Aleksandra Mir

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Born in Lublin, Poland in 1967, raised in Sweden, and now lives in New York and Sicily.
Studied media and communications in her hometown of Gothenburg in Sweden.
1989 Mir came to New York to go to the School of Visual Arts.
1991 she switched over to the New School for Social Research and did cultural anthropology in the graduate school.

Does not have set studio practice, but works in the medium that best suits the project she is working on at the time.  Wants to "produce work that can respond to the unique context without conveying a preconceived message".

Her anthropology background continues to influence her work.  She does laborious research for each project and travels the world in search for items for each production.

 Finding Photographs



 

This pamphlet was produced as Mir's catalogue for the Socle du Monde Biennial in Herning 2004. Finding Photographs is a self-described "poetic manifesto / descriptive workbook" on Mir's view and approach of found photography.

"One of my favorite slogans from the 70's, is the one in which women proclaimed they did not want to give birth, since there were already so many poor children to take care of in the world.  This is also how one could approach photography.  Why take new pictures, when we live in an abundance of them already, and where most are irrelevant and forgotten?"
 
"Reproduction and mass distribution are as rewarding to me as when I get to ski down a slope I have climbed laboriously myself.  This is where I know I have put the lost photographs back in circulation again and can send them back into the unknown.  Culture stays alive this way."
 
 

 Stonehenge II Proposal

Mir has proposed constructing an exact replica of Stonehenge a few miles away from the actual one. She believes that since Stonehenge has been turned into a commercial venture for tourists but that you can't actually visit, only look at from a distance, this would perform the same function, allowing the actual Stonehenge to get some of its dignity back.

 
"The Stonehenge proposal got a lot of interesting criticism. One of the best-or worst-said something like, 'Go home to Las Vegas'."
 

 Cinema for the Unemployed, 1999

 
Produced for the Momentum Art Festival, Norway, May 1998, and took place at Tivoli Amfi, an abandoned cinema theater in Moss. Mir showed a series of Hollywood disaster films, running them only during work hours, for the city's unemployed.
The local unemployment service's support of the event made possible the production of the poster publicize the event and the 'Disaster Guide', a pamphlet serving as the project's program and documentary residue.

 
THE FILMS: The Towering Inferno ('74), Hurricane ('79), Meteor ('79), Airport '70, Airport '79: The Concorde, The Day After ('83), Avalanche ('78), Daylight ('96), Twister ('96), Meteor ('79), Volcano ('97), Earthquake ('74), The Poseidon Adventure ('72), Independence Day ('96), When Time Ran Out ('80). Shown courtesy of United International Pictures, Hollywood Classics and Twentieth Century Fox, London.

 Woman on the moon, 1999 (set on a Dutch Beach)

Woman on the moon, 1999 (set on a Dutch Beach)

Aleksandra Mir's most high profile and biggest project to date, was 'First Woman on the Moon' (1999), a grand scale collaborative operation produced by Casco Projects that turned part of the Dutch coast into a sandy lunar landscape, complete with craters, a giant set for the cinematic recreation of an event that never happened. A group of female astronauts planted the American flag on the skyline, smiled and waved for the cameras, in an act that generated both admiration but also suspicion due to the size of the undertaking in relation to the low budget norms of critical contemporary art. The production was put together with around $4000.

This project happened to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the original Moon landing, which took place in 1969. Mir was invited by Casco Projects, to do something site-specific.

A conspiracy theorist even came in to talk about how the original Moon landing was all a Hollywood creation.

 
"It was a conscious way of trying to match the media reality of the Moon landings that only twelve people in the world have actually experienced. For everybody else, it's become a mediated reality. So I wanted to work on that level as well and very consciously invited the media, a strategy that was hugely criticized in Holland for flirting and catering to the press. The art world's spectacle-complex was brought out in the open. "
 First Woman on the Moon Video 
 

 Daily News September 11, 2002

New York's Hometown Newspaper. Printed in an edition of 1,000 on the first anniversary of '9-11', to reclaim Aleksandra Mir's birthday on the same day.

