26 April, 00.00–30 April, 00.00 2021

The Bratislava BAK Summer (Spring) School: Art During Death

Broadcast daily at 19.00 hrs CEST via bratislavabaksummerschool.art/

The 2021 Bratislava BAK Summer School, titled Art During Death, is a five-part series of podcasts, audio artworks, lectures, and radio plays from artists, theorists, and other cultural practitioners who have assembled a collective soundscape, driven by the urgencies brought about by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Released on a daily basis from 26–30 April 2021, the series features contributions by visual and sound artist Jan Durina (based in Prague); researcher and writer Dominika Moravčíková (based in Prague); artist, singer, writer, and curator Boris Ondreička (based in Bratislava);  agro-ecological activist, food policy analyst, and writer Tomáš Uhnák (based in Prague); and artist, educator, and researcher Mick Wilson (based in Dublin / Gothenburg), among others.

Shaped both within and in spite of the present-day pandemic conditions, Art During Death addresses the notions of death, dying, and bereavement. Geared toward preservation of life through scientific progress and medical advancement, western-modern societies have pathologized and decontextualized death from the reality of our lives-relegating it to the realm of denial, incomprehensibility, and unspeakable taboo. As the current pandemonium-propelled death shapes the common experience of contemporary history, the series poses a seemingly paradoxal question: how does one live this death otherwise? 

As a structuring device for rethinking death, pain, and loss, the series borrows the “five stages of grief” model of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.[1] Art During Death engages with these phases propositionally, and scours the cracks, fissures, and distortions of the pandemic for places where the vulnerability, materiality, and finitude of human bodies can be acknowledged, and where the severed link between life and death can be restored. To think with philosopher Rosi Braidotti, times of death could be understood in the same way “as the time of our living,” and so “the question of dying [could be] the same question as how best to live.” How can such proximity to death, such enduring “close and intimate friendship” with one’s own dying mobilize different collective, transversal, more-than-human aspirations, relationality, and planetary allyship with this world ruptured by racism, slavery, patriarchy, and capitalism? What can “art during death” teach us about life as praxis of being with multiple others differently?[2]

The Bratislava BAK Summer School: Art During Death can be followed as a daily audio broadcast at 7pm CEST on this website. After 31 May 2021, all contributions will be made available in a form of a sound archive. For further questions, please contact info@bratislavabaksummerschool.art.

The 2021 Bratislava BAK Summer School: Art During Death has been organized by Daniel Dida (OpenStudio, Bratislava), Dávid Koronczi (Studio VVV and Department of Intermedia at Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Bratislava), András Cséfalvay (Digital Arts Platform at Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Bratislava), and Kristína Országhová, in conversation with Maria Hlavajova, founding general & artistic director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. The soundscapes of this year’s summer school have been mixed, mastered and designed by sound artists and engineers Jonatán Pastirčák and Adam Matej.

Initiated by Kristína Országhová, the Bratislava BAK Summer School has been organized by OpenStudio, Bratislava, and Studio VVV and Digital Arts Platform at Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava. The visual identity has been created by Magda Schery (graphic studio ONAONAONA). The website has been administered by Juraj Mydla. The Bratislava BAK Summer School has been realized since 2018 in partnership with BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. 

The Bratislava BAK Summer School: Art During Death has been supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.


26 APRIL 2021 at 19.00 hrs CEST
Mick Wilson

27 APRIL 2021 at 19.00 hrs CEST
Song without Mourning
Boris Ondreička

28 APRIL 2021 19.00 hrs CEST
When All Weeping Dries ~* Listening for Generational Grief
Dominika Moravčíková and Jan Durina

29 APRIL 2021 19.00 hrs CEST
Tomáš Uhnák

30 APRIL 2021 13.00-14:30 hrs CEST
Fragments of Repair
Maria Hlavajova and Kader Attia

This live streaming will be available only for the alumni of the Bratislava BAK Summer School and students of Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. The recording will be made public after 31 May 2021. 

[1] This model was introduced by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. It was first mentioned in her book On Death and Dying (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1969).

[2] Rosi Braidotti, “Non-Fascist Ethics: Learning to Live and Die as Affirmation,” in Maria Hlavajova and Wietske Maas, eds., Propositions for Non-Fascist Living: Tentative and Urgent (Utrecht: BAK, and Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2019), pp. 25-39.

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