PANELISTS: Anne Barlow, Johan Lundh, Jens Maier-Rothe, Luis Silva and João Mourão, Pieternel Vermoortel
RESONDENTS: Kari Conte, Zane Culkstena, Inesa Pavlovskaite
In terms of institutional collaboration, the session will look at examples of collaboration that involve putting aside one central curatorial/authorial/artistic voice in order to take part in the exchange of ideas and the creation of joint projects. In terms of this collective way of working, how do individuals and/or organizations reach a creative consensus, and how are issues such as diverse local contexts, languages, time differences, and institutional capacities handled?
Is an institution the coming together of people towards shared aims, supported by the creation of a legal entity and situated in a certain place at particular time, or can it be framed as simply the notion of a shared voice? When and what happens in the shift between collective and institution and how does this difference reflect and shape their roles?
This panel will use Art in General’s newly formed partnership APRIL (Art in General, NY; Beirut, Cairo; CAC Derry-Londonderry; FormContent, London; Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon) as the springboard to expand on the central question of their first meeting, What is an Institution?
KEYNOTE LECTURE by Charles Esche
SATURDAY, APRIL 5
SESSION 2: Collective Bargaining
MODERATOR: Carin Kuoni
PANELISTS: Robert Sember, Tercerunquinto, The Yes Men
RESPONDENTS: Sarah Demeuse, Sheetal Prajapati
A panel of artists, curators, and academics will discuss the different aspects of collective work. Whether a group of individuals answering to a single name or namelessly acting together, what are the different structures of group entities and how do these structures affect the ability to provoke heightened self-awareness of our own social sphere?
By exploring the vision of the collective as a unified body in which individuals are drawn into an anonymous mass alongside the notion of collective action with its multidirectional and unpredictable group dynamics, the panel will discuss the different modes of collaboration as artistic strategies for social change.
SESSION 3: Collective (Dis)engagement
MODERATOR: Nitin Sawhney
PANELISTS: Mariam Ghani, Sean Jacobs, Laura Raicovich, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, Sonja Srdanovic
RESPONDENTS: Sandra Skurvida, Hakan Topal
Cultural or academic boycott is a strategy of protest and change often advocated by cultural producers, artists, and members of the creative industries. The boycott of South Africa during Apartheid is usually referenced as a particularly influential and successful example. In our contemporary moment, we ask for an appropriate form of engagement to affect change in a situation, government or institution that is not necessarily our own, whose ethics, however, is considered a source of conflict. As artists are increasingly recognized as producers of cultural, social, and economic capital, how can they leverage this power and act collectively in the most efficient ways to affect political, social, or cultural change?
A panel of artists, curators, and academics offers examples of different tactics that have been employed by groups or collectives to insert different discourses into existing contexts and structures, either by engaging or disengaging with them. What can be accomplished by creating an artist exchange with North Korea, by bringing gay artists’ work to a biennial in St. Petersburg, by not traveling to certain countries or states? A brief summary of the South African boycott from the 1960s to 1990 introduces a discussion on how to align ethical standards of diverse groups of people, how to carve out an impactful role for collective bodies without ignoring the complexity inherent in any situation or site of discordance.
What Now? 2014 is organized by Art in General in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, as part of the Center’s curatorial initiative on Alignment. Art in General gives special thanks to the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation and the Trust for Mutual Understanding for their generous support of this conference. Additional support provided by ALoft Hotels Brooklyn.
The Vera List Center for Art and Politics is an idea incubator and a public forum for art, culture, and politics. It was established at The New School in 1992—a time of rousing debates about freedom of speech, identity politics, and society’s investment in the arts. A pioneer in the field, the center serves a critical mission: to foster a vibrant and diverse community of artists, scholars, and policy makers who take creative, intellectual, and political risks to bring about positive change.
