Change of the World starting in Tel Aviv
curated by Massimiliano Scuderi
Change of the World starting in Tel Aviv
curated by Massimiliano Scuderi
The author of this show is not an American named Peter Fend.
The author is also not mainly a group of artists called TVGOV. This group, made up now of Sofia Bastidas, Guillermo Leon Gomez, Agustina Woodgate and Peter Fend, was formed in Miami in 2015.
TVGOV was formed at the initiative of Gean Moreno at Cannonball in Miami, and now at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Moreno asked Fend to come there and set up a project which, as he, and not Fend, selected, about an art-based system of government and public-finance, or taxation, and therefore “steering” of the economy, called Eco-Tax. The Moreno initiative meshed with his inviting to Cannonball also a strong proponent of watershed management, especially according to continental or land-mass divides in relation to the Sea, Brian Holmes, and a strong, well-published proponent of soil conservation and a different economic system that the Keynesian/neoliberal one in which the industrial world now works, Stan Cox. The initiative also meshed with work by architects there, at Cannonball, under the lead-ership of another guest teacher, Suhail Malik. Much was going on un-der Gean Moreno’s leadership that would lead to a venture called TVGOV.
What appears in this show results from the work at Cannonball for eco-tax, along with persistent reference to saltwater basins. With TVGOV, four artists are contractually joined to launch eco-tax re-gimes. The label TVGOV has been adopted as shorthand for a Direct Democracy objective: TELEVISION GOVERNMENT. In Italian, this would be GOVERNO TELEVISA. In German, as displayed in early 1994 at the then-existing Kunsthalle Berlin, the term is FERNSEHREGIERUNG. The listed author of that Berlin show was Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corporation. The name of that firm has changed since then, to Ocean Earth Development Corporation. The chief reason was to avoid any confusion with an entity of similar scope and governmen-tal ambition, but much more established, called the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris.
All these activities have been ongoing. There’s TVGOV in Ft. Worth, Texas, meeting in July. There’s Ocean Earth with projects in Milan,
maybe Genoa, maybe Newtown Creek, NY, and Las Vegas. There’s Ocean
Earth meeting in Plymouth, UK to revive and build up its global ocean daily survey program, called GLOBAL FEED. As for TVGOV, ambitions are centered on finding governments or territorial jurisdictions that will pay for its tax-assessment program, based on three sources: any tract of property, monitored down to 1-m2 resolution; any river or saltwater basin, assessed as a whole, largely at the water outlet; any body of
“moving land,” being a vehicle, boat or aircraft, charged according to size and fuel consumption, in both type and amount. TVGOV has sought a paying market, a willing government or jurisdiction, in: Puerto
Rico; southern Florida; parts of Greece, including the Athens Basin;
Argentina, in toto, and extending even into Mato Grosso, Paraguay and Uruguay, with special focus now on the Rio Matanza Basin, south of
central Buenos Aires; Japan; parts of the US with fairly coherent wa-ter jurisdictions, like California, Rhode Island and Iowa; Cuba, be-cause it can set up an entirely new form of land taxation, as part of its current transition beyond Fidel Castro. TVGOV seeks a break-through anywhere in the world that welcomes an economy that conserves the soil and water, and charges people for how much they burden or damage such essential resources, as against what happens now with taxation, encouraging people to exhaust Nature’s bounty.
TVGOV, then, has an agenda.
But this main author of this show, the entity which makes it possible and interesting, is-—or appears to be—the Government of the State of Israel.
