June 22, 2022

Bedtime for Democracy

Kounosuke Kawakami Laboratory at Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts

Winston Smith, Bedtime for Democracy, 1986. 31cm x 31cm. © Winston Smith.

Nuotama Bodomo, Afronauts, 2014. Single-channel video, 14min. © Nuotama Bodomo.

Leticia Agudo, After The Revolution, 2008. Single-channel video, 52min. © Leticia Agudo.

Bread & Puppet Theater, Birdcatcher In Hell, 1971. Single-channel video, 25min. © Bread & Puppet Theater.

Lizzie Borden, Born in Flames, 1983. Single-channel video, 80min. © Lizzie Borden.

Heiny Srour, The Hour of Liberation Has Arrived, 1974. Single-channel video, 65min. © Heiny Srour.

Martha Rosler, Martha Rosler Reads Vogue, 1982. Single-channel video, 26min, © Martha Rosler.

Toshio Matsumoto, Anpojoyaku(The Japan-US Security Treaty), 18min, 1959. Single-channel video,©Toshio Matsumoto.

Artists: Leticia Agudo, Nuotama Bodomo, Lizzie Borden, Bread & Puppet Theater, Wendy Brown, Naomi Klein, Toshio Matsumoto, Martha Rosler, Winston Smith, Heiny Srour.

Kounosuke Kawakami Laboratory as part of Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts is pleased to announce the exhibition Bedtime for Democracy.

On their album “Bedtime for Democracy”, the American punk rock band The Dead Kennedys shouted that they were living in “Babylon's mirage conveyor belt of fleshdunce” in “electric fences for those prison camps they call homelands,” which sang of the unsung complicity of democracy and capitalism.

The title of the album given to this exhibition comes from the 1951 comedy film starring Ronald Reagan Bedtime for Bonzo and is an indictment of Reaganomics, neo-liberalism, war, information overload, the entertainment industry (leisure and consumption), and machoism and its sham rebellion. At the same time, it suggests a concern for those at the margin, for refugees and queer people.

With these perspectives, the project will present an exhibition by ten artists, activists and philosophers. The works suggest a breakdown in the political mythology of democracy, illuminating the marginalised whose voices are drowned out by the current questioning of the decision-making process in democracy. Also, from a geopolitical perspective, the project takes up works that illuminate the dispersion and sharing of power within groups, starting from popular disobedience, and explores how we can regain the sovereignty that has been taken away from democracy by principles of neoliberalism. We will also look at how democracy can be transformed into a politics of resistance.

Kounosuke Kawakami is an artist, researcher, curator, and currently associate professor at the Kurashiki University of Science and The Arts. His curatorial approach focuses on: artist’s or collective practices; re-interpreting historical contexts into the contemporary via the exhibition format; and looking at artists who question current political and social conditions and perceptions through art. Exhibitions include: PUNK! The Revolution of Everyday Life 2021, Reinventing the ‘F’ Word – Feminism! 2020; Guerrilla Girls, Solar: A Meltdown, 2020; Ho Rui An, Solar: A Meltdown 2020, Anton Vidokle, Russian Cosmism: Trilogy 2019.

KAG 1-2-3 Achi, Kurashiki, Okayama. 10am–5pm June 26–Aug 28, 2022.
BUoY 49-11 Senjyunakacho, Adachi-ku, Tokyo. 11am–7pm Sep 17–Sep 25, 2022.

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