Supper Club (Series)
Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary, Vienna, 31 October 2013 - 15 May, 2014
AO&, Julieta Aranda, Erick Beltrán, Daníel Björnsson, Ingrid Haug Erstad, John Gerrard, Cécile Ibarra, KOLLEKTIV/RAUSCHEN, Peter Kubelka, Mirko Lazović, Atelier van Lieshout, Tomáš Moravec, Daniel Spoerri, Nick Srnicek, SUPERFLEX, Suzanne Treister, Anton Vidokle, Alex Williams, Zavoloka & Kotra (Curated with Boris Ondreička)

Supper Club is a hybrid platform in which TBA21’s curatorial operations are temporarily hosted by Die AU café/restaurant.

“Debate without food and drink is a modern concept. Our sober university lecture halls, like the hygienic design of our museums, assume – and demand – a narrowing of the senses. In so doing they enforce a puritan ideology which cannot distinguish between the Roman vomitorium and the Greek Symposium. But we must remember that Vienna’s longitude lies exactly between Athens and Rome. TBA21’s Supper Club recipe will address economies of consumption and exchange, taste, and social-choreography. The events bring debate and performance together with accompanying menus to explore the current stakes of the Futurist demand for revolution in the kitchen and the social relations of the dining room – along with the ascendant rhetoric of participation in contemporary artistic practice.” Boris Ondreička & Nadim Samman.

Supper Club: (1) - Corn Bomb with Halloween John Gerrard

Mining dark histories of military and agricultural technologies artist John Gerrard presented two works - Grow Finish Unit (near Elkhart, Kansas), 2008, and Live Fire Exercise (Djibouti), 2011, on Halloween Night 2013. Drawing together these two interventions, the artist read from his text Corn Bomb: An Extended History of Nitrogen - co-authored with Michael A. Morris and originally published in the philosophical journal Collapse. As the night progressed an explosive organic logic became apparent. The accompanying menu delved into the underworld, bringing meat from the limits of the imagination and various organic outliers together in a palette of shadows.

Supper Club: (2) A Hybrid Proposition with Cécile Ibarra, Mirko Lazović & Tomáš Moravec

During this event the Supper Club platform for exploring questions of taste, consumption and hospitality hosted the Artists in Residence of studios das weisse haus. The evening featured a meal in which the dining scenario was punctuated by ‘interferences’ supplied by the featured participants. The curatorial recipe proposed the convergence of three distinct artistic positions – with the palatability of the resulting hybrid to be judged by our diners.

Cécile Ibarra’s Still Journey (2013) is a multi-channel video work exploring exotic and potentially monstrous forms of hybrid flora. Inspired by the writing of 19th Century naturalists, as well as Joris-Karl Huysmans decadent novel Against Nature (À rebours), it proposes fleeting visions in which the boundaries between artifice and nature dissolve.

Mirko Lazović’s video installation While staring at… (2013) combines Vienna’s architecture and computational algorithms to produce new data – in the form of a soundscape based on masonry, windows and other normally mute built features.

Tomáš Moravec’s Situation: Question of Superficial Affection (2013) is a processual series of sculptures that will be ‘served’ to the audience. Initially projecting the function of protection and stability, the objects’ physical qualities transform in time.

Supper Club: (3) Un Coup de Dés Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard’ with Daniel Spoerri

A very special evening with one of the chief protagonists of the influential Nouveau Realisme and Fluxus movements – the founder of Eat-Art, Daniel Spoerri (b.1930 Galati, Romania, based in Vienna).

For this edition of Supper Club the celebrated artist will reenact his fabled 1980 performance Un Coup de Dés Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard (A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance), whose title invokes Stéphane Mallarmé’s eponymous poem of 1897. The entire principle of the evening’s performance (the content, program and menu) will be kept secret until the artist personally opens the doors of die Au Cafe on November 28, 2013, 7pm.

Active across a wide spectrum of media throughout his long career – including sculpture, assemblage, performance and writing – Daniel Spoerri has also operated several restaurants: Restaurant de la Galerie J, Paris (1963), where artists and critics took on the roles of cooks, waiters and customers to explore the game of consumption; Restaurant Spoerri in Düsseldorf (1970), which included the Eat-Art-Gallery on its first floor; and, finally, Esslokal in Hadersdorf am Kamp, Austria (2009).

