Performative Conference

30 June, 16.00–1 July, 00.00 2018

Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary

  • Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Housing the Ghosts of Possibilities, walk in Kanaleneiland during Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht on 30 June 2018. Photo: Tom Janssen

  • Luigi Coppola, Evolutionary Populations: Seeds of the World Waiting to Germinate, performative installation during Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht on 30 June 2018. Photo: Tom Janssen

  • Ola Hassanain, Hear Me Out: Audible Demands and Political Actions, performance during Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht on 30 June 2018. Photo: Tom Janssen

  • Quinsy Gario with Jörgen Gario, Gloria Holwerda-Williams, and Shaka Jean-David, …; Speaking of Borders, performative conversation during Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht on 30 June 2018. Photo: Tom Janssen

  • Isshaq Al-Barbary and Diego Segatto (Campus in Camps) with Pelin Tan, Toward a Voluntary Exile: Unconditional Hospitality and Islands, conversation during Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht on 30 June 2018. Photo: Tom Janssen

  • Matthijs de Bruijne and Cecilia Vallejos, Palabras en Cambio: Subjective Words Within the Cuban Revolution, lecture and conversation during Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht on 30 June 2018. Photo: Tom Janssen

  • Sepake Angiama, Reading Out Loud: Letter from the Future, reading excercises during Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht on 30 June 2018. Photo: Tom Janssen

  • Wendelien van Oldenborgh during her DJ set at Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht on 30 June 2018. Photo: Tom Janssen

Order your tickets here.

Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary marks the culmination of a vibrant and inspiring 2017/2018 pilot year of the BAK Fellowship Program. Through conversations, readings, and performances, the BAK Fellows share insights into their respective artistic research itineraries, as well as their common “collective dictionary” project. This sixth gathering in the series Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–2020) takes the shape of an imagined “institute for the contemporary.” As a recurring temporary public “institute” by, for, with, and beyond the learning community at BAK, it will emerge with the conclusion of each Fellowship sequence.

Propositions #6 begins at 16 hrs in the Kanaleneiland neighborhood in Utrecht with an architecture walk by Wendelien van Oldenborgh (registration closed). The program at BAK commences at 17.10 hrs and consists of installations, performances, lectures, and conversations with all BAK Fellows. The day concludes with a party.

With contributions by BAK 2017/2018 Fellows Isshaq Al-Barbary (writer and researcher, Bethlehem) and Diego Segatto (artist and educator, Bologna) of Campus in Camps; Sepake Angiama (educator and curator, Kassel); Matthijs de Bruijne (artist and union organizer, Amsterdam); Luigi Coppola (artist, Brussels and Lecce); Quinsy Gario (poet, theater-maker, and artist); Ola Hassanain (artist, Utrecht and Khartoum); Otobong Nkanga (artist, Antwerp); Wendelien van Oldenborgh (artist, Rotterdam); and Pelin Tan (sociologist and art historian, Mardin).

Propositions #6 takes place within the framework of the exhibition First Person Plural: Empathy, Intimacy, Irony, and Anger at BAK (12 May–22 July 2018).

To attend the performative conference, please go to Eventbrite to purchase your tickets (€5/€10 excluding administration fee). BAK offers without-cost solidarity passes to enable the participation of those who would otherwise be unable to afford a pass. If you are able, you can sponsor the solidarity fund along with the purchase of your own ticket.

A take-away dinner with delicious Ethiopian injeras prepared specially for this occasion is available between 18–22 hrs at our neighbor Restaurant Sunshine (Pauwstraat 11, € 8). Please join us to celebrate!

The BAK Fellowship Program, inaugurated in 2017, is a site for the development of talent and critical practice that advance the notion of art as a public sphere and a political space. BAK offers a unique environment for learning, research, and art-making, which evolves in concert with its public programs. Ten research positions are offered per (academic) year to Netherlands-based and international practitioners involved in contemporary arts, theory, and activisms.

The realization of this project has been made possible through financial contributions by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the City Council, Utrecht.

BAK’s main partner in the field of education and research is HKU University of the Arts Utrecht.

Order your tickets here.

Program

15.45–17.00
Housing the Ghosts of Possibilities
Wendelien van Oldenborgh
Walk, Kanaleneiland, Utrecht (registration closed)

Wendelien van Oldenborgh, together with Hanneke Oosterhof, conducts a walk in Kanaleneiland, where she proposes to speculatively experience the Utrecht neighborhood in relation to Bauhaus architect Lotte Stam-Beese’s work, in particular her learning from Socialist housing in Kharkiv and her city planning in Rotterdam. Kanaleneiland was planned by the Utrecht municipal city planning department, where Henk Eysbroek worked for two years following his time as assistant designer to Stam-Beese in Rotterdam. Stam-Beese was the head architect of Rotterdam’s post-WWII housing development. For Van Oldenborgh, such architecture poses pertinent questions about when the ideals of post-WWII Dutch housing meet the reality of colonial-modernist trauma; when designing for equality meets biased management and policy; and when daily livability meets the aesthetic and moral standards of dominant culture.

