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[nettime-fr] Fw: RHIZOME_RAW: How a fake is manipulating the art scene
nck on Tue, 16 Dec 2003 23:33:06 +0100 (CET)

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[nettime-fr] Fw: RHIZOME_RAW: How a fake is manipulating the art scene

----- Original Message -----
From: "Agricola de Cologne" <agricola-w {AT} netcologne.de>
To: <list {AT} rhizome.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 9:12 AM
Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: How a fake is manipulating the art scene

> [How a fake is manipulating the art scene - a new form of cyber crime]
> A statement by Agricola de Cologne,
> media artist and New Media curator from Cologne/Germany
> ---->
> "Herewith, I announce officially my disengagement in
> "Biennale de Paris 2004"  (20 February - 15 March 2004)
> www.biennaledeparis.org
> and the cancellation of my participation with effect on 1 December 2003."
> <-----
> Cancelling meant taking responsibility
> in order to protect all those institutions, organisations, curators and
> artists,  which had joint already my project,
> but in second place  also to prevent any further damage
> from my personal reputation as an artist and curator.
> What was happening:
> When I was invited on 7  October 2003 to participate in the event
> called "Biennale de Paris", I saw it as a chance to realise my ideas
> of "networking as artworking" in the project "RRF 2004"
> which I initiated also on this occasion.
> The concept of my project extended the networking ideas of the concept of
> the Biennial.
> There was really no reason to mistrust the organisation of the Biennale,
> as I had several professional contacts during several years
> to  a person named Alexandre Gurita, currently the >director< of "Biennale
> de Paris",
> there seemed to be a lot of internationally well known artists
> (at least at that time, nearly nobody of them is left now) and, above all,
> I had not any negative report about this event at that time, in contrary.
> The magic of the name "Biennale de Paris" did not only impress
> and blinded me, but also all other people who came in touch with this
> name.
> In order to give my project RRF 2004 concrete dimensions,
> it was necessary to fix as soon as possible all technical details of my
> participation directly in Paris.
> And in this way, the Biennial organisation and I agreed a lot of things
> which had to
> be prepared for that purpose and I fixed a date when I would go to Paris.
> And then, I was recently in November in Paris, indeed, and on my own
> expenses.
> Knowing, how professional organisations are structured and working,
> I expected to meet competent people working professionally,
> but this was the first shock, there was  nothing like that.
> The Biennale organisation consisted actually of one single person,
> Alexandre Gurita, who calls himself director of "Biennale de Paris".
> We met each other in his small and shabby privat flat,
> as there is no official office of "Biennale de Paris",
> and nothing we had agreed was prepared, at all.
> I had expected to view several artspaces (as agreed) which would host the
> installation of my project in physical space,
> to meet professional people at medialabs etc
> but finally, I was offered one single very poor space, which manifested
> itself as a disgusting underground space
> somewhere at the Parisian suburbs far from any public.................
> It was shocking to see, that this person was only talking and talking and
> nothing happened in the end.
> My visit to Paris was a nightmare and I had to be a tourist against my own
> will, as I visited some museums , instead of preparing my art project.
> But there were some good reasons why all that happened to me,
> as during my stay in Paris I found out the following by research:
> Some years ago, the French Ministry of Culture
> (together with the municipality of Paris responsible for the "Biennale de
> Paris")
> moved the official French Biennale  (Biennale de Paris) from Paris to Lyon
> (now- Biennale de Lyon) as a result of the decentralisation in France,
> and a guy, named Alexandre Gurita took the chance to buy the rights on the
> name "Biennale de Paris".
> When he started to use this once official name for his privat purposes,
> the result was a conflict  with nearly
> all official instances as French Ministry of Culture etc.
> Someone from outside might even  find this story quite amusing --->
> a kind of Robin Hood was fighting against the Parisian establishment,
> which is most hated by many people  in France.
> In this way, Alexandre Gurita seemed to be well tolerated by some
> people, mostly artists, of course.
> But the matter is anything else than funny,
> while viewing all aspects and consequences connected, and they are only
> shocking.
> One of the serious consequences are,
> that the French Ministry of Culture and  a lot of other official instances
> refuse any contact and
> support to the Biennale organisation, as long as
> Alexandre Gurita keeps the name "Biennale de Paris" as his private
> As this conflict is still cooking
> it must be expected  the Biennale would be closed  or stopped by juridical
> order immediately at the opening or even earlier or later.
> To be involved in such a situation would be a most horrible  perspective.
> Of course, there are also many events which have no public funding at all,
> and many of them are on an high qualitative level, even if they have no
> budget, at all,
> but in this case the consequences are very fatal also in some other
> as the Biennale organisation  cannot offer any artist any public artspace
> (which all belong to the municipality or the state),
> but also not any other appropriate artspace,
> due to the incompetence and the lack of any professional contacts.
> The legal conditions were in addition completely obscure, as there was no
> contract
> which was settling essential questions as liability, insurance, expenses
> and this became also no matter of discussion.
> But it was also nearly consequent that I could actually not agree with
> the pseudo-philosophical ideas coming more and more in front in the
> discussion.
> In this way, it became clear, why I had to go to Paris in vain ---->
> in the framework of "Biennale de Paris"
> there was simply not anything possible on a professional level.
> What was called "Biennale de Paris" was a caricature and a fake, in fact.
> After four days in Paris, I was completely exhausted from all this
