Import/Export Funk Office

Renée Green. Import/Export Funk Office, Galerie Christian Nagel, 1992 Installation view, 1992
ACT at MIT

On October 10th, 2015, the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna opened the exhibition to expose, to show, to demonstrate, to inform, to offer: artistic practices around 1990, a historical reassessment of artists and collectives whose artistic practices “questioned traditional forms of exhibiting and addressed the pressing social challenges of their time.” ACT Professor Renée Green’s work is represented by her 1992 Import/Export Funk Office.

A layered multimedia installation, the Import/Export Funk Office focuses on issues of translation of cultural forms via video, sound, printed matter and a variety of sculptural elements, among them a shelving structure resembling a library. According to Green, “translation and the extent to which anything can be translated, from one place to another, or between people of varying backgrounds, in addition to that which occurs between those who speak different languages, was an initial impetus for this work.” In the Import/Export Funk Office, Green focused on hip-hop and its related culture, and how both were translated and transmuted in a variety of different contexts in the U.S. and Germany.

A main component of the video materials document Green’s exchange with Diedrich Diedrichsen, a cultural critic then based in Cologne, and editor of the German music magazine Spex. Green and Diedrichsen engage in conversation among them and with others in New York, Los Angeles and Cologne; other participants in the audiovisual materials are Greg Tate, Arthur Jafa, Joe Wood and Andrea Clarke in in New York; Brian Cross (B+), Medusa, Koko, G-Money, George Lipsitz and others in Los Angeles, and Ingo in Cologne. This internationalism attests to the exhibition’s premise to document “the close artistic exchange between centers in New York, Cologne and Vienna,” locations where Green has been a participant as an artist

In conjunction with the simultaneously playing video and audio sources, the audience is invited to browse excerpts from Green and Diedrichsen’s library reflecting their interests, as well as the aesthetic, political and social contexts prompting the emergence and diffusion of hip-hop; the audience can also explore different Funk Stations as well as wall elements, sound stations and data centers.

Other artists and collectives included in to expose, to show, to demonstrate, to inform, to offer include Fareed Armaly, Judith Barry, Cosima von Bonin, Andrea Fraser, Clegg & Guttmann, Félix González-Torres, Peter Fend, Group Material, Louise Lawler, Allan McCollum, Christian Philipp Müller, Stephen Prina, and Heimo Zobernig among many others. Special attention has been given to periodicals and publications as the discursive vehicles from which this rigorous rethinking of the roles of art during the early 1990s was diffused; a selection of these include Texte zur Kunst, Third Text, ACME Journal, Documents, and META. The exhibition is on view until January 24th, 2016.

For more information about the exhibition, please visit mumok’s website.