Francesco Urbano Ragazzi

Kenneth Goldsmith
Hillary. The Hillary Clinton emails

Despar Teatro Italia, Venice
May 9 – Nov. 24

Curated by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi

Hillary. The Hillary Clinton emails

Despar Teatro Italia opens the door to HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails, a solo exhibition by the artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith organized by the curatorial team Francesco Urbano Ragazzi.

The project will be inaugurated on 9th May 2019 in conjunction with the 58th Biennale of Visual Arts in Venice thanks to the combined commitment of The Internet Saga and Zuecca Projects, with the collaboration of Circuitozero, The Bauers, NERO and with the support of Despar Aspiag Service. The exhibition will be held in the Cinema Teatro Italia which, at the beginning of the last century, was the second and largest cinema on the island. Following a meticulous restoration of its frescoes and a careful structural renovation, the building was converted into a supermarket by Despar in 2016. In this spectacular environment with its stratified history, Kenneth Goldsmith reflects on the intermingling between the private and public spaces in the age of mass digitalization. His starting point is the case which, exactly ten years ago, changed irrevocably the notions of privacy and transparency, propaganda and democracy in Western politics.

It was in 2009 when the first doubts arose regarding a private server that Hillary Clinton was using for sending e-mails during her term as Secretary of State. Although the American senator has never been incriminated or convicted for any crime, the episode certainly contributed to her defeat – and the consequent victory of Donald Trump – during the Presidential Elections in 2016.

Using the techniques of appropriation and collage theorized in his book Uncreative Writing, Kenneth Goldsmith makes public for the first time in printed format all the e-mails which, according to WikiLeaks, were sent from the domain between 2009 and 2013. The almost 60,000 pages of documentation are printed in double copy and are on display in the gallery and in the lobby on the second floor of Despar Teatro Italia. The pile of papers is rather unimpressive, rebutting Trump’s efforts to make them monumental. In this way, Goldsmith creates the greatest poem of the 21st century, an anti-monument to the folly of Trump’s heinous smear campaign against Clinton.

HILLARY also has the aim of recreating the original function of the Despar Teatro Italia. The big cinema screen which today is above the gastronomic counter of the supermarket, will be used to project videos and films. The programming of this temporary cinema will include a selection of works from UbuWeb, the famous portal which Kenneth Goldsmith founded in 1996 to diffuse avant-garde films and poems online. In the programmes—which will be transmitted every day from 6 to 7pm and which will be changed weekly—there will be, among others, works by Peggy Ahwesh, Sophia Al-Maria, Johanna Bruckner, Alex Da Corte, Cheryl Donegan, Shadi Habib Allah, Bek Hyunjin, Lev Manovich, Alix Pearlstein, People Like Us, Christine Rebet, Sabrina Röthlisberger, Sara Sackner, Leah Singer, Stan VanDerBeek, Jennifer West, Jordan Wolfson.

During the inauguration of HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails at Despar Teatro Italia on 9th May, the catalogue of the exhibition published by NERO with texts by Kenneth Goldsmith, Francesco Urbano Ragazzi and the philosopher Emanuele Coccia will be made available. Furthermore, the publishing house will present the first translation in the Italian language of Uncreative Writing and will host an opening event at Despar Teatro Italia.
The opening reception of the show will start at 7,30pm. At 9:30pm the Italian premiere of THE MIRROR, a new live performance by People Like Us, will be presented.
In Autumn there will be a seminar starting from I Declare a Permanent State of Happiness, a book by Goldsmith made up of the author’s notes to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s . The seminar will be organised under the scientific direction of professors Luigi Perissinotto and Roberta Dreon of the Ca’ Foscari University.