david turgeon on Fri, 15 Feb 2002 20:32:02 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] FWD: john duncan expelled by a swedish art institution

i got this today from vital weekly, of all places.  didn't see it on
this list, i'll let the moderators decide of its relevance...  ~d

-- snip --

From: "Ingrid Engarås" <ingrid.engaras@kulturhuset.stockholm.se>

Official Swedish art institution IASPIS
disregarding their contract with John Duncan.

-Dear collagues, artists, friends and collaborators around the world.
We have a serious problem in Stockholm, Sweden and we need your support.

The internationally acclaimed experimental contemporary artist
John Duncan was invited to Sweden by IASPIS (International Artist s Studio
Program In Sweden), on recommendation by curator CM von Hausswolff,
to live and work here for a period of six months. John Duncan had planned
and started working on several collaborations, concerts, lectures and a
major exhibition to take place at Fargfabriken. IASPIS supported his work
in Sweden with a studio, an apartment and money enough for John to make
his living in Stockholm for the six-month period. The experimental art
community in Stockholm was happy to have John here a guest.

Until Friday the 1st of February, when the IASPIS board of directors
suddenly decided to change their mind, breaking the contract with Duncan,
because of the so-called "problematic nature" of "Blind Date", an artwork
performed by him in 1980.

We are outraged at the way an official art institution has arbitrarily
decided to treat an internationally acclaimed guest artist!
We are seriously concerned about how this will affect the future life of
art in Sweden.

Will every official guest have their artistic history examinated for
possible "problematic" works before being accepted?
Will only the artists whose work upsets no one receive official support?
These and several other questions are now being discussed among artists in
Stockholm, while the tabloid press is hunting Duncan to comment on a
work he
did 20
years ago.

IASPIS has arrogantly decided to expel him -- but as John Duncan has
already begun work in Stockholm, it is not possible for him to simply
leave Sweden immediately. In defiance of IASPIS' actions, the Swedish art
community has decided to take over the responsibilities that IASPIS is now
attempting to avoid.  We, Duncan's friends and collagues, are in a
situation where we are forced to find money, support and places for him to
stay while he finishes the work he came here to complete, as the flagship
art institution of Sweden has seriously betrayed John Duncan and all
artists that it is entrusted to support.

In hope of your support, Stockholm 02 - 02 - 13
Ingrid Engarås, performance artist and organizer


YOU can support John Duncan and the Stockholm experimental art community
by complaining to IASPIS about their misbehaivior against John Duncan.
You are also welcome to spread this letter to people who might care, all
around the world.

Anyone not familiar with Duncan's work is invited to study his artistic
background at http://www.johnduncan.org
IASPIS did not even make the effort to read it before inviting him, and
now they expect him to suffer the consequences of their negligence.

Simply copy the protest letter below, or write your own comment.
Send your message to IASPIS director Sara Arrhenius (sa@iaspis.com).

"We, the undersigned artists, curators and cultural workers, seriously
question the decision taken by the board of directors at IASPIS, concerning
the abrupt termination of the Stockholm visit of the internationally
acclaimed artist John Duncan.

Duncan was invited to Stockholm by IASPIS to work and stay as an artist in
residence for a period of six months.  His performances and concerts, at
Fylkingen and Färgfabriken so far, have deeply affected and inspired
several Swedish artists to develop their experimentation in the fields of
sound and performance art.
Several respected artists living in Stockholm were looking forward to a
spring with even more opportunities to experience the powerfully dynamic
works of John Duncan.  Artists and cultural workers in Stockholm were glad
and thankful
for the generosity and support shown by IASPIS for inviting Duncan, among
others, to inspire and develope the vital Swedish scene of experimental
contemporary arts.

The reason given for the termination is that IASPIS suddenly became aware
of "Blind Date", an artwork performed by Duncan more than 20 years ago.
"Blind Date" were performed during a time when the artist were researching
the extremes of human behaivior, social taboos and the very limits of his
expressions, especially in the areas of death and sexuality.  Duncan has in
no way hidden his history of extreme experimentation, to IASPIS or anyone
else.  Over the years he has openly discussed his works in lectures, as
well as in interviews in a variety of respected European, Japanese and US

Duncan was invited to Stockholm to work with his contemporary art,
especially in the field of soundart.
This is exactly what he was doing, in full cooperation with the IASPIS
staff, when his residency was unjustly terminated.  His collaboratory
"Palace of Mind" (Allquestions) was released recently on CD and has claimed
place of its own as a highlight of contemporary experimental music

We think it's unacceptable to judge anyone for activities performed 20
years ago, which have no relation whatsoever to the activities that Duncan
is currently pursuing in Stockholm.  We find it an embarrassment to the
Stockholm art community that IASPIS has chosen to arbitrarily disregard
their contract long after it's been agreed upon by both parties, in fact
several months after Duncan has been working here.  Their insulting
disregard of Duncan's rights makes the entire Stockholm art community seem
as weak and fearful of their jobs as the IASPIS board of directors have
shown themselves to be in the eyes of our international colleagues around
the world.  Their actions also raise serious doubts about the treatment
that all present and future invited artists can expect from the IASPIS

We ask the IASPIS board of directors to reconsider their decision in a
mature and serious manner, and not to behave like bureaucrats in panic for
their positions.
Grant him the full stipend that IASPIS is legally obligated to pay, which
he needs in order to survive in Stockholm while finishing the work he came
here to do."
Your name, profession, country & email

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