ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012
Ursula Biemann

* in Zurich (CH), lives and works in Zurich

X-Mission, 2008

The Swiss artist Ursula Biemann occupies a position within the canon of contemporary artists whose approach lies in an intermediary region that combines documentation, theory, political practice, and aesthetic reflection. In her hitherto nine video works she attempts to find a path of artistic knowledge for exploring cultural contexts. They constantly confront issues that are closely bound up with current critical debates on globalization.

In her video essay X-Mission, she describes the possibilities of a cultural and political representation of Palestinian refugees and thereby ventures upon highly controversial political terrain. In five chapters and a prologue, she develops a picture of the various discourses in which the status of Palestinian refugees is negotiated: the refugee as legal person, as symbolic figure in a state of crisis, as myth, and as refugee in post-national space. Biemann deliberately works on the border between fact and fiction: she links short interview sequences with pictures shot on the spot, found-footage, war games, and excerpts from news broadcasts, and shows them in different contexts. The result is that certainties are questioned and become unreliable, opening new possibilities for re-thinking the figure of the refugee. (KB)


X-Mission, 2008