* Please arrive at Bakkerij de Molen, Bernadottenlaan 25, at 15.45 to facilitate a punctual start at 16.00. After the walk, the group will return to BAK with bus number 7. The cost of the ticket is €1,36.

17.10–17.40
Evolutionary Populations: Seeds of A World Waiting to Germinate
Luigi Coppola
Performative installation, foyer and exhibition space

Luigi Coppola’s ongoing research into “evolutionary populations” (varieties of seeds that crossbreed naturally, adapting to and being influenced by local soil and climate characteristics) began with the artist’s projects in Castiglione d’Otranto in southern Italy, and draws upon the knowledge of evolutionary plant-breeding by agronomist Salvatore Ceccarelli. Through participatory seed-breeding incentives in Syria and Italy, evolutionary populations of hard and soft wheat have been cultivated, and some of these were planted by Coppola last autumn on BAK’s rooftop. The successful growth of the wheat attests to the adaptability of such evolutionary populations to the local climatic conditions. During his performance, Coppola assembles the grain-bearing ears of the wheat grown at BAK into a geometric floor installation with red clay, creating a pattern that refers to the complexity of nature. This pattern is drawn as a map, which becomes part of Sepake Angiama’s installation We Summon All Beings Here, Present, Past, & Future for the remainder of the exhibition First Person Plural.

17.20–18.00
Housing the Ghosts of Possibilities
Wendelien van Oldenborgh
Script-reading and screening, auditorium

The script is compiled from fragments of various texts that Wendelien van Oldenborgh has encountered during her research into the voices and ideals of architect Lotte Stam-Beese and writer, editor, and fighter for equality Hermina Huiswoud. Though they never met, both women experienced the Soviet Union in the early 1930s and ended up influencing public life in the Netherlands in the 1950s. Stam-Beese was a major influence on Dutch post-WW II housing in her role as Chief Architect for Urban Planning for the Rotterdam Department for Urban Development and Reconstruction. Huiswoud, having edited the magazine The Negro Worker (1928–1937) and traveled the world for the Communist International (Comintern), became an active political voice for the Caribbean-Dutch community, notably through her close connection with artists from the Harlem Renaissance (poet, social activist, and playwright Langston Hughes amongst them). Both Stam-Beese’s thoughts on housing and Huiswoud’s struggles for racial and class equality were approached through the ideals and early practices of communism. For both women, love and friendship had a significant role in their life trajectory. A screening of research images occurs alongside a live reading of the script by the artist and three other readers. A continuous screening of the research images is viewable in Sepake Angiama’s installation We Summon All Beings Here, Present, Past, & Future for the remainder of the exhibition First Person Plural.

18.00–18.40
Palabras en Cambio: Subjective Words Within the Cuban Revolution
Matthijs de Bruijne and Cecilia Vallejos
Lecture and conversation, mezzanine

Matthijs de Bruijne and Cecilia Vallejos present excerpts of the digital publication Palabras en Cambio together with other material telling the story of the Cuban revolution to the present day. Palabras en Cambio consists of short stories from “self-employed” Cubans, compiled with articles from Cuba’s constitution. This booklet was conceived as a PDF in order to be distributed from person to person. During the lecture, excerpts of historical Cuban films and documentaries will be shown alongside the publication. The PDF-booklet, the films, and some texts are compiled on a memory stick, replicating the digital packages that circulate in the so-called “non-Internet” society of contemporary Cuba. To give the audience access to an in-depth reading of all content usually circulated via memory stick, a link to download the entire package, and a printed version of Palabras en Cambio (with a partial translation in English) are available after the lecture in Sepake Angiama’s installation We Summon All Beings Here, Present, Past, & Future.

18:10–18:50
Toward a Voluntary Exile: Unconditional Hospitality and Islands
Isshaq Al-Barbary and Diego Segatto (Campus in Camps) with Pelin Tan
Conversation, auditorium

Isshaq Al-Barbary and Diego Segatto of Campus in Camps engage Pelin Tan in a discussion about the possibilities for self-organized learning environments, wherein knowledge becomes a tool for liberation. Seeking to nourish new pedagogical forms born from “autonomous infrastructures,” they discuss the following questions: Is it possible to re-orient homogenous networks in the direction of non-standardized cultural plurality? How is knowledge shaped by the social fabric? How can multi-perspectival lived experiences of exile and non-belonging help (re-)build the sociocultural “meshwork” (Campus in Camps) that constitutes the global?

