Oblivion

Zsolt Asztalos, For Disappeared Memories

“The faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.” -George Washington

One day, we will all be consigned to the mansions of rest. Think on this during the daylight and remind yourself not to waste the waking hours you are given. There is no need to live so fully that you spend your time seeking the next thing, rather try to delight in the small pleasures that happen every moment of every day. Indeed boredom is a gift to one who has no time left.

Ahlem Kebir lives and works in Boumerdes, Algeria. Her small city is near Algiers but removed enough to be more peaceful.

She is the co-founder of a digital magazine called Ineffable art and culture, a multi-language place for all to participate. It is based on the principle of promoting arts and culture and popularizing them. Kebir and her colleagues at the magazine noticed that it is always the same people who attend art events and pay attention to the art scene. This made them sad and they wished to find a way to bring art and cultural heritage into people’s daily life. A digital magazine was the answer.

Writers contributing to the magazine can write in their own language about the topics that interest them and readers get the perspective of those outside the world of formal art reporting. The magazine supports a small reading committee in order to ensure that they produce quality work from a broad range of people.

At first, the magazine was posted on Facebook in order to reach the younger generation in Algiers. Also early on, the issues were posted on another third part website until the magazine finally got its own website.

Some of the contributors to Ineffable have captured their audiences attention. One such contributor is a medical student who writes about literature and has garnered quite a following through the site. The same contributor releases a list of must-read books.

Another contributor is an artist who talks about his art and his personal experience with it. This helps the audience feel closer to art and understand this artist’s work. In general, Kebir finds that her readers enjoy discovering underground art.

To hear more about Ahlem Kebir’s digital magazine as well as her discussion of art and culture in Algiers including the struggle between traditional culture and modernity, listen to the complete interview.

Zsolt Asztalos is a Hungarian artist living and working in Budapest. His previous work focused on the past, in part how it has been redefined throughout history. All of his work came back to this focal point.

For one project, he set up blank marble slabs in an Italian city where WWI ended. The title of the work was Monument for Disappeared Memories. The work spoke to those memories and people who are not known, but whose memories have disappeared from history. The multitudes of anonymous dead and past moments. At the opening of Monument for Disappeared Memories an older viewer approached Asztalos in tears having been deeply moved by the piece.

This project was organized by the Italian government involving 12 international artists and curated by the director of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. The artists involved all came from countries that fought in WWI. A century ago they fought as enemies and during the art project they worked as peers. The resulting work remains in place.

Another work, The Renovation of a Black Flag, is an installation and video work. The piece is based on a black flag purchased by Asztalos. In Hungary, when someone dies, sometimes a black flag is placed on the building where they lived. Asztalos purchased an antique black flag that had faded to gray. He painted and renovated the flag and shot a video of the process. The film was screened during the exhibition of the flag along with still images of the process of renovation.

Asztalos’s focus on memories and the past weaves throughout his work. He says he does not grasp the exact meaning of why we die. His work strives to examine what happens to all of us as we are born, live and then die thus disappearing.

To hear more about Zslot Asztalos’s work and his thoughts on passing and disappearance, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Savor the small moments, devour the big ones.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Ahlem Kebir is reading The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. Her digital magazine Ineffable art and culture can be read online.

Opportunities

The Adolph and Esther Gottleib Foundation is accepting applications for individual support grants. The foundation awards grants to mature artists which is defined as those who have been working for 20 years or more in a mature phase of art. Last year, the foundation awarded $25,000 grants to 12 artists. For complete details and to apply, visit the foundation’s website. Deadline for application submissions is December 15.

Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.

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