“Cover story” is a collaborative performance with artists working in different art forms (visual art, performance, dance, theatre, graphic) conceived in four interwoven acts. Each act forms a “handling” (handling is a swedish word that comes from the German word “Handlung” and means storyline, plot, action, act or record) that takes its departure from student occupation/demonstration in Vienna 2007, political reforms in swedish school politics, a christmas wrapped object given to me on a train journey in April and/or the conditions of production for me as an artist.
Each act writes itself and takes its beginning from the previous act. “Cover Story act I: The shape of an Object” is a guided tour/monologue presented during an exhibition in Stockholm 2011. It guides people around a flat in Stockholm weaving together a story that begins in Vienna with an interview with the artist Kevin Dooley about the student occupation of Akademie der Bildenden Kunst and ends with a woman in the north of Sweden selling part of her forest to the paper industry. “Cover Story act II: A footnote of an object revisted in the form of a play” is a three person family drama, theatre play. It is a collaboration between myself, Sam Kennedy, Bernd Krauß and Zoë Poluch. The characters Fatherland, Mothertongue and Student body, acts out a play between how objects of an art institution (aims, goals) effects the objects at hand. “Cover Story Act III: An object through Wonderwall” together with Zoë Poluch, is a plea for stasis; for a contrived moment that challenges the notion of work, labour and lazyness. Seeing the body as a container of power it aims to explore ideas connected with slowness and what it means to move forward when “all the roads we have to walk are winding”. Finally “Cover Story Act IV” together with graphic designer Maryam Fanni, is this attempt to cover the Cover Story.
The term “cover story” derives from Rosalyn Deutsche book “Evictions; art and spatial politics” and her celebrated essay “Agrophobia”. This essay describes the development of the public sphere and discusses this from a philosophical and political perspective. “Cover Story” is the title of the last chapter of the essay in which she discusses the expression of a relational public sphere. A relational public sphere is the creation of a democratic public space where everyones opinions can be agonistically discussed. A sphere where people with backgrounds and political opinions can unite and discuss.
The term Cover Story is the expression of when a story appears on the front cover of a magazine or newspaper, as well as the term used for hiding one’s real motives, e.g. when one covers up a story. It is this double meaning of the word with total different meaning that the performance tries to explore. What is covered? And how can these stories end up on the front cover?
Cover story act I: The Shape of an Object
Cover story act II: A Footnote of an Object (revisited in the form of a play)
Cover story act III: An object through wonderwall
Cover story act IIII
Cover story short text
The final act is an attempt to cover the whole Cover story. A performance by Maryam Fanni with Jens Strandberg as an expert assistant.
Click here for Act IIII correspondence
Cover story act III: An object through wonderwall
Cover story at Hemliga Trädgården through F.u.m.f. Together with Maryam Fanni and Zoë Poluch.
“Cover story” is a collaborative performance with artists working in different forms of art (visual art, performance, dance, theatre, graphic) done in four interwoven acts that departs from a visit in vienna, cuts and sculptures of school politics, a christmas wrapped object given to me on a train journey in April, the search for my inner self, dance, contradictions, contract translations, reappropriation of matter, spaces, times and the search for the wonderwall. The contribution at Hemliga Trädgården was a portion of Act III: An object through Wonderwall and a remix of act IV exercised through a head-on-headphone-antagonistic.
This short text is a written response to the last part in Rosalyn Deutsche essay “Agoraphobia”, which was published in “Evictions” 1996. I wrote it inspired by the tv show “Sex and the City” in which always features the main character “Carrie” writing articles with legs in yoga position in her bedroom.
The section we were asked to present is entitled Cover story, but why cover story? and more importantly why cover the story? double meaning words, cover story, suggesting a magazine whose subject appears on the front cover as well as to cover up or to hide the real motives.
This essay collects and covers various aspects on the theme Public sphere. Deutsche suggests in the beginning our short chapter a discussion of Walter Lippmann’s phrase The Phantom Public, coined in 1925. Although un-concluded as a singular understanding of the phrase, is Deutsche presenting various readings of the phantom public, enlarging the debate of what it means for a space to be public.
It is maybe in this process of advocating various readings of the topic that an incoherent multiple understanding of the phantom public slowly appears, as relational between individuals, or as a sphere of the politicalization of the subject. The disruption or the Event constructs identity, or the subject, we can decide whether we look through the window onto the framed world or if we prefer to let the light in to our most private living room setting and interfere with our view.
But perhaps it is within relationships that we problematizes the possibility of a clear separation between public and private realms. One uses language as a structure for composing meaning but only in relationship to other individuals, and is possibly a political formation that reaches us from a distance but that can not be kept at a safe distance. Thomas Keenan presents an argument that language makes us present as subjects by dividing us and opening us to an outside.
However suggestively one can be bold and add to the metaphor of reading of public in the structure of language, that rather than to focus on the words we shall allow ourselves to reflect on the space between them, the blank space that separates the words consequently forms the meanings.
But does this political plentitude of a democratic public space have an acceptance towards unacceptable? as in the title of the essay “agoraphobia” is a behavior which is breaking with the public space. This behavior is foregrounding that the public space is acceptable only to the social forms that can generate its intentions.
So to the reasoning why we decided that the four of us should make individual presentations of the text rather than to speak as a singular public is (in my opinion) an excellent attempt to mirror and explain the complexity of the textual structure Rosalyn Deutsche establishes. What more can we ask for than a plentitude truth of the meaning behind what we read and how we can explain it. But the question we shall ask is; what is our cover story?