Installation views from Deadpan Exchange V

November 6th, 2010

Artist Information by Gokce Suvari (TR):

Istanbul based artist Fatma Ciftci, in response to the work of Jennifer Wofford, is reproducing the unusual situations and scenes of different cities where she has been for a short time, through drawings and sound. These scenes, which have taken place in artist’s mind, refer to cultural diversity and its representations from Istanbul, Tehran, Seoul, and London. In this way she invites the viewer to think about the cultural codes and stereotypes that we face everyday.

Esra Okyay approaches the postcards produced by Tucker Nichols from another point (of view), particularly from the banality of the postcards, which are supposed to acknowledge the recipient and the existence of the sender in another place. Okyay, takes this proof of existence, the notion of being somewhere or being a tourist, by positioning herself as the main protagonist in these banal city images. Consequently the artist becomes the part of the cityscape as well as the historical monuments, landmarks or visual attractions by taking the role of an ultimate tourist. Hence the banality of the images gives the feeling that we cannot escape the imposed clichés of being a tourist.

Jon Rubin’s posters, which are composed of incidental messages about coincidences in daily life, are to be met with the volatile and coincidental photograph of Nur Muskara. Muskara responses to the work of Rubin with a playful and – almost surrealistic – miraculous image from everyday life. She depicts children from an industrial city bay swimming towards a navy ship with an incredible horizon, while giving us space to believe in daily spontaneous miracles.

In response to Ali Dagdar’s covered and censured images, Nejat Sati tries to un-cover or perhaps visualize what has been usually ignored on the public space. He depicts those who are ignored from the landscapes of city life: the homeless people. He puts the images of these sleeping people to night-lamps, while inviting the audience to re-look and consider how people use the public space.

With his series of photographs Suat Ogut, tries to explore the domestic life limited by conditions and technological developments. In his series, a response to Kristin Lucas’s craftsmanship series, he tries to re-create relationships as such:  human-machine, computer-vacuum cleaner and human-washing machine.

Mehmet Dere, being an artist working with urban symbols and slogans, offers the viewers various slogans from his neighborhood. Dere’s artistic practices are based mainly on the city. He focuses on interventions and observations within local culture of the city. For his work in Deadpan Exchange he offers a variety of statements that range from artistic to sociological.  He does this in order to create a social interaction. Mehmet Dere is responding to the work of Zachary Royer Scholz.

Elcin Ekinci’s video, in response to Lindsey White, plays both with the public performance as well as the representation of women in public. The emphasis of the female is exhibited through a Naumen-esk performance, which focuses the audience on the possibilities of a direct relationship without a cliché a response.

Deadpan Exchange V in Skopje, October 2010

October 11th, 2010

Press Release:

Deadpan Exchange V: Skopje
Organized by Heidi Hove (DK) and Jonn Herschend (US)

Cultural Center CK, Bul. Ilinden 38 1000 Skopje, Macedonia

Featuring the work of Elcin Ekinci (TR), Esra Okyay (TR), Fatma Ciftci (TR), Mehmet Dere (TR), Nejat Sati (TR), Nur Muskara (TR) & Suat Ogut (TR).

Coordinated by Gokce Suvari (TR)

Opening: Friday October 15, 2010 at 8:30 pm
Presentation of the Deadpan Exchange series: Saturday October 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm
Exhibition is open from October 16 – 29, 2010
Monday – Friday, 11 am – 7 pm

Excerpts from the Macedonian press release:

Изложбата со делата на седум уметници, кои живеат и работат во Турција, е петти дел од серијaлот на интернационална „Безизразна размена“ која започна во Данска и Берлин летото 2007. Во секоја од изложбите уметниците се активно вклучени во безизразната комуникација на давање и земање… како некој вид на размена во класичната комедија. Делата кои ќе бидат изложени во Културниот Центар ЦК од страна на седумте турски уметници, се реакција на делата на седум уметници од САД кои изложуваа во Измир во К2 Центарот за современа уметност во април 2009 на „Безизразна размена III“.

Безизразноста е форма на смешно пренесување во кое се претставува хуморот без притоа да се промени изразот на лицето и пришто најчесто се зборува на монотон начин. Гледачот е тој кој го носи товарот на интерпретацијата. Дали сцената е смешна или трагична?

