History From Below
Presentations by: Jacob Kimvall (SE), Carnival Union (NO) and Ståle Stenslie (NO)
As radical history becomes increasingly popular, more and more activists – from squatters and footballers to curators and birdwatchers – are making the transition to historians, merging past struggles, new technology and street culture to build new and surprising narratives.
Jacob Kimvall: Chronicling the Chroniclers
Graffiti and street art are cultural practices rooted in ephemeral expressions in public realms, and photographic documentation and circulation has thus played an important role in the construction of the history of these phenomena. Even if it may never have been the intention, successful books like Subway Art (1984) and Stencil Graffiti (2002) have created a canon of artists and artworks – equivalent to, or even surpassing, the role of the most prestigious art museums in other fields of contemporary art. The majority of the documentation is however produced and published by chroniclers inside the subcultural context but without formal roles nor intentions to be historians or to (re)write history. This presentation is based on semi-structured interviews conducted in the late 2000s with twelve chroniclers of graffiti and street art, where they reflect on their individual practices, methods, objectives – and the sometimes surprising effects of their chronicling.
Carnival Union (CU) is an artistic collaborative project based on an understanding of creativity, play and artistic practice as revolutionary tools for creating new fellowships, new language and new ideas about a possible future. This presentation is an introduction to CU’s first project, a collaboration between a number of artists, artists groups, musicians, dancers and theorists, as well as school classes, educators, activists, kindergartens, immigrant organizations, refugees and youth clubs, titled “KARNEVALET”. Including about 20 artists and a number of participants of different ages, “KARNEVALET” will culminate in a large carnival parade in the streets of Oslo in March 2019.
Jacob Kimvall is an art critic, art historian, and amateur graffiti writer, based in Stockholm. He received his PhD in art history with the dissertation The G-Word: Virtuosity and Violation, Negotiating and Transforming Graffiti (2014), which examined the historiography of graffiti and suggests that this subcultural phenomenon should be understood as jointly produced by subcultural and institutional agents.
Carnival Union (NO) is an artistic collaborative project based on an understanding of creativity, play and artistic practice as revolutionary tools for creating new fellowships, new language and new ideas about a possible future. Its members are Hanan Benammar, Gidsken Braadlie, Camilla Dahl, Marius von der Fehr, Lisa Pacini, Pia Maria Roll and Venke Aure.
Ståle Stenslie works as an artist, curator and researcher specializing in experimental media art and interaction experiences. His aesthetic focus is on art and artistic expressions that challenge ordinary ways of perceiving the world. Through his practice he asks the questions we tend to avoid – or where the answers lie in the shadows of existence. Keywords of his practice are somaesthetics, unstable media, transgression and numinousness.
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