The Birds is Coming
Museum of Modern Art, MG+, auditorium
Friday, 24 August 2018, 6:30 p.m.
You are kindly invited to Alexi Kukuljevic's lecture, which is part of the Summer school in Ljubljana public programme. It belongs also to the discursive programme of the exhibition Heavenly Beings. Neither Human nor Animal.
The title of the lecture, "The Birds is Coming," alludes to Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds, and serves as an apt frame for my contribution to the exhibition Heavenly Beings. Hitchcock chose this formula with its jarring syntax to market the film. Through the suggestion of a faux pas, a grammatical blunder, or a kind of bad joke, Hitchcock wittily plays the fool, a birdbrain, or better, a twit. In so doing, he presents the film as a thing that rests uneasily in the language of its communiqué – which seems entirely fitting given the film's subject matter. After all, birds do not speak. Instead, lacking language, they twitter. That is to say, they speak non-sense – making the one who presumes to speak their language a twit. A twit says something by saying nothing. To say nothing precisely is the art of presenting the void, and the artist, courting its presence, makes something for the birds. In so doing, I want to suggest that the artist makes something addressed to the inhuman, which is to say, the absent place of the animal in man; a place that is abominable and slips between hilarity and horror.
Alexi Kukuljevic is an artist and a philosopher based in Vienna. He is the author of Liquidation World: On the Art of Living Absently, published by MIT Press. His work has been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Palais de Tokyo, Paris and the ICA, Philadelphia. He is a teaching assistant in the Department for Art Theory at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. His most recent solo exhibition was entitled BIRDWAR, at Åplus in Berlin.