Random Institute is an extension of what a contemporary art institution can be, that is to say, truly unbothered by rules and bureaucracy. Ultimately, it brings together & curatorial and publishing activities.

Since March 2016, Random Institute is running the curatorial program for Despacio in San José, Costa Rica.
The best color is transparency.
The best defense is a good offense.
Untold Stories
Shown
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Nadie Nada Nunca

ArchivedHappened in July 2016
9.9336674000
-84.0741834000
Despacio

Florence Jung is an artist, kidnapper, Disney princess, luxury goods smuggler, chicken forger, punk stripper, crook, dead academic painter, Marxist nail stylist, clandestine street seller... But what is tragic – she says – is the impossibility of being someone else.

Thoughts
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Don Quixote is a gentleman who one day decided to become an heroic knight in Spain. Florence Jung takes on the quest to make Don Quixote disappear from Costa Rica: buying all the copies in all the bookstores, borrowing all the copies from all the libraries and offering to buy people’s personal copies. This singular one-book library is now hidden in a secret place in San José.






EXHIBITION TEXT


The book you have in your hands is a rare exercise of reinvention—a collection of one and the same book, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, a crucial text for the Spanish language and obligatory reading in the school curricula, even in Costa Rica.

The book you have in your hands is a rare exercise of reinvention—a collection of one and the same book, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, a crucial text for the Spanish language and obligatory reading in the school curricula, even in Costa Rica.

Collecting all existing copies of the book is both a way of breaking the colonial phantom of the language and its origin, Spain, and a way of constituting a singular library, where one can only read that text. Then another book is produced, one that does not actually refer to the classic text but to the covers of its different editions.

The covers are text, a continuous exercise in interpreting the figure of Don Quixote and Sancho. Flipping through them, they aim to activate the imagination regarding the text, its cultural status, its philosophy, and its relationship to the practice of art today. The sum of the library and the book of covers prefigure a kind of artistic research concerned with the transcendental conditions of knowledge, that is, with the a priori that make possible empirical knowledge in general and artistic knowledge in particular. What is still knowable? How can the relations between ideas and things, ideas and ideas, things and things, things and beings, beings and ideas, beings and creatures be challenged? Speculation is a possible method.

It is not by chance that Florence Jung decided to study this pioneer Modern “novel.” It has to do with a key question we need to confront again and anew: the production of the possible. To speculate is to let the imagination take a place in our working methodology. What distinguishes an artistic practice that undertakes the risk of engaging in speculation—as a method rather than an idle diversion—is its capacity to make clear that the reality of the empirical existence of things and beings is nothing without the irreality of its value.

There is no purpose for art, but it is its force, its movement, as Deleuze would put it, towards the irreal that makes thinking possible. Producing new hypotheses is crucial to culture. Space is not the result of critical reason (rather, critical reason produces diagnostics), since space only mirrors an already existing space. But by provoking the appearance of a different logic, critical reason will help us to relate differently to the real.

This project constitutes, as well, a strange colonial to postcolonial exercise. El Quijote, as a mandatory reading in the schools, not only in Central America but in Spain and many of the Spanish-speaking countries, is not a novel any more but a vehicle of a norm: how to speak and how to feel Spanish. Therefore, collecting these text-novel books constitutes an act of freedom and also, by concentrating on their covers, a liberating library, since the images and not the words take the central position.

This book of covers, this library-exhibition represented a wish to turn art into a mandate of the general will and common good by reflecting differently on the past and the nature of a commonality: the language. It takes to almost wild lengths the idea of service (a public library), of mediation, to a public in transit through a familiar substance—a book they all read or should have read in school—teeming with aesthetic and political redundancies, in order to boost to the full the idea of a single culture, of society as a contract that we must all comply with, of a wish to bow to a common good defined by a group in a historical and economic context that is now increasingly remote and which, for this very reason, is more present in a type of intellectual life akin to a mediocre imagination and ready to believe that things will go back to being “like before.”

The importance of this exhibition, in my view, lies in the exuberance with which the artist arranged all the elements that conditioned the mechanisms of trust in a reading of cultural bonding that remains capable of generating an idea of continuity. The ultimate value of this exercise lies in its ability to situate all the cultural apparatus that surrounds an event—the collecting of a book—in a place in which this ingenuous gesture will be able to make the machine function at unexpected maximum. This produces an idea of a new cultural exuberance that reveals the absolute apex of our humanist ideas of the common good, but which also pushes us, if not today, then in a tomorrow yet to come, to find a way of contradicting it.

