10 June Exhibition for Documentation
After much negoiation and a late night meeting on 7 June it was decided an exhibition of the Something’s Brewing project would take place at the residency space in north Holland. Earlier it had been communicated Judith and I would not be doing an exhibition as our concession of the reduction of the exhibition to one week was not accepted. It was conveyed to us the space’s funding was contingent upon a Something’s Brewing event – quality and content hardly seemed relevant and as we were to find out consent was even less important.
The show must go on even if there is no art by the artist so some had to be found and quickly. Who better to exploit than students. Photographs of the brewery had been taken by one of the students we had been living with and a digital video interview had been shot of Bob and I by the program’s student reporters. There was still beer in bottles and boxes and images from this website to incorporate. During the meeting it was determined I would make the necessary labels for the opening. Of course, I refused but did allow them to let the banner which I had not finished and read “(when hegemony just won’t do)” to remain on the floor during the opening.
We requested the following statement be read during the opening in English:
Thank you for coming this afternoon. You expected an exhibition by the Something’s Brewing BIER team. Unfortunately we had to cancel that exhibition last week because our project has been hijacked by the very forces that we are fighting. In other words, hegemony worked. What you see today is not our work. If you want to know more about who we are and our project, please check our blog: https://somethingsbrewing.wordpress.com/
Edith Abeyta and Judith Thissen
The statement was read as well as projected. It was explained to viewers the statement we provided was art and meant to cause confusion.
Arriving at the reception thirty minutes late I missed the projected statement and unable to understand Dutch I could not respond to this further misrepresentation. Fortunately, the student reporters were documenting the charade for posterity and to justify funding so we were able to find out exactly what was said. Rolling, (long pause) action. (Too bad they were only able to rustle up a handfull of extras. Twenty people in total were there many of which were associated with the overall program.)
As I stood in the back of the gallery the director came up to me and said she thought it was fair. Snapping a few photos for my own documentation I waited for the end, removed the felt letters from the banner, rolled up the ten meters of burlap, and walked to the train station.
When Bourdieu and I were talking about cultural politics in the US and how they’re connected to ‘big-time’ politics, things were far from settled. What we saw as a threat then, has since gained incredible force…Practically all institutions have accepted the domination of the public sphere by corporate interests, many of them without offering much resistance and without embarassment.
Hans Haacke interviewed by Molly Nesbit, pressPLAY contemporary artists in conversation, pg. 277