‘We champion the arts as expressions of the political moments from which they emerge, and consider the intersection between art and politics the space where new forms of civic engagement must be developed. We are the only university-based institution committed exclusively to leading public research on this intersection. Through public programs and classes, prizes and fellowships, publications and exhibitions that probe some of the pressing issues of our time, we curate and support new roles for the arts and artists in advancing social justice.’ www.veralistcenter.org
MODERATOR & PANELIST BIOGRAPHIES
Anne Barlow is Director of Art in General, New York, where she most recently curated projects with Jill Magid, Shezad Dawood, Meriç Algün Ringborg, Anetta Mona Chişa and Lucia Tkáčová, and launched Art in General’s annual curatorial conference What Now? Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Barlow was formerly Curator of Education and Media Programs at the New Museum, New York, where she organized numerous exhibitions, and initiated and developed its Digital Culture Programs and Museum as Hub. She has published with Liverpool University Press/Tate Gallery Liverpool; The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia; the New Museum, New York; and Tate Modern, London, among others, and has lectured or moderated talks at organizations including ArteEast, New York; Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; MUMOK, Vienna; IASPIS, Stockholm; and the Sharjah Art Foundation. Barlow was Curator of Tactics for the Here and Now, the 5th Bucharest International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania, 2012, and Co-Curator of the Latvian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013.
Charles Esche is a curator and writer, currently the director of Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Previously was the director of the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmo, Sweden (2000-2004), of Tramway Gallery, Glasgow (1993-1997), and the co-director of The Modern Institute, Glasgow (1998-2000). In 1984 Esche received his BA in Medieval Studies, and in 1989 a MA in Gallery and Museum Studies at the Manchester University, with a specialization in contemporary art. Between 1997-2002 he was a research fellow at the Edinburgh College of Art and since 2008 he is Visiting Professor at Ratti Foundation, Milan, Italy. Since 1998 he is also co-founder and co-director of Afterall Journal, Central Saint Martins, London, England. In 2014, Esche will curate the 31st São Paulo Bienal with Galit Eilat, Pablo Lafuente, Nuria Enguita Mayo, and Oren Sagiv (2014). He has curated and co-curated a number of international contemporary art biennales and other events including, It Doesn’t have to be Beautiful Unless it’s Beautiful at National Gallery of Kosovo, Prishtinë (2012); Strange and Close, CAPC, Bordeaux (2011); An Idea for Living, U3 Slovene Triennale, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana (2011); the 2nd and 3rd RIWAQ Biennials, Ramallah, Palestine, with Khalil Rabah and Reem Fadda (2009 and 2007); the 9th International Istanbul Biennial, Turkey, with Vasif Kortun, November Paynter, and Esra Sarigedik (2005); the 4th Gwangju Biennale, Republic of Korea with Hou Hanru and Song Wan Kyung (2002). In 2000, he curated New British Art 2000: Intelligence, Tate Triennial at Tate Britain, London with Virginia Button, and Amateur: Variable Research Initiatives 1900 & 2000 at Kunstmuseum, Göteborg, Sweden, with Adam Szymczyk and Mark Kramer. Recently Esche has been named as the recipient of the 2014 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence by The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Mariam Ghani is a member of the Working Group of the Gulf Labor coalition (gulflabor.org) and an artist whose research-based practice spans video, installation, performance, photography, and text. Her exhibitions and screenings include the Rotterdam, transmediale, and CPH:DOX film festivals; dOCUMENTA(13), Kabul and Kassel; MoMA, New York; and the Sharjah Biennials 10 and 9. Recent texts have been published by Creative Time Reports, Foreign Policy, Ibraaz, the Radical History Review, Triple Canopy, and the New York Review of Books blog. Ghani has collaborated with artist Chitra Ganesh since 2004 as Index of the Disappeared. They are currently joint artists in residence at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and organized the upcoming Radical Archives conference (radicalarchives.net). Other grants and residencies include the recent Freund Fellowship and CEC ArtsLink. Ghani holds a BA in Comparative Literature from NYU and a MFA from SVA. She currently teaches in the MFA program at Pratt and the post-grad program at ProArte in St. Petersburg. (kabul-reconstructions.net/mariam).
Sean Jacobs is Assistant Professor of International Affairs at The New School. He holds a PhD in Politics from the University of London and a MA in Political Science from Northwestern University. He is currently writing a book on postapartheid media cultures. Previously he taught African Studies as well as communication studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He also worked as a political researcher for the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, and founded the blog Africa is a Country. He is a native of Cape Town, South Africa.
