New York Conversations is a text film. Shot in a Chinatown storefront converted for this occasion into an improvised kitchen/restaurant, the film documents three days of public conversations between artists, critics, curators, and a free floating public. The talks, lunches, and dinners were organized by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Nico Dockx, and Anton Vidokle in response to an invitation by Brussels-based art journal A Prior to be the subject of their new issue. Instead of commissioning essays or producing artwork to be printed in the journal, the artists decided to rethink the structure by which an art publication is produced and to attempt to do this discursively in a public setting.
The film is a subjective record of these conversations, which explored various topics ranging from questions concerning precarious and immaterial labor in the field of art, possibilities for non-alienated life and working conditions, the feasibility of artistic freedom, and possible means of reclaiming dignity in the work of art criticism, to more immediate questions concerning whether what was actually taking place throughout the course of the event was in fact an artwork. In the tradition of underground cinema, essay films, and experimental language-based films from the conceptual era, New York Conversations insists upon a certain degree of participation from the audience—by way of critical reading.
Anton Vidokle was born in Moscow and is currently based in New York and Berlin. His work has been exhibited in shows such as the Venice Biennale, Lyon Biennial, Dakar Biennale, Lodz Biennale, and at Tate Modern, London. As founder of e-flux, he has produced projects such as Next Documenta Should Be Curated By An Artist, Do it, Utopia Station poster project, and organized An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life, Martha Rosler Library and e-flux video rental (with Julieta Aranda). Vidokle initiated research into education as site for artistic practice as co-curator for Manifesta 6, which was canceled. In response to the cancellation, Vidokle and others set up an independent project in Berlin called Unitednationsplaza—a twelve-month “exhibition-as-school” involving more than a hundred artists, writers, philosophers, and diverse audiences.
Following the screening Vidokle will give a talk about his practice as part of the second Amateurist Network meeting.