Mir's project was based on an open editorial policy, which intended to confront the media control of original 9-11 coverage. It included over 100 contributions on every possible subject, which she requested from her friends and accepted as birthday gifts.   
 
The invitation Aleksandra Mir sent out to her friends:
         
May 11, 2002

Dear Friend,

            September 11th is my Birthday, but to celebrate it this year will be a double effort. So to mark and reclaim the date, I am publishing a tabloid newspaper and organizing a party.
Everyone I know is invited to contribute articles and images to this. Gavin Brown in New York and Cornelia Grassi in London are the publishers, and I am the editor, with the policy of printing ANYTHING you send me, in the manner of accepting a gift and to simply celebrate that we are around still working.
I am not looking for any rehash of what the media has produced and served us, but for stuff that fell through the cracks or took off on its own: The personal, the strange and the beautiful, changing, maybe not, our lives this past year.
Stories can come in any form, and on any subject you see fit, not to be addressed to me, but as in a real paper, to the world. Texts of 1-500 words, b/w drawings and photographs are welcome, everything to be arbitrarily combined and set in a tabloid newspaper format. Think: The Daily News with columns, notices, ads, local and international letters, gossip, classifieds (see categories in any newspaper), news and reviews, lots of pictures and with a headline that reads: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
An average newspaper of this size consists of about 250 items and I have asked 120 people to contribute, so you can send more things than one. The edition of the paper will be 1,000. All contributors will receive a copy and the reminder will be sold in the respective galleries to pay for production.
The release / birthday party will take place at Gavin Brown's enterprise, NYC, on September 11, 8pm, by invitation only. This will be a potluck dinner with open mike, so we ask everyone to bring food, things to say and entertainment. Drinks are courtesy of the gallery. All contributors to the newspaper will be welcome.
It would be really great to receive something from you and to see you at the party if you are in town. All contributions should preferably come via e-mail: birthdaypaper11@hotmail.com, the earlier the better of course. The deadline is August 11.
Feel free to forward this mail.

            Greetings!

            Aleksandra Mir, Editor
            Gavin Brown's enterprise, NYC & Greengrassi gallery, London, Publishers

 

 Localismos, 2004

 
 Summer 2004, Aleksandra Mir took part in 'Localismos' a residency program that got twenty artists (Mexican and foreigners) to work in the rundown historical center of Mexico City. Perros Negros, the organizers, created the workshop as a way for the to engage directly with the materials of this local area and create works particular to the context. This was intended to be a means of examining globalization "not as an isolated phenomena, but as a union of localities.
 

 New Designs: Birth, Death, and Abortion 2005

Working with political themes in her 2005 exhibition for Andrew Roth Inc.
 

   Newsroom 2007, Mary Boone Gallery


 Newsroom's setup was simple yet took a long time to produce: Mir and her assistants ransacked the New York Public Library, spending months copying ten thousand New York Daily News and New York Post covers from the fifteen-year period of the title, an interval that roughly coincides with that of the artist's residence in the city. Then, they set about reproducing more than two hundred of the most banal, deplorable, or just plain memorable front pages, as Mir put it in her press release, "new art and old news" daily. Visitors making numerous visits to the show would have found an often changing exhibition.

 Newsroom

"Aleksandra Mir seems to go out of her way to destroy the convention that good art is made by an artist in one space and delivered to a quiet viewing public in another. Mir's work is disruptive and ever-evolving; audience reactions are often just as crucial as the initial piece itself. And, best of all, her work refuses to stick to national borders, observe the codes, follow the peace, comb its hair, and keep to itself."

 Her art is described as being "built on the idea of organized movement, taking the form of collaborative operations that are ultimately as much about the activity of bringing diverse groups together with a common goal as the final result itself".

Works with relational aesthetics - "relations between people and the world, by way of aesthetic objects" (Nicolas Bourriaud) 

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