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Good-bye old site, you’ve served us well in black and red!
Good-bye old site, you’ve served us well in black and red!
Venue: Baltic Art Center (BAC), Visby
Date: June 13-15, 2013
In our times of systemic economic and political crises, rising public indignation and anxiety, artistic projects and exhibitions addressing political issues are once again at the forefront of critical attention.
The objective of Curating the Political, the first in the new series of PERPETUUM LABS / BAC, is to engage in a sanguine comparative debate on prominent professional curatorial and artistic projects addressing the relation of art and politics. The next instance in this series will be Curating the Social, PERPETUUM LABS / BAC 2 at Kallio Kunsthalle, Helsinki.
PERPETUUM LABS / BAC 1 – Curating the Political is a 3-day event consisting of professional debate and criticism, presenting constructive and dissenting opinions on curatorial practices. The LAB will use prominent case-studies in curatorial practice as starting points, while drawing on theoretical texts, academic research and activist practice. Each LAB will also develop new approaches and potentials for future projects. (For example, it may be possible to develop a case study with young curators based around the events at the political week Almedalsveckan, that takes place in Visby every July.)
Bringing together established curators and artists by invitation and younger-generation Nordic and Baltic-resident participants by open call, PERPETUUM LABS / BAC Part 1 – Curating the Political seeks to develop analytical and nuanced positions starting from diverse set of well-informed standpoints.
The topics of the 3-day Curatorial Peer-to-Peer are the following:
• What are contemporary “political” artistic and curatorial strategies, their pitfalls (e.g. appropriation by the institutions being critiqued) and successes? What is critical art, radical art, subversive art, provocative art, activist art, etc.? Is this current language of the intersection of politics and art appropriate and sufficient?
• How are politics, art and political action related? Is “art for the sake of politics” legitimate? Is the demand for “autonomy” only tactical, is it strategic, or truly a philosophical position? What is the relation of art, its “laboratories” and Realpolitik? Is political art living up to its self-conception of being ahead – or at least abreast – of our times?
• What role can/does contemporary art play in examining and articulating the current political state of affairs? How do large-format exhibition projects approach, present, and reflect on acute political and social conflicts? What complications emerge?
• Discussions will be based both on recent projects of the invited international experts and a selection of recent exhibitions, biennials and projects. These will include projects like dOCUMENTA (13), Berlin Biennale 7, Truth Is Concrete (Steirischer Herbst, Graz) and Meeting Points 6.
The activities include individual presentations of participants-projects, tutoring in working groups and collective discussion formats – both traditional and innovative, such as the Valuation Chamber format developed by The Arts Assembly. The maximum number of participants will be 10. The working language is English.
LAB Mentors (in alphabetical order)
Bassam el Baroni, Curator, Alexandria/London. Co-founder of the Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF); co-curator of Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain; co-curater of the Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF), Norway; curator of the 36th eva International Biennial, Limerick City, Ireland, 2014.
Nicoline van Harskamp, Artist, Amsterdam, addresses the function and power of the spoken word, and its ability to influence perception and shape thought, both of which are instrumental to politics. Her most recent and ongoing project,Yours in Solidarity, addresses the contemporary history of anarchism through a correspondence archive.
Vladan Jeremic, Curator, Artist and Activist, Belgrade. Co-creator with Chto Delat/What is to be Done? of Partisan Songspiel. A Belgrade Story ; Curator, I Will Never Talk About the War Again, Färgfabriken in Stockholm (2011) and Kibla, Maribor (2012); co-initiator of Call the Witness – 2nd Roma Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennial.
Marita Muukkonen, Curator, Helsinki. Co-founder of Perpetuum Mobile; previously Curator at HIAP – The Helsinki International Artists-in-Residence Programme; Curator at FRAME – The Finnish Fund for Art Exchange; Editor of FRAMEWORK – The Finnish Art Review; 2001-2005 at NIFCA The Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art.
Livia Paldi, Curator,Visby. Director of BAC. Curator and chief curator at the Műcsarnok / Kunsthalle Budapest (2005-2011). Curatorial agent of dOCUMENTA (13).
