Decolonized Skies

curated by Yael Messer and Gilad Reich

  • Artists:
    Bik Van der Pol
    Effi & Amir
    Peter Fend
    George R. Lawrence
    Ruben Pater
    Forensic Architecture
In recent years, more and more artists and activists are re-appropriating aerial perspectives of power and control to develop a new language of ethics and aesthetics. Deploying advanced technologies while developing DIY strategies of documentation and analysis, they look for new ways to transform the aerial point of view from a "space of state control," historically linked to the disciplinary gaze of the nation-state, into a tool for the production and distribution of civil knowledge. These artists and activists manipulate satellite images, operate un-militarized drones, and actualize new mapping systems in a search for civiloriented visual and political imagery.

The exhibition Decolonized Skies presents five international artists who explore the ramifications of the "democratization of the view from above." While some artists focus on the new visuality produced by this process, others underline its empowering potential in the field of human rights and participatory knowledge production. The exhibition also marks a genealogy of artistic engagement with the demilitarization of the aerial point of view and frames the current discourse in an historical context. By doing so, it explores what it takes to decolonize the view from above, and how we can produce a new visual and ethical perspective by actively reclaiming the sky.
 
High&Low Bureau is a curatorial duo composed of Yael Messer and Gilad Reich. Based in Amsterdam and Tel-Aviv, they curate exhibitions, film programs, performative events, and publications. The Bureau’s practice is dedicated to the exploration of artistic strategies that reflect on, and suggest alternatives to, specific social-political conditions. Recent projects: Our Work is Never Over, Matadero Art Center, Madrid (2012); Time/Resistance, The Israeli Center for Digital Art (2013); and Am I Not a Citizen? Barbarism, Civic Awakening and the City (The 13th Istanbul Biennial Film Program, 2013). The duo is the recipient of the Mondriaan Fonds Cultural Mediator subsidy (2013) and was invited to curatorial residencies in art centers such as Bar Barcelona (2013), CCA Warsaw (2013), and Para-Site Hong Kong (2014).
Yael Messer is an independent curator. She holds a postgraduate diploma in curating from Goldsmith College, London, and participated in the de Appel Curatorial Program, Amsterdam. She has been collaborating with museums, institutions, and independent art spaces internationally. In 2013 Messer was the Research Curator for the 13th Istanbul Biennial.?
Gilad Reich is a writer, curator, and a PhD candidate in the Gender Studies department at Ben Gurion University, Israel. His main field of research is representations of gender in post-Fordist societies. He has published numerous articles as well as exhibition texts and essays.



Installation Images

Installation view.










 

Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 2: Mir Ali, North Waziristan, October 4, 2010, 2010; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 3: Miranshah, North Waziristan, March 30, 2012, 2013; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Threshold of Detectability, 2014; Bik Van der Pol, Elements of Composition (As Above, So Below), 2011; Ruben Pater, Drone Survival Guide, 2013; George R. Lawrence, San Francisco earthquake ruins, 1906


 

Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 2: Mir Ali, North Waziristan, October 4, 2010, 2010; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 3: Miranshah, North Waziristan, March 30, 2012, 2013; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Threshold of Detectability, 2014; Bik Van der Pol, Elements of Composition (As Above, So Below), 2011; Ruben Pater, Drone Survival Guide, 2013; George R. Lawrence, San Francisco earthquake ruins, 1906


 

Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 2: Mir Ali, North Waziristan, October 4, 2010, 2010; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 3: Miranshah, North Waziristan, March 30, 2012, 2013; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Threshold of Detectability, 2014





 

Installation view.










 

Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Threshold of Detectability, 2014









 

Bik Van der Pol, Elements of Composition (As Above, So Below), 2011, Color photograph on vinyl, publications, and sound piece, Variable dimensions, the sound-piece was recorded during the daily walking tours around Essex Street Market, held as part of Bik van der Pol's Elements of Composition (As Above, So Below) project, on the occasion of Living as Form exhibition, September 24 - October 16, 2011



 

Bik Van der Pol, Elements of Composition (As Above, So Below), 2011; George R. Lawrence, San Francisco earthquake ruins, 1906








 

Ruben Pater, Drone Survival Guide, 2013, Offset printed on Chromolux ALU-E mirrored paper, 19 x 13 inches









 

Installation view.











