press release

Opening: Friday 27 March 2008, 17:00 at SMBA, accompanied by the lecture-performance Finders Keepers by Jeuno Kim.

The Demon of Comparisons is an association of subjective positions relating in various ways to larger social and political frameworks, to power and cultural constructions. Placing emphasis on the issue of individual agency in a landscape defined by questions of national and cultural identities, The Demon of Comparisons questions the kind of collectivity these subjects can form. The title is a translation of a phrase from Jose Rizal's novel Noli Me Tangere, "el demonio de las comparaciones", also used by Benedict Anderson as the title of his book, where it is rendered as The Specter of Comparisons. An original and insightful thinker, Benedict Anderson questioned the patterns and the meeting points that are to be found throughout geographies, times and power structures that lead to formations of identities and various senses of belonging. Our translation remains anchored in this area of interest, but is intended to add the potential of the polisemy, indeed the spectres, of the original Spanish word, "demonio", in dealing with the subjectivity of one's experience of culture and power.

The Demon of Comparisons grew out of exchanges and discussions during Open Circuit #1: Yogyakarta, organized by Electric Palm Tree in September 2008 in Indonesia. During the week-long workshop, participants shared and negotiated their experiences and vocabularies of social transformation from their respective backgrounds.

Seminar The Demon of Comparisons with Michele Faguet, Patrick D. Flores, Vit Havranek, Hiroshi Yoshioka, Ahmad bin Mashadi, David Riff Saturday 4 April 2009, 11:00-18:00 at Doelenzaal, University of Amsterdam (Singel 421-427, 1012 WP Amsterdam) Curated by Cosmin Costinas in collaboration with Kyongfa Che and Binna Choi.

The seminar is conceived of as a space for dialogue among a number of writers, researchers, philosophers and curators who in their practice have been committed to questioning underlying processes of history writing in a shifting canon and a changing geography of artistic practice. Working on narratives and practices that lie on the borders of a (Western) canonic representation of art and its political dimensions, often at the fault line between forms of modernism, avant-garde urgencies and the articulations of the political in the different cultural landscapes they are interested in, the speakers share an interest in the critical tools to be employed in their endeavors. Focusing on spaces with histories as different as Latin America, Eastern Europe and South East Asia, the seminar will explore the ambivalence of comparative approaches, with all their strategic promises and critical traps.

The Demon of Comparisons With Heman Chong, Hafiz, Tibor Hajas, Beom Kim, Sung Hwan Kim, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Tadasu Takamine, with special contributions by Philippe Rekacewicz and Grace Samboh Curated by Binna Choi in collaboration with Kyongfa Che and Cosmin Costinas.

The Demon of Comparisons
Ein Projekt von Electric Palm Tree 
Kuratoren: Binna Choi, Kyongfa Che, Cosmin Costinas

Künstler: Heman Chong, Hafiz , Tibor Hajas, Beom Kim, Sung Hwan Kim, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Tadasu Takamine, Philippe Rekacewicz, Grace Samboh