Breaking the News
Over the past couple of years, what was one dominant media language is being enriched by reports from civic initiatives, social media, and other platforms where non-official pieces of information also have their place. Artists are contributing to different media coverage with political and activist expression, constructing parallel narratives and reporting additional stories, which can be commonly found on the Internet. Breaking the News presents the activities of a number of artists whose documentary practice, readiness to act, civic disobedience, and willingness to put themselves on the front line exemplify how they can go beyond their individual self-interests and work toward real political relevance.
Breaking the News refuses to recognize the common limit where art ends. These art-journalists speak from the position of citizens who take responsibility for the realities around them and make clear where they stand. It is on view in the exhibition in the form of screenings, the content of which changes every couple of hours or days as an immediate reaction to political events worldwide. The installation is also presented in virtual space on the 7th Berlin Biennale website, YouTube, and Facebook. These artists, acting as researchers, journalists, and witnesses, practice what Hannah Arendt described as the core of citizenship itself: the right to have rights.
by Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza
FEMEN is a Ukrainian feminist group based in Kiev. Its main aim is to improve the role of women in the post-Soviet context through staging street protests against sex tourism, female exploitation, and exclusion. The videos on view in Breaking the News document FEMEN’s public actions (and many cases, their repression).
Filmpiraten is a network of video activists created in 2004 to produce counter-information within German society. Under non-commercial and copyleft-license principles, their work documents direct actions, demonstrations, and protests against nationalism, neo-Nazism, and capitalism.
Zafeiris Haitidis is a UK-born filmmaker based in Athens. His videos document the ongoing riots and widespread social unrest in Greece, as well as anti-government protests and their repression through police brutality.
Łukasz Konopa is a Polish documentary filmmaker based in London whose work deals with the process of political transformation in cities such as Berlin, Gdańsk, Kiev, and London. His research also explores groups on the margins of society and tourism as a social phenomenon, among other issues.
Mosireen is a collective based in Cairo that was created during the revolution to film, collect, and broadcast footage from the ground. They research and document torture, illegal military trials and detentions, or conduct live-streaming workshops from mobile phones. They also initiated Tahrir Cinema, which started during the sit-ins on Tahrir Square in July 2011 and was a series of public screenings that focused on counter-propaganda and aimed at raising awareness about biased media coverage.
Oleksiy Radynski is an editor of the Ukrainian edition of Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique) magazine and a filmmaker based in Kiev. His work focuses on alternative educational practices, current threats to freedom of expression, and the ideologies of montage. He is also an activist at the Visual Culture Research Center, Kiev.
Tomáš Rafa is a Slovakian artist who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (Grzegorz Kowalski studio) in Warsaw. His work in Breaking the News deals with displays of racism and xenophobia and the tensions between patriotism and nationalism.
David Reeb is an Israeli artist who has been witnessing and documenting the humiliations and violent incidents against Palestinian protestors conducted by the Israeli Army and demonstrations against the occupation and confiscation of land.
David Rych is an Austrian-Czech artist who has recently covered events for the project Breaking the News such as anti-Roma marches in the Czech Republic, anti-Pope demonstrations during Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany in 2011, and the Occupy demonstration at the Reichstag.