As it so happens, two curators from Israel, aware of the work for mass media with satellite data done by a company called Ocean Earth, cited in Documenta in 1987 and 1992, asked the founder of Ocean Earth, an alleged artist (actually, Alberti-doctrine architect) named “Peter Fend,” to show examples of Ocean Earth work in a group exhibi-tion entitled “Decolonized Skies.” The venue was a non-profit space in NY called Apex Art. The examples shown had been produced for the Es-sex Street Gallery in NY, several years earlier, under a title as-cribed to German government statements about Fend and Ocean Earth, “Ueber die Grenze,” meaning “out of bounds.” The general opinion of all the Western governments encountered by Ocean Earth, as spoken for by Peter Fend, or by Ingo Guenther, or by Eve Vaterlaus and Joan Wal-temeth, or in its two press conferences at the United Nations, or by Sante Scardillo, an Italian national, has been negative, even hos-tile: Ocean Earth, in showing what goes truly in the world, with sat-ellite data of great accuracy, and revealing facts about crisis spots that are 180 degrees opposite to what’s reported in The New York Times (and other outlets?) is “out of bounds.” That’s because, time and again, the truth is not permitted. It’s not permitted to be known, or said. This led to the subtitle for the show at Essex Street Gallery: ‘MAY NOT BE SEEN OR READ OR DONE.”
In the Ocean Earth history, there have been arrests, three trials (one, at a US Federal court, dropped on “national security grounds”), a ban on saying anything that really happened with the company in Germany, or with certain Middle East countries, a car-bombing of a publicly-declared colleague, and.. lots of “adventure,” all in the “Free World.” It’s fun to talk about such adventures in places like Moscow and Beijing. In the latter country, China, conversation picked up, and more money was paid out, when it was discovered that the artwork taken there to be exhibited, in the Beijing Media Art Bi-ennial, on an invitation there by another Italian national now living in Beijing, Alessandro Rolandi, was held in JFK Airport for four days, long enough to prevent its being shown in Beijing. So, a “Free World” country called the United States does not want Ocean Earth or Peter Fend displays to be made in China. Why? People in the profess-edly unfree countries, like Russia and China, laugh.
Confiscation of visual product, its disappearance, or even outright replacement with false substitutes (e.g., Sipa Press about Cherno-byl), has become a fairly common experience. One does wonder, after a while of this, in which country to live. Jeffry Deitch summed it up when he noticed Fend at an opening in PS 1, instead of somewhere like Japan, and asked, “What country are you working with now, Pe-ter?”
Fend will work with any country that seems, at a level of State poli-cy or practice, to like what he produces—usually in collaboration with other artists, chiefly Ocean Earth or, in this case, TVGOV.
As it so happens, the two curators of “Decolonized Skies”, first shown at Apex Art in NY, were invited to present the exhibition in Tel Aviv, Israel. That’s understandable: they’re Israeli.
Also, as it so happens, the Essex Street Gallery said they did not want the work to be what had been shown at Apex Art in NY. The gal-lery, set up and run by Maxwell Graham, wanted Fend, or his collabo-rators, or… to produce something new.
Because of this condition, Fend told the curators for the Tel Aviv version of “Decolonized Skies” that he’d like to go to Tel Aviv to produce new works. He could do so relatively cheaply, since he was already exhibiting in Milan and Berlin, and had a logistical hub in Milan. The same occurs right now: the logistical hub of operations for this show in Pescara is Milan Airport.
And most surprising, it so happened, by sheer coincidence, that a TVGOV colleague, who first met Fend through Gean Moreno at Cannonball in Miami, and who decided to seriously get involved in making TVGOV happen, and making the eco-tax becomes a law of some land, maybe her homeland, Argentina, was at the same time having a residency and ra-dio/round-table project in Tel Aviv, at the exact same non-profit art space where “Decolonized Skies” would be exhibited.
Coincidence led to cooperation. This woman, named Agustina Woodgate, and Peter Fend, a fellow stakeholder with her in TVGOV, decided to WORK TOGETHER in Tel Aviv. Their assigned studios in the non-profit space, called Artport, were NEXT to each other. How could they not work together? How could there not be a TVGOV project undertaken?
