Public Editorial Meeting

16-17 May 2014

Other Survivalisms

A detailed program and video recordings of all contributions to the FORMER WEST Public Editorial Meeting, Other Survivalisms, can be found here.

Under the title Other Survivalisms, on 16 and 17 May 2014 BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht hosts the second installment of its public editorial meetings geared towards the realization of the forthcoming FORMER WEST publication. It is the second in an ongoing series of public editorial meetings, which form the trajectory of the culminating phase of BAK’s flagship collaborative research program FORMER WEST (2008–2016). These small-scale gatherings take the editorial meeting as their model for informal (re)negotiations of the living knowledge brought together through the course of the project. The public exchanges take place in cultural and geopolitical contexts both within and outside of the so-called “former West” and bring together a great number of collaborators from the project’s past and current investigations, including artists, writers, theorists, curators, activists, students, as well as our various publics. The series is developed and curated by writer, cultural critic, and translator Boris Buden; curator, organizer, and artistic director of BAK, Maria Hlavajova; and curator and writer Simon Sheikh.

Following the initial Berlin public editorial meeting at FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 2013, the Utrecht edition coincides with BAK’s current research inquiry into Future Vocabularies and its opening entry on conceptual itineraries of “survival.” One strand of inquiry explores the question of the commons as a mode of ensuring the survival of the notion of the public. Taking as its example the so-called “public” institution of art and culture, which has lost its emancipatory potential at the present moment as state and private interests reveal themselves to be conditioned by the same (market) forces, this trajectory looks at modes of instituting-in-common, examining not only how they place pressure on dominant forms of ownership and governance, but how the art institution itself might be transformed into an agent of political action. How do we wish to organize ourselves? Is self-instituting an effective means of survival, now that the state seems to be withering away? The second current within this gathering tackles the prospects of survival through economic and environmental perspectives and catastrophes, asking, amidst the rupture within the present interregnum (much in the Gramscian sense of a period in which “the old is dying and the new cannot be born”), how do we survive “otherwise”? The third trajectory deliberates upon survival through the notion of “afterlife,” which evokes a temporality different than the logic of “post-ism” that has long monopolized our historical imagination, be they concepts of the post-political, the post-utopian, or post-history. Beyond a perpetual repetition of “post-isms,” this last trajectory gestures towards a critique of the ideologies behind them.

Other Survivalisms consists of a number of moderated meetings with artists, theorists, and activists on Friday, 16 May, 13.30–20.00 hrs, and on Saturday, 17 May, 09.30–20.00 hrs, at Het Utrechts Archief, located opposite from BAK on Hamburgerstraat 28, Utrecht.

Contributors to the project include: Boris Buden (writer, cultural critic, and translator, Berlin); T.J. Demos (art historian and critic, London); Mark Fisher (theorist, writer, and editor, London); Maja & Reuben Fowkes (art historians and curators, Budapest and London); Katherine Gibson (theorist and writer, Sydney); Maria Hlavajova (curator and cultural organizer, artistic director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht); Brigitta Kuster (artist and writer, Berlin); Massimiliano Mollona (theorist and writer, London); Alexei Penzin (philosopher and writer, London and Moscow); Andrea Phillips (theorist and writer, London); Poka-Yio (artist and curator, Athens); Simon Sheikh (curator and theorist, Berlin and London); and Marina Vishmidt (writer, editor, and critic, London).

Program

Panel discussion
16.05.2014
The Commons as the Survival of the “Public”

Panel discussion
17.05.2014
Survival Through an Economic and Environmental Lens

Panel discussion
17.05.2014
Critique of the Ideology of “Post-isms”

Suggestions from the archive

Exhibition

31 October–31 December 2004

Cordially Invited, episode 3

Cordially Invited examines the issue of hospitality in relation to a topic of major global, political, and moral consequence today: migration. The project explores these issues through the notion of a cordial invitation, understood here as a symbolic tool which can be used to negotiate between two imaginary, unattainable ideals: the unrestricted right to move across political and economic boundaries, and the unqualified acceptance such rights imply.

Exhibition

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture Program

12 November–17 December 2005

Undercurrents

Undercurrents is a dynamic, informal forum for reflection about what is behind the contemporary state of warfare. It is developed as an equal parallel to the exhibition Soft Target. War as a Daily, First-Hand Reality.

Summer School

22-26 July 2019

BAK Summer School: Art as Politics

BAK Summer School: Art as Politics brings together those involved in arts, academia, and social action to collectively think through, learn about, and imagine critical, politically-informed artistic practices that grasp and influence our dramatically changing times. Deadline for applications: 1 May 2019.

Lecture

Education Program

11 March–15 April 2019

Course: Art and Politics

The basic course of the BAK School for Art and Politics is organized from 11 March until 15 April 2019. In six weekly sessions, the participants learn about how contemporary art relates to the political in an accessible way. The course is taught by Maria Hlavajova, BAK’s general and artistic director.