TheCube Project Space is proud to present the third installment of the thematic exhibition Re-envisioning Society, featuring Venezuela From Below with artists Oliver Ressler (Austria) and Dario Azzellini (Germany/Venezuela). This curatorial project aims at manifesting and reflecting on the characteristics of contemporary life, as well as individual or collective life experiences and their changes, in order to construct a new vision and imagination of the contemporary society we are in. In particular, in view of the present “society of the spectacle” produced as a result of the power distribution of neo-liberalism, it explores how we can discover the genuine relationships between people, between man and place and between places hidden behind the “spectacle” with a critical eye.
About Venezuela From Below
After Hugo Chávez Frías was elected president of Venezuela in 1998, in a process of continuous interaction with the population, his government implemented a series of democratic socialist policies known as Bolivarian Process. Its central ideas include anti-imperialism, participatory democracy, economic self-sufficiency and eradication of corruption. While Chávez’s anti-neoliberal and radical leftist polices are popular among grass-roots Venezuelans, they face a strong rejection by the owners of enterprises. In 2002 the opposition staged a coup, a “entrepreneurs strike” in 2002/2003 and a recall referendum in 2004. With the support of the grass roots population, Chávez weathered all three crises, solidifying his political position and becoming a hero of Latin America. On the other hand, his provocative stance towards the US and his move to increase the presidential term by changing the constitution have made him a controversial political figure in the international media discourse.
Contrary to the biased reporting of the media in general, this exhibition Venezuela From Below directly presents the Bolivarian Process through the views of grass-roots Venezuelans. The three documentaries by Oliver Ressler and Dario Azzellini shown in the exhibition, Venezuela from Below (2004), 5 Factories – Worker Control in Venezuela (2006) and Comuna Under Construction(2010), interviewed and recorded those who found hope thanks to the “Bolivarian Revolution”. Through their own oral testimony, the films meticulously portray how the development of a democratic socialism, participatory democracy and autonomy of workers that emerged over the past decade have changed the Venezuelans’ envisioning of politics and the social structure.
● During the exhibition period, in order to provide viewers with background information on the show, TheCube Project Space, the Graduate Institute of Studies in Documentary & Film Archiving and the Doctoral Program of the Graduate Institute of Art Creation and Theory at the Tainan National University of the Arts will jointly invite senior journalist and political critic Chui-yung Cheung, who has done in-depth reporting on the state of the socialist revolution in Latin America, to hold a talk. The date and details of this talk will be announced in the coming days.
About Oliver Ressler
Oliver Ressler, born 1970 in Austria, lives and works as an artist and filmmaker in Vienna. He produces theme-specific installations, projects in the public space, and films on issues such as economics, democracy, forms of resistance, social alternatives, racism, and global warming, which often blur the boundaries between art and activism.
His projects have been in solo exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum, USA; Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Kunstraum at the University of Lüneburg; Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid; Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Egypt and Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery, Krakow. Ressler has participated in more than 200 group exhibitions, including the MASSMoCA, USA; Itaú Cultural Institute, Sao Paulo; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven and at the biennials in Prague, Seville, Moscow, Taipei and Lyon.
Ressler’s Films have been screened at Duisburger Filmwoche; International Media Art Biennale WRO, Wroclaw; Image Forum Festival, Tokyo; Centre Pompidou, Paris; ICA, London; New Museum, New York; Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto; Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas Moderna Museet;, Stockholm, MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna and in hundreds of screenings organized by activists all over the world.
In 2002, Ressler’s film This Is What Democracy Looks Like! won first prize at the International Media Art Award of the ZKM.
For the Taipei Biennale 2008, Ressler curated an exhibition on the anti-globalization movement, A World Where Many Worlds Fit, which was also presented in 2010 in the Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop University, Sherbrooke, Canada.
The show It’s the Political Economy, Stupid, curated in collaboration with Gregory Sholette, is currently on display at ACF in New York City.
About Dario Azzellini
Dario Azzellini, lecturer at the Institute for Sociology at the Johannes Kepler University (Linz, Austria), writer and documentary director. His research and writing focuses on social transformation, migration and racism, self administration, workers control and extensive case studies in Latin America. He served as Associate Editor for the The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest: 1500 to Present (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009) and was primary editor for Latin America, the Spanish Caribbean, and the new left in Italy. He serves as Associate Editor for WorkingUSA, Cuadernos de Marte (University of Buenos Aires) and the web site workerscontrol.net.
He published several books, essays and documentaries about social movements, privatization of military services, migration and racism, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and Venezuela. Among them Das Unternehmen Krieg(Assoziation, A 2002), a book about privatization of military services, translated and published in Germany, Argentina, Bolivia, France, Indonesia, Italy, Spain and Venezuela. He recently published Partizipation, Arbeiterkontrolle und die Commune (VSA, 2010), and together with Immanuel Ness Ours to Master and to Own. Workers’ Control from the Commune to the Present (Haymarket, 2011).