A Feast of Astonishments: Museum der Moderne Salzburg


Charlotte Moorman (1933–1991) was a groundbreaking, rule-bending artist, musician, curator, and advocate for the experimental art of her time. Trained as a classical cellist, she performed and championed the works of visual artists, composers, and choreographers who were redefining art. Image: Charlotte Moorman performs with Paik’s ‘TV cello’

A Feast of Astonishments explores many facets of the career of Charlotte Moorman, including her early years, the music she performed, the festivals she organized, and the sculptural cellos she created. Moorman’s repertoire featured performances devised by others, but she made them her own through interpretation, improvisation, and repeated presentation. Moorman’s varied activities are as difficult to categorize as the boundary-crossing art she championed. Drawing on unique holdings from the Charlotte Moorman Archive housed at Northwestern University’s Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, A Feast of Astonishments immerses viewers in the vibrant and complex network of artistic ferment that Moorman sustained over three decades as an artist and a promoter of new art.

A Feast of Astonishments. Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s includes work from a wide variety of fields and media: music, film, performance art, audio and video installations, photography, literature, and materials from the archive of the artist, who died in 1991 in New York City. The exhibition is divided into two main themes: Moorman’s repertoire as an artist and her work as the founder and organizer of the Annual New York Avant-Garde Festival. These two areas are linked by a section about her concert tours to Europe and their influence. Works by such innovative figures as John Cage, Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Jim McWilliams, and Joseph Beuys fueled her fearless and risk-taking approach as well as her enthusiastic promotion of what she called “mixed media.”

The exhibition also documents Moorman’s production of fifteen avant-garde festivals, held mostly in New York City between 1963 and 1980. A consummate and magnetic networker, Moorman engendered a strong sense of community among hundreds of artists, filmmakers, dancers, poets, musicians, and festival audiences, who were all willingly caught in “Charlotte’s web.” Over the years, these festivals migrated from traditional performance venues to public spaces, freeing artists from the constraints of concert halls and museums, and creating important precedents for future large-scale, urban art exhibitions.

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1933, Charlotte Moorman first came to New York to pursue a classical training as a cellist at the famous Juilliard School, but soon turned to experimental music. The composer Edgard Varèse even dubbed her the “Joan of Arc of New Music.” Moorman organized numerous concerts for contemporary musicians, among them Joseph Byrd, La Monte Young, Toshi Ichiyanagi, and Yoko Ono. However, her involvement in radical new forms of art was not confined to music. She furthermore worked with Allan Kaprow, Otto Piene, Carolee Schneemann, Yvonne Rainer, and Joseph Beuys.

Moorman’s fervent exploration of contemporary music, art, literature, dance, and innovative cross-disciplinary art forms fueled her commitment to bring these to the widest possible public. To this end, between 1963 and 1980, she organized the Annual New York Avant-Garde Festival on 15 occasions. From 1966, this legendary festival brought together the world’s avant-garde artists at public spaces in New York, including Central Park (1966), Staten Island Ferry (1967), and Grand Central Terminal (1973). At the same time, Moorman developed her own highly personal repertoire of musical pieces, which she repeatedly performed. These included works by John Cage, Giuseppe Chiari, Philip Corner, Jim McWilliams, Yoko Ono, and Nam June Paik. Her work also took her to Europe: in 1965, she participated in the 24 Hours Happening in Wuppertal; in 1973 she took part in the Bochum Kunstwoche (art week), and in 1982 she contributed to the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. “Moorman not only made an outstanding contribution to the New York avant-garde in the 1960s and 1970s, but she also forged ties between the American and European art scenes. The documentations of her performances in Linz and Wuppertal constitute Austrian and German TV history,” says Sabine Breitwieser, Director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.

In 1967, her partially nude performance of Nam June Paik’s “Opera Sextronique” in New York led to her arrest and conviction on indecency charges. As a consequence, Charlotte Moorman became publicly known as the “topless cellist,” which dominated her image thereafter—a situation this exhibition now aims to amend. Nam June Paik and Moorman collaborated on further pieces that are closely associated with her name, as they were created exclusively for Charlotte to use and perform: the famous TV Cello (1971/1973) features in this exhibition. Her performances were staged all around the world and have been circulated in iconic images. Examples include Jim McWilliams’ Sky Kiss—Moorman plays the cello while suspended in mid-air from helium-filled balloons—and John Cage’s “26′ 1.1499”” for a String Player, in which Moorman among others draws her bow across a cello string on a man’s bare back and adds other “instruments” to her repertoire, ranging from a rubber duck to a “cello bomb.”

Charlotte Moorman was an enthusiastic archivist. The exhibition draws from a wealth of materials offering glimpses of Moorman’s personal life, her connections with other artists, and her tireless efforts to promote the avant-garde. Parts of Moorman’s archive, now housed at the Northwestern University in Chicago, are shown for the first time in this exhibition.

An exhibition in collaboration with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, and the Northwestern University Libraries, supported by a major grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art. Additional generous support is provided by: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Alumnae of Northwestern University, Colonel Eugene E. Myers Foundations, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Dean of Libraries Discretionary Fund, Charles Deering McCormick Fund for Special Collections, Florence Walton Taylor Fund, Block Museum Science and Technology Endowment.

