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European Media Artists in Residence Exchange EMARE MEXICO 2012
EMARE MEX Jury 2012: Juan Martin Cárdenas (CANTE), Omar Sánchez (CMM), Arjon Dunnewind (Impakt), Omar Kholeif (FACT), Peter Zorn (Werkleitz), Jean-Pascal Vial (Bandits-Mages) (LTR)

Mexico has attracted the attention and imagination of generations of Europeans, among them such famous artists as Luis Buñuel, Sergei Eisenstein and Antonin Artaud. At the same time, Europe has long been an important point of departure for cultural developments in art and design, inspiring great Mexicans like Diego Rivera.

The invited artists from .move forward set out to explore their host country’s culture, as well as its famous forerunners, its cities and landscape, its politics and atmosphere while working on their own projects in the labs and studios of their hosting institutions.

The varieties of formats the artists use reflect the diversity of contemporary media art: From video and interactive installations to internet based works and performances. The particular media is not the most salient feature; the themes the artists chose to deal with are as various as the formats and include city and country, religion and science, tradition and migration, globalisation and climate change, tactical and technical media, reality and the virtual, anarchism and the capitalist appropriation of revolutionary icons.

The artistic projects realised by the Mexican and European stipend awardees will be shown during the Werkleitz Festival at the exhibition .move forward – new mexican and european media art in Halle (Saale) from October 5 - 21, 2012.

At the festival, the intercultural dialogue during the residency will involve the deployment of respondents. The experts invited by Werkleitz respond directly to the work of one of the participating artists in their catalogue texts and artist talks.

The accompanying film programmes reiterate the juxtaposition of inside and outside perspectives corresponding to the opposition of the native and the outsider gaze. In addition to Sergei Eisenstein’s famous unfinished work ¡Qué viva México! with live music from the Mexican cult band Sonido Changorama, the two programmes of artistic short film México afuera (Mexico from Outside) und México adentro (Mexico from Inside) portray and anatomise the fascinating ambiguities of the country.

Mexican based media artists have been invited to a two months residency at IMPAKT, (Utrecht, Netherlands), Bandits-Mages (Bourges, France), FACT (Liverpool, United Kingdom) and at Werkleitz Centre for Media Arts in Halle (Saale), Germany. European artists have been invited to a two months residency at Centro Multimedia in Mexico City and Centro de Arte y Nuevas Technologías (CANTE) in San Luis Potosí.

The main aim of the exchange is to enable cooperation between European and Mexican artists with overseas partner organisations on projects, establishing closer bonds between European and Mexican artists, media institutions and artistic communities.

After the European Media Artists in Residence Exchange (EMARE) was successfully expanded into the European Media Art Network (EMAN) in 2008 and after its grant holders’ exhibition .move – new european media artin 2009 in Halle (Saale), EMAN now moves forward to the “New World” with EMARE MEX 2012–2013.

Exhibition Parcours
© werkleitz

.move forward is not being shown in an exhibition venue, not in a museum and not in a theatre but on an inner-city street. The exhibition parcours developed for .move forward in the town centre of Halle (Saale) extends across a 500 metres long route leading from Stadtbad, the public baths, through Große Steinstraße to the Varieté on Steintor. A legendary hotel, the remnants of a cinema and a former fire station make up further striking locations along the parcours.

For many years now Werkleitz has a practice of developing exhibition sites beyond institutionalised spaces of the art world. Opening up Halle’s zoological auditorium as cinema was an obvious step for a festival with a theme such as ZOO (2011), while making use of the Volkspark as the erstwhile communal house of Halle’s workforce for Common Property (2004) meant localising an idea. In .move forward, the city itself has become the exhibition venue.

The .move forward exhibition sites have significances that are independent of each other. The respective history of the location can be surmised based on their traditional German designation (Schauburg – cinema, Feuerwache – fire station, Varieté – music hall). Their condition, specific architecture and structure in addition to their various textures allow for further speculations. Several of the exhibited works are site-specific; others had to be developed further in order to take the special features of the location into consideration.

The immediate vicinity of the numerous exposed places, most of which lay dormant, makes a showing of works in the parcours possible. A comfortable void is the spatial situation of the exhibition parcours; it characterises the daily routine of this street. In order to provide more information about everyday life on the street, Werkleitz initiated radio interviews with residents and active members of the neighbourhood, exemplifying the expectations linked to the developments in the quarter.

Megacity versus shrinking city
Große Steinstraße and Steintor are among Halle’s current development areas. The district’s promised future prosperity can initially be derived from its function: as a major centre island, Steintor is the gateway to the city; Große Steinstraße leads directly to the Marktplatz. But the demolition of the large housing developments in the west and south of the city as well as the concentration on neighbourhoods near the centre of town are essential for such a development. As opposed to Mexico City, the city of Halle (Saale) is shrinking down to its historic core. In this respect, the main attractions between both cities rest in their disparity.