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Planetary Records: Performing Justice Between Art and Law

Performing the Trial: Re-enactment, Ritual, Remediation

010 / 4 July 2017


Performing the Trial: Re-enactment, Ritual, Remediation

Panel discussion with Ana Torfs, Judy Radul, and Sven Lütticken, introduced and moderated by Rachel O'Reilly

Saturday, March 11, 14:30-16:30






During her DAAD residency in 2005, Ana Torfs researched the Freiburg Military Archive for its holdings of the trial in May 1919 of the 'Case of the Murder of Dr. Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg before the Military Field Tribunal of the Cavalry Guard Rifle Division in the Main Courtroom at the Berlin Criminal Court'. The artist selected statements from this trial to compose 'A Tragedy in Two Acts,' the literary script for her installation Anatomy. The case files have been divided up by Torfs into short chronological scenes so that a tragic story emerges in which details from the same event are told from different angles. Torfs will read from the artist's book published on the occasion of her exhibition at daadgalerie in 2006 contains text and photography by Torfs including the script of her Tragedy in Two Acts, and a personal text about the creation process of the installation, which she will do a reading of.


Ana Torfs is a visual artist whose work explores relations and tensions between text/language and image, these being extensive to processes of visualisation, interpretation and translation. Her projects often enable topical and authentic perception of the scattered remains from our cultural and political history. Solo exhibitions include Centro de Arte Moderna, Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2016); WIELS, Brussels (2014); and upcoming at Pori Art Museum, Finland in 2017. Torfs has participated in numerous international group exhibitions including the first International Biennial of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia (2014); Sharjah Biennial 11, UAE (2013); Manifesta 9, Belgium (2012).




Bench, Bar, Body Cam


In Judy Radul's artistic practice, courts of law are considered as a site for expression of aesthetic as well as legal constructs. For 'Performing the Trial: Re-enactment, Ritual, Remediation', Radul will reference her installations while focusing specifically on the interface increasingly arising between the court as a spatially static and bounded formation, and the erratic motions of first person point of view, hand held or body worn video, introduced as visual evidence into the primarily textual sphere of the trial. 


Judy Radul is a multidisciplinary artist, writer and educator. She is an Associate Professor at the School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Through her research-based art projects, Radul draws parallels and generates frictions between factual representation and the staging of characters as well as scenes in a multisensory reality. As an accompaniment to her large-scale media installation World Rehearsal Court (2009), she co-edited the book A Thousand Eyes: Media Technology, Law and Aesthetics (2011). Radul is an advisor to Contour Biennale 8.




Putting on a Production


Sven Lütticken's course at the DAI, 'Legalize Everything', deals with the law as an abstraction that-in cooperation with capital and technoscience-remakes reality. As a form of productive rationality, the law is enacted in court cases: it is here that the particular is subsumed under the supposed universals of the law, while in some cases, this operation relays a dialectic between the abstract and the particular. 'Putting on a Production' focuses on the trial as situation that is a production both in the sense of a theatrical production and of the production of new realities; the trial as both theatre and factory. What, then, happens when court cases are re-presented, re-enacted? Can such reenactments have a form of agency in their own right?


Sven Lütticken teaches art history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and theory at the Dutch Art Institute. Lütticken has published extensively, and has authored History in Motion (2013) and Idols of the Market (2009). His recent book Cultural Revolution: Aesthetic Practice after Autonomy (2017) examines practices ranging from Black Mask to Subversive Aktion, from Wet Dreams to Metahaven, and from New World Academy to Gulf Labor, toward addressing a renewed relevance of the notion of autonomy.