Related program

In the Spirit of Charlotte
March 8, 6–7:30pm
Lecture-Performance with Deborah Walker, cellist, new music performer and improviser

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1964
May 13, 11am–12:30pm
Performance with Weronika Trojańska, artist, Warsaw, Poland

Concert matinee
June 4, 11am–12:30pm
Mozarteum University Salzburg, Institute for new music

Director: Sabine Breitwieser, Museum der Moderne Salzburg

Curatorial Team: Lisa G. Corrin, Director, Block Museum; Corinne Granof, Curator of Academic Programs, Block Museum; Scott Krafft, Curator of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University Libraries; Michelle Puetz, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts, Block Museum; Joan Rothfuss, Consulting Curator and Laura Wertheim Joseph, Consulting Curatorial Associate; Tina Teufel, Curator, Museum der Moderne Salzburg

Also on view:

Pichler. Radical: Architecture & Prototypes
until June 5

The retrospective of works by Walter Pichler, spanning five decades, has been extended until June 2017. Crossing the boundaries between architecture, design, and sculpture, Pichler was one of the most idiosyncratic artists of his time.

The Museum as a Space of Action
April 7–July 16

In this project the Museum der Moderne Salzburg addresses questions about the changing nature of its audiences and its role as an interactive space. The Museum der Moderne Salzburg is the only European venue of this extensive exhibition about the work and influence of the US-American musician and performance artist Charlotte Moorman. The first comprehensive tribute to Moorman’s art and her role as ambassador of the avant-garde, it reveals the artist in a fascinating new light.

A Feast of Astonishments. Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s
March 4–June 18, 2017

Museum der Moderne Salzburg
Mönchsberg 32
5020 Salzburg
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Wednesday 10am–8pm

T +43 662 842220403

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Startling Geodesic Art Installation By Ouchhh Explores Themes Of Particle Physics


Istanbul-based Ouchhh created AVA, a geodesic surface installation that serves as a convex screen for physics-inspired moving images. The stark black-and-white pulsing forms look especially impressive with one lone spectator in silhouette against AVA.

AVA V2 was featured at TEDxCERN 2016. The main inspiration for AVA V2 comes from experiments, their data results and visuals that focus on particle physics, and the name AVA is derived from the surface-volume shape coefficient. Using particle size measurements, AVA V2 reflects the changing image of powder characterization using particle size analysis and cosmic rays. Since it was a scientific project, we spent a lot of time during the research and development phase. Inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s iconic dome structure designs, we combined two mediums in one project: physics and architecture.

. AVA’s design originate from the Buckminster Fuller’s iconic dome structure. It has 360 traceable area from the exterior surface of the dome. Cosmic rays reinterpreted within the concept of AVA and the first version of the performance screened at Paris. AVA is a Commissioned Artwork and designed as a portable installation which can be transportable and positionable at any place.


AVA V2 is an installation that has the unique Ouchhh style. They had complete creative freedom for this project so their goal was to create a piece that integrated their main interests: art, science and technology. The production schedule was a 6 month process, inwhich they were successful in covering a 360 degree hemisphere with a projection on a Opque type fabric. They came up with the idea of designing an installation on particle physics while doing research on other projects. AVA V2 could be thought as a follow up to V1, building upon our designs and focusing more on the particle concept.

Ouchhh strives to find balance between art, science and technology in every work it creates. An innovative interdisciplinary creative hub with expertise in animation, motion graphics and public art, we are inspired by mathematics, nature, geology and the works of particle physicists, inventors and architects. Ferdi Alici was the director of the project. Concept design and creative direction was by Eylül Duranagac. 3D Generalist was done by Orhan Sayin, sound design by Audiofil. AVA V2 was a performance realized on a geodesic dome. This installation and its structure were designed with assembly/disassembly in mind, thus allowing the installation to be re-performed anywhere in the world in same conditions. This provides a temporal and spatial experience that integrated art, science and technology.

 Ouchhh  create outdoor A/V performances, video mapping projections, kinetic sculptures and immersive experiences that touch upon their belief in employing design principles based in nature and applying these to computational design. Ouchhh’s work has screened at Google, CERN, National Space Center UK, Hong Kong, Rome, Montreal, USA and have won multiple awards and critical acclaim.



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No More Fake Orgasms: Stop Boosting The Art World’s Self-Esteem


Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally (1989)

At the recent symposium, ‘Art is not a Commodity: Examining Economic Exceptionalism in Art’, at The Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Rosalie Schweiker argued that artists need to “stop faking orgasms” and instead start clearly vocalising their dissatisfaction with the art world.

Here, we re-publish an edited version of her presentation as found in AN Magazine..

92% of women think faking orgasms boosts their partner’s self-esteem.

In this presentation I am going to make some sweeping generalisations, mostly for comic effect. I’m also going to distinguish between men and women, not because I think these gender binaries really exist, but because I need a clear-cut enemy.

If you’re already angry or confused, it might be best if you now take a toilet break. Let’s begin.

Usually, sex is very important for the smooth running of art institutions, but hardly ever used as an analogy to explain how they function.

It all started when I read an article in The Guardian by Rose Hackman, about emotional labour as feminism’s next frontier. I quote:

‘A study published in 2011, collecting data from 71 sexually active heterosexual women, found that while all women reported experiencing orgasm generally (mostly during foreplay), 79% of them faked orgasms during penetrative vaginal sex over 50% of the time (25% of surveyed women faked 90% of the time).

‘The study found that 66% of those women faking (or making “copulatory vocalizations”, as the study put it) reported doing it in order to speed up their partner’s ejaculation. Even more to the point, 92% of the women reported they very strongly felt the technique boosted their partner’s self-esteem, which 87% of them said was why they were doing it in the first place.’

Let’s recap:

  • You’re faking orgasms to boost your partner’s self-esteem.
  • You’re pretending to enjoy yourself because you’re afraid the other person might notice that you aren’t.
  • You’re pretending to come, when you actually want to leave.

Funnily enough, this was exactly how I felt – not in terms of my sex life, but of my engagement with art institutions.

I pretended that I was excited about art institutions, when actually I didn’t get anything from them, neither as an artist nor as an audience member. Sometimes, on rare occasions, I got a small satisfaction out of being paid, but most of the time I was the person making appreciative ‘vocalisations’ when I couldn’t have cared less.