In preparation for working together, Fend brought to Tel Aviv docu-ments that had been displayed courtesy of TVGOV in Miami, as part of a general response to Gean Moreno, Brian Holmes, Stan Cox, and Suhail Malik, the very great interest in a TELEVISION GOVERNMENT as a reali-ty sought while working within Cannonball emerged, in the persons of: Sofia Bastidas, from Ecuador, Guillermo Leon Gomez, from Miami and of Colombia background, Nicole Doran, from West Palm Beach, Aurora Moli-na, from Cuba, and an already-experienced artist and radio personali-ty, Agustina Woodgate, from Argentina. Gean Moreno, whose proposal for Fend in 2014, made all this happen, was from Cuba. We have a Latin-American group! Two of the participants, Molina and Doran, have since left, and now we have, as TVGOV, doing Television Govern-ment, three Spanish and English speakers, and one German-French-English speaker. The four are promoting or trying to establish Eco-Tax, most substantively in the Trinity River Basin of Texas, espe-cially at Fort Worth. Of the four: Sofia Bastidas is now at South-ern Methodist University in Dallas; Guillermo Leon Gomez is now at the New School/Parsons in NY; Agustina Woodgate is based in Miami but works worldwide, and often Argentina; Peter Fend “lives” in NY but works almost entirely outside of NY.
In order to WORK TOGETHER with Agustina Woodgate at Artport, in two studio spaces side by side, Peter Fend brought to Tel Aviv the TVOGOV works given a display at a non-profit space in Miami, of plans—responsive to Brian Holmes and Stan Cox—for: (1) the rivers and sea waters flowing into Miami, (2) where Sofia’s husband comes from, Puerto Rico, a place also in serious political-economy limbo; (3) Cu-ba, a place where Moreno and Molina were from, and also in political-economy limbo, (4) Japan, where Fend had been, finding out that many of the political-administration borders align with ocean-bay water-sheds (on display now at Pinksummer, Genova), and (5), at the impetus of Brian Holmes, advocating the exact same ideas of “steering” an economy according to its slopes to the sea, the United States.
Also, because Agustina Woodgate is from Argentina, Fend gave to her a DVD recording what Ocean Earth had satellite-monitored of the Malvi-nas/Falklands during the 1982 war of Argentina with Britain.
What happened in 1982, in production of imagery for broadcast by NBC and the BBC, was what has come to happen on many occasions: confis-cation of the work product by a government. In this case, while we were on US soil, in a suburb of Washington, DC called Springfield, Virginia, there was a knock on the door of the laboratory where we were processing satellite data for the Falklands. When we opened the door, in came a half dozen men, from the British and US Navy, with hand-guns raised: everything in the room was now the property of Her Majesty’s Government. We were pressed into service for the Crown, and the Crown benefited—greatly. The sites we analyzed for the BBC and NBC became the main sites used by British forces to knock out some aircraft and then advance from the west into the rear of the capital, Stanley. We were inadvertently, without compensation, “use-ful” to a foreign country. We were especially useful, as a US intel-ligence officer noted, for using ideas of color-flickering to identi-fy hydrocarbon slicks, from aircraft; fields of color could be com-pared, as we learned from recent art, especially by stakeholder Paul Sharits; don’t just look for details. We had useful innovations. I told the Argentina Embassy of the breach of official neutrality (not so pleasant, as I didn’t “like” their government either),in our being of direct assistance to a belligerent State, and was promptly told by my US Government to stop. Do not tell the truth. Be complicitous. Let the foreign government steal what they need, for their good, because we of the US Government want it that way. As for money, or acknowl-edgement: fuhgettaboutit.
Maybe the same thing happened in Israel.
In WORKING TOGETHER with Agustina Woodgate, knowing that she would have a major round-table at Artport about TVGOV, and I would not, as I would be leaving Israel before that round-table, and besides, I was
paid to be there not for TVGOV but for making new work to be shown in
“Decolonized Skies,” largely attributed to Ocean Earth, I produced, for HER USE, as part of a TVGOV effort, two of my customary ocean-basin analysis, dividing up territory according to drainage into ra-ther-coherent bodies of saltwater, from detailed maps of Israel and neighboring Lebanon/Syria that could be bought in a Tel Aviv bookshop.
