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Rewinding Internationalism

Didem Pekün, susan pui san lok, Wendelien van Oldenborgh

‘Rewinding Internationalism’ is conceived as a score across installation, sound, film, archival presentations, and live rehearsals. The exhibition includes a new film by Didem Pekün, a commissioned multimedia installation by susan pui san lok, work by Wendelien van Oldenborgh, an extended research presentation and the sounds of Belgian New Beat.

The exhibition draws from different social, political, and cultural sites in the 1990s, a moment when the construct of internationalism was in a state of deep flux. During the decade, the ascendancy of globalisation coincided with the revival of ethno-nationalisms within Europe and the waning of emancipatory, trans-national alliances. Within the art world a ‘New Internationalism’ was embraced, calling for an end to the centring of Western European and US positions. Here internationalism became a stand in for a rethinking of white, Western hegemony though it remained conceived form the very position it sought to counter. Rather than propose a history, or attempt a definition of ‘internationalism’ the exhibition is conceived as a score, moving between – rewinding – different sites and scenes. Central to this exploration is a confident disregard for the authority of the archive – images, sounds and references are used as evocations, rather than offering explanation.

The exhibition has been conceived and developed during a global time of pandemic when the idea of internationalism is again unstable. The closure of national borders, prolonged isolation and screen time have had profound effects on people’s sense of place, and relating to one another. Works in the exhibition have been produced or adapted within these conditions. Equally, the pandemic has induced in many a sense of being untethered and out of sequence. ‘Rewinding Internationalism’s’ fragmented rehearsals across space and time speak to the current sense of uncertainty, foreboding and repetition.

Rewinding Internationalism will be presented in an expanded form at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (opening November 2022) and the Villa Arson, Nice (opening June 2023).

Curated by Nick Aikens

Research projects Revista de Critica Cultural, The Three Ecologies and Internationalist Feminism (1995 onwards) developed with Paulina Varas; Keepers of the Waters (Chengdu and Lhasa, China, 1995-1996) developed with Sebastian Cichocki; Contemporary Art of the Non-Aligned Countries (Jakarta, 1995) developed with Bojana Piškur and Grace Samboh; ADN (Association pour la Démocratie à Nice), Carnivals Independents and Les Diables Bleus (1991-2001) developed with Teresa Maffeis, Guy Ouillon and Sandra Ryvlin Rinaudo

New Beat soundtrack by Steven Keymeulen

An extended exhibition booklet with a conversation between Didem Pekün, susan pui san lok / susan lok pui san and Nick Aikens accompanies the exhibition.