Carin Kuoni (M.A. University of Zurich; B.A. Sorbonne) is director/curator of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School. From 1998 to 2003, she was director of exhibitions at Independent Curators International, from 1992 to 1997 director of The Swiss Institute in New York. She is a founding member of the artists’ collective REPOhistory (1989-2000) and has curated and co-curated numerous transdisciplinary exhibitions on issues such as contemporary Native American identity and colonial, 19th century portraiture (Red River Crossings, Swiss Institute); democratic, participatory processes (OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding, Parsons The New School for Design); artistic and social networks (The Grand Tour, Swiss Institute, #searchunderoccupy, Parsons); or agency (The Puppet Show, ICA Philadelphia et al). Kuoni is editor or co-editor of anthologies such as Energy Plan for the Western Man: Joseph Beuys in America, Words of Wisdom: A Curator’s Vademecum, Considering Forgiveness, and currently working on Speculation, Now (ed. Vyjayanthi Rao, with Prem Krishnamurthy and Carin Kuoni).
Johan Lundh is a Swedish curator, writer, and translator working internationally. Together with Canadian curator and writer Aileen Burns, Lundh recently took up the position as Co-Director/Curator of the Institute of Modern Art (IMA) in Brisbane, Australia. Since its establishment in 1975, the IMA has been a leading venue for the production and presentation of contemporary art in Queensland. As one of the country’s first institutions of its kind, the IMA has played an integral role in developing contemporary art locally, nationally, and internationally. Prior to joining the IMA, Burns and Lundh were Co-Directors of the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland. At CCA, they produced exhibitions including such artists as Goldin+Senneby, Jesse Jones, Anja Kirschner and David Panos, Raqs Media Collective, and Haegue Yang. In collaboration with the Independent Curators International in New York, they organized the first Curatorial Intensive in Europe, From “Official History” to Underrepresented Narratives.
Jens Maier-Rothe is an independent curator and founding co-director of Beirut in Cairo. Maier-Rothe received his MFA in Critical Studies from the Malmääüoeö Art Academy and he is an alumni of the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Curated and co-curated exhibitions include After All, Everything Is Different In The End (Ghent, 2009); Untitled (for resonants) and Fadings (both New York, 2010); The More The Merrier (Taipei, 2011); Maryam Jafri: Global Slum (Cairo, 2012); The Magic of the State (Cairo & London, 2013); The Falling of the Books (Cairo & Derry, 2013); Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Tape Echo (Cairo, 2013). Authored and co-edited publications include Audio, Vision, Time (Enough Room for Space, Brussels, 2010); Residues of A Dream World: The High Line (Theory, Culture & Society, SAGE, 2011); Notes on The Magic of the State (Cornerhouse Books, Manchester, 2013).
João Mourão (Alegrete, 1975) and Luis Silva (Lisbon, 1978) are a curatorial duo based in Lisbon, Portugal, where they currently serve as co-directors of Kunsthalle Lissabon, a contemporary art institution they founded in 2009. A selection of recent shows they curated includes solos by Patrizio Di Massimo (Me, Mum, Mister, Mad, 2014), Amalia Pica (Memorial for Intersections, 2013), Leonor Antunes (a linha é tão fina que o olho, apesar de armado com uma lupa, imagina-a ao invés de vê-la, 2013), Jonathas de Andrade (Cartazes para o Museu do Homem do Nordeste, 2013), Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor (I dreamt the work of another artist, 2013), Daniel Gustav Cramer and Haris Epaminonda (Early Summer, 2012), Melvin Moti (Echo Chamber, 2012), Pilvi Takala (Flip Side, 2011), Ahmet Öğüt (Stones to Throw, 2011), Wilfredo Prieto (Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, 2011) and Mounira Al Solh (The Sea is a Stereo, 2010). Besides their curatorial practice, João Mourão and Luís Silva are also co-editors of the ongoing book series Performing the Institution(al), published by Kunsthalle Lissabon and addressing recent developments in institutional practice. They have been recently appointed the curators of the 2015 edition of ZONA MACO SUR, the solo presentations section of Mexico City’s contemporary art fair.
Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento is an artist interested in the relationship between art and law. He received his BA in Art from the University of Texas-El Paso and a MFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts. He was a Van Lier Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in Studio Art in 1997, and received his JD from Cornell Law School in 2006. His art projects have been shown in internationally and in the US, and his essays and projects have been published in Law Text Culture, Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, Canceled: Alternative Manifestations and Productive Failures, Texas A&M Law Review, and Art Asia Pacific. He currently teaches contemporary art and law at Fordham Law School. In 2010, Sarmiento founded the Art & Law Program, a semester-long seminar series with a theoretical and philosophical focus on the effects of law and jurisprudence on cultural production and reception.
