Curated by Blanca de la Torre for the Chelsea Museum of Art, reflecting about the consequences of globalizationThe Promised Land presents a cycle of projections and video installations by several prominent artists. The feature installations will rotate and each one will be on display for one week. Additionally, in conjunction with the feature installations, a video program conceived especially for the occasion will run throughout the duration of the exhibition. Participating artists will also hold talks at Chelsea Art Museum to introduce their work and explain their artistic practices to the public.
The Promised Land highlights the ironic consequences of globalization. It is conceived around a central question: Has globalization advanced or hindered society? Conventional wisdom holds that globalization is synonymous with progress and produces tangible benefits. The artists in this exhibition explore whether those perceived benefits are real or imagined. By examining the cultural, sociological, and political problems that have arisen as the byproducts of an increasingly globalizes world, The Promised Land juxtaposes the ideals of co-existence, acceptance, and cultural diversity with the reality of prejudice, alienation, censorship, and nationalism.
May 22 – 29 – Ivan Navarro‘s Flashlight: I Am Not From Here, I Am Not From There (2006) shows a man pushing “Flashlight,” a fluorescent wheelbarrow sculpture by Navarro, through deserted city streets and along a railroad track. The soundtrack accompanying the journey is a ballad of transience and dislocation played out by the rolling sculpture.
May 29 – June 5 - Cross-Cultural Television (1987, courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix) is a video made by Antoni Muntadas in collaboration with Hank Bull. The work presents a montage of television footage from various regions of the world, highlighting the way the programs conform to an internationalized image. The video appears to be the product of systematic elimination of any elements that would signify an association with a particular cultural community.
June 5 – 12 - In Nomads East West Montse Arbelo and Joseba Franco traveled around the globe, recording their experiences with their laptops and video cameras. Wandering through a world full of contradictions, they shared their culture with those they encountered and experienced a great deal of human diversity on the streets. Ultimately, they concluded that despite differences in skin color, language, culture, economic status, and other differentiating factors, human similarities outweigh our differences.
June 12 – 19 – Jeanette Doyle’s “body (orient)” documents the journey from the site of the executions in Tiananmen Square to the ‘civilizing’ site of the Beijing Art Fair. The audio element is directly taken from Sidney Lumet’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, which itself comprises of the fictional ‘record’ of a bunch of ‘foreigners’ being transported and interrogated in transit.
June 19 – 26 – Carlos Amorales’ The Forest is conceived as a sharp metaphor of the society habited by wrestlers in suits, black crows and planes descending from the sky. An apocalyptic installation were the dreamlike alternates with the menacing, and the rapid, repetitive succession of the symbols create a perverse sense of apprehension in the viewer. An allegorical interpretation of the collective threatens in globalized society.
June 26 – July 5 - Artists in the collective Democracia painted the word “charity” on the trash receptacles located outside of a supermarket, where people regularly line up to take the stale food that the supermarket has discarded. The video installation, called Charity, includes “Charity’s perfume,” an odor of rotten food that is dispensed in the gallery to heighten visitors ‘ awareness of the regrettable situation. Visitors may also buy “Charity’s perfume“ from a vending machine.
The following video program will be presented in conjunction with the feature installations, running from May 22 to July 5:
In Don’t Do it Wrong, several artists portray various aspects of today’s globalized world, drawing viewers’ attention to certain subtleties that are often overlooked. Katarina Zdjèlar (Don’t Do It Wrong) explores social rituals as power structures and shows how such rituals foster a sense of belonging. In Avelino Sala’s Arde lo que Será, football players, each wearing a different team’s uniform, play an endless match with a ball of fire. Javier Velasco (Ópera Para Migrantes Mexicanos) performs an opera analyzing the “Guide for Mexican Emigrants” distributed by the Mexican government as an “educational” campaign about the potential dangers of crossing the border illegally.
Shahram Entekhabi (MLaden) draws the picture of the stereotype criminal immigrant from the Balkans, in Berlin raising questions about the complexity of migration and segregation of the public space, . Similarly, B Hakeem (Negotiations) highlight the irony of the term “negotiation” that is still used today in all the realms, political, social and religious life. Finally, Manuela Viera-Gallo (Digging the American Dream) portrays a woman desperately carving the land as a metaphor for the dream shared by countless immigrants striving to reach the ‘promised land’.