off the record: DE CVRATORIBVS. The Dialectics of Care and Confinement

Book release with Vesna Madzoski, Thomas Zummer, and Nova Benway & screening of Jef Cornelis’ documentary Documenta 4 (1968)

May 31, 2014

7:30pm

UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art
322 Union Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211

In her new book DE CVRATORIBVS. The Dialectics of Care and Confinement (Atropos Press, 2013), Vesna Madzoski finds two documentaries by the Flemish filmmaker Jef Cornelis to be crucial in the analysis of the history and ideology of Documenta. During the book presentation she will offer an overview of problems raised by the documentaries, as well as point out the specificity of Cornelis’ method in film making. Among other things, she will recount the problems and changes provoked in Europe by the first arrival of the artists from the new art center of the world–New York.

Before the screening of Jef Cornelis’ film Documenta 4 (1968, 53 min) Thomas Zummer, the New York-based scholar, critic, artist, and curator, will join Vesna Madzoski in a post-lecture discussion.

The rich and impressive body of work of Jef Cornelis has yet to be evaluated and analyzed. In the period between 1963 and 1998, he was primarily active as a director and scriptwriter for the Flemish broadcasting company (VRT) in Belgium. One of the most important aspects of Cornelis’ work is that he did not hide himself behind the camera, or present his films as objective and essentially “true” to reality. Instead, inspired by certain developments in the film making of the 1960s, he treated the camera as his pen or camera stylo, as a way to express his opinions on the events that he filmed. Apart from being a television maker, he was also involved in various art initiatives, and was an active participant in the international art scene, which gave him a unique access to this field. He has left behind several documentaries in which the art world is constructed and presented in a particular way, reflecting his deep dissatisfaction with certain manifestations of power. Nevertheless, after filming Documenta 5 in 1972, Cornelis decided to stop filming the “art world”.

Vesna Madzoski is an independent theorist and researcher based in Amsterdam. She has a PhD from the European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Her PhD research, entitled DE CVRATORIBVS. The Dialectics of Care and Confinement, focused on the history of curating, the transformations of this practice in the past fifty years and its relationship with the political and economic systems. She has been one of the editors of Prelom, a Belgrade-based journal for art and theory, and a member of the Amsterdam artists’ collective Public Space With A Roof since 2006.

Thomas Zummer, is a scholar, artist, and curator, who lectures and publishes on philosophy, aesthetics, and the history of technology. Zummer’s artworks have been exhibited worldwide, and he has taught at Brown, NYU, The New School, Transmedia programme, Brussels, and Tyler School of Art/Temple University. He is currently Faculty in Philosophy at the Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinare Studien/European Graduate School (EUFIS/EGS), Saas-Fee, Switzerland, Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program in Graphic/Information Design at Central Connecticut State University, and Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Studies Division and the Digital + Media Department at RISD. Thomas Zummer holds a PhD in Philosophy and Media/Communications Studies, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

DE CVRATORIBVS. The Dialectics of Care and Confinement is part of off the record, a series of events accompanying MINI/Goethe-Institut Ludlow 38 Curatorial Residencies 2014 exhibition program. The events open further perspectives on this year’s activities in general and aim to react spontaneously to current discussions during screenings, performances, and lectures. The evening with Vesna Madzoski is organized in close collaboration with UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art.