18:50–19:10
Hear Me Out: Audible Demands and Political Actions
Ola Hassanain
Performance, auditorium

Together with three Sudanese performers, Ola Hassanain brings to life audible demands that populate the contemporary political space of her country of origin. The performers start by softly humming, dispersed throughout the common spaces of BAK, before joining together in a collective formation. They chant and sing in both Arabic and English, projecting their own demands and aspirations into the frame of the present event. In Sudan, political actions carried out in “public space” are seen as a serious transgression of the state’s control; public space is posited as a “site of no protest.” Since 2013, demonstrations have been erupting all   over Khartoum, demanding the removal of the Sudanese government; these are usually suppressed with extreme violence. Hear Me Out allows both tension and affinity to develop between the voices, becoming a “spatial conversation” that re-constitutes public space as a site of euphonic resistance.

18:50–19:15
…; Speaking of Borders 
Quinsy Gario with Jörgen Gario, Gloria Holwerda-Williams, and Shaka Jean-David
Performative conversation, mezzanine

By way of a performative conversation, together with Jörgen Gario, Gloria Holwerda-Williams, and Shaka Jean-David, Quinsy Gario points to a decolonial kinship between the Leuven student uprising of January 1968, the 1967 rebellion in Detroit, and Patrice Lumumba’s 1960 independence speech. The conversation departs from a picture taken by Ron Kroon on 18 January 1968 of the Leuven Muurkrant [Wall Newspaper], in which students wrote: “Leuven moet een tweede Detroit worden!” [Leuven must become a second Detroit!] In addition to the identifiable lineage of student protests around Europe, the reference to the resistance of African-Americans to police brutality in Detroit places the Leuven uprising in a historical conversation that was explicitly anti-racist and against colonial violence. The Leuven uprising’s resonant international references are explored by considering language, colonial violence, religion, and the political role of archives.

With thanks to Humanity in Action for the additional production support.

19:45–20:15
Reading Out Loud: Letter from the Future
Sepake Angiama
Reading exercises, mezzanine

In May 2018, Sepake Angiama conducted the letter-writing workshop Letter from the Future, which asked the question “what would your future self write to your current self?” On the occasion of Propositions #6: The Temporary Institute for the Contemporary, these letters are read out loud by workshop participants themselves. Through the public reading of letters to the self, Angiama asks us questions about who we (think we) become, and how reading collectively can transform the act of reading itself. This exercise is a development toward the transposition of a collective political imaginary in the context of Angiama’s project We Summon All Beings Here Present, Past, & Future—a temporary installation space for screening, reading, reflection, and conversation that is part of the current BAK exhibition First Person Plural: Empathy, Intimacy, Irony, and Anger.

Following Angiama’s invitation to all 2017/2018 BAK Fellows, several contribute an element of their activities on 30 June 2018 to her installation. These contributions remain in place for the rest of the exhibition.

20:30–21:15
After First Light A Story to Tell
Otobong Nkanga
Lecture-performance, auditorium

Otobong Nkanga delves into fragments of history through the means of storytelling, objects, and voice. In this lecture-performance, specimens presented on metal plates as part of the piece Backstage (2015)—exhibited in the current BAK exhibition First Person Plural: Empathy, Intimacy, Irony, and Anger—are used as entry-points in order to reveal what goes on behind the scenes of the artist’s creative process. The mineral objects aid in excavating and unearthing existing entanglements along various historical lines, as well as in personal encounters and accounts.

21.15–22.30 hrs
Collective Dictionary: Entanglement
2017/2018 BAK Fellows
Collective conversation, auditorium

Stemming from the recent practice of Campus in Camps’the Collective Dictionary is a process Isshaq Al-Barbary and Diego Segatto have introduced to the 2017/2018 BAK Fellowship Program to embody a form of collaborative knowledge springing from the collective research experience. Envisioned as a performative “entry” to the Collective Dictionary: Entanglement manifests itself on this occasion as a conversation between BAK Fellows. The Fellows joins the conversation on  “entanglement” and as “entanglement,” to reflect on their collective practice, enacting, as it were, the different research journeys pursued throughout the 2017/2018 Fellowship year as an expression of a first person plural.

