that test relations, and as a mediator of the resulting interaction – even when he’s not dealing with
law-based projects.
The second part of Goethe’s Faust was an important inspiration for The Residence project. In reference to the document signed by Faust and Mephistopheles, which was not a contract of service but a wager, Daniel McClean will pursue a hypothetical ‘wager’ for Reading Room. The outcome of a wager is not fixed, and has no set time limit. It is actually a bet on
what will happen in the future. In part, the formulation of such a proposition, implies a fictionalisation of McClean’s law practice, yet, as with any contract, the wager also becomes a fascinating site of reflection.

Daniel McClean is an independent curator, writer, and art-legal adviser. McClean was formerly a solicitor at Withers LLP (London and New York) where he specialised in art, media and intellectual property law. In this capacity, he has advised a wide range of public and private art world clients, including the Arts Council of England, Gagosian Gallery, Haunch of
Venison, and The Tate. McClean writes regularly on art-legal matters. He was the commissioning editor of The Trials of Art (2007), an anthology that looks at issues such as obscenity, religious sensitivity, aesthetic value, appropriation, and artistic freedom within the context of celebrated legal cases where an artwork has been challenged. McClean holds a BA in
Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford and an LLM in IP Law from the University of London.

Robrecht Vanderbeeken
Robrecht Vanderbeeken recently co-edited an interdisciplinary collection of essays. Drunk on Capitalism probes the impact of the market economy on art and science in the post-Cold War era. For Reading Room he will elaborate on the multifaceted and ambiguous relationship between art and capital. Contemporary art claims to be autonomous, but art costs money and artists cannot survive on their love for art alone. Vanderveeken questions how artists respond to the rise of economic strictures in modern culture in general and the art market in particular. He analyses the impact on the critical potential of art when works of art become investments, and will reflect on the artist’s schizophrenic position in a global, late-capitalist

Robrecht Vanderbeeken received his PhD in philosophy of science at Ghent University in 2003. Afterwards he became a researcher at the theory department of the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. During this two-year project he worked on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Slavoj Zizek. From 2005 until 2007 he was a post-doctoral fellow at the philosophy
department of Ghent University working on topics in analytical metaphysics and techno-science critique. Since 2007 Vanderbeeken has been Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Fine Arts (KASK) at University College Ghent. His current areas of research are the philosophical implications of media art and the interpretation of video art.

Saturday 10 March 2012 | 6-9pm
Bert De Muynck: Creative Industry in China, lecture

After a three month preliminary research project during May-July 2007 Bert De Muynck, Mónica Carriço and Ned Rossiter guest-edited Urban China #33 (called Creative China). Their issue of Urban China set out to critique and redefine the idea and practice of ‘mapping’ the creative industries. De Muynck and his co-editors were mostly interested in the multiple idioms of expression that make creative industries intelligible beyond the blandness of policy discourse. In Reading Room De Muynck will give an update of his earlier research into the matter, based on his findings of the periodbetween 2008-11, which ranged from ‘counter-mapping’ the creative industries in Beijing to interviews with more than 50 Chinese designers, policy makers and academics connected to China’s creative industries. With a focus on the alternative mapping of the creative industries a series of vectors of research like migrant networks and service labour, eco-politics of creative waste, informational geographies vs. creative clusters, craftsmanship, real-estate speculation and artist villages are identified as elements of a new form of creative engineering of Chinese society.

Bert de Muynck is an architect, writer and co-director of MovingCities, an independent research organisation investigating the role that architecture and urbanism play in shaping the contemporary city. During the past years MovingCities has conducted research, lectures and workshops in China, Israel, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland and
Indonesia. In the past decade Bert de Muynck has lived and worked in Amsterdam (2001-2006), Beijing (2006-2009) and Shanghai (since 2009). Since September 2011 De Muynck has been Assistant Professor at the The University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Architecture, and at the HKU Shanghai Study Center. De Muynck holds an MA in Architectural Engineering (Catholic University Leuven) and a diploma in Cultural Sciences (Free University Brussels).