“Ah yes, yes, yes, just there, ohmygodohmygod, I love it when you invite me to give a presentation, I don’t care if there’s no fee, hmmmmmmm.”

Why did I do this? I don’t know, maybe because I didn’t know my real needs, maybe because I felt  that if I said no I would never have sex, I mean work, again.

Most women don’t climax from five-minute long penetrative vaginal sex. They need longer, their orgasms are more complex, they need to feel a connection with the person(s) they are doing it with.

Most women don’t climax from three-month long solo shows. They need longer, their work is more complex, they need to feel a connection with the person(s) they are doing it with.

Yes, I know it’s a simple analogy. But behind it lies a serious anger that art still caters to the needs of a hyper flexible, independently wealthy, individualistic, white male genius.

The market, the institutions, the funders, the critics – they deliberately and strategically don’t support anybody who is poor, who collaborates, who doesn’t have a catchy tagline, who isn’t flexible because they have responsibilities as carers.

The art world doesn’t know how to have good sex. They just want to quickly get in, out and then they turn over and snore.

If you’re lucky, they at least pay you for this ‘pleasure’. They don’t understand that for you, it isn’t all about the orgasm, it’s about being together, talking with your bodies, creating something that neither of you could have done on your own.

Wouldn’t it be much better to change these structures? To open it up? To become equals? To collaborate? To both stimulate each other, lick, lick, lick, lick, squeeeeeze here, here? No – there! Pull your hair, change position, let’s get the audience involved, threesome, foursome, oh, we’ve broken the bed frame.

Let’s briefly entertain the idea that we stop faking orgasms. That we vocalise our needs and not some pathetic uuuhhh, aaaahhhh, in order for the ordeal to be over quicker.

It takes a lot of personal strength to pretend you’re not coming. It takes a lot more work, a lot more energy to work out why you’re not coming. It takes a lot of compromise, experiments, epic failures and negotiation on both sides. Which is probably why every time I’ve tried to have the “I am not being satisfied” conversation with institutions, they divorce me. And then find a younger partner who doesn’t have the understanding and the courage to voice their needs. And when they finally do, the cycle repeats itself.

My hope for today is that, as this conference goes on, we all stop boosting the art world’s self-esteem.

And when I say art world or art institutions, I don’t just mean the brands, the buildings, the people, but also events like today – academic symposiums, panel discussions and all the social conventions and outright bonkers rules that come with it, like that there can only be one body on stage, and not two or three.

So bear that in mind. When I say “art institutions”, don’t just picture the Tate, but also the very situation and context you’re finding yourself in right now – a symposium in which Kerri Jefferis, Sophie Chapman and I were not allowed to co-present.

Most art institutions are completely and totally irrelevant for us now. They don’t support how we work, they only re-discover us when we are long dead, they defuse our art and politics with their evil infrastructures, which rely on unlimited unpaid labour to function.

We don’t need them.

As the great Chloe Cooper has said: “It’s just me and my hands on my body.”

We need to stop faking orgasms. And start pleasuring ourselves. Thank you.

Rosalie Schweiker delivered this presentation at ‘Art is not a Commodity: Examining Economic Exceptionalism in Art’, which took place at ICA, London on 18 February 2017. 



Convened by Professor Malcolm Quinn, Professor Dave Beech and Lisa le Feuvre. This event was co-organised with Valand Academy and presented by Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon Graduate School Public Programme. This symposium ‘Art is not a Commodity: Examining Economic Exceptionalism in Art’, examined the idea that art is not a standard commodity through the theories and practices of economic exceptionalism discussed in Dave Beech’s book Art and Value (Brill 2015).

The speakers set out to test the proposition that coherent distinctions can be drawn between the economically exceptional and the economically standard. Using these distinctions, we aim to unpack urgent issues around the economic context of art, including unpaid internships, payment of artists, public funding of arts, ‘value engineering’ practices, the economics art education, and the facts of the art market.

In Laura Harris’s report on the symposium‘Art is not a Commodity: Examining Economic Exceptionalism in Art’, she writes

“the conceptual artist Rosalie Schweiker had, she explained, prepared the best presentation that’s ever been written. She was, however, lamentably unable to deliver it as the conventions of symposiums and conferences didn’t allow for her collaborators and co-writers to share the stage.

With impeccable comic delivery, and a healthy serving of institutional critique, Schweiker’s performance offered a note of levity in a day that otherwise suffered from a lack of cohesion. Her talk was a caustic take-down of the conventions guiding academic symposia, particularly the ‘one body, one voice’ rule, that meant her co-writers were unable to join her.

The crux of her presentation was to reveal these bizarre rules through satire and thereby expose both their absurdity, and the value system which they underpin (the structural ways that collaboration is discouraged, for example).

Her talk, however, sat in awkward relation to the rest of the event. Convened at London’s ICA by the Valand Academy (Gothenburg) and University of the Arts London, the day was billed as an engagement with Dave Beech’s 2015 book, Art and Value.”






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PLEASE COME BACK photo Musacchio & Ianniello
Now that global communication also means global control, that the sharing born out of the internet and social networks as dismantled our privacy, the word prison takes on very new meanings. With the exhibition PLEASE COME BACK. The world as prison?, curated by Hou Hanru and Luigia Lonardelli, 26 artists through 50 works will be shedding light on the problems relating to the control typical of contemporary society.

The exponential development of digital technologies, the advent of the social networks, the use of Big Data, have progressively and inexorably changed our society which is witnessing the collapse of the philosophies of social and urban sharing and the establishment of new regimes that in the name of security are stripping us, with our consent, of every intimate and personal space. PLEASE COME BACK starts out from these considerations and seeks an answer to the question: what would we like back in our lives from the paradise lost of the modern age?