> However, I wanted to be legally correct,
> and before I left Paris I set the organisator a final deadline (Sunday, 30
> November)
> until he had to offer me a well respected institution in Paris,
> which would be hosting my project during the "Biennale".
> I do not need to explain to you, how I felt when I left Paris
> and I actually did not know, what to do,
> as I saw not only my project RRF 2004, but my entire artistic career in
> high danger, and felt the heavy burden of responsibility.
> RRF 2004 was initiated on occasion of this "fake" and had the magic label
> this "fake", and I felt like a criminal who was an accomplice of this
> "fake".
> I did honestly not expect anything from this final deadline,
> and it passed and nothing happened, indeed .
> But meanwhile additional details underlined the "fake" character of this
> event as it had become obvious, that  a number of the artists listed as
> participating and nearly the entire "International Support Committee"
> seemed to be  purely fictive and a fake, as well.
> You find there a lot of names of persons who exist physically,
> but these people do not know about their function in Biennale de Paris at
> all, they do not even know anything about this event, some other people
> even dead as Pierre Restany ( a charismatic and well known person in the
> Paris art scene), who died already much earlier this year.
> Then I heard that also other artists who had obviously recognised
> what the "real" Biennale represents were cancelling their
> participation..........
> ........
> (1 December 2003)
> ... now the deadline had passed and while viewing all that and much more
> there was really no other alternative
> than cancelling my participation in "Biennale de Paris"
> immediately and waste no more time,
> in order to prevent any damage from those who joint my project as an
> institution, organisation, curator and artist
> and to protect my reputation as an artist and curator from any further
> damage.
> (11 December 2003)
> Was already all this what I explained a nightmare, it was even topped,
> however, by what was following:
> Alexandre Gurita took my name and the names of some other artists
> who had also cancelled their participation, as a hostage and refused for
> days
>  to remove our names from the website of "Biennale de Paris".
> He manipulate continuously the information posted on the Biennale site and
> moved the names from one document to another, it was a kind of cat/mouse
> game and
> there was no chance to remove our names from this criminal environment,
> until I took a lawyer in Paris who took juridical steps against Mr.
> On Tuesday, 10 December in the evening not only my name,
> but also the names of the other artists hostages were removed.
> This was really hard work in quite a short time, as the legal conditions
> between different countries
> (Cologne in Germany/Paris in France) are always complex, but the nightmare
> had now an end.
> ------->
> There was no other way, but it was also extremely bitter, to inform all
> those
> about 250 people, institutions and organisations individually
> which were connected ever to the organisation of RRF 2004 and
> ask for their understanding and  whether they would remain participating
> in my project or continue discussing their participation without the magic
> label of the fake.
> I am really glad and most grateful, that immediately some of the involved
> institutions
> re-confirmed the collaboration process as the
> National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucaresti/Romania,
> New Media Festival Bangkok 2004, Folly New Media Institute Lancaster (UK),
> BEK Bergen/Norway and some others, so that the damage seems to be limited.
> My re-organised global networking project RRF 2004 can now be further
> developed
> on a really professional level and can be operating until the end of 2004,
> as it was planned.
> signed on 16 December 2003
> by
> Wilfried Agricola de Cologne
> Cologne/Germany
> //////////////////////////////////////////
> Resume
> As "Biennale de Paris" had been once the official name of an official
> it would have been in any case most stupid
> if anybody would have used this name for his private purposes.
> It was most unlikely that anybody would get such an absurd idea.
> Therefore all people who  came in contact were blinded by the magic of the
> name.
> Even more stupid and adventurous  was the idea to put this new
> "Biennale de Paris" on a same level as Venice Biennale,
> Tokyo Biennial or DOKUMENTA/Kassel, as it had been done.
> And this all the more, as the pseudo-organisation of
> Alexandre Gurita has no budget, at all, to finance only the paper for
> writing a letter.
> Such an idea can come only from a schizophrenic,
> who has lost any sense for reality.
> In so far, such a  person is most dangerous,
> as he brings disaster to everybody who comes too close.
> The most frightening thing is, however, that this person, named Alexandre
> Gurita, -
> it is meanwhile not even clear whether this name is true or not -  was and
> is still protected
> by a lot of people, in first place by a mafia-like structure of buddies,
> and in second place, and this is most relevant, by all those people
> who know about the matter and do nothing against it.
> These sponsors listed on www.biennaledeparis.org
> support officially "Biennale de Paris 2004"
> Alyasis http://www.aliasys.fr/
> ARCHISTORM  http://www.archistorm.com/
> ART PROCESS http://www.art-process.com/ , an empty domain
> BATOFAR http://www.batofar.net/
> CRANE http://www.plus.asso.fr/
> ETNOKA  http://www.etnoka.com/
> ESPACE SD http://www.espacesd.com/
> G2J  http://www.g2j.com/
> OPENAY http://www.openay.com/
> PARIS ART  http://www.paris-art.com/ , also sponsor of  Musee d'Art
> Paris
> PULPE  http://www.pulpe.fr/
> STAMINIUM  http://www.staminium.com/
> SOUSSAN Ltd  http://www.soussancom.com/ , also listed as participating
> artist
> 2 PIECES CUISINE, no website available
> 3DWEAVE - http://www.3dweave.com/
> ---->
> Probably, the Parisians are accustomed to such a kind of absurd theatre
> (the "absurd theatre" was invented in Paris once) and
> probably they even like the thrill to watch how many people are brought
> disaster.
> It was necessary that someone from outside of the French capital unmasked
> this theatre
> and acted  in the only possible way - -->
> not accepting, not tolerating, taking responsibility and becoming
> immediately active against it.
> +
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