Exhibition

30 January–01 May 2016

Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)

  • Aernout Mik, Untitled, 2013

  • Société Réaliste, Universal Anthem, 2013

  • Nicoline van Harskamp, Reading Anarchism, 2016. Photo: Tom Janssen

  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley, 2013

  • Hito Steyerl, Duty Free Art

  • Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR), Common Assembly

  • Photo: Manette Ingenegeren

  • Demonstration in Amude on 31 October 2015, Cezîre Canton, Rojava. Photo: Jonas Staal

Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)—part exhibition; part site for gathering, learning, and exchange—brings together perspectives from the geopolitical pressure points of various forms of statelessness. From Rojava to Palestine to Greece to the refugees in limbo in the Netherlands, the “unstated”—out of sync with the state: unable or unwilling to comply with its extant forms and demands—bear witness to their condition as one of both violent struggle and cautious possibility.

Unstated is inaugurated by the New World Summit, an artistic and political organization founded by artist Jonas Staal, convened for its sixth iteration under the title Stateless Democracy. An accompanying installation at BAK provides insights into the preceding summit in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan), 2015, including a maquette of the Parliament for the political model of democracy without state, currently in construction.

In parallel, Common Assembly by DAAR—a cross-section modeled on yet another parliament, this time from Palestine—provides a forum for works of art and discourse to unfold over the course of the project. If originally built, mistakenly or not, partially on Israeli territory and thus prevented from ever coming to life, it is temporarily reclaimed at BAK. Here, numerous conversations are convened at the junction of the artistic, educational, and political, from Reading Anarchism, reading groups convening around an anarchist library by Nicoline van Harskamp; to Here We Are Academy, in which the undeportable refugees of the We Are Here collective, together with Campus in Camps, set up a learning curriculum for artists and students around the question of representation; and to a series of sit-ins for rethinking the art institution in face of the challenges of the present, titled Instituting for the Contemporary. Between these gatherings, the works by Abdullah Abdul and Masun Hamo, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Aernout Mik, Société Réaliste, Hito Steyerl, and Stefanos Tsivopoulos continue the idea of assembly, including in their inquiry questions about the state of art itself. Articulating their arguments one by one, the paradoxes of the present crises meet an appeal to engage the multiple meanings in unstated, so as to offer a space through art for things to be stated in turn; a space where the right to voice one’s concern is coupled with an adjacent right for it to be heard.

With: Abdullah Abdul & Masun Hamo (Rojava); Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Beirut); Campus in Camps (Palestine); Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR) (Palestine); Nicoline van Harskamp (Amsterdam); Aernout Mik (Amsterdam); New World Academy; New World Summit; Société Réaliste (Budapest/Paris); Hito Steyerl (Berlin); Stefanos Tsivopoulos (Athens); and We Are Here (Amsterdam). The project title refers to both the book Unstated:Writers on Scottish Independence (Ed. Scott Hames, Word Power Books: 2012), and the interview with Dilar Dirik conducted by Jonas Staal titled Living Without Approval, published in the New World Academy Reader #5: Stateless Democracy (Eds. Renée In der Maur and Jonas Staal, in dialogue with Dilar Dirik, BAK: 2015).

Unstated is conceptualized by BAK’s Maria Hlavajova and Lucy Lopez, in dialogue with Marion von Osten.

Works

Common Assembly
Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR)

Duty Free Art
Hito Steyerl

Geometry of Fear
Stefanos Tsivopoulos

Here We Are Academy
We Are Here & Campus in Camps

Instituting for the Contemporary

Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley
Lawrence Abu Hamdan

New World Summit, Rojava
Jonas Staal

Reading Anarchism
Nicoline van Harskamp

Universal Anthem
Société Réaliste

Untitled
Aernout Mik

Untitled (Women from Rojava)
Abdullah Abdul & Masun Hamo

Program

Reading group
17.02.2016 17.00 hrs
Reading Anarchism: Richard John Jones reads bædan & Yoonis Osman Nuur reads Emma Goldman

Reading group
24.02.2016 17.00 hrs
Reading Anarchism: Lise Autogena reads Bahrain Youth & Katja Sokolova reads Anonymous

Reading group
16.03.2016 17.00 hrs
Reading Anarchism: Maria Barnas reads Mustapha Khayati & Jonas Staal reads Murray Bookchin and Abdullah Öcalan

Education program
05.–09.04.2016
Here We Are Academy

Public editorial meeting
11.04.2016 19.00 hrs
Instituting for the Contemporary – part 1

Public editorial meeting
18.04.2016 19.00 hrs
Instituting for the Contemporary – part 2

Reading group
25.04.2016 19.00 hrs
Instituting for the Contemporary – part 3

Performance
01.05.2016
Universal Anthem performed by Zuilens Fanfarecorps

Acknowledgements

The activities of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst have been made possible by financial support from the City Council of Utrecht and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands. The project Future Vocabularies is realized with support from the DOEN Foundation, Amsterdam. The exhibition Unstated (or, Living Without Approval) is supported by the K.F. Hein Fund, Utrecht. The related New World Summit: Stateless Democracy is supported by The Art of Impact, Amsterdam, Democracy & Media Foundation, Amsterdam, and the CBK Rotterdam (Centre for Visual Arts Rotterdam).

Suggestions from the archive

Discursive

18 October 2018–24 January 2019

Propositions #7: Evidentiary Methods

Propositions #7: Evidentiary Methods—the public program in the context of the exhibition Forensic Justice and part of the BAK series Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–2020)—expands upon the notion of forensic justice in a series of lectures, screenings, and workshops on methodologies for articulating claims within the multidimensional space of aesthetics, law, architecture, politics, and ecology.

Exhibition

18 October 2018–27 January 2019

Forensic Justice

Forensic Justice is an exhibition and a series of public programs with Forensic Architecture, a London-based independent and interdisciplinary research agency comprised of, among others, artists, scientists, lawyers, filmmakers, and architects.

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture

Exhibition

Lecture

Lecture Program

Discursive, Exhibition, Publication

11 January–01 March 2009

The Return of Religion and Other Myths

The Return of Religion and Other Myths is a large-scale multifaceted project, consisting of the exhibition The Art of Iconoclasm, a discourse program taking place in early 2009 titled On Post-Secularism, and the publication of a BAK Critical Reader on the subject in 2009. The project explores the popular assumption of the return of religion to the public sphere, contemporary politics, and the media in the West as a constitutive “myth.”

Lecture

Learning

10 February–31 March 2009

Curating (Beyond) Exhibitions: Critical Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Society

Master course organized by Utrecht University and BAK. The course, structured as a series of lectures and seminars, explores the dynamic field of curating vis-ŕ-vis the challenges that artistic and intellectual practices are presented with by contemporary society, and takes the year 1989—which marks the end of the Cold War—as a starting point from which to explore the practice of curating.