Hung in MAXXI’s Gallery 5, the exhibition takes its title from the work of the same name by the collective Claire Fontaine, born out the artists’ thinking about the society at large as a space of imprisonment and our uncanny position in it. On this basis, PLEASE COME BACK takes as its investigative focus the condition of contemporary society under the control of the power system, explored in both its physical dimension and in its metaphorical meaning.

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of collateral events relating to the key issues: a film season tracing the history of the post-modern world through four films, the workshop by the artist Claudia Losi entitled Una Volta… All’improvviso conceived within a prison in order to try to involve, sensitively and non-rhetorically, the imaginations and complex affections of those obliged to remain distant, and Beyond the Wall, a workshop by the MAXXI Education Department bringing pupils from a secondary school class in order to initiate reflection on physical and virtual prisons and the restriction of freedom. To all this is added Storytelling, a story-hour hosted in the museum (April 29, from 4 to 7pm) in which the actor and radio presenter Matteo Caccia interprets the testimony of listeners to the Rai Radio2 programme Pascal invited to consider the effects of the fist global anthropological mutation to affect our civilization.


PLEASE COME BACK. The world as prison?
February 9–May 21, 2017

Gallery 5

MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts
Via Guido Reni 4A
00196 Rome

Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–7pm,
Saturday 11am–10pm

curated by Hou Hanru, Luigia Lonardelli




26 artists and over 50 works present prison as a metaphor for thecontemporary world and the contemporary world as a metaphor for prison: technological, hyperconnected, shared and increasingly controlled

Mohamed Bourouissa’s work Temps Mort can be viewed every Saturday from 3pm to 7pm





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Shock Event: The Consolidation of Power


Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise, centered on a film series created by George Lucas. Star Wars depicts the adventures of various characters “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”  but there are obvious comparisons to our own world, both past and present. Image: the destruction of Alderaan by the Death Star

In the original film Star Wars- A New Hope, the Galactic Empire is nearing completion of the Death Star, a space station with the power to destroy entire planets. Emperor Palpatine intends to use this deadly weapon to enforce his control over the galaxy and crush the Rebel Alliance, an organized resistance movement. In the Phantom Menace we learn the seeds for the eventual rise of the evil Empire are sown in a seemingly routine place: a trade dispute between the Republic and the Trade Federation.  In Attack Of The Clones, Anakin is older now, but just as bad an actor. The weird trade dispute has grown to a full-scale revolt against the Republic.

Star Wars depicts the adventures of various characters “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”  but there are obvious comparisons with the fall of the Old Republic in the Star Wars series with many events past and present. Julius Caesar was born in Rome, on either the 12 or 13 of July in 100 B.C. Through a combination of political savvy, charisma and backhanded dealings, he quickly rose to power, becoming dictator of Rome in 49 B.C. after emerging victorious from a civil war. As dictator he instituted a number of reforms, from expanding who could be considered a Roman citizen to changing the Roman calendar, but his brief reign came to a bloody end when he was stabbed by a group of Roman senators in Pompey’s Theater on March 15, 44 B.C.

Obviously we can’t pretend to know the intentions of the new President of The United States. But when we read about the incredibly active first week of the Trump administration, certain questions spring to mind. Do you think Trump, a billionaire, really cares about immigration? Or do you think he cares more about power and consolidating  as much as possible? The global confusion that has since erupted is the story of a White House that rushed to enact, with little regard for basic governing, a core campaign promise that Mr. Trump made to his most fervent supporters. In his first week in office, Mr. Trump signed other executive actions with little or no legal review, but his order barring refugees has had the most explosive implications. Passengers were barred from flights to the United States, customs and border control officials got instructions at 3 a.m. Saturday and some arrived at their posts later that morning still not knowing how to carry out the president’s orders.

Stephen K. Bannon, the chief White House strategist, oversaw the writing of the order, believes in highly restrictive immigration policies and saw barring refugees as vital to shoring up Mr. Trump’s political base, was determined to make it happen. He and a small group made up of the president’s closest advisers began working on the order during the transition so that Mr. Trump could sign it soon after taking office. A senior administration official said that the order was drafted in cooperation with some immigration experts on Capitol Hill and members of the “beachhead teams” — small groups of political appointees sent by the new White House to be liaisons and begin work at the agencies. James Jay Carafano, a vice president of the conservative Heritage Foundation and a member of Mr. Trump’s transition team, said that little of that work was shared with career officials at the Homeland Security Department, the State Department or other agencies.

“The details of it were not thought through,” said Stephen Heifetz, who served in the Justice and Homeland Security Departments, as well as the C.I.A., under the previous three presidents. “It is not surprising there was mass confusion, and I expect the confusion and chaos will continue for some time.”

In a recent article Jake Fuentes suggests two possible competing narratives about what’s really going on. The first story is simple: the administration is just doing what it said it would do, literally keeping its campaign promises. Lots of people won’t agree, but it’s playing to its base. They are not experienced yet, so the implementation is shaky. The second is more sinister: the administration is deliberately testing the limits of governmental checks and balances to set up a self-serving, dangerous consolidation of power.

Jim Mattis, the new secretary of defense, did not see a final version of the order until Friday morning, only hours before Mr. Trump arrived to sign it at the Pentagon. Mr. Mattis, according to administration officials familiar with the deliberations, was not consulted by the White House during the preparation of the order and was not given an opportunity to provide input while the order was being drafted. Last summer, Mr. Mattis sharply criticized Mr. Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration as a move that was “causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through the international system.”