Agustina Woodgate and I did a lot of work for her TVGOV presentation.
She contacted many prominent thinkers in Tel Aviv, and had them join her in a discussion about land-use in Israel, especially Tel Aviv, and the potential for ecological taxation to control it. She and I traveled, on my generous budget to be there, to the highlands of what flows to the sea and then passes along the coast of Tel Aviv, the ba-sin, with coastal stretch thereafter, of the River. This entailed a train ride for us two to Jerusalem, then a bus ride to the border with the occupied territories, and then a 300 Euro taxicab drive for an afternoon, with a Palestinian drier, through many parts of the Palestinian area, including—-most important-=-the ancient terraced farmlands for the highest-altitude parts of the Sorak River. We pho-tographed a lot.
Also, as part of this WORKING TOGETHER, I borrowed a bicycle from the hosts, and a high-quality camera, to study the coast, for its seaweed conditions and fisheries and bioproductivity. I bicycled south, to the mouth of the Sorak River. I did not expect to see what I saw: missiles and other unmentionable things. This was tough. How do you ride a bicycle while covering your eyes, and having no place to put a camera slung around your neck? I soon had a flat tire. I went to a guardhouse at a gated areas, asking what I could do, Soon, a four-wheel drive vehicle came along, and the driver told me to get in. He did not speak English. He was very strong. He talked mostly on a two-way radio, to someone else. It was agreed, through grunts, not words really, that I would go to where I was staying, and he would know about my hosts at Artport. I gave him an Artport document. I thought this would reduce their concerns. In the next day or two, the office at Artport had a break-in, and its two main computers were stolen. This event stunned Artport. They were in a walled complex surrounded by barbed wired, with a guard at the front gate. Anyone breaking in would have to be very professional, or would need to have gotten permission, with police ID, from the guard, but what keeps him from talking,so.. dunno. We all assumed that the State of Israel had broken into the office and wanted to know what’s going on. Let’s suppose: the State of Israel came to know a great deal about the host institution for me, representing Ocean Earth, and also the host in-stitution for both Agustina Woodgate and me in TVGOV, with her organ-izing a Round-Table there on behalf of TVGOV.
For two days, at the end of the WORKING TOGETHER, and in a very dif-ferent manner, I produced seven images, being posters with satellite imagery by Ocean Earth, news articles by or related to Ocean Earth, some maps and images of things to build, with the title “Decolonized Lands.” I did this with very great energy and excitement. The prod-uct was, I thought, a very strong response to the request for Ocean-Earth related material from the two curators of “Decolonized Skies.” All seven panels involved copyrighted work of Ocean Earth, so I did not claim them to be artwork by “Peter Fend.” I did not sign them. I treated them as corporate advertising, for Ocean Earth, not TVGOV.
Also included in the “Decolonized Skies,” or at least sent by inter-net to be included in “Decolonized Skies”, was a 30-minute video pro-duced and copyrighted by Ocean Earth, further to a proposal to Peter Fend by then Ocean-Earth vice president Sante Scardillo, our Italian national,
about the Iran-Iraq war zone from 1979 to 1987, called “MOVING A BOR-DER BY MOVING A RIVER.” The person sending the video was Coleen Fitz-gibbon, a founding shareholder of Ocean Earth and the TV-experienced person with whom Fend worked in the $16,000 sale to NBC and the BBC about the Falklands/Malvinas. So, what I intended to present at Artport, along with the 7 posters labeled “Decolonized Lands,” was all Ocean Earth material. Collaborators making that material possi-ble were: Sante Scardillo (the video was my narration and knowledge, but his idea); Susan Ensley (friend of Coleen Fitzgibbon); Coleen Fitzgibbon (on TV projects especially); Ingo Guenther (who became the main colleague for media clients); Joan Waltemath (“Space Window”, at 1st UN press conference); Eve Vaterlaus (“Space Window”, more in-volved in the full range of OE projects than anyone except Fend); Bill Dolson; Wolfgang Staehle (who launched us on a contract with the BBC and not just NBC); George Chaikin (who warned us that the BBC would lead to big problems with Britain; he was right); Glenn Stei-gelman, photographer; and, as the biggest artist-shareholder in Ocean Earth (aside from Fend, the founder), Paul Sharits. Coleen Fitzgib-bon records all this in her copy of the Falklands material as broad-cast. One person there listed,, Richard Cole, was the Harvard-trained Wall Street lawyer who, on seeing Fend’s name in a show at Peter Nadin Gallery, found out about The Offices of Fend, Fitzgibbon, Holzer, Nadin, Prince & Winters,, and said, “You need a legal corpo-ration, not just a group with some names.” Everyone on the list of people named in the DVD which could be seen by the Israel border po-lice, except for Cole, is an artist.