Од уметничко-историска гледна точка безизразната стратегија ја користат многу уметници низ светот во раните 70ти: Јоко Оно, Марта Рослер, Бас Јан Адер, Вито Акончи, Гордон Мата Кларк, Лиџиа Кларк и др. Нивните дела беа формално одбивање на институциите и на светот на “модерната уметност” и се застапуваа за подемократска интеракција со делата. Во многу случаи делото кое било на работ на апсурдното и трагичното било претставено со целосно здрвено лице, наведувајќи го гледачот самиот да одлучи какво е тоа дело.

Серијалот на безизразни размени ја истражува оваа појава во глобални рамки. Што ако започнете шега во една земја и на неа ви одговорат во друга? Дали постои интернационален јазик на размена? Дали размената е универзална? Од политичка гледна точка, организаторите ги загрижува начинот на кој светот станува сè повеќе црно-бел, без простор за нешто сиво и збркано. Важно е да се нудат дела кои активно го предизвикуваат гледачот да ги интерпретира. Организаторите се заинтересирани да спојат различна група на уметници од различни места низ светот и да започнат дијалог кој можеби не би почнал надвор од формалните институции.

На крајот на „Безизразна размена V“, седум македонски уметници ќе создаваат дела како реакција на делата на седуммината турски уметници, и истите ќе бидат изложени во друга земја (која наскоро ќе биде дефинирана). Ќе има уште една размена и потоа крајна изложба во Копенхаген со делата на сите уметници во 2012 година.

For more information please visit:

DEADPAN EXCHANGE V has been supported by The Danish Arts Council

Deadpan Exchange IV opens at K2, Izmir Turkey

April 28th, 2009


Deadpan Exchange IV opened at the K2 Contemporary Art Center in  Izmir, Turkey, on April 10.  The show runs until May 25, 2009  and features the work of Kristin Lucas (US), Tucker Nichols (US), Jenifer K Wofford (US), Zachary Royer Scholz (US), Jon Rubin (US), Lindsey White (US), and Ali Dadgar (IR/US)

Organized by Heidi Hove (DK) and Jonn Herschend (US), with collaborative support from Borga Kanturk (TK), Ozgul Sarikuş (TK), and Gokce Suvari (TK), the work presented by the seven US based artists is the fourth part in a series of international deadpan exchanges, which began in Denmark and Berlin in the summer of 2007. In each of the shows, the artists are actively involved in a give-and-take of deadpan communication… a sort of classic comedy exchange. The work exhibited here at K2 by the seven US artists is a reaction to the work of the seven Danish Artists from the Koh-i-noor, who exhibited in San Francisco at The Lab in February of 2007 for Deadpan Exchange III.

Deadpan is a form of comic delivery in which humor is presented without a change in emotion or facial expression, usually speaking in a monotonous manner. This puts the burden of interpretation on the viewer. Is the scene comedy or tragedy?

From an art historical standpoint, the shows take their cue from the deadpan strategies employed by artists in the early 1970’s throughout much of the world: Yoko Ono, Martha Rosler, Bas Jan Ader, Vito Acconci, Gordon Matta Clark, Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica… to name a few. Their works were a formal rejection of the institutions, the world of “Modern Art,” in favor of a more democratic interaction with the work. In many cases, the work–which often boarded on the absurd or tragic–was delivered with a complete straight face, forcing the viewer to decide how they felt about the work.

The Deadpan Exchange Series is probing this ground in a global way. What happens if you start a joke in one country and respond to it in another?  Is there an international deadpan language? Is deadpan universal?  From a political standpoint, the organizers are concerned with the way the world is becoming increasingly black and white without any room for something gray and muddled.  It is important to offer work that actively challenges the viewer to interpret the work for him or herself. And the Deadpan aesthetic offers a way to both engage and challenge the viewer at the same time. The organizers are also interested in bringing a diverse group of artists together from different places throughout the world and starting a dialogue that might not take place outside of formal institutions.

At the end of Deadpan Exchange IV, seven Turkish artists will create reactions to the works of the seven US artists, and these reactions will be exhibited in another country (the location of which is still being determined).  There will be 2 more exchanges and then a final exhibition in Copenhagen with all the artists’ works in 2011.

DEADPAN EXCHANGE IV has been made possible in part by The Danish Arts Council and a contribution from Russell Schwartz.