A recent article by the New York Times states that Customs and Border Protection officers were also caught unaware. They contacted several airlines late Friday that were likely to be carrying passengers from the seven countries and “instructed the airlines to offload any passport holders from those countries,” said a state government official who has been briefed on the agency’s actions. It was not until 3 a.m. on Saturday that customs and border officials received limited written instructions about what to do at airports and border crossings. They also struggled with how to exercise the waiver authority that was included in the executive order, which allowed the homeland security secretary to let some individuals under the ban enter the country case by case. One customs officer, who declined to be quoted by name, said he was given a limited briefing about what to do as he went to his post on Saturday morning, but even managers seemed unclear. People at the agency were blindsided, he said, and are still trying to figure things out, even as people are being stopped from coming into the United States.


Princess Leia Organa,  a member of  The Galactic Senate, Rebel Alliance, and The Alderaan Royal Family held captive by Darth Vader. Princess Leia, played by actor Carrie Fisher was one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire and restoring the Republic.

“If the secretary doesn’t know anything, how could we possibly know anything at this level?” the officer said, referring to Mr. Kelly. At the Citizenship and Immigration Service, staff members were told that the agency should stop work on any application filed by a person from any of the countries listed in the ban. Employees were told that applicants should be interviewed, but that their cases for citizenship, green cards or other immigration documents should be put on pause, pending further guidance. The timing of the executive order and the lack of advance warning had homeland security officials “flying by the seat of their pants,” to try to put policies in place, one official said. By Saturday, as the order stranded travelers around the world and its full impact became clear, Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, became increasingly upset about how the program had been rolled out and communicated to the public.

By Sunday morning, Mr. Priebus had to defend the immigration ban on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he insisted that the executive order was rolled out smoothly. He also backpedaled on the policy and said that the executive order’s restrictions on entry to the United States would not apply to legal permanent residents “going forward.” As White House officials also insisted on Sunday that the order had gone through the usual process of scrutiny and approval by the Office of Legal Counsel, the continuing confusion forced Mr. Kelly to clarify the waiver situation. He issued a statement making clear that lawful permanent residents — those who hold valid green cards — would be granted a waiver to enter the United States unless information suggested that they were a security threat.


Blitz, by artist Tom Estes, a large scale digital projection on the front of the magnificent neo-classical facade of The Weston Park Museum in Sheffield. The projection took place on June 16th 2016 for the opening night of the Yorkshire Festival. In Blitz, an individual is depicted being thrown through the air by a lightning bolt, superimposed on to a Victorian Bible open to the story of Noah and the flood. Estes describes his intentions in the work- “The slapstick comedy of the image is a deliberate mitigation of surrealist shock but with the mad attention urges of a Play Station gamer”.

Senior White House officials insisted on Sunday night that the executive order would remain in force despite the change, and that they were proud of taking actions that they said would help protect Americans against threats from potential terrorists. That assertion is likely to do little to calm the public furor, which showed no signs of waning at the beginning of Mr. Trump’s second full week in the Oval Office. Mr. Carafano said he believed that the substance of Mr. Trump’s executive order was neither radical nor unreasonable. But he said that Mr. Trump’s team could have delayed signing the order until they had better prepared the bureaucracy to carry it out. He also said the president and his team had not done a good job of communicating to the public the purpose of the executive order.

“If there is a criticism of the administration, and I think there is, I think they have done a rotten job of telling their story,” he said. “It is not like they did not know they were going to do this. To not have a cadre of people out there defending the administration — I mean, really guys, they should have done this.”

A legitimate argument can be made for a relatively extreme and inexperienced administration that was just put in place, and they haven’t yet figured out the nuances of government. But a few of the events in the past 72 hours —the intentional inclusion of green card holders in the immigration order, the DHS defiance of a federal judge, and the timing of Trump’s shakeup of the National Security Council — have pointed to a larger story. Even worse, if that larger story is true, if the source of this week’s actions is a play to consolidate power, it’s going really well so far. And that’s because mostly everyone — including those in protests shutting down airports over the weekend— are playing right into the administration’s hand. The most vocal politicians could be seen at rallies, close to the headlines. The protests themselves did exactly what they were intended to: dominate the news cycle and channel opposition anger towards a relatively insignificant piece of the puzzle. Green card holders shouldn’t be stuck in airports — far from it. But there might be a much larger picture here, and the immigration ban is a distraction.


Gaius Julius Caesar, known as Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, general, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. Image: The Murder of Caesar by Karl von Piloty, 1865, Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum, (The Lower Saxony State Museum) Hanover, Germany.

In a study release, CU Boulder psychology professor Leaf Van Boven wrote:
‘We demonstrated that people act on what is immediately emotionally arousing to them. In other words, they respond to what makes them upset in the here and now.’
 Heather Richardson a professor at Boston College describes Trump’s actions as a ‘Shock Event’. The following quote was originally published by the author as a post on her Facebook account and has been shared widely. Heather Richardson confirmed that she is the author and granted permission to republish.

“I don’t like to talk about politics on Facebook — political history is my job, after all, and you are my friends — but there is an important non-partisan point to make today.

What Steve Bannon is doing, most dramatically with the ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries — is creating what is known as a “shock event.”

Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.

When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.

Donald Trump’s executive order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.

Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.

My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one’s interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won’t like.

I don’t know what Bannon is up to (although I have some guesses) but because I know Bannon’s ideas well, I am positive that there is not a single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle — and my friends range pretty widely — who will benefit from whatever it is.”


From broad concern felt among Americans from both the September 11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax attacks, Congress rushed to pass legislation to strengthen security controls.

This is not the first time that a Shock Event has been used to unify support in recent years. The USA PATRIOT Act has generated a great deal of controversy since its enactment. From broad concern felt among Americans from both the September 11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax attacks, Congress rushed to pass legislation to strengthen security controls. The bill, which removed most of the changes from the Senate version, passed Congress on March 2, 2006, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on March 9 and 10, 2006.

Opponents of the Act have been quite vocal in asserting that it was passed opportunistically after the September 11 attacks, believing that there would have been little debate. They view the Act as one that was hurried through the Senate with little change before it was passed. (Senators Patrick Leahy and Russell Feingold proposed amendments to modify the final revision.)