Extra Reading Room

Saturday 17 March 2012 | 6-9pm

Mihnea Mircan : screening program

Cuauhtémoc Medina: On Goethe’s Faust (part 2), lecture


screening program presented in the following order:

Michael Stevenson, Introduccion a la teoria de la probabilidad

Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor, The Rite of Spring

Cesare Pietroiusti, Eating Money

Jan Svankmajer, Faust (fragment)

Cesare Pietroiusti, Money Watching

Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor, Poem

Michael Stevenson, On how things behave


For Reading Room #5 Cuauhtémoc Medina, artistic director of Manifesta 9 will address

part II of Faust (1832), the play in which Goethe confronts the promises and pitfalls of the Industrial Revolution and the economic growth it generated. Part II presents Faust himself as a project developer, who not only introduces paper money to the Sovereign's Court, in his blind urge to realize his economic project of unlimited growth he can also be held responsible for the violent deaths of Philemon en Baucis, the elderly traditional couple that would not step aside for his ambitions. Success and calamity come about through the cunning mediation of Mephistopheles, who obviously follows his own agenda.

The themes of Faust, and then especially those that play out in the second part, are still relevant today in context of our societies that are confronted with one of the worst post-war economic crises. For The Residence project the book 'Money & magic' by H.C. Binswanger was very inspiring. His definition of the play as alchemical seems to highlight the text’s contemporaneity in terms of the economy. Binswanger’s analysis focuses on the concept of eternal growth that in Faust II also takes a very central part as it embodies Mephistopheles’ second attempt to conquer Faust’s soul. In that respect the play almost foreshadows modernity, and our society and its crises.

Like Faust, modern man has become blind to the problem of limits--and therefore is an easy prey to the economic alchemists who promise indefinite growth by turning base metals into gold, transitoriness into permanence, and swamps into farmland.

After all, Mephistopheles, who is "the spirit, that evermore denies," is Faust's business partner! As we ponder whether the new riches that we have amassed are real or illusory, it is worth taking that into account.

Cuauhtémoc Medina
(Mexico City, December 5 1965.)

Art critic, curator and historian, holds a Ph.D. in History and Theory of Art from the University of Essex in Britain and a BA in History from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Since 1992 he has been a full time researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Between 2002 and 2008 was the first Associate Curator of Art Latin American Collections at the Tate Modern in the UK. Among other projects, he has curated When Faith Moves Mountains (Lima, Peru, 2001) by Francis Alÿs, 20 Million Mexicans can´t be wrong (South London Gallery, 2002), and The Age of Discrepancies, Art and Visual Culture in Mexico 1968–1997, (in collaboration with Olivier Debroise, Pilar García and Alvaro Vazquez, 2007-2008). In 2009 he curated Teresa Margolles's project, What Else Could We Speak About?, as the Mexican Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. All along 2010, he organized the Contemporary Art Project (PAC) in Murcia, Spain, with a year long exhibition titled Cannibal Dominoes, and in collaboration with Mariana Botey and Helena Chavez The Red Specter, publication and platform that organized the exhibition titled “Critical Fetishes. Residues of the General Economy” at the C2M IN MADRID, presented in 2011 in the Mexico City Museum. In 2011 he curated the overview of Enrique Jezik’s work titled: Obstruct, destroy, conceal, in the MUAC (Contemporary Art University Museum) in Mexico City.

Medina is currently organizing the Manifesta 9 Biennial in Ghenk, Limburg, Belgium, for June 2012, in association with Katerina Gregos and Dawn Ades. Beyond a significant number of publications of Contemporary Art since 2000 he has been in charge of the art critical column titled “Ojo Breve”of the Reforma newspaper in Mexico city.

