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15 May 2009

The Uncertainty Principle at MACBA

© Tobias Putrih, The uncertainty principle, 2009. MACBA Collection. Long Term Loan of the artist

The Uncertainty Principle


The Uncertainty Principle
15 May to 12 June 2009

Tel +34 93 412 08 10
Fax +34 93 412 46 02

Capella MACBA
C/ dels Àngels, 7
08001 Barcelona

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The Uncertainty Principle
Cinema, performance, lectures video and audio

Located in the MACBA Chapel, The Uncertainty Principle is an intensive programme that through lectures, performances, films, videos and artists' presentations will analyse the many different ways of generating a hypothesis. Tackling a problem involves constructing one or more ideas that help us to think about the nature of what we call the world. Judged from this perspective, contemporary artistic production offers itself as a major opening for speculating about different aspects of the world, its sentient aspect, its political dimension, its ability to establish relationships between things, between subjects and matter, and so on. In short, to think about and generate ideas – ideas that appear to us in the most distinct forms – is art's great virtue.

In 1969, the American artist James Lee Byars developed a performance piece entitled The World Question Center. The original idea, which was not brought to fruition, entailed gathering one hundred brilliant minds including thinkers, scientists and artists together in a room, locking them behind closed doors and inviting them to ask each other questions they had been asking themselves. The final version of this project, produced for Belgian Radio and Television, is a performance piece in which Byars contacts all of them by telephone.

This project sets out from the same starting point: the importance of maintaining a space for raising questions and generating hypotheses. The titles of the four strands of this unusual debate, for which we wish to transform the MACBA Chapel Museum space for the period of one month, are drawn from Byars' oeuvre. His work is among the collection's new acquisitions and is to feature at the forefront of each assemblage of works in the programme.

The MACBA Chapel space has been transformed for the occasion by another artist, Tobias Putrih. His work involves analysing and producing ephemeral architecture which develops the notion of actor-spectator bequeathed by modernity and the avant-garde. As part of the Tobias Putrih collection, he has produced a piece especially for the programme which we wish to carry out for the museum space.

The presentation of the MACBA Collection is the ideal framework for propitiating an environment in which to be exposed to the huge effort of reflection that artistic, sculptural or scientific creation entails. Pascal claimed that we are thinking reeds, gloriously singular and gloriously vulnerable. Our models of thought and action have as many possibilities as they do forms, and as a result one of the big challenges we have to face resides, on the one hand, in creating and maintaining spaces in which we try out ideas, and on the other, in generating situations that might favour their transmission. The future is but the exercising of thought.


The MACBA Chapel, from 11 am to 5.30 pm. Tuesdays, closed

What are you thinking about?
14 to 24 May

Works by James Lee Byars, Adrian Piper, Jurgen Leth, Babette Mangolte, Antoni Padrós, Samuel Beckett/Alan Schneider, John Baldessari, Johan Grimonprez and Paul Sharits

Is self-consciousness a sufficient option?
25 to 31 May

Works by Susan Hiller, Michael Snow, Bruce Nauman, Adrian Piper, Dan Graham, Martha Rosler, Robert Filliou, Ernesto Giménez Caballero, David Lamelas, James Lee Byars

Why is it so difficult to make useful mistakes?
1 to 7 June

Works by Ann Lislegaard, Craig Baldwin, Matt Mullican, Raymond Pettibon, and a video series curated by the Latitudes group: What are we going to do after doing what we will do afterwards?, with Jordan Wolfson, James Lee Byars, Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska, Chris Marker, Marjolijn Dijkman and Mariana Castillo Deball.

How fast does an idea travel?
8 to 14 June

Works by Roberto Cuoghi, Susan Philipsz, Olaf Breuning, Luke Fowler, Matt Mullican, Tony Oursler, Ulrike Ottinger, , Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, and James Lee Byars. and a video series curated by the WHR group, Zagreb, curators of the next Istanbul Biennial, Between a Rock and a Hard Place with David Maljkovic, Dmytri Vilensky, Tigran Khachatryan, Mounira Al Solh, Shahab Fotouhi, Shahab Fotouhi, and Katarina Zdjelar

The MACBA Chapel from 6 pm

In conversation with:
Friday 15 May, 7 pm: Rita McBride
Monday 18 May, 7 pm: Matt Mullican
Tuesday 26 May, 6 pm: Johan Grimonprez, organised in conjunction with LOOP
Thursday 28 May, 7 pm: Harun Farocki, organised in conjunction with LOOP
Thursday 4 June, 7 pm: Antonio Acín
Monday 8 June, 7 pm: Deimanta Narkevicius

Performances, 7 pm

Saturday 16 May, Discoteca Flaming Star
Saturday 23 May, double feature with Miguel Noguera and Gabriel Acevedo, an idea by PORLAVENA
Friday 29 May, performance by Dora García
Friday 5 June, Ultrashow by Miquel Noguera
Friday 12 June, 8 pm, Spinoza Mondial Reading Performance

Thursday 18 May, The Five Conditions (2003) by Jorgen Leth and Lars Von Trier
Tuesday 26 May, Double take (2009), by Johan Grimonprez, premiere in Spain
Friday 12 June, video series featuring interviews with philosophers

Open radio with David Casacuberta
Wednesday 20 May with Vena (por la)
Wednesday 27 May with Anselm Franke
Wednesday 3 June, Night of the Zombies, with Lars Bang Larsen
Wednesday 10 June, with Latitudes

The Uncertainty Principle
15 May to 12 June 2009

The MACBA Chapel. Admission free. Limited seating

Organised by: MACBA
Curator: Chus Martínez