Opponents of the law have criticized its authorization of indefinite detentions of immigrants; the permission given law enforcement officers to search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s consent or knowledge; the expanded use of National Security Letters, which allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to search telephone, e-mail, and financial records without a court order; and the expanded access of law enforcement agencies to business records, including library and financial records. Since its passage, several legal challenges have been brought against the act, and federal courts have ruled that a number of provisions are unconstitutional.

Many provisions of the act were to sunset beginning December 31, 2005, approximately four years after its passage. In the months preceding the sunset date, supporters of the act pushed to make its sun-setting provisions permanent, while critics sought to revise various sections to enhance civil liberty protections. In July 2005, the U.S. Senate passed a reauthorization bill with substantial changes to several sections of the act, while the House reauthorization bill kept most of the act’s original language. The two bills were then reconciled in a conference committee that was criticized by Senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties for ignoring civil liberty concerns.

The sheer magnitude of the Act itself was noted by Michael Moore in his controversial film Fahrenheit 9/11. In one of the scenes of the movie, he records Congressman Jim McDermott alleging that no Senator had read the bill and John Conyers, Jr. as saying, “We don’t read most of the bills. Do you really know what that would entail if we read every bill that we passed?” Congressman Conyers then answers his own rhetorical question, asserting that if they did it would “slow down the legislative process”. As a dramatic device, Moore then hired an ice-cream van and drove around Washington, D.C. with a loud speaker, reading out the Act to puzzled passers-by, which included a few Senators.

However, Moore was not the only commentator to notice that not many people had read the Act. When Dahlia Lithwick and Julia Turne for Slate asked, “How bad is PATRIOT, anyway?”, they decided that it was “hard to tell” and stated:

The ACLU, in a new fact sheet challenging the DOJ Web site, wants you to believe that the act threatens our most basic civil liberties. Ashcroft and his roadies call the changes in law “modest and incremental.” Since almost nobody has read the legislation, much of what we think we know about it comes third-hand and spun. Both advocates and opponents are guilty of fear-mongering and distortion in some instances.

Shock tactics, shock tactic or shock attack is the name of an offensive maneuver which attempts to place the enemy under psychological pressure by a rapid and fully committed advance with the aim of causing their combatants to retreat. The acceptance of a higher degree of risk in order to attain a decisive result is intrinsic to shock actions. In history Shock Tactics were usually performed by heavy cavalry, but were sometimes achieved by heavy infantry. The most famous shock tactic is the medieval cavalry charge. This shock attack was conducted by heavily armoured cavalry armed with  lances, usually couched, galloping at full speed against enemy formation.

It is hard to argue with a tactic when it has the desired effect. Charities have been criticized for using Shock Tactics increasing donations or support for a cause, or a change in the law or company behaviour. But how far is too far? In an age when some of the most gruesome pictures circulating are on TV news channels, one can understand why charities may be trying harder to compete amid concerns that society has become desensitised to suffering. But shock tactics can have limited impact. To be used effectively they need to be properly and sensitively integrated into an overall campaign. Despite calls from audience members for charities to continue to expose the harsh realities of life in places such as the Horn of Africa, panel members urged charities to respect the dignity of those being represented. The panel discussion was informed by a three-year research project being led by LSE and Birkbeck College into the public’s perceptions of and response to comms by aid and development agencies. Daynes summarised the findings: ‘What members of the public are saying to us is they’re just so sedated with suffering. They say we are charming them or disarming them into acts of compassion. They are also saying we’re abusing their emotions.

Shock art incorporates disturbing imagery, sound or scents to create a shocking experience. While the art form’s proponents have argued that it is “imbedded with social commentary” and critics dismiss it as “cultural pollution”, it is an increasingly marketable art, described by art critic R. Rawdon Wilson in The hydra’s tale: imagining disgust as “the safest kind of art that an artist can go into the business of making today”. But while shock art may attract curators and make headlines, Reason magazine’s 2007 review of The Art Newspaper suggested that traditional art shows continue to have more popular appeal. While the movement has become increasingly mainstream, the roots of shock art run deep into art history; Royal Academy curator Norman Rosenthal noted in the catalog for the “shock art” exhibit Sensation in 1997 that artists have always been in the business of conquering “territory that hitherto has been taboo”. In China, which experienced an active “shock art” movement following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989  encroachment on the taboo has led the Ministry of Culture to attempt a crackdown on the artform, banning the use of corpses or body parts in art. In 1998, John Windsor in The Independent said that the work of the Young British Artists seemed tame compared with that of the “shock art” of the 1970s, including “kinky outrages” at the Nicholas Treadwell Gallery, amongst which were a “hanging, anatomically detailed leather straitjacket, complete with genitals”, titled Pink Crucifixion, by Mandy Havers.

Fountain 1917, replica 1964 by Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968

Fountain (1917), by Marcel Duchamp, a “shock art” pioneer. Image: replica 1964

But what aims does the Shock Art of today serve? Contemporary Capitalism incarnates dynamics at an unprecedented and unsurpassable level of intensity, turning mundane economic ‘speculation’ into an effective world-historical force. Unlike forty years ago, institutions today are more opaque, more exclusive, and they share objectives intrinsically linked to corporate, neoliberal agendas to the point that those agendas have become invisible. Cultural institutions are the administrative organs of the dominant order, and cultural producers actively contribute to the transmission of free market ideology across all aspects of our lives. Within representation’s ruin, what used to be “outside” of capitalism—like marginality, queerness, or race—has been symbolically incorporated and deprived of its capacity to disrupt and contest. Figures of otherness have disappeared and been subsumed into “lifestyle” options. The underclass is a blurry horizon disconnected from the flows of global capitalism; far from being a political figure, the underclass is sometimes subject to site-specific intervention, pacification, betterment, development, and community-building projects. Art in the 1960s and ’70s, may have translated politicization into an aesthetic practice of international vanguardism, contestation, criticality, counterhegemony, and postcolonial memorialization and assertion, within the framework of a politics of representation. But for todays artists emancipatory horizons now lay in entrepreneurship. We are going through massive political, social and technological upheavals and the Art markets seem not overly concerned- it has just dissolved into fluffy glitter investments; A completely deregulated system of value arising from gossip-cum-spin and insider information. Contemporary art is just a hash for all that’s opaque, unintelligible, and unfair, for top-down class war and all-out inequality. So it is a pretty sad state of affairs.