Everyone in TVGOV, as well, is known as an artist. A long roster for FERSEHREGIERUNG, in the Kunsthalle Berlin, is only of artists. We have a bid for state power by artists, by the producers of images and meaningful things.
What was produced by Peter Fend with Agustina Woodgate, working to-gether in TVGOV, was part of her very-separate residency and project in Tel Aviv, at the same non-profit space in Tel Aviv. Being there by a coincidence, we would deal with the place. We would deal with Israel and its immediate area, like the Dead Sea Basin, Lebanon, Syr-ia to the north. We would also think of the waters coming to Israel from the mouth of the Nile
That work, about Israel and its area, appears on the wall in Fonda-zione Zimei.
It appears alongside other works and images produced for TVGOV, al-most entirely in Miami.
The TVGOV work made in Tel Aviv had, as with anywhere on the planet, a division of territory according to drainage into saltwaters.
We divided the Israel area into two main parts, being what drains in-to the eastern Mediterranean south of Beirut, and what drains into the Dead Sea, south of Damascus and west of Amman. We said that Is-rael and its area could have two TELEVISION GOVERNMENT administra-tions. It could have, more bluntly, TWO TELEVISION GOVERNMENT STATES. This geopolitical idea appears in the documents produced for Agustina Woodgate as part of preparing her for her Round-Table on behalf of TVGOV involving economists and scientists from Israel, such Round-Table happening after I had left Tel Aviv.
At present, we have no visual proof that all the seven works Fend produced for “Decolonized Skies” were exhibited, or that the video
sent from Coleen Fitzgibbon was shown. Photographs of the show sent to Fend do not make this clear. As mentioned, Fend left before the show opened. He produced the “Decolonized Lands” works in such a rush, albeit happily, that he had no time to make photographic rec-ords of them.
All seven works produced for “Decolonized Skies” were never seen since.
Artport was asked to send photos of the installed works to a repre-sentative in Berlin. That never happened.
The seven works were reportedly mailed to Italy, in the person of Orio Vervain at Nowhere Gallery, twice, and were returned to Israel twice. The seven works were then stored in Artport in what the of-fice manager there called “a hidden spot”
We do not know where that “hidden spot” is.
The person who wrote that she put the artworks in a “hidden spot”, who is now getting an MFA in the US, and who saw Fend in the US when he made a lecture at her art-school, all pleasant, has been asked three times where the “hidden spot” in Artport is. She gives no an-swer. Her
successor, understandably, can also give no answer of where the seven artworks are; why would she know?
We want to know because in the year and a half that followed, what did get sent from Artport for Peter Fend to use as exhibitable mate-rial, as part of any display involving Ocean Earth and/or Fend, was NOT the seven artworks produced by Fend for “Decolonized Skies.”
