Ştefan RUSU

curation / exhibitions

Drifting Station Exhibition

Drifting Station 
Location: Open Space, Open Systems Zentrum für Kunstprojekte, Vienna
Period: 12 October - 5 November 2011

Participating artists:
Marina Naprushkina (DE), Kristap Gulbis (LT), Stefanos Tsivopoulos (NL),
Societe Realiste (Ferenc Gróf (FR) and Jean-Baptiste Naudy (FR))

A project and exhibition curated and designed by Stefan Rusu

The Drifting Identity Station uses a model of former Soviet Polar Stations, which was a trend in the 50 to explore the arctic environment while experiencing extreme cold. Station operates in the harsh climate associated with “political winter”, while researchers interested in the socio-political environment use various devices and methodologies to collect and monitor the data relevant in the given context. While exploring the frozen landscape, researchers analyze old trajectories (the countries of former political construct – USSR) and European Union a new formation in progress) for the formation of states and identities and attempt to determinate the intensity and temperature of the political debates connected to ongoing process of EU enlargement. The process of formation of European Union have polarized the issue of the identity of the states and its inhabitants in certain contexts.

The underlying idea of National Costume of the European Union developed by Kristap Gulbis (LT) is a starting point for a debate concerning the identity within a European context and the adjustability of various EU directives and regulations to its historically and mentally diversified regions. Belarus in figures by Marina Naprushkina (BY/DE) is part of of a larger initiative “Office for Anti-Propaganda” is focused on the critical examination of the contemporary Belarusian state which is authoritarian ruled by Alexander Lukashenko; The opposition is oppressed and marginalized, the media are brought into line. Because of this circumstances Belarus is also an outstanding example of how to establish a modern dictatorship and how the western democracies handle this case. Lost Monument by Stefanos Tsivopoulos (GR/NL) takes upon a controversial monument, a statue of former American president Harry S. Truman located in downtown Athens that appears as though it were a still unidentified archaeological find. The Truman Doctrine shifted American foreign policy toward the Soviet Union and historians often use it to mark the starting date of the Cold War. Ferenc Gróf and Jean-Baptiste Naudy FR/HU (Societe Realiste) shows two maps extracted from the collection « London View ». One is a map superimposing the political frontiers that existed at the turn of each century between year 0 and year 2000 on the European peninsula and its surroundings. The other graphic is a colorimetric map of European segmentations, where every single portion of land divided between these frontiers has been associated to a specific taint, averaging their respective transhistorical surrounding frontiers. “Versüssungsmassnahme” (Dulcification Measure) by Tilmann Mayer-Faje (DE/NL) examines how people nowadays live in the huge skeleton of the industrialized urbanization that took place in the Soviet time and analyse how the functions of microdistrict could be transformed to the contemporary life and needs of the inhabitants. While reproducing the ornaments as they where stamped on the houses in order to indicate a local identity, he plays with the failure of this machinery.

The Drifting Identity Station was initiated as a research platform to monitor and preserve the data related to the evolving state of identity in a given context, here in the context of European Union and the countries of Western Balkans, Baltic region and neighbouring countries of the Eastern Partnership (Belarus, Ukraine, Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan).
Visual art projects and other contributions that will be on display in the Station comment on the evolution of the social engineering project of European Union, as a political construct in progress and the political identity of the neighbouring countries at its current state. At the same time the artists assume the posture of researchers that collect the samples from the field in order to preserve the residual traces that re-articulate the post-socialist condition of the societies that are EU members (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, etc.) and the other states integrated in EU very recently (Romania, Bulgaria - 2007) now two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of Soviet Union. The area of research was extended to Mediterranean region that most recently become a fertile ground for the export of European democracy.