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Human Pig Hybrid: Interspecies Chimerism


After years of trial and error, scientists have finally done something incredible: They have successfully grown human stem cells in a pig embryo. Why would anyone do this? Image: Chinese sculptor Liu Xue combines a human with an animal

The Chimera was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. It was usually depicted as a lion with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that might end with a snakes’s  head, and was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. The seeing of a Chimera was also an omen for disaster.

The term chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling. However, a genetic chimerism or chimera (also spelled chimaera) is a single organism composed of cells from different zygotes. This can result in male and female organs, two blood types, or subtle variations in form. Animal chimeras are produced by the merger of multiple fertilized eggs. In plant chimeras, however, the distinct types of tissue may originate from the same zygote, and the difference is often due to mutation during ordinary cell division. Normally, genetic chimerism is not visible on casual inspection; however, it has been detected in the course of proving parentage.Another way that chimerism can occur in animals is by organ transplantation, giving one individual tissues that developed from two genomes. For example, a bone marrow transplant can change someone’s blood type.

In a remarkable—if likely controversial—feat, scientists announced that they have created the first successful human-animal hybrids. The project proves that human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism, survive, and even grow inside a host animal, in this case, pigs. Turns out, many scientists have been working on growing the organs of one animal inside of a different type of animal. For example, scientists recently reported the successful growth of mouse pancreases inside of rats. The ultimate goal of this type of work is to grow human organs inside of other animals as a means to ending the organ shortage that is costing thousands of Americans — who need a transplant — their lives each year.

This biomedical advance has long been a dream and a quandary for scientists hoping to address a critical shortage of donor organs. Every ten minutes, a person is added to the national waiting list for organ transplants. Despite advances in medicine and technology, and increased awareness of organ donation and transplantation, the gap between supply and demand continues to widen. While national rates of donation and transplant have increased in recent years, more progress is needed to ensure that all candidates have a chance to receive a transplant. And every day, 22 people on that list die without the organ they need. What if, rather than relying on a generous donor, you could grow a custom organ inside an animal instead?



Image from the 1978  film Coma, based on the 1977 novel by Robin Cook. In the film a surgical resident discovers a front for black-market organ sales, where the patients’ organs are sold to the highest bidder. Boston Memorial is in on this, purposely inducing comas in patients whose organs match those of potential buyers.

Now, using similar methods as the mouse-rat hybrid, scientists have produced the first human-pig hybrid embryo, which is more difficult than you might think. Getting cells from one species to survive in an entirely different species is extremely tricky and has eluded scientists for years.

That’s now one step closer to reality, an international team of researchers led by the Salk Institute reports in the journal Cell. The team created what’s known scientifically as a chimera: an organism that contains cells from two different species. Even now, this breakthrough is preliminary. Only about one out of every 100,000 cells in the hybrid embryos was human. If the scientists had grown the embryos to maturity (which they did not), the organs would probably not have enough human cells in them for a human body to recognize — resulting in the human body rejecting the organ and potentially killing the patient. This is why more research is critical to improving the techniques, and hopefully, one day, paving the way for the first human transplant with a human-pig hybrid organ. But that day is years, possibly decades, off.

In the past, human-animal chimeras have been beyond reach. Such experiments are currently ineligible for public funding in the United States (so far, the Salk team has relied on private donors for the chimera project). Public opinion, too, has hampered the creation of organisms that are part human, part animal.


Chimera, Louis Jean Desprez (French, Auxerre 1743–1804 Stockholm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A revolutionary new technology called CRISPR-Cas9 with a natural system known as a gene drive, theory is rapidly becoming reality. CRISPR places an entirely new kind of power into human hands. For the first time, scientists can quickly and precisely alter, delete, and rearrange the DNA of nearly any living organism, including us. In the past three years, the technology has transformed biology. Working with animal models, researchers in laboratories around the world have already used CRISPR to correct major genetic flaws, including the mutations responsible for muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, and one form of hepatitis. Recently several teams have deployed CRISPR in an attempt to eliminate HIV from the DNA of human cells. The results have been only partially successful, but many scientists remain convinced that the technology may contribute to a cure for AIDS.

In experiments, scientists have also used CRISPR to rid pigs of the viruses that prevent their organs from being transplanted into humans. Ecologists are exploring ways for the technology to help protect endangered species. Moreover, plant biologists, working with a wide variety of crops, have embarked on efforts to delete genes that attract pests. That way, by relying on biology rather than on chemicals, CRISPR could help reduce our dependence on toxic pesticides.



  Eye of the Beholder, episode 42, The Twilight Zone


No scientific discovery of the past century holds more promise—or raises more troubling ethical questions. Most provocatively, if CRISPR were used to edit a human embryo’s germ line—cells that contain genetic material that can be inherited by the next generation—either to correct a genetic flaw or to enhance a desired trait, the change would then pass to that person’s children, and their children, in perpetuity. The full implications of changes that profound are difficult, if not impossible, to foresee.

