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Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module

MUSEUM AS HUB

01/22/14 - 04/13/14

For their presentation “Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module,” tranzit transformed the Fifth Floor gallery of the New Museum into the simulated interior of a spaceship.

Cover Image:

“Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module,” 2014. Exhibition View: New Museum. Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner

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Please be advised: This exhibition contains videos with explicit sexual content.

The vessel is inspired by the spacecraft in the iconic Czech science-fiction film Ikarie XB-1 (1963), which melded postwar utopianism with Soviet utilitarianism. In its structure and design, it recalls future fantasies from the socialist Eastern European side of the Iron Curtain and explores the ideological role that outer space played during this time. On view in and around the spacecraft will be 117 artworks, including video, sculpture, print, and installation, by artists hailing primarily from cities around Eastern Europe, notably Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, and Bratislava, all of whom tranzit has worked with previously.

“Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module” offers an allegory of “anthropological science fiction,” where the exhibition space becomes an estranged and exciting universe that dramatizes the cross-cultural translation involved in the presentation of art. The unique model evokes the challenges that contemporary artists experience in exhibiting works, or that curators come across in organizing exhibitions that stitch together diverse artworks, selected across generation, cultural context, personal narratives, and time.

This ambitious exhibition is guest curated for the New Museum by tranzit, a network of autonomous but interconnected organizations based in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Much like the Museum as Hub program (the New Museum’s international partnership through which the exhibition is produced), tranzit organizations actively collaborate with each other, but also work independently to produce art historical research, exhibitions, and new commissions. The work included in this exhibition—all made by artists that tranzit has worked with in some capacity or, alternately, documentation of events or exhibitions that tranzit has staged—constitutes an experimental archive of the organization’s work.

Participants and participating projects:

Anna Artaker, Babi Badalov, Zbyněk Baladrán, László Beke, Walter Benjamin, Mihuț Boșcu Kafchin, Vladimír Boudník, Ondřej Buddeus, Erick Beltrán, Derya Bengi, Igor and Ivan Buharov, Luis Camnitzer, Josef Dabernig, Curatorial Dictionary, Orshi Drozdik, Miklós Erdély, Stano Filko, Zsuzsi Flohr, János Fodor, Andreas Fogarasi, Heinz Frank, Paweł Freisler, Tomislav Gotovac, Reesa Greenberg, Ion Grigorescu, Lukáš Jasanský & Martin Polák, David Karas, Sung Hwan Kim, Tamás Király, Barbora Kleinhamplová, Július Koller, Igor Korpaczewski, Eva Koťátková, Jiří Kovanda, KWIEKULIK (Zofia Kulik/Przemysław Kwiek), Denisa Lehocká, Václav Magid, Elin Magnusson, János Major, Ján Mančuška, Piet Mondrian, Deimantas Narkevičius, Paul Neagu, Ioana Nemes, Boris Ondreička, Parallel Chronologies – An Archive of East European Exhibitions, Dan Perjovschi, Lia Perjovschi, Walter Pichler, François Piron, Łukasz Ronduda, Gábor Roskó, Hedwig Saxenhuber, Ernst Schmidt Jr., Ruti Sela, Katarina Sević, Catarina Simão, Société Réaliste, Tereza Stejskalová, Tamás St.Turba, János Sugár, Sweet Sixties: Local Modernities and Musical Turkey in the 1960s, Eszter Szakács, Avdey Ter-Oganyan, Goran Trbuljak, Florin Tudor, Zsuzsi Ujj, Mona Vătămanu, Jan Verwoert, Krzysztof Zarebski.

A specific constellation of tranzit directors worked on this exhibition: Vít Havránek, Director of tranzit in Prague, Dóra Hegyi, Director of tranzit in Budapest, and Georg Schöllhammer, Director of tranzit in Vienna. The exhibition was organized by Lauren Cornell, Curator, 2015 Triennial, Museum as Hub, and Digital Projects. In conjunction with the exhibition, the New Museum presented a publication including contributions by Cornell, tranzit, Miklós Erdéley, and Stano Filko, as well as an original science-fiction short story, extensive information on all participating artists, and a guide to the public programs. The publication is free and available in the gallery and was edited by Taraneh Fazeli, Education Associate.

Special thanks to Věra Krejčová, Exhibition Manager and Curatorial Assistant; Ines Gebetsroither, tranzit.at Coordinator; Petr Babák and Richard Rozhoň (laboratory.cz), Graphic Design; and Eva Jiřička and Jan Vidličk, Audiovisual Production.

Public Programs:

A conference, “Futures of Eastern Europe,” will took place the opening weekend, January 25 and 26, 2014. The conference included a series of critical discussions exploring the ideological role that outer space played in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War, accompanied by a day-long science-fiction movie marathon. Another session featured a series of lectures and debates by a young generation of curators and intellectuals, who will pose key questions related to art emerging from Central and Eastern Europe today. Participants include: Ivana Bago, Cosmin Costinas, Éva Forgács, Kate Fowle, Ana Janevski, Deimantas Narkevičius, Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Tomáš Pospiszyl, Jelena Vesić, and Anton Vidokle.

The spacecraft’s interior will also be used for conversations (via Skype) with participating artists, other curators, and critics—these discussions are open to the public. For more information on public programs, visit newmuseum.org.

At the Czech Center, New York:

A related exhibition, “Report on the Reconstruction of the Past” featuring work by Eva Koťátková and Barbora Klímovám, will run concurrently with “Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module” at the Czech Center, New York. Please see their website for more details: new-york.czechcentres.cz.

About Museum as Hub:

Museum as Hub facilitates exchange and dialogue around international art and ideas. Founded in 2007, the initiative includes exhibitions on the Museum’s Fifth Floor, as well as residencies, commissions, public programming, and editorial and digital projects. Through support of contemporary art practices, the Museum as Hub aims to catalyze future exchange and collaboration around the world. Since its launch in 2007 by the New Museum, the Museum as Hub initiative has worked closely with a group of founding partner institutions to produce diverse programming at the New Museum and internationally. For more information on Museum as Hub and partners, visit newmuseum.org/museum-as-hub.

Sponsors

Exhibition funding

The presentation of “tranzit: Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module” is made possible through a partnership with

Additional support provided by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.
Artist travel is provided, in part, by the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Additional support for artist travel has been provided in part by Balassi Institute – Hungarian Cultural Center and the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania.

Museum as Hub FUNDING

Museum as Hub is made possible by

Artist residencies are made possible by

Support for Museum as Hub and public programs is provided, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional support for artist residencies is made possible by Laurie Wolfert.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Education and public programs are made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David B. Heller & Hermine Riegerl Heller.

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