Seminar 'The Demon of Comparisons'

A Project by Electric Palm Tree

Date: Saturday 4 April 2009 from 11:00 till 18:00

Venue: the Doelenzaal in the UB of the UvA, Singel 421-427 in Amsterdam

Language: English

Entrance fee: 7 euros

Reservation is required:

Speakers: Michèle Faguet, Patrick D. Flores, Vit Havranek, Hiroshi Yoshioka, Ahmad bin Mashadi and David Riff.

Curator: Cosmin Costinas in collaboration with Kyongfa Che and Binna Choi.

The seminar is conceived of as a space of dialogue between a number of writers, researchers, philosophers, and curators who have been committed in their practice to question underlying processes of history writing in a shifting cannon and a changing geography of artistic practice. Working on narratives and practices that lie on the borders of a (Western) canonical representation of art and its political dimensions, often at the fault line between forms of modernism, avant-garde urgencies, and the articulations of the political in the different cultural landscapes they are interested in, the speakers share an interest in the critical tools to be employed in their endeavours. Focusing on spaces with histories as different as Latin America, Eastern Europe, and South East Asia, the seminar will explore the ambivalence of comparative approaches, with all their strategic promises and critical traps.

Michèle Faguet (Columbia) graduated at the Columbia University's M.A. Art History program. Faguet is the Founding Director of an independent non-profit art centre 'Espacio La Rebeca' in Bogota. The mission of 'Espacio La Rebeca' is to create a space for dialogue among artists from the diverse artistic scenes of Bogota.

Patrick D. Flores (1969, Philippines) is Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the University of the Philippines and is a curator at the National Art Gallery of the Philippine National Museum in Manila. He writes on Philippine art, colonial art and cinema.

Vit Havranek (Czech Republic) is an art historian and curator based in Prague, Czech Republic. Since 1998 he has been working as a curator for the Municipal Gallery in Prague. He lectures on Contemporary Art at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague.

Hiroshi Yoshioka (Japan) is an artist who studied Computer Music and Media Art at IAMAS (International Academy of Media Art and Science). He is a part-time lecturer at Nagoya University.

Ahmad bin Mashadi (1966, Singapore) is an art historian and curator. He is director of the NUS (National University Singapore) Museum in Singapore. Before this position he worked as a senior curator at Singapore Art Museum (SAM).

David Riff studied Cultural Anthropology at SUNY New Paltz (US) and Slavonic Studies and Art History at the Ruhr University Bochum (Germany). Riff is an art critic and theoretician and participated in the 52nd Venice Biennale in collaboration with Dmitry Gutov.

The seminar is connected to the exhibition 'The Demon of Comparisons' from 28 March till 17 May 2009 in Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. For more information please mail to

'The Demon of Comparisons' is in dialogue with the exhibition 'The Antagonistic Link' running at Casco, Utrecht, through the same period.

The exhibition and the seminar 'The Demon of Comparisons' are organised in collaboration with the SMBA team consisting of: Kerstin Winking, Fleur Flohil, Debbie Marbus, Jan Meijer and curator Jelle Bouwhuis.

Electric Palm Tree is an initiative of Kyongfa Che and Binna Choi, joined by Cosmin Costinas, and established in early 2008 as an ongoing project for transnational artistic research. For further inquiries, please visit

Electric Palm Tree projects in the period of 2008 and 2009 are made possible by the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture, in the framework of 'Intendant Culturele Diversiteit'. The seminar is also supported by the Prince Claus Fund.