Supper Club: (4) Synaesthetic Banquet - MEMORY with Erick Beltrán

For Synæsthetic Banquet - Memory the Mexican artist Erick Beltrán has composed a menu and lecture exploring the principles of synæsthesia – a psychosomatic phenomenon that, while previously doubted by the medical establishment, is increasingly the subject of scientific research. The word synæsthesia is a combination of two Greek words – “syn” (together) and “aisthesis” (to perceive). The term refers to (involuntary) simultaneous perception, whereby one sense automatically triggers another – with results that may include colours experienced as sound, numbers as tastes, smell as image etc. Synæsthestic intermingling of sense perceptions has been advanced as a decisive influence of Wasily Kandisky’s revolutionary contribution to painting by some commentators. Whether this accounts for this artist’s oeuvre, synæsthesia’s potential existence has profound implications for our understanding of creativity. In this event you are invited to embark upon your own exploration of this suggestive phenomenon through Beltran’s carefully designed multi-sensory event. "There is a long common tradition between nourishing and thought. These gestures were hyperbolized by the greeks through the symposiums in which Dionysius' territories were visited by Apollo in the same way that Bacants were engrossed in clever Apollinian dissertations. Following this line, St. Augustine conceived the concept "cogitere" as to refer to a double action of gathering and assimilating what its scattered. The monastic habit of listening reading and poems during meals associated to the idea of nourishing with the word lead to the metaphor of memory as a stomach which implied not only to taste but to process words as seen in medievals manuscripts with chewed initials. Reflect on something, recalling, is like ruminate. Under this perspective palaces, theaters, stairs and reading machines, all of them coming from the mnemonic tradition can be seen as enormous kitchens in which the most amazing dishes are created. The alchemic properties of elements are combined as signs and attribute of things, transforming those who taste them. This Viennese chapter of The Synesthetic Banquet will take as leitmotiv all this processes. Analyze synaesthesia (sense which mysteriously are deflected in others) is an attempt to describe the world as a multiplicity of experiences. Under this empty metaphor ideas struggle to find sense in many directions. Memory will be our guide for a banquet that will take us to visit Ramon Llull, Giordano Bruno, great mnemonists of history, the new hispanic era, wundercamers and combinatory contemporary systems territories." Barcelona based artist Erick Beltrán (b. 1974 in Mexico City) discusses universality through models of cultural constructions (order of images, classifications of texts, diagrams / organigrams, cognitive meaning- / value-systems...) from certain „panpsychic“ perspective. The particular frame of questioning he poses always grows to the endless „cosmic“ complexity.

Supper Club: (5) The Edible Metaphor with Peter Kubelka

Peter Kubelka gave one of his legendary lectures in which he argues food preparation to be the ancestral medium of mankind - creator of crafts, arts, religion, philosophy and science.

The forthcoming special event will include nonverbal demonstrations with tools and ethnographic objects from his collection but also cooked examples prepared by himself for the guests to taste, read swallow and digest. Raspberries, milk, bread, eggs, meat, water, fire, wine are constituent elements illustrating the evolution of the human animal.

Edible Metaphorn is Peter Kubelka's term for edible artefacts, which secure our survival by feeding brain and stomach at the same time.

Supper Club: (6) Food For Idealists with Atelier van Lieshout

The present ecological crisis seems to demand a paradigm shift in patterns of consumption. But how uncompromising should our strategies be? The Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout, with his studio Atelier Van Lieshout, has been asking this question for more than a decade, proposing numerous solutions – some more realistic than others, some more unsettling. Cannibalizing the logic of design and agricultural planning, his work affects the marriage of best intentions and unpalatable methods. For this edition of Supper Club the artist will present his dystopian/utopian vision, pairing images and food in an overview of his alimentary imaginary.

Supper Club: (7) Supper For Snowden with Suzanne Treister

Supper For Snowden is a benefit dinner for U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden. Instead of travelling from London the artist will donate her fee and travel budget to Avaaz, the online activist group who have recently instigated a petition to persuade the Brazilian government to grant Snowden permanent asylum. During the supper, whose courses spell out the letters of Snowden’s name, the artist will deliver a skype lecture based on images from her recent project HEXEN 2.0 followed by a Q&A.

HEXEN 2.0 looks into histories of scientific research behind government programmes of mass control, investigating parallel histories of countercultural and grass roots movements. HEXEN 2.0 charts, within a framework of post-WWII U.S. governmental and military imperatives, the coming together of scientific and social sciences through the development of cybernetics, the history of the internet, the rise of Web 2.0 and increased intelligence gathering, and implications for the future of new systems of societal manipulation towards a control society.

HEXEN 2.0 specifically investigates the participants of the seminal Macy Conferences (1946-1953), whose primary goal was to set the foundations for a general science of the workings of the human mind. The project simultaneously looks at diverse philosophical, literary and political responses to advances in technology including the claims of Anarcho-Primitivism and Post Leftism, Theodore Kaczynski/The Unabomber, Technogaianism and Transhumanism, and traces precursory ideas such as those of Thoreau, Warren, Heidegger and Adorno in relation to visions of utopic and dystopic futures from science-fiction literature and film. Based on actual events, people, histories and scientific projections of the future, and consisting of complex alchemical diagrams, a Tarot deck, photo-text works, pencil drawings, a video and a website, HEXEN 2.0 offers a space where one may use the works as a tool to envision possible alternative futures.

