The Residence (reading room)

Ronny Heiremans & Katleen Vermeir
© Kristien Daem

The project A.I.R. (‘artist in residence') by Katleen Vermeir and Ronny Heiremans is a collaborative practice that examines the dynamics between art, architecture and economy. Their new video project The Residence focuses on the artist as entrepreneur in a global society that qualifies economy as the single measure of things. They portray, in collaboration with the Chinese artist and architect Ma Wen, a world of financial volatility and economical fetishism. Parallel to the exhibition in Argos, Extra City presents the discursive program Reading Room from February until April.

During a six month residency in China (September 2009 - March 2010), the artist duo Vermeir & Heiremans began their research for a new video project that would focus on the artist as entrepreneur set against the backdrop of a globalized society wherein the economy figures as the ultimate measure of things. In 2012 the finished work will have its inaugural presentation in a solo exhibition at Argos, Brussels, from 28 January to 1 April. The exhibition will present a multiple screen video installation: The Residence (a wager for the afterlife).

Vermeir & Heiremans accepted an invitation by Extra City to engage in the topics the video touches upon and think about a way to disclose the extensive visual and textual research that went into the production of the work. In response they developed The Residence (reading room), a proposal that visualises and discusses the themes of The Residence.

Reading Room is in essence what the title says it is: a room to read, and to listen. It presents itself as a dense cabinet of curiosities. Its source material springs directly from the research Vermeir & Heiremans conducted in preparation for the video project. The presentation of that material, which consists mainly of documentary images and text, but also sound and video fragments, is extracted from its intricate context in the video installation.

The display of these materials will not be fixed, but, casual as their presentation may be, will be selected scrupulously to interact with a programme of presentations by a fine cast of people. In this respect the reading room will be activated on a regular basis, with lectures, screenings and book presentations, each time taking a different perspective on a predefined subject.

Reading Room will take the form of a display feature. The design, conceived as part of a stylistic whole that includes the exhibition design in Argos, will be produced in collaboration with the Chinese architect Ma Wen. Reading Room will be installed in Extra City's project space.


Opening: Thursday 02.02 | 18:00 hrs
6pm:Carol Yinghua Lu (CN) & Liu Ding (CN), Little Movements, lecture
8:30pm: Justin Bennett (UK), Cricket Orchestra, sound performance

Saturday 18.02 | 18:00-21:00 hrs
Luis Jacob (CA): Commerce by Artists, book presentation
Julia Bryan-Wilson (US), Precarious Futures, lecture

Saturday 25.02 | 18:00-21:00 hrs
Daniel McClean (UK): A Lawful Experiment, lecture
Robrecht Vanderbeeken (BE): Drunk on Capitalism, book presentation

Saturday 10.03 | 18:00-21:00 hrs
Bert De Muynck (BE): Creative City in China, lecture

Saturday 17.03 | 18:00-21:00 hrs
Lecture by Cuauthémoc Medina on Goethe's Faust (Part II)

Finissage: Saturday 24.03 | 18:00-21:00 hrs
John McTague (UK): The South-Sea Bubble in the Press, lecture
Christine Gerrard (UK): Representing the Bubble, lecture

A project in collaboration with Argos, Brussels. Supported by deBuren, Brussels


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