stefan rusu on Sat, 18 Feb 2006 09:00:08 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-ro] lectures curated by Hilde de Bruijn_TENT_Witte de With_February-April 2006

a series of lectures curated by Hilde de Bruijn 
hosted by TENT. and Witte de With centres for contemporary art 
February-April 2006 

In discussions around the complex phenomenon of the ritual there is no concensus about its definition, nor about 
its function and meaning. Ritual is nowadays being discussed in relation to a broad range of socio-cultural areas 
such as politics, sport, music, the medical and academic realm and is considered to play a wide variety of roles. 

Within this series of lectures, screenings and performances ritual will be considered as a cultural and historical 
construction in which the aspect of doing is key. The focus will be on ritualizing - as an activity that can function as 
a creative and dynamic tool for shaping the world around us. How do we use ritualizations to place ourselves in 
the larger order of things or in what way do ritualizations shape and perform the relationship of the individual to 
the outside world, and of different groups to each other? How is this expressed in the semi-public and public realm 
of mass media and exhibitions? 


the auditorium of TENT. and Witte de With 
Witte de Withstraat 50 


Thursday February 9, 18.30hrs 
The Gift of Terror: Suicide-Bombing as Potlatch 
Lecture by Ross Birrell 

Framed by a reading of gift-exchange in Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather II, Ross Birell will analyse the political 
economy of suicide-bombing in relation to recent anthropological studies of prestation rituals and the writings of 
Mauss, Bataille, Baudrillard and Derrida. Birell will also present a reading of the final video testimony of Lebanese 
suicide-bomber, Jamal Satti. 

Ross Birrell (UK) is an artist and writer and teaches at the Glasgow School of Art. He has published essays on 
Marcel Duchamp and Antonin Artaud, Kenny Hunter and Santiago Sierra and is co-editor of Justified Sinners: An 
Archaeology of Scottish Counterculture, 1960-2000 (2002). 

Thursday February 16, 18.30hrs 
Media Rituals: Searching for Form in a Media-Saturated World 
Lecture by Nick Couldry 

Media rituals are a new form of ritual that legitimates media authority (as opposed to religious or political authority) 
and whose formalizations are based on specific media-related categories (such as celebrity). Nick Couldry will 
discuss examples of media rituals from Big Brother to talk shows and media-based tourism, and explore the link 
between media rituals and a wider process of 'ritualization' (involved for example in the rise of celebrity culture) 
which prepares us to interpret, and act in, media rituals. Deconstructing media rituals, Couldry will argue, is a way 
of gaining distance from the assumptions of media culture; something particularly important in an age when 
politicians have increasingly sought (and inevitably through media) to legitimate major actions that lack 
democratic support. 

Nick Couldry (UK) is a media and social theorist, and Reader at the London School of Economics and Political 
Science. His publications include Inside Culture (2000), The Place of Media Power: Pilgrims and Witnesses of the 
Media Age (2000), Media Rituals: A Critical Approach (2003), and Listening Beyond the Echoes: Media, Ethics 
and Agency in an Uncertain World (forthcoming). 

Thursday February 23,18.30hrs 
Can Cinema Slow the Flow of Blood? 
Lecture by Laura U. Marks 

Ritual implicates the body in both remembrance and forgetting, contemplation and catharsis. Laura Marks will 
examine how two experimental documentaries from Lebanon extend and deflect these purposes in Ashura, the 
Shi'ite Muslim commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. With excerpts from the films Ashura: This Blood 
Spilled in My Veins by Jalal Toufic (2002) and Noble Sacrifice by Vatche Boulghorjian (2002). 

Laura U. Marks (USA) is a theorist and curator of independent media, and author of The Skin of the Film: 
Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses (2000) and Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media 

Thursday March 2, 18.30hrs 
Having to Become Something Else 
Performance by Lindsay Seers 

Lindsay Seers' (UK) work has evolved as an autobiographical narrative that charts her desire to become a 
camera, her flight into ventriloquism and her most recent attempts to become a projector. Seers has performed 
and made hundreds of images by using her own body as a camera, locating the photographic process inside her 
body to become an image receptor - her mouth cavity is the camera body and her lips the shutter and aperture. 
The body of work interweaves elements of photographic theory, philosophy and recent scientific research and 
maps them onto actions and processes that define her life story. (text from 

Lindsay Seers (UK) is an artist based in London. 

Thursday March 16, 18.30hrs 
Interaction Rituals, Civility and Conflict in Everyday Life 
Lecture by Randall Collins 

Ritual theory originated in the study of religion as performed in social gatherings that create and sustain beliefs 
about symbolic sacred objects. Social theorists and researchers from Durkheim to Goffman, Mary Douglas and 
others have found rituals to be central in the modern secular world as well, both in the massive public rituals of 
politics, social movements, and entertainment, and in the momentary encounters of 'ordinary life.' Collins' theory of 
?Interaction Ritual Chains? spells out the ingredients that make rituals succeed or fail, and how they shape group 
membership, morality, and emotions; the chains of rituals from one everyday encounter to the next shape the 
ongoing construction of individual self and inner thought. Both vertical stratification and horizontal boundaries 
among groups are performed in everyday rituals; and it is here that we feel most immediately the changes of 
contemporary social life
for better and for worse. 

Randall Collins (USA) is Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Sociology of 
Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change (1998), and Interaction Ritual Chains (2004). 