22.30–23.30 hrs
DJ set by Wendelien van Oldenborgh
Auditorium

 

 

Made possible by

Suggestions from the archive

Exhibition

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Vectors of the Possible

The exhibition examines the notion of the horizon in art and politics and explores the ways in which art works can be said to set up certain horizons of possibility and impossibility, how art partakes in specific imaginaries, and how it can produce new ones, thus suggesting other ways of imagining the world.

Congress

Event

Screening

Conversation

Lecture

18 March 2011, 20.00

Lecture by David Riff on Olga Chernysheva

On Tuesday, 15 March 2011 at 20.00 hrs, Moscow-based art critic and writer David Riff delivers a lecture on Olga Chernysheva’s practice in which he considers the artist’s repurposing and reinvention of realism in her work, as well as the critical and political implications of this approach, particularly in the context of today’s Russia.

Exhibition

Exhibition

22 May–24 July 2011

Call the Witness

group exhibition curated by Suzana Milevska

The exhibition Call the Witness includes works by seven extraordinary artists who actively work from within and beyond their Roma identities. The works take up the role of “testimonies,” which in their own languages bear witness to past sufferings (such as the Holocaust) and of present and future anxieties, which seem to so intimately relate to the very existence of the Roma in our world. Each of these artists actively speculates about another possibility, and from within the Roma subjectivity proposes that we imagine how things could be otherwise.

Exhibition

01 June–09 October 2011

Call the Witness, Roma Pavilion

Call the Witness is a project of the Roma Pavilion, which takes place as a collateral event in the framework of the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2011. A makeshift exhibition evolving over the course of the Venice Biennale preview days through the flux of live “testimonies”— works of art, performances, talks, and conversations by and with artists, thinkers, and politicians—Call the Witness considers the situation of the Roma and Roma art as emblematic of a world filled with inequality and oppression today, and in solidarity with the largest minority in Europe speculates about another, hopeful future.

Screening

08 October–03 December 2011

Cinematic Narratives from Elsewhere public program: film screenings and discussions curated by Christina Li

Cinematic Narratives from Elsewhere is a film-based public program of screenings and discussions that accompanies the exhibition Spacecraft Icarus 13: Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere at BAK. The program presents alternative accounts of the impact of sociopolitical changes brought about by western-driven discourses of progress and modernity in the so-called “Third World.”

Exhibition

09 October–23 December 2011

Spacecraft Icarus 13: Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere

exhibition curated by Cosmin Costinas

The exhibition Spacecraft Icarus 13: Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere presents a number of artistic positions by international artists from different generations that reflect upon alternative visions for the future and models for political and cultural change that have emerged in response to the new conditions of the post-Cold War era.

Screening

Exhibition

05 February–29 April 2012

Christoph Schlingensief: Fear at the Core of Things

Christoph Schlingensief (1960–2010) was one of the most seminal if controversial theater, film, and contemporary art figures of his generation. The exhibition Christoph Schlingensief: Fear at the Core of Things attests to his striving towards Lebenskunstwerk—a work of life-art.

Education Program

23 October–27 November 2018

Course Art and Politics

“Art and Politics” is an inaugural course of a new public school for art and politics organized by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht. In six weekly sessions, the participants learn about how contemporary art relates to the political in an accessible way.

Congress

29 September 2012

3rd FORMER WEST Research Congress, Part Two

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Exhibition

29 September–23 December 2012

How Much Fascism?

exhibition curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW

Group exhibition with works by Burak Delier, Etcétera…, Avi Mograbi, Marina Naprushkina, Trevor Paglen, Cesare Pietroiusti, Jonas Staal, Mladen Stilinovic, SUPERFLEX, Milica Tomic, and Lidwien van de Ven.

Congress

18-24 March 2013

FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects

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Learning

18-24 March 2013

FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects—Learning Place

a week-long educational performance with around 200 students from educational institutes around the world

During a week-long educational performance, around 200 students from educational institutes around the world engage on topics such as the commodification of knowledge, critique of creativity, and functioning of edu-industries in today’s cognitive capitalism.

Exhibition

11 April–01 June 2013

After History: Alexandre Kojève as a Photographer

The James Gallery at The Graduate Center, CUNY announces the conceptual and experimental exhibition guest curated by Boris Groys, After History: Alexandre Kojève as a Photographer, on view from 11 April till 1 June 2013. The exhibition presents the photographs, collected postcards, and hand-drawn itineraries of the French-Russian philosopher Alexandre Kojève (1902–1968) to compose a visual exposition of his philosophy. Made in collaboration with BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, The James Gallery is the only US venue for the exhibition.

Exhibition

Education Program

Education Program