Deadpan Exchange is back at Koh-i-noor in December 2007

November 26th, 2007

For those who haven’t seen the deadpan video-screening yet, please stop by at the exhibition site, Koh-i-noor (Copenhagen) on thursday the 6th of December 2007 at 7 pm. First, there’ll be a guest-performance by Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld (DK) and then afterwards, we’ll watch the Deadpan Exchange II video-screening, which were shown for the first time in superbien! this summer.

It will be possible to buy Glögg and other Danish Christmas goodies. Hope to see you for a nice time in Koh-i-noor together with some deadpan “entertainment”.

Video-artists: Jens Axel Beck (DK), Matthew Hughes Boyko (USA), Melissa Day (USA), Morten Dysgaard (DK), Morten Espersen (DK), Rosa Marie Frang (DK), Kara Hearn (USA), Stine Marie Jacobsen (DK), Ina Viola Blasius (DE), Dagmar Krøyer (DK), Kristin Lucas (USA), Mads Lynnerup (DK/USA), Cally Malinda Martin (USA), Tine Oksbjerg (DK), Susan O’Malley (USA), Dan Rees (DE/UK), Will Rogan (USA), Tina Scherzberg (DK), Tim Sullivan (USA), Anne Walsh (USA), Lindsey White (USA), Søren Assenholt (DK) og Marie Kolding Lund (DK)


Deadpan Video-screening at Biffen – Art Cinema (DK)

November 26th, 2007

On the 31st of October 2007, The Deadpan Exchange II video-screening from superbien! was shown at the Biffen – Art Cinema in Aalborg (DK). This event was organized by the artists, Tine Oksbjerg (DK) and Svend Allan Sørensen (DK).

Something more is happening

November 26th, 2007

In september 2007, Jonn Herschend (artist and co-organizer of The Deadpan Exchange) was invited by the Koh-i-noor (DK) to show his video, Everything is Better Now at the Koh-i-noor booth at the Alternative Art Fair in Copenhagen.

Everything is Better Now is a 16 minute infomercial that falls apart. It begins on a sound stage with two video hosts who promise to fully explain the importance of ambiguity by offering a step-by-step plan complete with examples. However, the hosts’ examples—an incident in a video store, a car accident, an altercation on a city bus, an argument about a phone message and a symbolic shoe tossed into the street—slowly begin to break down and become more absurd, personal and confused as they move further from the sound stage and out into real life. In the end, Everything is Better Now, becomes the very thing that it sets out to explain, asking us to see the importance of confusion in our daily lives.

Usually it’s a really hard one – to show one semi-long video at an art fair – but a lot of people sat down and watched the whole thing – and got really excited! Below are a few images from the art fair.



Deadpan in Berlin

July 5th, 2007

screening (with Kara Hearn’s ET)

Here is the first attempt at documentation for the Deadpan Exchange (festival), which took place throughout the evening of June 13th at super bien! in Berlin. I should begin with a disclaimer: this blog entry does not represent all the performances and projects that took place on that fateful day, but it’s a start. As time goes on and we sort through more and more of the documentation, we will keep adding to the blog. So keep checking back.

Installation shot 1

It should also be noted that this event would most certainly not have taken place had it not been for the quick wit and fleet footedness of super bien! artist/curator Carlos Silva, who jumped in for super bien! artist/curator David Keating (who was summoned to Munich in sort of kafkaesque way at the last minute). It also should be noted that the event most definitely would not have happened without the small army of Danish artists who descended on super bien! via train, plane, and car (one of which had a giant tree strapped to it, and was not pulled over the entire way down by the German authorities… amazing!) to set up the installation. And finally, had it not been for Heidi Hove Pedersen’s Dad, there would have been no tent or car to strap the giant tree to. So thanks, Mr. Pedersen.

The festival was kicked off with a deadpan chainsaw intervention and ended at around 11:00 PM with the screening. Following this, everyone went off to Dr. Pong’s for beers and ping pong until 6:00 AM. Here’s a PDF of the events
and the projects in the courtyard .