 

Peter Fend, Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen Or Read Or Done (Excerpt), 2012; Peter Fend, Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen Or Read Or Done (Excerpt), 2012; Peter Fend, Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen Or Read Or Done (Excerpt), 2012; Ruben Pater, Drone Survival Guide, 2013; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 3: Miranshah, North Waziristan, March 30, 2012, 2013; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 2: Mir Ali, North Waziristan, October 4, 2010, 2010; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Threshold of Detectability, 2014; Bik Van der Pol, Elements of Composition (As Above, So Below), 2011

Peter Fend, Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen Or Read Or Done (Excerpt), 2012; Peter Fend, Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen Or Read Or Done (Excerpt), 2012; Peter Fend, Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen Or Read Or Done (Excerpt), 2012; Ruben Pater, Drone Survival Guide, 2013; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 3: Miranshah, North Waziristan, March 30, 2012, 2013; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Case study no. 2: Mir Ali, North Waziristan, October 4, 2010, 2010; Forensic Architecture, Drone Strikes, Threshold of Detectability, 2014; Bik Van der Pol, Elements of Composition (As Above, So Below), 2011

George R. Lawrence, Kites used to support George R. Lawrence camera equipment, 1900-1910, Reproduction of photographic print, 8 ¼ x 11 ¾ inches, image courtesy of Chicago History Museum; George R. Lawrence, George R. Lawrence camera equipment in the sky, 1900-1910, Reproduction of photographic print, 8 ¼ x 11 ¾ inches, Image courtesy of Chicago History Museum.



 

Effi & Amir, The Vanishing Vanishing-Point, 2014, HD Video, Stereo, 28 minutes, In collaboration with the Ostrovsky Family Fund.








 

Brochure Images

George R. Lawrence, Kites used to support George R. Lawrence camera equipment, 1900-1910, Reproduction of photographic print, 8 ¼ x 11 ¾ inches
 

George R. Lawrence, George R. Lawrence camera equipment in the sky, 1900-1910, Reproduction of photographic print, 8 ¼ x 11 ¾ inches

 

Bik Van der Pol, Elements of Composition (As Above, So Below), 2011, Site specific text piece, Images, publication, and sound

 

Effi and Amir, The Vanishing Vanishing-Point, 2014, Video, 27:42 mins (video still)


 

Effi and Amir, The Vanishing Vanishing-Point, 2014, Video, 27:42 mins (video still)


 

Bik Van der Pol, Elements of Composition (As Above, So Below), 2011, Site specific text piece, Images, publication, and sound

 

Drone Strikes, Threshold of Detectability, 2014, Images and text on light table. In collaboration with HKW, Berlin (Anselm Franke and Eyal Weizman).

 

Forensic Architecture in collaboration with Situ Research (Bradley Samuels and Charles Perrault), Drone Strikes, Case study no. 3: Miranshah, North Waziristan, March 30, 2012, 2013, Video, 9:20 min.
 

Peter Fend, Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen Or Read Or Done (Excerpt), 2012, Collage (color laserjet copies, b/w laserjet copies, magazine pages, maps), colored pencil, ink and architectural tape on paper, 50 x 38 inches

Ruben Pater, Drone Survival Guide, 2013, Offset printed on Chromolux ALU-E mirrored paper 19 x 13 inches

 

Ruben Pater, Drone Survival Guide, 2013, Offset printed on Chromolux ALU-E mirrored paper 19 x 13 inches

 

Peter Fend, Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen Or Read Or Done (Excerpt), 2012, Collage (color laserjet copies, b/w laserjet copies, magazine pages, maps), colored pencil, ink and architectural tape on paper, 50 x 38 inches

George R. Lawrence, San Francisco earthquake ruins, 1906, B&W reproduction of photographic print, 42 ¾ x 15 ½ inches, image courtesy of Chicago History Museum

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.