Ivor Stodolsky, Curator and Theorist, Helsinki/Berlin. Co-founder of Perpetuum Mobile and The Arts Assembly and co-initiator of the Perpetual Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2009; Currently curating the RE-ALIGNED ART project (Helsinki, Berlin, Tromso and Stockholm). Relevant recent publications include “A Multilectic Anatomy of Stiob‘ and Poshlost‘”, Laboratorium vol. 3, 2011.
Please see full bios on BAC’s website at
Applicants must be resident in one of the Nordic or Baltic countries. They should have considerable experience and/or education in curatorship or exhibition practice.
Applicants are asked to include the following documents:
1. A short c.v.
2. A statement of motivation explaining how PERPETUUM LABS / BAC could support your curatorial interests and projects, and how you intend to structure your contribution (approximately 2 pages)
3. Specification of whether support for travels and/or accommodation will be required to attend the seminar. Only very limited funds are available for students. We recommend you apply to funding bodies at the national, regional or university levels as soon as possible. If a letter of acceptance is needed in advance, please let us know the relevant deadlines.
Please send the files in PDF format. All questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for submitting applications: March 25, 2013.
Notification of acceptance: March 31, 2013.
The project is supported by
Nordisk Kulturfond / The Nordic Culture Fund
Riksutstallningar / The Swedish Exhibition Agency
at Tensta Konsthall, Sweden
This conference and the below discussion paper is an integral part of
From ‘Post-‘ to ‘Pre-‘
a thematic conference and exhibition project
including workshops, conferences, residences, publications and exhibitions
Confirmed venues so far:
Kiasma Theatre, Urb Festival, Helsinki, Finland;
Another Vacant Space, Berlin, Germany;
Tromso Kunstforening, Norway
and Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
The PAST THE ‘POST-’ conference looks into conditions, agencies and subjectivities provoking a new alignment of art, thought and politics in the twenty-first century. It addresses the lack of concepts for describing the shift away from the “identity politics” of the late twentieth century and its (post-)ideological ambiguity. The “postmodern moment” has passed. Contemporary currents show a new alignment of intellectual allegiances based on ideals and ideas held in common. A shared language for our very different times, however, remains undeveloped.
The symptoms of the shift we are describing is seen in the revolts shaking the Arab world as much as in the desire for a fundamental restructuring of the global political-economic system. In particular, it is seen in the rejection of the intellectually discredited corporate-led neoliberal hegemony of the post-Bretton Woods era. Comparable dissenting views are expressed in new forms of resistance and even rebellion in China and Russia, or in western Europe, in Spain and Greece. The internet and internet-media is another, highly significant site of these struggles. Many of these movements are also picking up long-standing global concerns, including those of the vocal ecological and peace movements. Responses to the current predicament are multiple. Nevertheless, across multiple continents, they share commonly recognisable positionalities, subjectivities and agencies – and in the world of contemporary art – artistic strategies.
From Particulars to Universals
As a period, the postmodern saw a sustained focus on cultural-ethnic issues, post-colonial national-independence narratives, post-communist nation building and religious revivals, gender-related liberation movements and also numerous new ways of reading popular and commercial culture and society. While subverting and superimposing and making these configurations clash, their identity-political particularisms were nevertheless frequently reproduced.
We will say that the current predicament of contemporary art and intellectual consciousness is one of thoroughly multilectic hybridity. This term invokes the proposition to envision the ‘multiple reading in one’ of the very diverse intellectual and artistic positionalities of our time: a way of reading which focusses on common structures and common narratives. This way of thinking avoids reproducing the particularisms of different genealogies, or homogenising differences in one ‘melting pot’ of identities. Rather, it gathers singularities within an increasingly (although never absolutely) universal, comparative and dynamic multi-lectic (“many-readings”) perspective.
A multilectic agency – and here empirical case-studies are important to forgo pure metaphysical speculation – will refuse integration of its difference into one single discourse. Yet, at the same time, such an agency equally rejects its separation from other agencies with isomorphically similar structural positions and ideals. Mutatis mutandis, Chilean and Arab uprisings, Chinese and Russian protest movements, Spanish and US indignatos, etc. have very much in common. A dynamic and comparative multilectic analysis envisions and encourages a ‘multiple reading in one’, with increasingly universal insights.
It should be noted that, instead of exalting one particular positionality, politics or strategy at the expense of all others – including that of their own local genealogy or heritage – multilectic agencies will tend to refuse domination from any single force on the geographical, cultural or ideological compass.
