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Kringsatt av Fiender: The Shield of Achilles from Homer to Bobbitt

APRIL 1st-2nd 2016

Departing from ancient Greek representations of the Shield of Achilles, Kringsatt av Fiender juxtaposes antithetical thoughts on causes and aims of war, with a focus on the market state.

April 1st, kl. 19.00-midnight / Opening Event

Exhibit and Performances–with Skype interventions by Philip Bobbitt and Domenico Losurdo

April 2nd, kl. 16.00-18.00 / Book Launch and Discussion

Book launch: Victor Charlie Report: Post-exhibition Catalogue by Alt Går Bra Discussion: “Doing Art Politically” Alt Går Bra in conversation with Dmitry Vilensky from Chto delat based on Jean-Luc Godard's motto as used by Thomas Hirschhorn: "making art politically, not making political art."

Kringsatt av Fiender: The Shield of Achilles from Homer to Bobbitt

The first installment of the project Kringsatt av Fiender to be presented at Bergen Kjøtt took place at Palais de Tokyo in February 2016.

AGB started developing this project after its 2015 show Victor Charlie, problematizing the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.

AGB will explore the meanings of war from two opposite perspectives, those of Domenico Losurdo and Philip Bobbitt.

Kringsatt av Fiender’s central visual element is the Shield of Achilles connecting the passage in Homer’s Iliad with the influential book The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History by contemporary law scholar Prof. Philip Bobbitt. Based on its research on coats of arms as visual symbols of class and war, AGB takes the oldest literary work from Western Civilization, the Iliad, to explore the meanings of war in our societies.

The Shield of Achilles’ passage has generated much debate among Classical scholars since, far from depicting terrifying images, it bears a harmonious microcosm. Scenes of dance, farm life, the sky, the ocean, and the city at war and the city at peace are portrayed on the shield. What is the meaning of this shield? In a book narrating horrifying war scenes, it is curious that such a long passage is dedicated to describe a fairly idyllic, but primarily harmonious, world. The Shield of Achilles has been depicted by numerous artists including paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, and West and poets such as W.H. Auden in his poem and eponymous book The Shield of Achilles. The Shield of Achilles continues to have a strong presence into our days, for instance through what is perhaps one of the most influential books in today’s policy-making. Written in 2002 by P. Bobbitt, The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History has both anticipated and been the immediate cause of many policies governing our lives today. After an extensive analysis of wars through history, Bobbitt declares that nation-states will be replaced by market-states with war at the center of all changes: “war is a creative act of civilized man with important consequences for the rest of human culture, which include the festivals of peace.” On the other end of the political spectrum, Domenico Losurdo posits that rather than being intrinsic to human nature, war obeys to economic interests, resulting in the oppression of those not belonging to a dominant race and class.