September 29 - October 19: Steirischer Herbst presents "Forms of Distancing. Representative Politics and the Politics of Representation" with Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Rana Hamadeh (DAI, 2009) and others

| tag: Graz

Participating artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Jesse Ash, Maria Héléne Bertino & Alessandro Gagliardo, Patricia L Boyd, Robert Breer, Francis Cape, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Peter Friedl, Rana Hamadeh, Maryam Jafri, Runo Lagomarsino, Adrian Melis, Mai-Thu Perret, Pratchaya Phinthong, Carla Zaccagnini.

Curated by Stefano Collicelli Cagol & Luigi Fassi

The exhibition Forms of Distancing. Representative Politics and the Politics of Representation focuses on the concept of distancing by exploring from an oblique angle the main theme of the steirischer herbst festival, 'I prefer not to...share'. While at first sight the action of distancing recalled by the exhibition title seems to imply a tendency to exclude and become withdrawn into one's own interests and privileges, the exhibition understands this movement in a more fruitful way.
Through the presentation of works of art – mainly commissioned – by fifteen international artists, Forms of Distancing. Representative Politics and the Politics of Representation intends to examine how the notion of 'distancing' entails an intense investment in one's own interests, that can result in the apparent paradox of being more committed to processes of inclusion and openness towards other subjects.
The artists explore numerous examples and possibilities of this approach. For example: the tension between societies, communities and individuals; Islamic' traditions and laws that could provide new tools for addressing issues such as the effectiveness of the freedom of speech or of representation itself; the questioning and the subversion of the narratives embedded in cultural institutions as much as in mainstream mass-media; and the real and psychological effects of gentrification. The exhibition, by questioning the rhetoric of the politics of sharing and representation, highlights their potential, limitations and darker sides.

The catalogue Forms of Distancing (Mousse Publishing) comprises information on the presented works of art, an original text by Columbia University Professor in Political Theory, Nadia Urbinati and the re-publication of a 1977 text by the late exhibition-maker Harald Szeemann, written on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of steirischer herbst festival.

With the leitmotif 'I prefer not to ... share!', this year's steirischer herbst festival sets out to examine the notion of 'sharing' as the imperative of our age. The complete programme of the festival – further exhibitions, created in co-operation with partner institutions, performances, workshops, lectures et al. – can be found on