Text by Chus Martínez. Born in Spain, Martínez has a background in philosophy and art history. Currently she is the Head of the Institute of Art of the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel, Switzerland. Before she was the Chief Curator at El Museo del Barrio, New York, and dOCUMENTA (13) Head of Department and Member of Core Agent Group.

The exhibition ran from July 28th until August 20th 2016 at Despacio in San José, Costa Rica. The opening took place on July 28th from 6pm - 9pm at Despacio.

Exhibition reviews: ArtCritical (in English) / La Nación (in Spanish)

All the Lights We Cannot See

ArchivedHappened in April 2016
38.9993338000
125.7520169000
Yanggakdo International Hotel

Nine artists were invited to exhibit in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital of the unknown. The entire project, from the art on display to the story behind it, was committed to silence. Besides a very limited set of installation views, only one trace of the exhibit was allowed to surface: an enigmatic mention on the artists’ CVs that will absolutely call attention to itself in the CV-driven language of the art world. When asked to elaborate, the artists’ response can only be:

“I’m not supposed to talk about it.”

Thoughts
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With nothing to tell, will the exhibition speak for itself?

The exhibition, which went virtually unnoticed by the general public, was held April 9 – 12, 2016 on the 23rd floor of the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. It was conceived of by Random Institute and curated by Anna Hugo and Sandino Scheidegger.

A manipulated and reproduced issue of the state-owned and hard to get Pyongyang Times serves as the official exhibition catalogue. This special edition is strictly limited to 100 unique numbered copies and can be ordered from Mark Pezinger Verlag.

Works of art exhibited:

  • Sulking Souvenir, 2013 Clifford E. Bruckmann, CH
  • Satirical Coin, 2016 Thomas Mailaender, FR
  • Birdie, 2016 Ragnheidur Karadottir, IS
  • Naked Bombers, 2016 Simon Mullan, GB/DE
  • Movement No.6, 2016 Juan Betancurth, CO
  • Modesty or Surprise, 2016 Alfredo Aceto, CH
  • Jung43, 2015 Florence Jung, CH
  • Untitled, 2016 Achraf Touloub, FR
  • Personal Chocolate, 2016 Alison Kuo, US

No One Belongs Here More Than You

ArchivedHappened in March 2016
9.9336674000
-84.0741834000
Despacio

It’s no secret that some moments slip away into the mental archive forever, while others vanish before we fully sense them. Random Institute presents at Despacio conceptual works spanning the past 40 years by artists who understand how to capture and create ingenious moments that inform our memories and provoke our deepest ruminations.

Sometimes it’s the small, silent moments that tell the story.

Thoughts
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Our most fulfilling experiences connect us with what we are really searching for. They lead us to ask, what are we seeking when visiting an exhibition?

This question has generated many answers over time and remains significant today in an ever-changing world of influences and expectations. It is also all the more relevant to Central America, a region with limited outlets for exploring art beyond national museums.

It is the visitor’s responsibility to manage his or her expectations. Interpreting art requires time for personal contemplation. Conceptual artists inspire us to pay attention to fleeting moments, and we at Random Institute feel those fleeting moments may give birth to stories, myths, and in some cases even new realities.

All of the works on display in No One Belongs Here More Than You playfully interpret moments in time. Sometimes they focus on the absence of something during a significant moment, and other times they suggest that the moment is indicative of something greater. Regardless of their differences, each artist activates the viewer’s imagination through his or her work by breathing new life into a handful of moments that will continue to inform what happens next.

Ultimately, we interpret and revisit artworks in the context of time, reminding us that great works of art are living things and exceptionally timeless.

The exhibition runs from March 3rd until April 24th 2016 at Despacio in San José, Costa Rica. (FB Event)

Things May Get Out of Hand

ArchivedHappened in November 2014
48.8866707000
2.3460011000
22 Rue Muller

It started with an innocent questionnaire; everything else depended on one’s beliefs. The questionnaire measures one's penchant for adventure. Those with the highest scores were loaded into two vans. Without their knowledge or consent, they were driven to a lonely sheep farm near the German border. In the name of adventure, they were left there alone until the next morning.

Would you have gotten kidnapped? Take the test.

Thoughts
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“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
—T.S. Eliot

The evening was conceived by Florence Jung and Random Institute at the invitation of Mathieu Cénac and 22RUEMULLER. The intervention is called Jung&Scheidegger.

