It’s a new season at Nottingham Contemporary and we are really busy over the next 8 weeks with lots of screenings, talks and events to coincide with the Klaus Weber exhibition and some performances that have nothing to do with the exhibition but are there to be enjoyed!
Jean Rouch, Les Maitres Fous
There are so many events that I am looking forward to, but some of my highlights include:
An evening of Jean Rouch films including the incredible Les Maitres Fous – the last time I saw this film was an unforgettable experience of being in Mary Kings Close, a underground, spooky part of the Old Town of Edinburgh, with Spartacus Chetwynd’s film ’The Call of the Wild’ screaming in the back ground! For this event there won’t be any screaming but we will have comfortable chairs and a great introduction by Elizabeth Cowie, Professor of Film Studies at The University of Kent –I’m sure the impact of this film will still be as strong, Rouch’s films are must see.
I am looking forward to welcoming The Free University of Liverpool to Nottingham Contemporary on 9th November to find out more about their programme which is considered and dynamic with the important underlying commitment to free education for all. They describe what they do as a protest, one which seems to have more and more presence as we slip further into this age of austerity.
Jonathan Rée is one of the most respected thinkers today combining art, history and philosophy. In Weber’s exhibition the artist represents the body various ways including Death Masks and vegetables, heightening our conscious relationship to our own bodies, flesh, organs and how we represent this. I am delighted that we will be welcoming Rée to Nottingham Contemporary on 16th November to consider this relationship, and to examine the challenge that modern science and medicine bring to traditional ideas of the meaning of bodily existence.
Forced Entertainment have been at the forefront of performance, theatre and writing since they began in 1984. The Sheffield based company, will be at Nottingham Contemporary on 19th November performing their new work ‘Void Story’ a bleak and comical contemporary fable performed as if it were a radio play, sitting at tables, turning the pages of the script, ‘doing’ the requisite voices and adding in sound effects for gunshots, rain and bad phone-lines. Tickets are available now; I am particularly interested to go to the post show talk by the company after the afternoon performance.
I have to send a lot of leftfield invitations asking specialists and academics to be part of our public programme here, but I think the most random invitation I sent and one of the most gracious responses was from Professor Vivienne Brown, Professor Emeritus in Economics at The Open University, who is one of the leading authorities on the moral philosopher and so called godfather of capitalism, Adam Smith. Considering both Weber’s Bee paintings - paintings that were made by leaving primed white canvasses on a bee-keepers grounds in Berlin, to be painted by the bees during their annual 'cleansing flight' and his failed proposal to Edinburgh City council to cover the statue of Adam Smith placed on the Royal Mile in a swarm of docile bees - Professor Brown has agreed to come to Nottingham Contemporary and present the Adam Smith’s thought on the “hive” – as a model of productivity described in Smith’s text ‘The Wealth of Nations’. On the same evening we have also invited expert urban beekeeper Alison Knox to describe the joys of the apiary and the importance of the bees “cleansing flights”.
This kind of events is an example of what I enjoy most about programming events; bringing two people who would never normally be together, to discuss their specialism’s in relation to a work of contemporary art – through this process I hope that we can appreciate the connections that we might never have seen before, not because they are direct but because they can sit next to one another, quietly informing.
As I mentioned this is a packed 8 weeks, it was really difficult to choose these few to talk about! It is also sadly the last Public Programme that I have programmed with the incredible Daniella King, who has been the Inspire Assistant Curator at Nottingham Contemporary for the last 2 years and who is leaving us in a couple of weeks – we had fun programming it, I hope that you have fun at the events!