Apr 26th 2014

Chicago: Irina Botea’s SOLO exhibition It is now a matter of learning hope foregrounds how hope as an emotion is connected to imagination and the possibility of social change. Through four filmic investigations, this exhibition proposes a performative approach to learning, rehearsing, debating and embodying theoretical and historical models relating to a politics of hope that potentially gives energy to the praxis of transformation. These films investigate a diversity of avenues, including political history, enlightenment methodologies, contemporary socio-political action and a range of theoretical utopian models.

These four works include:

Impersonation, a re-enactment of Charles A Leale’s book “Lincoln’s Last Hours” feauturing Abraham Lincoln presenters;

Art historians – a conversation presenting the emotional and sincere engagement with the artworks of three art historians Gabriela Zsigmond, Valentin Muresan and Sanda Marta, working at the Bruckenthal Museum in Sibiu, Romania, a collection established prior to the Enlightenment by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal (1721- 1803) while he was governor of Transylvania, Romania;

Photocopy, a performance resulting from processing the data remembered from being involved in the 15 May protests- in a space outside of the public space of social action- the studio. (With Anita Serrano and Merce Ortega);

It is now a matter of learning hope presents artist Ileana Faur learning and rehearsing fragments of written utopian theories, including Ernst Bloch, Constant Nieuwenhuys, Thomas More, Karl Marx and Vilem Flusser, set against the backdrop of Morii Island, one of many failed utopian architectural projects that were never finished by Nicolae Ceausescu, ex- dictator of Romania.

Botea’s artistic methodology combines re-enactment strategies, simulated auditions, elements of direct cinema and cinema verite. She develops her works through a process of collaboration in which the performers are active participants in the process and as a filmmaker her role is in constant flux, shifting from an observational to a reflective, participatory and performative mode. The exhibition takes its title from Ernst Bloch’s The Principle of Hope.

In the Project Room, Rozalinda Borcilă & Brian Holmes present Foreign Trade Zone: A People’s Consultancy. Asking why and how Chicago’s lakefront and waterways went “offshore”, the project reflects upon the historical developments and present-day realities of ports, warehouse districts and transit corridors. Weekly events and site visits propose a collective interrogation of Chicago’s trade landscapes and no-go zones, including so-called “foreign trade zones” (FTZs), artificial tax-shelter islands that play a central role in today’s global supply chains. The project room will also serve as a meeting point for consultation and the sharing of knowledge, for discussions and workshops. This hybrid project is organized along the corridor flow between art and research. It’s an experiment, a sounding board, a rendezvous, a way station. Follow the project at: http://southwestcorridornorthwestpassage.org


Over the past ten years Irina Botea has been engaged in an art practice that uses multiple media to inspect socio-political dynamics and the possibility of transformation. Currently, her focus is on the de-centralization of cultural discourses and the possibility of sustaining creative differentiation that arguably exists outside of a dominant hegemonic system of values and critique.

Rozalinda Borcilă is interested in the ways border regimes are produced, experienced and contested. She collaborates with Compass, No Name Collective and Moratorium on Deportations Campaign, and is committed to border abolition activism. She has taught walking seminars as experimental activism and artistic research in universities, social centers and refugee camps. She is Romanian, currently based in Chicago where she lives with her awesome daughter Liana.

Brian Holmes is a cultural critic and autonomous researcher. He speaks French and Spanish, travels and lectures extensively, collaborates with artists and activists, and has never gotten used to capitalism. In Chicago he works with the Compass group. His essays are archived on the blog Continental Drift. http://brianholmes.wordpress.com/

Image: Irina Botea, video still from It is now a matter of learning hope

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