Laura Raicovich joined Creative Time in 2012. As Director of Global Initiatives, she is responsible for Creative Time Reports, a website featuring perspectives of artists on world news and events; The Creative Time Summit, an annual conference on art and politics; and Global Residencies, which enable artists to travel to locations of their choice, posing burning questions central to their practice. These programs aim to expand and deepen the artists’ role in society, as well as the organization’s international reach. The previous decade, she served as Deputy Director at Dia Art Foundation. Raicovich graduated from Swarthmore College and holds a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies from the Graduate Center at the CUNY. She lectures internationally, and is the author of At The Lightning Field, a lyric essay and parallel text to Walter De Maria’s renowned artwork, and A Diary of Mysterious Difficulties, a novel based on spam which is being published serially in The Brooklyn Rail.
Sarah Rifky is a curator and writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She is co-director of Beirut, and founder of CIRCA (Cairo International Resource Center for Art). Rifky was curator of Townhouse, in Cairo (2009-2011) and co-managed MASS Alexandria, a school for young artists (2010-2012). Her projects include Invisible Publics (Cairo, 2010), an accord is first and foremost only a proposition (New York, 2011) and The Bergen Accords (Bergen, 2011). She is author of The Going Insurrection and the ongoing Delusions of Reference: In Defense of Art.
Nitin Sawhney is an assistant professor in the School of Media Studies, The New School for Public Engagement. His research, teaching, and creative practice engage with the critical role of technology, artistic interventions, and DIY cultures among communities in contested spaces. Since 1995, Nitin has worked on several video shorts and interactive media projects, including HyperCafe, which won the Douglas Engelbart prize and was showcased at the MILIA Interactive conference in Cannes, France. Since 2006, Nitin co-founded a nonprofit initiative Voices Beyond Walls to conduct digital video and storytelling workshops with children and youth in Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. Over the past five years, the program has been conducted in over 10 refugee camps with nearly 70 video shorts produced. Nitin also co-founded the Boston Palestine Film Festival to showcase Palestinian Cinema to mainstream American audiences and support emerging Palestinian filmmakers. Flying Paper (2013) is his first feature-length documentary film.
Robert Sember is a member of the international sound-art collective, Ultra-red. For twenty years, Ultra-red has investigated the contribution experimental sound art can make to political organizing. Robert brings to his work with Ultra-red training in cultural studies and medical anthropology. His ethnographic research in the U.S. and South Africa has focused on governmental and non-governmental service sectors with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment concerns. He currently teaches at The New School’s Eugene Lang College. He was a 2009-2010 Vera List Center for Art and Politics Fellow.
Sonja Srdanovic is a Masters candidate in the History of Art at Tufts University in Medford, MA. Originally from Chicago, IL, she received her bachelor’s degree in 2009 from DePaul University in the History of Art and Architecture and Political Science. Her areas of focus span late 19th- and 20th-century art and architecture, including theories of space and vision, and the histories of photography, cinema, and technology. Currently her master’s thesis considers the politics of urban heritage and reconstruction in Yugoslavia and post-socialist Bosnia, and the attendant role of digital media. Outside of academia, she serves on the editorial board of the open, collaborative, and civic platform CultureShutdown.
Tercerunquinto (Julio Castro Carreón, Gabriel Cázares Salas & Rolando Flores Tovar) was formed in 1998. Since then, the collective has developed projects that affect both public and private spaces, questioning the limits between the two, disarticulating the elements that make up these systems and disassembling the logical order of their interrelationships. It has also sought to challenge the borders organized around the constitution of a system, be it architectonic or urban, tracing their implications and effects in personal, social, cultural or political orders. Tercerunquinto has had recent solo exhibitions at Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich, Switzerland; Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Proyectos Monclova Gallery, Mexico City; Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver, United States; Matadero Madrid, Madrid, Spain; Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló, Castellón de la Plana, Spain; Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City, Mexico and more. The artists have also shown in group exhibitions in such venues as The Modern Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, United States; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Quito, Ecuador; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium; Level 2 Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom; Musée D’Art Moderne, Paris; The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada; and Centre d’ArtContemporain, Geneva, Switzerland. The artists live and work in Mexico City, Mexico.
