Vulture and its …

Nikos Papastergiadis


immie Durham was one of the feature artists of Hou Hanru’s 2009 Lyon Biennale. Hanru had also invited me to contribute a catalogue essay for the exhibition and to speak at the symposium on the theme of the Diaspora. After the symposium I spent a day walking around the city marveling at the way Hanru had woven together a diverse range of artists to revisit the theme of the spectacle of everyday life. Jimmie had made two pieces. Inside the exhibition space there were a series of platforms with surveillance cameras on the protruding scaffolding. Meanwhile, just before the entrance of the main venue, perched on a long black steel pole, there is an aluminium vulture. 

After passing on my congratulations, I added one little anecdote that could serve as a future amendment. The free guide description of Jimmie Durham’s ‘Look/Regarde’, and ‘Thinking of You 2009’, describes the vulture as a ‘bird of prey’. Further on, the function of vulture is described as ‘playing the guardian of the established order more surely than all the cameras in the world’. Well let me tell you a story…

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