From Non-Alignment to Re-Alignment
What is being described in the above is in fact the double or multiple refusal of two or more mainstream positions. In Russia, for example, many reject the renewed national authoritarianism, while simultaneously maintaining a critical stance vis-a-vis western neoliberal solutions, both past and present. This provides this conference with a second core concept: the notion of a non-aligned positionality. This non-alignment, indeed, has been the position of many intellectual currents for the past decades. We are, however, on the cusp of a new development. For the rejections of multiple mainstreams carries with it the potential and necessity for the formation of re-aligned positionalities vis-a-vis dominant or hegemonic powers and ideologies. These re-alignments very much take place within as much as across state, gender, race, class and other categories. In this way, the post–modern manner of analysis is finally being superseded by what might be thought of as pre–mondial.
Practices of Alignment
It is clear that every real-world instance of alignment is structured by a particular history. In many (but not all) cases there is a historical experience of former binarity. In Russia and Eastern Europe, for example, the experience of radical ideological choice of the Soviet condition was between either communism or capitalism. Following an early post-Soviet naivete, a stance of non-alignment was more clearly visiable: a stance of neither laissez-faire capitalism nor Soviet communism; neither Slavophile nationalism nor idealization of ‘the West’, etc. Similarly, in the early Arab Spring of 2011, the oppositional forces aligned their rebellions neither with Muslim fundamentalism nor pro-US/Western ideologies. The Arab uprisings were an inspiration to the Spanish and later the “Occupy” movement worldwide, which likewise rejected both old-fashioned authoritarian leftist traditions just as much as the failed capitalist status quo, giving new impetus to a roots-level movement.
Past the ‘Post-’: A Re-Aligned “Generation Pre-”
If voting “against all” (which incidentally was an art action by the Russian group Radek in the 1990s) seemed the only choice of a disillusioned postmodernist generation, the question clearly arises: What comes after the multiple negatives? Contrary to the fin de siècle pessimism of what one might call the non-aligned “generation of the post-s”, today there is an increasingly visible proliferation of common initiatives. One could call it the re-aligned “generation pre-”.
This newly aligned movement – for it is not, of course, restricted to a generation defined by age – seeks to create a new commons. Its strategies include participatory art and actions, principles of inclusion, and often sustainable forms of development. At best, these movements are built on p2p networks independent of both state and business (Wikipedia and Open Source software being only the best known). Across all continents guarantees of freedom of speech and from arbitrary imprisonment are sought and fought for (from Pussy Riot to Wikileaks). In terms of systematic global change, at the very least this generation imagines ‘Robin Hood’ taxes on transnational corporations. A new distribution of wealth through ‘Citizen’s Salaries’ is one version of re-inventing the welfare state. Importantly in these times of dire economic crises and rising extreme nationalism, it harbours notions of post-national, or rather, pre-mondial citizenship. In short, the proposition is that our time combines the multiple negative with a multiple set of commonly desirable futures.
Which configuration of these multiple alternatives might become the épistémè, the horizon of the future? Art, often a bell-weather of change, is a place for contesting, investigating and developing imaginative horizons. PAST THE ‘POST-’: A RE-ALIGNED ART opens up this field of questions to art practitioners, theorists, curators, critics, academics, researchers and the wider public – to present, discuss and manifest their art and ideas.
Ivor Stodolsky and Marita Muukkonen
Co-curators of the RE-ALIGNED ART thematic exhibition and conference series.
For the project in development see the website of their curatorial vehicle Perpetuum Mobile (soon to be updated): www.PerpetualMobile.org
Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland
Murmansk Events with MediaImpact (Moscow) and YesLab (New York)
Tromso Konstforening & Tromso Art Academy, Tromso, Norway
Tensta Konsthall with Maria Lind, Stockholm, Sweden
Another Vacant Space, Berlin
Street Art Assembly, 2nd Urals Industrial Biennale
Paths Crossing Workshop, HIAP Suomenlinna, Helsinki
Inside Outsiders :
CONCEPTUAL COOKING with the PERPETUAL GYPSY PAVILION
at FITTJA OPEN / BOTYRKA ART HALL
The Inside Outsiders project focusses with a new clarity on universal questions concerning the ‘cultural other’ and the integration/assimilation debate. It works with the unique situation of Gypsy-Romani artists in the field of contemporary arts. Drawing on the familiar issues surrounding multiculturalism, it goes beyond them, “making them strange” by literally bringing them home. At Fittja Open, together with Botyrka Art Hall, the Inside Outsiders project invites Gabi Jiminez, a renowned Gypsy-Gitano artist from France to COOK in the CONCEPTUAL COOKING series. To share bread, they say, is to share life.