Thursday March 23, 18.30hrs 
The Museum Ritual: Dynamics and Dilemmas 
Lecture by Sharon Macdonald 

Museums can be seen as ritual sites which act to set their contents apart from ordinary, profane life and material 
culture. They serve, among other things, to sacralize the objects that are presented, to legitimate art as 'Art', and to 
define what is worthy of contemplation and preservation within public culture. At the same time, however, the 
contents of museums and their styles of presentation are produced through processes that inevitably bear the 
imprint of wider social and political concerns, as well as practical and material aspects of ritual processes that are 
too often forgotten. This lecture will consider the ritual processes of the museum with particular reference to the 
massive proliferation of the number of museums in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and 
especially of museums that seek to deal with 'difficult' subjects, including the Holocaust and Nazi terror. Sharon 
Macdonald will ask why the museum ritual continues to be such a compelling cultural form? And how do 
museums dealing with difficult subjects cope with their potentially 'sacralizing' or 'enchanting' effects? 

Sharon Macdonald (UK) is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Sheffield. Recent books include 
The Politics of Display (ed. 1998), Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum (2002), A Companion to Museum 
Studies (ed. 2006) and Exhibition Experiments (ed. with P.Basu, forthcoming). 

Thursday March 30, 18.30hrs 
1,2,3,4 and NAM/BOG 
Presentation of a performance and a video work by Jeremiah Day 

Artist Jeremiah Day will present his performance 1,2,3,4 and show NAM/BOG, a video work made in collaboration 
with Chris Ernst. Both works are part of Day's series on the National Memorials in Washington DC. The 
performance depicts the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial under reconstruction in the summer of 2004. The election of 
2004, it should be said, was largely influenced by a public debate on both the facts and meaning of the Vietnam 
War and both Senator John Kerry and George Bush's roles in the political crisis the war caused ?back home?. 
Through slides showing the memorial and text addressing the context of the reconstruction, Day establishes a 
tentative counter-narrative to the 'media' that is grounded in mourning rather than public relations. 

Jeremiah Day (USA) is an artist based in Amsterdam. 

Thursday April 6, 18.30hrs 
The Rhythms of Content 
Screening by Lisl Ponger 

This screening will include work by Mara Mattuschka, Sabine Maier, Vladimir Nicoliç, Jean Rouch, Elimir Ilnik, 
Kanak-TV, Songül Boyraz, and David Blandy. The programme is a journey through various film and video genres 
ranging from documentary (Jean Rouch), video installation (Vladimir Nicolic), structuralist avant-garde film (Mara 
Mattuschka) ¬- a tradition that deals with film material in a ritualistic way -- to an activist piece (Kanak TV) which 
gives a particular perspective on a political ritual. 

Lisl Ponger (Austria) is an artist based in Vienna. 

Thursday April 13, 18.30hrs 
Repetition as an Act of Resistance 
Lecture and screening by Mirjam Westen 

Repetitive movements can be an important visual aspect of rituals. Many video/performance artists use repetitive 
activity in their work to emphasize, to commemorate, or to criticize a certain (traumatic) event or development. 
"Repetitive activity is an act of resistance and endurance as well," says performance- and videoartist Lida Abdul. 
In her lecture Westen will analyze Abdul's work and motives and compare it with the screening of the works of 
Regina José Galindo, Shirin Neshat, Mathilde ter Heijne, Milica Tomic, Janine Antoni and Yerbossyn Meldibekov. 

Mirjam Westen (the Netherlands) is an art historian and a curator at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem. 
She made exhibitions with artists such as Andrea Fisher, Emily Jacir, Tania Mouraud, Art in Ruins, Lily van der 
Stokker and Lida Abdul, as well as the thematic exhibitions Selfdetermination (1995), Intimacy (1996), and Secrets 
of the 90s (2004). 

Thursday April 20, 18.30hrs
Shooting Embalms 
Lecture by Ronald Grimes and Eric Venbrux 

Using every available visual medium, cultures the world over have put death and the dead on display. When the 
dead weren't being buried, they were being embalmed, dried, or mummified, rendering them ?objects of visual 
contemplation?. Currently, one way of enabling the dead to persist, if not live, is to enshrine them in photographs, 
films, and videos. The tight knot binding photography to death has been repeatedly noticed, so it should come as 
no surprise to learn that death and the dead have been shot to death. But how should we view this complex 
relationship between dying and the visual documentation of dying? In this photographically illustrated 
presentation we consider various answers to this question. Our answer, in its simplest form, is this: shooting 

Ronald L. Grimes (Canada) is Professor of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada. 
He is founding editor of the Journal of Ritual Studies, and his recent books include Deeply into the Bone: Re-
Inventing Rites of Passage (2000), and Rite Out of Place: Ritual, Media, and the Arts (forthcoming). 
Eric Venbrux (the Netherlands) is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Radboud University, Nijmegen. He is co-
editor of special issues on World Art of the journals International Journal of Anthropology (2003) and Visual 
Anthropology (2004), and author of Exploring World Art (2006). 

The organisor of the Ritualizing programme, Hilde de Bruijn, (the Netherlands) is an independent curator based in 
Nijmegen. She was a participant at the Curatorial Training Programme of De Appel from 2000-2001 and assistant-
curator at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht, from 2001-2004. Her research into ritualizing also resulted in 
the exhibition Hidden Rythms, Museum Het Valkhof and Paraplufabriek, Nijmegen (2005-06).



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