Fifth Floor Gallery at New Museum Transforms into Simulated Interior of Spaceship with Over 100 Artworks



For their presentation "Museum as Hub: Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module," tranzit will transform the Fifth Floor gallery of the New Museum into the simulated interior of a spaceship. The spacecraft, specially designed for the exhibition "Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module" at the New Museum, is a composite of shuttles featured in Eastern European science-fiction films from the Cold War period. In its structure and design, it recalls future fantasies from the socialist Eastern Europe side of the Iron Curtain and explores the ideological role 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 from cities around Eastern Europe, notably Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, and Bratislava, all of whom tranzit has worked with previously. The exhibition 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 art, selected across generation, cultural context, personal narratives, and time.



The exhibition will be on view from January 22-April 6, 2014. The project is curated by tranzit and organized by Lauren Cornell, Curator, 2015 Triennial, Museum as Hub, and Digital Projects. In conjunction with the exhibition, the New Museum presents a publication including contributions by Lauren 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 will be free and available in the gallery and was edited by Taraneh Fazeli, Education Associate.



As an organization, tranzit consists of a network of autonomous but interconnected groups based in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Much like the Museum as Hub (the New Museum's international partnership initiative through which the exhibition is produced), tranzit organizations actively collaborate with each other to produce art historical research, exhibitions, and new commissions. The work included will form a loose and actively debated retrospective of their ten-year institutional history, providing a look at art from Eastern Europe through the lens of their organization. The installation will include works by sixty-five artists including Babi Badalov, Josef Dabernig, Miklós Erdély, Tamás Király, Eva Ko?átková, Ji?í Kovanda, Július Koller, KwieKulik, Denisa Lehocká, Lia Perjovschi, and Société Réaliste, among many others. About the ambitious three-month project, tranzit writes, "We hope for the exhibition to make the facts of time relativity, cultural translation, and spatial distance not only explained by curatorial conventions (texts, wall labels) but also performed by the visitors as they move inside the space and experience it as explorers, interested and disoriented by the new terrain they're discovering."



A conference, "Futures of Eastern Europe," will take place the opening weekend, January 25 and 26. The conference will include 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 will feature 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 Narkevicius, Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Tomáš Pospiszyl, Jelena Vesi?, and Anton Vidokle.



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






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by Barry Kostrinsky