SESSION II. The COOK: Gabi Jiménez
Hedgehog (‘Niglo’ in Romanes) is a typical dish of Gypsies in France.
“There was a time, a long time ago, when Gitans would halt their wagons at the border of the forest out of fear that the Gadjos would do them harm. To eat they would gather mushrooms, roots and herbs and fruits. Meat was more difficult: birds and other animals had to be hunted. Rabbits, they realised, ran very fast and were hard to catch. It was also difficult to lay traps, for often you had to leave in great haste in your wagons.
One day, a dog returned home with a hedgehog. The Gitans had the thought to cook it like a rabbit. The taste and the texture of the meat reminded them of a rabbit or a hare. From that time on, the Gitans were never lacking in meat. Niglos (hedgehogs) were always hunted with dogs. They were trained to bring back the hedgehogs directly to the feet of the hunter. Very practical!
The recipe I propose [for the Conceptual Cooking Session II] is directly inspired by the traditional dish made with hedgehogs. In France, however, the species is now protected, and we will substitute the hedgehog with rabbit (‘chochoï’ in Romanes) which is very similar in taste.”
The Inside Outsiders project is an initiative of the Perpetual Gypsy Pavillion, a nomadic pavilion for a New ‘Gypsy Art’ in the Contemporary Condition.
The Perpetual Gypsy Pavilionwas officially inaugurated during the 53rd Venice Biennale
in 2009, sparking debates and heightened awareness in the world of contemporary art. It was launched as an immediate response to emergencies facing Romani-Gypsies in Italy and Europe in general, and Gypsy artists in particular – with the unfortunate ‘no-show’ of the OSI-organised Roma Pavilion at the Biennale in 2009, which had debuted to such success in 2007. Despite such setbacks, however, we are currently witnessing an exciting dynamic in contemporary art of Gypsy origin. There is an ongoing revolution in aesthetics. There are a growing number of artists joining the contemporary art world, inventing new styles and re-developing traditional motifs for the 21st century. The absurdist-radical notion of ‘Gypsy Dada’ was first conceived in recent exhibitions by artists close to the Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion and has developed rapidly with half-ironic talk of ‘Gypsy Situationism’ and further appropriations. This re-invention of received art forms as ‘Gypsy Art’ is inspired, the artists say, by the likes of Django Reinhardt’s appropriation of jazz for ‘Gypsy Jazz’. As it happens, for Fittja Open, Gabi Jiminez sent us a little Gypsy ‘Dada’ poem!
One day, a niglo farted in the water.
But that is not a niglo, said Frédo, that’s Sarko !
But who is Sarko ? answered Patcho.
That’s a gadjo king! said Toto.
Ah, I see ! So, said Frédo, why’s he talking bad about the Bobos?
So’t goes ! Said Bimbo
And so, niglos fart in the water
and the gadjos fart in the air, and it stinks !
As a nomadic pavilion of contemporary art, the Perpetual Gypsy Pavilionbuilds on the centuries-long reality of Gypsies as an artistic well-spring of European culture. Gypsies – a recently re-appropriated word for Romani peoples of all kinds including Roma, Gitanos, Sinti, Khale, Romanichals, Manush, certain Travellers and so on – are a long-excluded, populous and remarkably creative citizenry of approximately 10-14 million Europeans. The focus of the Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion is on artistic innovation, professional excellence and a new politics of inclusion. As the diverse origins of the curators and participants in the Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion illustrate, it is not a ethnically exclusive pavilion. In its practice, however, it expresses the demand and need for a perpetual representation of Gypsies in all established art forms of our time, and in particular, the field of contemporary art.
The INSIDE OUTSIDERS project is initiated by
The Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion www.PerpetualPavilion.org
a perpetuum mobilεzation by marita muukkonen and ivor stodolsky
At TRUTH IS CONCRETE, Steirischer Herbst, Graz. See