“This is a remarkable technology, with many great uses. But if you are going to do anything as fateful as rewriting the germ line, you’d better be able to tell me there is a strong reason to do it,” said Eric Lander, who is director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and who served as leader of the Human Genome Project. “And you’d better be able to say that society made a choice to do this—that unless there’s broad agreement, it is not going to happen.”

But for lead study author Jun Wu of the Salk Institute, we need only look to mythical chimeras—like the human-bird hybrids we know as angels—for a different perspective.

“In ancient civilizations, chimeras were associated with God,” he says, and our ancestors thought “the chimeric form can guard humans.” In a sense, that’s what the team hopes human-animal hybrids will one day do.

There are two ways to make a chimera. The first is to introduce the organs of one animal into another—a risky proposition, because the host’s immune system may cause the organ to be rejected. The other method is to begin at the embryonic level, introducing one animal’s cells into the embryo of another and letting them grow together into a hybrid.

It sounds weird, but it’s an ingenious way to eventually solve a number of vexing biological problems with lab-grown organs.

When scientists discovered stem cells, the master cells that can produce any kind of body tissue, they seemed to contain infinite scientific promise. But convincing those cells to grow into the right kinds of tissues and organs is difficult.Cells must survive in Petri dishes. Scientists have to use scaffolds to make sure the organs grow into the right shapes. And often, patients must undergo painful and invasive procedures to harvest the tissues needed to kick off the process. At first, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in the Salk Institute’s Gene Expression Laboratory, thought the concept of using a host embryo to grow organs seemed straightforward enough. However, it took Belmonte and more than 40 collaborators four years to figure out how to make a human-animal chimera.To do so, the team piggybacked off prior chimera research conducted on mice and rats.

The group of scientists published their work on Thursday, Jan. 26, in the prestigious science journal Cell.








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Rijksmuseum/ The Rijksstudio Award


Warships in a Heavy Storm, a digital reworking by Tom Estes from a work in the Rijksmuseum for the Rijksstudio.


The question of The History of Art is problematic, not least because artistic activity is characterized by its antagonism towards stable temporality. It’s the business of the great sedentary assemblage of art institutions to establish settled lineages and well-ordered sequences, whereas artistic-processes attach themselves to coincidences, glitches and unforeseen consequences -breaks, twists and bends in time. For The Rijksstudio Award artist Tom Estes has re-interpreted a work from The Rijksmuseum as a short moving image. His work is a tribute based on Warships in a Heavy Storm, c. 1695  by Dutch Painter Ludolf Bakhuysen (1631-1708).

The Rijksstudio Award is inspired by the Rijksmuseum’s collection. As an artist, Estes is interested in the relationship of humans with machines. He sees the internet as a shaping conditions and a structuring paradox. Machines do many things for us, but they also do things to us and do things at us. At the core of this work is an attention to the flickering, fading definition of our lives as dictated by the computer monitor and the rapid reply of instant messaging. Here artist Tom Estes talks about his practice:

“There is a real Peter Pan Syndrome at play in my work and I suppose I would consider myself a carnival sideshow conceptualist, combining a bare-bones formal conceptualism with an eternally adolescent, DIY comic-prank approach. For me ‘fantasy’ and ‘illusion’ are not a contradiction of reality, but instead an integral part of our everyday lives. I have always leaned toward making work participatory or immersive in some way so while my practice is characterized by the mediums of photography, performance and installation, individual works can also be seen as part of a wider interdisciplinary project that incorporates innovative web conversations and social networks. I try to do this with wit and economy and by paraphrasing early Sci-fi and horror films and their associated ideological fictions in order to examine how dataflow from the virtual realm impacts on the significance and symbolism of real-world human senses. But in doing so, I have begun to generate unexpected questions about how art might be able to inscribe itself on the surface of reality.”

In regards to his work Warships in a Heavy Storm, a digital reworking for the Rijksmuseum’s  Rijksstudio Award Estes states:

” What I have managed to do is to create a sense of movement within an existing still image. The ground beneath your feet whips and churns like waves. The ominous clouds over head swirl in fury, the sea rolls while the sails billow and the flags flap madly in the wind…. it is almost as if you are looking at a film from the late 1600’s.”

Estes goes on to say:

“The internet is changing the structure of our brains and the structure of our planet in extraordinary ways, so quickly that we haven’t yet developed a proper vocabulary for it. Technological progress has accelerated to the point that the future is happening to us far faster than we could ever have anticipated. This new world is what Hans Ulrich Obrist calls extreme present, a time in which it feels impossible to maintain pace with the present, never mind to chart the future.  However, there is a process of retro-contamination in which the deep past finds itself already infected with the far future. In this Brave New World narratives are written and re-written, looping the past into the far future”

First prize for The Rijksstudio Award is 10,000 euro, the second 2,500 euro, and the third 1,500 euro. In addition, a people’s choice award of 1,000 euro is up for grabs. The finalists’ projects will be exhibited in one of the museum’s galleries for ten weeks following the reveal on 21 April 2017.



The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael, c. 1668 – c. 1670 –  from the collection at the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to art and history in Amsterdam. It was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrant, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The museum also has a small Asian collection, which is on display in the Asian pavilion.

The artwork for The Rijksstudio Award is judged by an international panel of experts.

  • Irma Boom, Director of Irma Boom Office
  • Tony Chambers, Editor-in-Chief at Wallpaper
  • Ingrid Chou, Associate Creative Director, The Museum of Modern Art
  • Taco Dibbits, General Director of the Rijksmuseum (Jury President)
  • Ute Thon, editor-in-chief ART – Das Kunstmagazin
  • Thomas Widdershoven, Creative Director at the Design Academy, Eindhoven



The Threatened Swan by Norwegian Wood for The Rijksstudio Award

Please e-mail any questions or comments about the Rijksstudio Award to: award@rijksmuseum.nl






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