What was sent instead, arriving on Basel and then in Genova, at the Fed Ex of both a gallery in Basel and the Pinksummer gallery in Geno-va, was the ENTIRE CONTENTS OF AGUSTINA WOODGATE’S PERSONALLY PACKED COLLECTION OF IMAGES PRODUCED FOR TVGOV, AND FOR HER WORKING TOGETHER WTIH PETER FEND ABOUT TVGOV IN ISRAEL AND ITS AREA,
PLUS A 1982 TV BROADCAST OF OCEAN EARTH PREPARED ANALYSIS/OBSERVATION OF THE ARGENTINA-BRITAIN WAR.
The author of this exhibition created this drama.
The author is the State of Israel.
An explanation follows.
On November 8, 2015, after Agustina Woodgate checked in at Tel Aviv for a flight from Tel Aviv to Miami, the border police of the State of Israel removed from her luggage the entire package she had made of works given to her by Peter Fend, which works had been produced most-ly in Miami earlier in 2015, or in Virginia in 1982, and only three of which had been produced, for the TVGOV round-table she organized, in
Tel Aviv, physically in the studios of her and Peter Fend at Artport.
From that date until, as it appears from other markings on the pack-age made by Agustina Woodgate, sometime after March 23, 2016, all the contents of the package were available to agents of the State of Is-rael to study.
For about five months, and maybe considerably longer, until sometime during Summer 2016, when the first person handling shipments out of Artport’was replaced by another, the State of Israel and custody of,
and was certainly inspecting and photographing and coming to be fa-miliar with, the work product produced with Agustina Woodgate (except for the photos made in two trips up the Sorek river valley,
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem) for TVGOV, to effect TELEVISION GOVERN-MENT.
What did the State of Israel think of this work?
What, also, did the State of Israel think of the works produced by Fend for “Decolonized Skies,” or of the video sent there by Coleen Fitzgibbon of the Fend/Scardillo collaboration called “Moving a Bor-der
by Moving a River”? We do not even know if all the works submitted
by Fend, using Ocean Earth material, or if the video about the Iran-
Iraq war, was shown. Maybe Artport can provide solid evidence.
Maybe Artport still has the 7 posters produced for “Decolonized Skies” and sent back twice after being posted to Italy, and reported-ly placed in a “hidden spot” at Artport.
But we do know this.
-The Economist, in its May 20-26 issue, has a cover proposing that for Israel and its area there be a two-state solution.
-The Economist generally expresses the views of the British Govern-ment.
-Suggesting that there be a two-state solution to the Isra-el/Palestine question would not be done without a British Government assent, or at least tolerance.
-Suggesting that there be a two-state solution would also not be done without the State of Israel, or at least some influential people in the State of Israel, agreeing with the idea.
-How would such an idea territorially, and therefore visually, mani-fest itself? We suspect that such a territorial and visual manifesta-tion appears on the walls of the Fondazione Zimei—now.
We believe that a concrete idea of how to achieve a two-state solu-tion, as mandated or at least tolerated by the State of Israel, is based on what the State of Israel has inspected and photographed, and studied background documents from TVGOV about, for about six months, or longer.
We believe the idea comes from us, TVGOV.
The State of Israel has pushed us to making this show, in order for us to claim a priority of invention and an authorship of any two-state
solution roughly similar to what we show here at Fondazione Zimei.
If the State of Israel has an entirely different scenario, fine, the
authorship of that is theirs. But meantime, due to the actions the State of Israel made vis-a-vis TVGOV, especially at Tel Aviv, we be-lieve that one two-state solution, evidenced in the seized luggage, is ours.
Even if our two-state solution is not what the State of Israel now proposes, the exhibition here is still authored by them.
If they had acted as they did on November 8, 2015, and had not
held on to the material seized until at least late in May 2016, then
this show of not art, but evidence, would not have happened at all.
The State of Israel made the show necessary.
Statement by Peter Fend, on behalf of TVGOV, producing scenarios for TELEVISION GOVERNMENT, including an eco-tax on private property, wa-ter basins altogether and transport machinery, i.e., “moving land.”
6 June 2017
14.06. 2017 at 9.00pm
22 May 2020