Here’s what happened in between:

Søren and Heidi strap the tree for transport from Denmark to GermanyJens Axel Beck and Morten Kaer enlist the support of a shopping cartset-upInstallation Søren and Jens set up “45 degrees” with Carlos SilvaDeadpan installation shot #2the tree at super bien! from which Morten Espersen’s clothes pin was carved.Morten Espersen’s hand carved clothes pinRosa Marie Frang’s untitled poster on the entry gateLouise Schrader releases a Danish Butterfly into the German nature.Another shot of Louise Schrader releasing the Danish Butterfly into the German natureSøren Assenholt’s 45 degreesSøren Assenholt’s 45 degreesSøren Assenholt’s 45 degreesSøren Assenholt’s 45 degreesKaren Petersen’s puppet theater “the telling of an artpiece I only heard about.”Karen Petersen’s puppet theater “the telling of an artpiece I only heard about.”Morten Kaer looks over Line Sandvad Mengers’ performance buttonsLine Sandvad Mengers performanceLine Sandvad Mengers performancebrian Enevoldsen and the fire lotionJacob Borges administers the fire lotionfire lotionJacob Borges’ “por-table”Marie Kolding Lund’s Pica Pica and the Greenhouse performanceGudrun Hasle’s Dyslexic Karaoke performancescreeningscreening

During this brief pause, here is another international project to check out

June 12th, 2007

While much of Deadpan Exchange more or less invented itself as it went along, there is another project that will launch this summer that has been in the works for the past year. This project is called Galleon Trade, and it is being organized by the amazing artist (and good friend) Jenifer Wofford. This project is working to create a grass roots, sustainable, cross pollination of artists in San Francisco, the Philippines and Mexico. There is an incredible group of artists and writers involved in the project. And I’m crossing my fingers that the Galleon Trade SF show might happen at around the same time as the Deadpan Exchange SF show. Here’s a bit of info about the project, but be sure to check out the website.
Galleon Trade is a series of international arts exchange projects, focusing on the Philippines, Mexico, and California. Taking the historic Acapulco-Manila galleon route as its metaphor of origin, these exhibitions seek to create new routes of cultural exchange along old routes of commerce and trade.

Galleon Trade should not be seen as a single exhibition: it is entirely about reciprocity and gathering momentum, to create a road map that will make future arts alliances and exchanges like this much easier. Starting in Manila, but continuing to California, Mexico and beyond, Galleon Trade will facilitate further discussions between artists, curators, gallerists and scholars from all 3 places to explore strategies for sustainable exchange.

A deadpan reception (and then something in the bushes)

June 11th, 2007

opening2.jpgopening1.jpgopening4.jpgopening5.jpgopening-3.jpgBrian Enevoldsen and Jonn Herschend share a moment

The official reception took place at Koh-i-noor on the 8th of June. The incomparable Brian Enevoldsen and I performed a presentation entitled “a short history of deadpan,” and then we all drank beer. The crowd was great. I was expecting the sort of walk in and walk out, hang around and talk to your friends crowd. But this crowd was really into sitting down and watching the videos or standing in front of the paintings and installations (but looking at them) for some time. It was a pleasant shock. I haven’t seen that sort of thing at an opening… I don’t think ever. There was also a lot of serious discussion about the work followed by some serious beer drinking at a beer garden that Jacob Borges led us to. At the beer garden, we all watched as a man and a woman wrestled. It looked like they had come from work and stayed until around 2AM. The man didn’t really want to wrestle, but the woman did… and so did the crowd. Some one handed me another beer and the man and the woman ran off into the bushes. Later that evening, everyone in the beer garden watched two lovers roll around in the grass (not the wrestlers). There was much discussion and gesturing toward them. It clearly seemed to be something in the air… or the beer. But during all of this, their backpacks were stolen. It was the perfect diversion. Someone slipped in and took the back-packs while all eyes were on the lovers. Later that evening… and I mean much later, we watched as an entire bench-load of beer drinkers slowly fell backwards on to the people behind them, a sort of perfect slap-stick moment with which to cap the night.

Deadpan in Denmark

June 8th, 2007

koh-i-noor from the streetAlex, Jonn, Jimmy, and Karakara’s worklooking out to the streetSusan, Jimmy, and Alexsusan’s pieceRyan Thayer’s untitled (Bauhaus) and Will Rogan’s “One thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free.”chen and clausenback roomwill image

The show is up and running. And some good news has come our way. The Deadpan Exchange series has just received a very healthy grant from the Danish Arts Council. And the lab in San Francisco has agreed to host the San Francisco Deadpan Exchange show. We are currently working out the dates for this show, so expect more info on this as we go along.

Tonight is the reception for the Deadpan Exchange show, and I’ll be performing a presentation in collaboration with Brian Enevoldsen entitled “a short history of deadpan.” We’ve been rehearsing it for past three days, and we are happy with the way it’s going. I’ll get some more photos up of the opening and maybe the performance.