Saturday 24 March 2012 | 6-9pm
Christine Gerrard (UK): Representing the Bubble, lecture
John McTague (UK): The South-Sea Bubble in the Press , lecture

Christine Gerrard
Christine Gerrard is currently working on the emergence of the novel, linking its origins to questions of value and material insubstantiality that are central to early 18th century discourse. The financial revolution of that era led to new forms of ‘virtual’ property, something that was intensely debated by writers such as Defoe, Swift, Pope and Gay who were at the
same time reflecting upon their new positions as producers of fiction. For the reading room Christine Gerrard will address the South Sea Bubble of 1720, an economic Ponzi scheme that bears an uncanny resemblance to today’s economic crisis and its public debate (or lack of it). The bursting of the 18th century bubble signalled a crisis of representation that was maybe even more intrusive than ours. That is if we assume that we are armed to
deal with the rhetoric of marketing, finance and politics in a way that our 18th century ancestors still had to learn. Yet there are parallels in time to be drawn from the ‘crooked’ language of these financial fictions, sold as securities, derivatives, options or futures. In the 18th century context, the moment when for the first time these fictional financial instruments, the
new ways to wealth, lost all of their value, a shockwave was sent through society like never before, and not only in economic terms. Gerrard’s reflections on this historic event will for sure cast an interesting perspective on today’s crisis.

Christine Gerrard is Fellow and Tutor in English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Her publications include The Patriot Opposition to Walpole: Poetry, Politics, and National Myth, 1725-1742 (1994) and, with Douglas Fairer, Eighteenth-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology (1999). She is editor of the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Eighteenth-Century Poetry.

John McTague
John McTague will explore the range of responses to the South-Sea Bubble in the press; in periodical journals, newspapers, pamphlets, and other ephemeral printed forms. In particular, he will address the ethical dimension of such responses, in the light of some of the moralising responses to the financial chicanery of our own times, and the influence of this moralising on ideas of political economy. To what extent was the new 18th century financial system, in which imaginary property (the ever deferred promise of the future settlement of debts) was bought and sold, held to be eroding the nation's virtues, political or otherwise? What are we to make of the fact that most of this moralising appears only after the system has failed, and failed spectacularly? How were these anxieties expressed (or countered), and to what ends? What myths and misconceptions about the process of valuation (of credit, of land, of people, of ideas) shored up these responses? Was news itself the cause of the crash, and should writers and gossips be held accountable for the fluctuations in credit that relied on public opinion?
Was it the corruption of the South-Sea Company, or the unstable nature of credit in itself that led to such moral outrage? Or, even more simply, were people distrusting something they didn't fully understand?
Mandeville's Fable of the Bees, republished in an extensively revised and extended version a few years after the crash,contained a provocatively amoral view of market forces. It insisted that valuation of any kind was always unstable and contingent. This kind of radical relativism, which emphasised end results over the means by which they were achieved, was
anathema to many writers, including Trenchard and Gordon in their periodical essays known as Cato's Letters. The ethical reactions explored here, then, are rooted in questions of meaning, and will lead on to a discussion of the crisis in representation that the South Sea Bubble provoked.

John McTague is Departmental Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature at St. Peter's College, University at Oxford. His
DPhil thesis, completed in 2009, was on the representation of politics in Britain from the Popish Plot to the South Sea Bubble. His general interests are in literature and politics in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, bibliography and the history of the book. There is a particular focus in his work on hoaxes, scandals, and similar episodes, such as the Bickerstaff
Hoax or the Warming Pan Scandal. Particular authors like Swift, Dryden, and Defoe figure in this research, but the focus is more on popular literature, pamphlets, broadsides, and other ephemeral forms of polemic.

Thursday 29 March 2012 | 6-9pm

The artists express their deepest gratitude to all the co-producing partners of this project: thanks to their ‘credit’ they could produce The Residence. The Residence is a production of Limited Editions vzw supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund and the Flemish Community.

Coproduction: Argos, centre for art and media (Brussels), C-Mine (Genk), Cultuurcentrum (Bruges), deBuren
(Brussels), Extra City Kunsthal (Antwerp), FLACC (Genk), Manifesta 9 Limburg (Genk) and Triodos Fonds. Research
support: artist residencies in China CEAC (Xiamen), TIM (Beijing).