Open Call: PERPETUUM LABS/BAC Part 1 – Curating the Political

Open Call: PERPETUUM LABS/BAC Part 1 – Curating the Political

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.

Application procedure

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

Important dates

Deadline for submitting applications: March 25, 2013.
Notification of acceptance: March 31, 2013.

PERPETUUM LABS /BAC is a cooperation between BAC and Perpetuum Mobilε,

The project is supported by

Nordisk Kulturfond / The Nordic Culture Fund

Riksutstallningar / The Swedish Exhibition Agency


The AA at Manifesta 8, Spain

Arts Assembly – CPS

A Reflexive Organ of CPS, Curators of Manifesta 8

A Perpetuum Mobilεzation

The Arts Assembly – CPS is a programme of critical evaluations of the Chamber of Public Secrets (CPS), in its capacity as a curatorial team of Manifesta 8.

An Arts Assembly (AA) is a reflexive model for cooperation in the creative field. It unites a diversity of actors in a new genre of formats based on participatory action through peer-to-peer platforms. One can imagine it as a self-constituting parliament. Each AA is structured and tailored to develop a unique modus vivendi for each unique context. In its work for CPS-M8 the AA will operate as a reflexive and critical organ. The membership of  AAs includes artists, philosophers, writers, curators and other intellectuals and art-actors. The CPS AA at Manifesta 8 will include experienced members of the first Helsinki AA. It will “constitute” Charters to evaluate works and processes in public Assemblies.

The early-stage list of participants includes: CPS (Curators at Manifesta 8 ), Perpetuum Mobilε, Parfyme (, Copenhagen), S.a.L.E. (Venice) and Damian Le Bas (London)..

A documentary film by Perpetuum Mobilε for CPS-M8 will be co-produced by the AA with the Finnish-Iranian director Hamy Ramezan.

for certain Chambers of the AA-CPS at M8.

If you would like to be part of the process in Spain please contact

Ivor Stodolsky and Marita Muukkonen at

A preliminary map of the project (click to enlarge):

Arts Assembly - CPS at Manifesta 8

The Arts Assembly

A Reflexive Organ of the CPS

Perpetuum Mobilε

Manifesta 8, 2010-2011

    The overall goal of the Arts Assembly – CPS is to reflect, analyse, reformulate and critically represent the CPS process at Manifesta 8 through procedures which are both analytical and performative as new works and evaluations.

The Arts Assembly – CPS is a programme of critical evaluations of the Chamber of Public Secrets (CPS) in the context of Manifesta 8. It is piloted by Perpetuum Mobilε.

An Arts Assembly (AA) is a reflexive model for cooperation in the creative field. It unites a diversity of actors in a new genre of formats based on participatory action through peer-to-peer platforms. Each AA is structured and tailored to develop a unique modus vivendi for each unique context. In its work for CPS – in its capacity as a curatorial team for Manifesta 8 – the AA will operate as a reflexive and critical organ.


The First (Pilot) Arts Assembly

The First (Pilot for a) ARTS ASSEMBLY  took place 20-22 November, 2009 on the Island of Suomenlinna, and at an Open Door Session (Bar Llamas).

For Detailed and Updated Information, go to this page:

What is an Arts Assembly?

An Arts Assembly is a reflexive model for co-operation in the creative field. It unites a diversity of actors in new “formats” based on participatory action through peer-to-peer platforms. There are several Chambers of the Assembly.

The Value Chamber (aka the Auction Chamber):

This chamber was first conceived (during the collapse of casino-style markets) after the fashion of auctions: through bids and counter-bids according to a procedure.  Given the absurd volatility of market valuations, the Value Chamber is designed to provide non-monetary procedures for the evaluation – critical, practical, aesthetic, political, philosophical or otherwise – of artworks presented to it.

The Chamber of Public Secrets:

Many ideas, histories or movements are public, but not known…

The Chamber of Diversity and Pre-Universalism:

This Chamber’s title springs from our conviction that it has long been time to get past the ‘posts’ — post-modernism, post-histoire, post-Soviet, post-colonial, post-national, etc. — and turn to the ideational creativity involved in formulating the oncoming epoch: the pre.

The Copyist Chamber:

The Kamera Kopista, as it is also known, researches models of theoretical, performative, artistic and empirical knowledge; creative content; and creates copies of it and it’s context (the Art Assembly event itself) in other spaces, events and contexts. It claims that the avant-garde producer today is one that shares, copies and clones its work.

The Arts Assembly’s Open Door Party

Perpetuum Mobilε on Facebook
Saturday, 21 November 2009
19:00 – 23:55
Bar Llamas
Iso Roobertinkatu 14
Helsinki, Finland

Random Shots from the Pilot:

The AA in Gallery Augusta, Suomenlinna

Theory Lecture: OSArchivum through ACAX, Hungary


co-organized by ACAX | Agency for Contemporary Art Exchange and the Open Society Archives
Date: 14 April 2009, 6pm
Location: Open Society Archive (1051 Budapest Arany János u. 32.)

Theoretical conceptions of the eponymous archival exhibition at The Museum for Contemporary Art, KIASMA Helsinki, 2007-2008, presented by Ivor Stodolsky with the contribution of co-curator and Perpetuum Mobilε co-founder Marita Muukkonen

This lecture introduces an anthropological-semiotic paradigm and demonstrates its application in a museum context. Originally developed in response to the conditions of the western “hyperreal” and the obfuscations of “postmodernist” theory, the “production paradigm” – The Raw, The Cooked and The Packaged – was applied to the curatorial and anthropological problem of understanding the “archive” of art/artifacts of the Perestroika era, and its historicisation. In the course of the presentation – which will include short films and other visual documentation – the complex of theoretical, institutional and artistic issues involved in affecting an appropriate representation of the Perestroika era will be brought to light.
The “Archive of Tins” at the exhibition in Kiasma.
Includes: A tin of Soviet tooth-powder, a tin celebrating the 22nd Congress of the CPSU and a signed Campbell’s Soup Can by Andy Warhol. On the right, a photograph of Warhol holding a painting by Oleg Kotelnikov.