Supper Club: (8) Fancamp with AO&

For this durational event the Austrian collective AO& propose an altered social rhythm, in which the inhabitation of Die Au over an extended period will establish a space for encounters, discussion and novel social relations. AO&’s Fancamp provides an artificial habitat. Basic needs such as alimentation, sleep, sanitation, and clothing are provided for a duration of thirty-six hours. Come as you are and stay.

AO&’s settings, spatial sequences and dramaturgies create extraordinary conditions for abidance, communication and production. Throughout, their methodology relies upon questioning explicit and unwritten social conventions. AO& often work beyond institutional frameworks, on their own initiative. This approach has led to interventions in rural and urban areas throughout Europe. Their next major project is „Hotel Konkurrenz“ – a thirty-day convention beginning May 2014. For this initiative the group will take over a hotel accommodating up to one hundred participants per evening, hosting concerts, lectures and performances - thus providing a multifaceted alternate reality.

Supper Club: (9) Tools with SUPERFLEX

The Danish collective SUPERFLEX describe their practice as the creation of Tools. Each of their tools propose a critical (and often productive) relation to economic, institutional and ecological structures. Frequently collaborating with specialists from various fields, the group has – variously – examined alternative energy production methods, developed its own beer, attempted to re-brand Demark, and developed a Guaraná based drink product with farmers from Brazil. On this evening various Tools – including Free Beer, Chinese Sausage Made in Germany, Social Sausage, Retrospective Sausage and Guarana surprise – will be deployed in a ‘tasting-retrospective’. SUPERFLEX was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen.

Supper Club: (10) Zavoloka & Kotra

As the situation becomes more and more entangled TBA21 has reached out to artists and experimental electronic musicians Zavoloka and Kotra to ask how the movement for freedom and democracy could be helped. We'd like to appeal for your support of these two main information teams created by independent journalists. They make online streams and reports 24/7 since the first days of the Maidan revolution. Some of them got wounded during protests, and are still trying to provide objective information about the situation in Crimea, even though the pressure is high. With your support, Ukraine could find its path to an existence as a sovereign state.

Supper Club (11): (Icelandic special) Ferming with Slíjm Decadance & Daníel Björnsson

Confirmation is [an attempt to establish the truth or correctness of something previously believed, suspected, or feared to be the case]. The guests will manifest their own confirmation, never hesitating to become the fated ones.

Slíjm sf. is an Iceland based amorphous entity. It has no one defined role - Nurturing and being nurtured, giving and receiving are at the core, always with a fully drawn bow. Slíjm regularly collaborates with people and is overly pleased to slime away with Daníel Björnsson in this indulgence in TBA21's Supper Club. In his work, Daniel is occupied with the conception of emotions, the meaning in everyday things and questions about euphoria as a constant state of mind and explores these in a close context to the environment.

Supper Club: (12) Slow Food vs Accelerationism with Alex Williams & Nick Srnicek

An introduction to the ascendant political philosophy of ‘accelerationism’, as outlined in Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek’s Accelerationist Manifesto (2013). Since its publication, the accelerationist polemic against ‘neo-primitivist localism’ and ‘flimsy and ephemeral authenticity’ has been the subject of much comment and debate. For Supper Club the accelerationist desire for a politics (and praxis) capable of confronting the speed of contemporary cognitivecapitalism is set against the recent gastronomic ideology of ‘slow food’.

Supper Club: (13) ARTISCHOCKENÄNGSTE an audiophile household servis demonstration project with Kollektiv/Rauschen

KOLLEKTIV/RAUSCHEN is an artistic group consisting of four members with origins in various streams of fine arts and music. KOLLEKTIV/RAUSCHEN is working with experimental sound structures and environments, using methods of subtractive and additive soundsynthesis with analog electronics, electro-acoustic instruments and hybrid self-made devices. These sound projects are distributed with a specially-designed spatializiation software for multi-channel speaker configurations (up to 8 separate channels). In their live audio performances and sound-based exhibitions, the collective creates a form of music that uses curious timbres, expressive sonics and kinetic structures to explore notions of suspended time, genre fiction, communication between ensembles of energies and the tension between the familiar and the strange - the beat and it's opposite. The multichannel approach is one way in which they communicate with the spatial aspects of where the live set is taking place; allowing KOLLEKTIV/RAUSCHEN to sonically activate the space and play with physical boundaries. Their work also consists of sound compositions for film, theatre and several experimental/interdisciplinary projects, frequently in collaboration with other artists in the field.

Supper Club: (14) THE LAST SUPPER, Time/Food with Julieta Aranda, Anton Vidokle and Ingrid Haug Erstad Functioning both as a visualization of a parallel economy and as its pragmatic deployment, Time/Food is one of several new branches of Time/Bank—a platform that enables groups and individuals to collectively exchange their time and skills through the use of credits earned through the bank, as an intermediary and guarantor, and without the use of money*. With a growing pool of more than two thousand participants around the world, Time/Bank aims to create an immaterial currency and a parallel micro-economy for the cultural community, one that will create a sense of worth for many of the exchanges that already take place within the art field. Time/Bank was initiated by Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle in 2009.