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“Nous n'aurons de cesse d'explorer,
Et la fin de toutes nos explorations
Sera de revenir à l'endroit d'où nous sommes partis
Et de connaître le lieu pour la première fois.”
—T.S. Eliot

La soirée est conçue par Random Institute & Florence Jung, sur invitation de Mathieu Cénac et de l’espace d’art 22rueMuller.

––––––––––

L’évènement se déroule dans le cadre du cycle d’expositions ABSENT proposé par Mathieu Cénac:

Lorsque l’individu de la préhistoire apposait sur les murs encore sombres des cavernes les ébauches de la chronique figurée de son quotidien, il esquissait alors pour nous la compréhension de sa condition transitoire au monde. Par cette distinction quasi originaire de l’espace et du temps, l’Homo Sapiens — en profilant l’image de la vie des choses en leur absence — calquait ainsi la conscience de sa propre finitude. Les com- mencements de la représentation se proposaient en réponse à une apparition, celle d’un sujet imageant en désir d’éternité.

Dans un âge, où le règne du virtuel nous confronte à une surabondance de signes et d’images, comment nous est-il possible de penser notre constitution au monde ? Le visible est en effet soumis à une matérialité constante nourrie par un flot continu d’informations réifiées. L’inlassable production de nouveaux outils de communication nous contraint ainsi à une simple signalétique du voir, nous guidant presque aveuglement dans le simulacre d’un groupe construit autour de la seule possibilité d’une connexion permanente. L’expérience du voir et du donner à voir se contiennent dès lors au sein de limites tangibles où, à aucun moment, ne se révèlent leurs liens inhérents avec l’Invisible.

[apsɑ̃] propose de nous confronter à une forme de « noli me tangere » de la création contemporaine où artistes et curateurs se rendent invisibles au profit de la seule existence de l’œuvre et du spectateur. Par une dialectique de l’effacement et du manque, le protocole d’exposition se propose comme moyen d’intensifier à la fois le présent, la présence et la présentation de la rencontre du regard à l’objet.

Texte de Mathieu Cénac

The kidnapping took place on Nov 28th at 6pm at the art space 22RUEMULLER in Paris and ended 16 hours later.

Take the test: English / French

Tout est bon dans le poisson

ArchivedHappened in May 2014
47.3756400000
8.5290660000
Réunion

For two nights only, the Réunion was transformed into a fish market, occupied by Charly, Paris’s Michelin award-winning fish vendor. Peddling fish from the art space’s front window, Charly’s quotidian business collided with the world of art, as nightly performances toured underground cultures and explored the limits of new exhibition formats.

Gourmands meet fringe performance art.

Thoughts
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Participating artists included Florence Jung, Saskia Edens, Nils Amadeus Lange with Mira Kandathil & Annina Machaz, Manuel Scheiwiller with Melanie Wirz & Nils Amadeus Lange, Marcel Meury, Ivan Blagajcevic as Evalyn, and Thylacine. Curated by Sandino Scheidegger.

The culinary concept has been created by Han Lo (Untitled Group).

Images by Juliette Chrétien, Ian White, and Franziska Scheidegger.

The fish market and performance festival took place on May 8th and 9th, 2014 at Réunion in Zurich, Switzerland. A second edition takes place in April 2017 in Costa Rica.

Sandino ScheideggerJohanna SchaibleBookRamon StrickerJean-Dominique NgankamHoiko SchutterVinzenz MeynerRenaud LodaSebastien VerdonMarion QuartierLaurentino RodriguezNicola RuffoSimone HuserCarlos GonzalezAndreas WagnerSascha LinglingMonika StalderAnnika EbneterHans WirzChristian MesenhollLukas ErardRenato AebiLilian KlosePhillipp SiegenthalerChristophe KuenzlerMarcel MeuryEmanuel SenAnna ErnstJrene RolliRomano StrebelBarbara StreuliStephan AebischerToby MatthiesenAnna RhynEli RhynLorenz HuserMagdalena OberliMichael BaeriswylSimon GrossenbacherJulia WeissDiana Abi KhalilMarco StrickerArnim MahlkeFabian NiklausLuca MüllerResearchLindsey CashMarlen HaushoferMarcel BroodthaersMartha NussbaumMalcolm McLowryMartin SuterMcElweeMichael MooreN.R.KleinfieldNiels van MaanenNietzschePaul D. MillerPaul ÉluardPaul McCarthyPeter MountfordPlatoPopeProustR. P. 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