Process, liminality, mediation, transmission, radio, resonance, orality, archive, and abundance.
In the coinciding and crossing of paths with Ukrainian artist, mediator, educator, and musician Anton Kats (b. 1983, Kherson, Ukraine), “the stars aligned” to put prior learning and formats to the test. Three remote encounters, six hours of recording, and several red-hot scissors have produced this exquisite corpse which explores a discourse and practice that tend to spill over and exceed boundaries in both nuance and detail. Anton Kats is pure process, discipline, energy, and empathy.
Ambiguity and transition inform every step of Anton Kats’s practice. From his lived experience, which includes a rushed migration (and subsequent assimilation) – from post-Soviet Ukraine to the euphoric, Europe without borders of the 2000s – and experiences in high academia – with a practice-based doctorate at Goldsmiths – before landing in the liminal spaces between the contemporary art gallery, informal education, festivals, and club culture, where he now intermittently dwells. His vices and virtues include handling, mixing, and confronting the vocabularies of academia and everyday life, while trying to strike a delicate balance between the pragmatic, political, and aesthetic, with his antenna always tuned to the privileges and possible agencies that open up in the artistic arena and all the possible complexities that may (or may not) arise from there. Practice shapes his research, and his projects are produced in spaces and in close collaboration with specific people and groups, including names like Hiwa K and the Chicago Boys, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Nabil Ahmed, Janna Graham from the Centre for Possible Studies, and more recently, Maia Urstad and Eva Rowson… to mention just a few.
Radio, which is embedded in his background through his grandfather, who was a field radio operator in the WWII, also plays a prominent role in his artistic practice, as a mobile, open, mutant, informal device. In his hands, radio is a user-friendly tool which he uses to reclaim and occupy public space while connecting formal social structures with the streets – from Tate Modern, Documenta, Sonic Acts, Lighthouse or Bergen Kunsthall to grassroots art and education spaces such as Studio 174 in Kingston, Jamaica. His narrowcasts provide a listening space for voices, needs, urgencies and non-conformist narratives.
In this podcast, Ràdio Web MACBA opt for extensive, durational listening, enthralled by Anton Kats’s verbiage, charisma, and intuitions. The artist talks about the Europe of integration through his embodied experience, about memory, dementia, and different ways of not knowing, about artistic research and art that defies representation, about site-specific projects and mobile, ephemeral devices, about narrowcasts and radio as a means of creating common public spaces, about needs and voices outside of the mainstream, and about fictions, meta-reality, and re-enactments of historical events that never happened.
Photo Courtesy of the organisation