press release

Miami Art Central (MAC) announces the opening of How do we want to be governed? (Figure and Ground) on view November 30, 2004 through January 30, 2005. The exhibition is the third in the series Die Regierung (The Government) and is organized by Roger M. Buergel (Artistic Director of documenta 12) and Ruth Noack around the topic of governmentality, a term used by the late philosopher Michel Foucault to describe the tricky-sometimes beneficial, sometimes destructive-relations between individuality and contemporary power.

Each exhibition, in the series of five, explores a different aspect of the general theme by incorporating new works and adopting a fresh curatorial approach geared toward the specific site. The installation at MAC addresses the relational character of human existence-the fact that being is an ongoing mediation between figure and ground.

How do we want to be governed? The question was raised by Foucault almost a quarter century ago, when the great administrative apparati began to dissolve, the European welfare state was showing signs of erosion, and the Soviet Bloc was on the brink of collapse. But its history extends as far back as the late Middle Ages, when Ambrogio Lorenzetti created his frescoes on good and bad government in Siena's town hall. Like Foucault, Lorenzetti perceived of government as exerting power indirectly and subtly, rather than directly and spectacularly, on its citizens. In this light, government is seen as a structure of actions brought to bear upon other actions (or upon the actions of others), and to govern means to create a situation in which subjects are incited or constrained to act.

Government, however, is more than the theme of these exhibitions; it provides each installation with its particular form. The series builds on changing constellations of artworks acting upon each other, thereby extending itself in time and space, much like a film in three dimensions. The aim of this ongoing mediation between works is to include the spectator in its unfolding. Viewers and artworks are actions upon actions, are Åçfigure and groundÅç with respect to each other.

The exhibition series began at the Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg in Germany in 2003 with three installations Die Regierung (The Government), The University Is a Factory, and How Can We Know the Dancer from the Dance?. The second in the series was recently presented at the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in Spain as Com volem ser governats?. Following the installation at MAC, the exhibition will travel to the Secession in Vienna, Austria and to Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.


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How do we want to be governed? / Die Regierung

mit Sonia Abian / Carlos Piegari, Ibon Aranberri, Maja Bajevic, James Coleman, Alice Creischer, Danica Dakic, Ines Doujak, Öyvind Fahlström, Harun Farocki, Peter Friedl, Andrea Geyer, Sanja Ivekovic, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Rainer Oldendorf, Florian Pumhösl, Alejandra Riera & Fulvia Carnevale, Martha Rosler, Dierk Schmidt, Allan Sekula, Andreas Siekmann, Imogen Stidworthy, Jürgen Stollhans, Tucuman Arde, Simon Wachsmuth, Francesca Woodman, Olivier Zabat

06.11.03 - 13.11.03 Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg
29.11.04 - 30.01.05 Miami Art Central, Miami
24.02.05 - 24.04.05 Wiener Secession, Wien
29.04.05 - 19.06.05 Witte de With, Rotterdam