Not even the moon is autonomous

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Not even the moon is autonomous
english information

14. Sommerausstellung des ACC

10.7. bis 26.9.2004. Eröffnung am Freitag, 9.7.2004, 20 Uhr. Di bis So 12 bis 18 Uhr, Do von 12 bis 21 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung geöffnet. Führungen sonntags 15 Uhr. Eintritt frei!

Eine Ausstellung des ACC in Koproduktion mit der Reinigungsgesellschaft (Dresden).

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung durch Hitomi Hasegawa, work-in-progress, Tokyo.

Gefördert durch die kulturstiftung des bundes, The Japan Foundation, das Thüringer Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst, die Jenoptik AG, die Stiftung Federkiel/Halle 134, Leipzig, die Stadt Weimar und den ACC-Förderkreis. Im Ergebnis der Ausstellung erscheint ein Katalog.

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Adapted from the field study Autonomie und politisches Handeln - Autonomy and political action of the project group REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT ( on the model function of cooperative structures in the contemporary art of Japan (2003) this exhibition shows fourteen art/initiatives from Japan. The participants: ARTiT, Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT), Peter Bellars, CommandN, Clean Brothers, Hiroshi Fuji, Makoto Ishiwata, P3 art and environment, Reinigungsgesellschaft, TANY, Noboru Tsubaki, Video Act!, Videoart Center Tokyo, Kenji Yanobe.

As a result of this exhibition we will publish a catalogue.

Dates: 10 July - 26 September, 2004, Tuesday - Sunday 12 a.m. - 6 p.m; Thursday 12 a.m - 9 p.m. (to arrangement for directions and another opening times please contact 0179/ 66 74 255). Entrance free! An exhibition in co-operation with Reinigungsgesellschaft (Dresden) and the friendly assistance of Hitomi Hasegawa, work-in-progress, Tokyo. Promoted by the Federal Cultural Foundation, The Japan Foundation, the Thuringia Ministry of Education, the Jenoptik AG, the Federkiel Foundation, the City of Weimar and the ACC-Fund-Raising Group

What do a radical and active dreamer with his own UN task force, a voyeuristically critical costume artist concerned with the role of the woman in patriarchally dominated Japan, a curators' collective acting as an alternative art education platform with an unconventional curriculum, a performance artist in a radioactive protection suit plodding through the ruins of the future, a dozen alternative-minded networkers for video productions, a space expert in whose installations one either vacuum-packs or shoots oneself, and a handful of producers whose goal is consciousness-raising in matters of the environment and society have in common?

What do a couple of cleaning activists whose reward is a performance venue or an atelier cleaned by their own hand, a teacher and miniature golf enthusiast who criticizes the Japanese education system, a culture journalist with a bilingual art magazine, an environmental strategist who recycles his domestic refuse as sculpture, an artists' community making multiple declarations of love to the "rabbit-cage paradise" Tokyo, a media activist for the international circulation of independent Japanese video productions who produced a film on post-9/11 Tokyo-under-surveillance, and two players of an action space on the interface between art and society have to do with one another?

It is the very real struggle between artistic self-realization and economic survival which forms the smallest common multiple as well as the motif of this exhibition. Our queries are dictated by artistic autonomy - demanding to be reconquered daily - and its scope of action. The very existence of art, artists and art initiatives is questioned by growing political arbitrariness and immense economic pressure to the point of commercial instrumentalisation by politics and business. The fine arts can serve as a seismograph monitoring the consequences of societal processes - in Europe, America, Japan and elsewhere. So why Japan?

Along with the U.S. and the EU, Japan belongs to the "capitalist triad" comprising a mere 15% of the world's population while accounting for more than two thirds of global economic activities of the 1990s. Despite the economic rise of Japan, beginning in 1970 and culminating in its status as high-tech nation, and despite the economic concentration that characterizes the country today - the result of innovation, productivity, population density and geographic circumstances - the international visibility of its artists has hardly increased. What is the critical artistic potential of an Eastern Asian society based on selflessness and compromise in the place of confrontation - in comparison to the Western societies whose "values" they assimilate, societies in which individuality serves as a major orientation?

Surrounded by a poorly developed art market, the participating artists, artist groups and art initiatives seek alternative means of filling global, state and institutional gaps. In many cases, micro-economic communities have emerged - self-organized networks and actions which, though legally free to express what they like, must nevertheless survive in the capitalist system and have therefore turned to saving on costs by sharing resources such as technical equipment, studios and performance forums. The price many artists and art mediators pay for their independence by working in precarious employment circumstances is very high, while their opportunities to take social, political and economic action are extremely limited.

In view of these circumstances, Autonom ist noch nicht einmal der Mond - Not even the moon is autonomous is continuing the field study Autonomie und politisches Handeln - Autonomy and political action of the project group REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT on the model function of cooperative structures in the contemporary art of Japan (2003) while also picking up the thread of Get Rid of Yourself with ten critical American artists / collectives (2003) and the show The Voices from Tokyo of the Group 1965 (1998/99), at which art of Japan was introduced by the ACC for the first time. The installations, films, photographs and objects - produced (with a very few exceptions) since 2000 - address such topics as surveillance, terror, violence, war, nationalism, activism and the political past, as well as consumerism, education, the environment, work, emancipation and globalization. By means of documentation, the exhibition further aims to acquaint visitors with the conditions of artistic production in Japan and the perception of the latter by the Japanese public. Below please find brief descriptions of the participants, appearing in alphabetical order by name.