Founded in 1994, the Ultra-red collective includes artists, researchers and organisers from a range of social movements, including anti-racism, participatory community development and the politics of HIV/AIDS. Originally based in Los Angeles, the group is today composed by ten members working in North America and Europe; current and recent members of Ultra-red include: Elizabeth Blaney, Manuela Bojadzijev, Pablo Garcia, Janna Graham, Chris Jones, Elliot Perkins, Don’t Rhine, Robert Sember, Leonardo Vilchis.
Solo exhibitions include: SILENT|LISTEN (THE RECORD), KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts, Durban, ZA, curated by Brenton Maart (2008); DUB GRAMMAR (WORKS ON PAPER), Plymouth Art Centre, Plymouth, UK, curated by Paula Orrell (2007); SILENT|LISTEN (THE RECORD), Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada, Curated by Michelle Jacques (2006); ¿GUESS WORK?, w/ Valerie Tevere, Action Space, Los Angeles (1997).
Group exhibitions include: UNTITLED (FOR VOICE), Nobel Prize, KHM Gallery, UKS Galleri, Oslo (2008); SILENT|LISTEN (THE MINUTES), Ruidos, Silencios y la Transgresion Mordaz, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2007); ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION, Ear Appeal, Kunsthalle Exnergasse Vienna (2006); UNTITLED, Sound Politics, Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland, curated by Chris Gilbert, (2005); SoundArt @ Transmediale, Podewil, Berlin, Germany, curated by Elke Moltrech (2003); IMPERIAL BEACH, Frequencies, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2002); among others.
Their work has been the subject of articles in The Wire Magazine, LA Weekly, ArtForum International, Res Magazine, Grooves Magazine, among others.
Pieternel Vermoortel (living and working in London) is an independent curator and co-founder/director of FormContent, a curatorial programme. Her most recent programme at FormContent It’s moving from I to It uses fiction as its main tool to reflect upon cultural production. Currently Vermoortel teaches Exhibitions and Cultural Productions at TEBEAC, Ghent and is an associate lecturer at the BA Fine Art and the MFA Curating at Goldsmiths University London. She wrote for various catalogues and magazines such as the Venice Biennial Catalogue 2011 and Metropolis M. She edited various publications such as a.o. Out of the Studio, 2008, and The Responsive Subject, 2011, It’s moving from I to It, The book, 2014.
FormContent is a curatorial initiative established in 2007 in London with the intent of experimenting with exhibition formats and fostering collaborations that challenge artistic and curatorial roles. FormContents current programme “It’s moving from I to It” has evolved over two years as a nomadic curatorial project intended to explore modes of cultural production and dissemination through a series of different initiatives and collaborations. Using fiction as a critical tool, as well as a commissioning and programming framework, “It’s moving from I to it” has been articulated into seventeen scenes, each one taking the form of an exhibition, a commissioned text or a public event. Inserted within an editable script, this series of shape-shifting scenarios defines a linguistic journey through heterogeneous voices and practices. By emphasizing a transversal approach to curating the programme has developed as a relentless investigation into questions of authorship, language, and institutional rhetoric.
FormContent is directed by Pieternel Vermoortel, Francesco Pedraglio and Anca Rujoiu.
The Yes Men were created by Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. The Yes Men are an activist duo and network of supporters who infiltrate systems of power to focus attention on the dangers of economic policies that place the rights of capital before the needs of people and the environment. Derided by President George W. Bush as “a garbageman,” they have impersonated World Trade Organization, Dow Chemical Corporation, Exxon, Halliburton, and Bush administration spokesmen on TV and at business conferences around the world. The Yes Men have directed two award-winning documentaries, The Yes Men (2003) and The Yes Men Fix the World (2009), which won the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival. They have co-authored a book titled The Yes Men, documenting their self-described “hijinks,” lectured internationally on art and social change, and are founders of the Yes Lab, an educational organization devoted to training organizations and activists in media-savvy creative action.
General Support of Art in General is provided by General Hardware Manufacturing Inc.; the Lambent Fund of the Tides Foundation; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Greenwich Collection; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Agnes Gund; Select Equity Group Foundation; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The New Commissions Program is made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; Jerome Foundation; and the William Talbott Hillman Foundation. Support has also been provided by Commissioners’ Circle leaders Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters Sandra Ho and Jang Kim, and Cher Lewis, and Commissioners’ Circle members Roya Khadjavi-Heidari, Sean Johnson, Mary Lapides, Richard Massey, Leslie Ruff, Joyce Siegel, and Jeremy E. Steinke.