PAVILION [journal for politics and culture] on Thu, 16 Jun 2011 18:27:59 +0200 (CEST)

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May 31st, 2011 - The 5th BUCHAREST BIENNALE (Bucharest International
Biennial for Contemporary Art), generated by PAVILION - journal for
politics & culture - set for 25 May - 22 July 2012, under the
curatorship of Anne Barlow (UK/USA), revealed the concept in a press
conference held in Bucharest.


Within the current context of the shifting nature of politics,
economics, and culture—conditions that are increasingly referred to
as “precarious” times--artists often have to negotiate risky
positions, contested territories, or situations in which cultural
activity interacts with, or provides a counterpoint to, conditions of
flux. Bucharest Biennale 5 profiles the work of artists whose agency
lies less in overt statements, but rather in investigative, indirect,
or informal strategies that possess their own kind of power.

By nature, work that is investigative is slow in the making,
expressing a kind of resistance to both the speed and changing nature
of things and the increasing sense of instability that pervades
everyday life. The act of researching, uncovering, and presenting
things that are below the surface—an activity that has been aided by
the Internet, whereby global networks enable artists to seek out
obscure or otherwise concealed data—defines the way in which many
artists work today. Their work may contain elements of rumor, secrets
being revealed through seduction or manipulation, or ideas that are
altered through a process of editing. This process can involve a
reworking of certain histories, from the civic to the personal,
producing a different kind of “knowledge” that is not always about
nostalgia or narrative, but is sometimes a deliberately constructed
perspective on the contemporary. For BB5, artists’ projects for
specific contexts in Bucharest will draw on a variety of sources and
sites as a way of re-imagining existing situations or proposing new

Often, artists also circumvent or negotiate existing systems that
they find questionable or challenging. Their methodology reflects a
practice that is evolving, dynamic and responsive, something that is
essential for situations that change quickly or are not yet fully
understood. For some artists this means working together, for others,
it means developing tactics that are distinctly individual and
informal. The deployment of informal approaches is resonant in a city
such as Bucharest, among others, where more formal structures do not
necessarily appear to support the most experimental art practice.

BB5 will be developed around a number of core commissioned projects
that will take place in non-profit or independent spaces,
universities, and public venues and sites in the city. Incorporating
film screenings and educational programs, BB5 will have a format that
involves an ‘exhibition’ at the opening but that also develops
dynamically over the duration of the biennale. 

The education program will manifest itself in the biennale through
programs that encourage both formal and informal types of engagement.
From the outset, it is intended that the Biennale becomes a form of
agency within the city, such that successive events will arouse the
interest of particular audiences. BB5 considers the way in which the
Bienniale can be experienced in Bucharest through a series of
propositions that act as invitations, statements, proposals, or
overtures. To create a more sustained local dimension to the program,
these propositions will unfold during the run of the Biennale in
various ways, including connectivity to other disciplines, longer-term
involvement by artists through specific relationships with educational
partner institutions and sites, and elements of surprise and
playfulness in addition to critical debates.

The notion of the informal within the education program builds on the
existing philosophy of Pavilion’s Free Academy: “What makes the
difference between the formal system proposed by the official state
power network through the ministry and informal education, proposed by
the Free Academy project, is the creation of what appears in the
educational discourse as an “active citizen”- that type of citizen
that participates in the social debate, that is an agent of change,
that proposes the terms of development, that has the attitude,
resources and competences to get involved.” (Eugen Radescu) 

In terms of the relationship of the visual arts to this, see, among
other references: Hal Foster’s article “Precarious: Hal Foster on
the art of the decade”, Artforum International Magazine, December
2009; Open 17, A Precarious Existence. Vulnerability in the Public
Domain, SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain, Amsterdam, The
Netherlands, 2009; Human Condition: Empathy and Emancipation in
Precarious Times, Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz,
Austria, June-September 2010.



In contextul actual al naturii schimbatoare a economiei, societatii
si culturii—situatii care sunt adesea numite “vremuri precare”
— artistii trebuie sa isi negocieze adesea pozitii riscante,
teritorii contestate, ori situatii in care activitatea culturala
interactioneaza sau ofera un contrapunct la conditii de flux. in
cadrul acestui context, Bucharest Biennale 5 reliefeaza creatia unor
artisti al caror portofoliu nu consta neaparat in situatii evidente,
ci mai degraba in strategii investigative, indirecte sau informale,
care poseda propria lor forma de putere.

Prin natura sa, lucrarea analitica este lenta in creare, exprimand
rezistenta atat vitezei si caracterului schimbator al lucrurilor cat
si sentimentului de instabilitate care invadeaza traiul cotidian.
Actiunea de cautare, dezvaluire si prezentare a lucrurilor aflate
aparent/la suprafata – o activitate care a fost sustinuta de
Internet ca un spatiu in care artistii pot cauta mai activ informatia
care «lipseste sau este ascunsa» - defineste maniera in care multi
artisti lucreaza astazi. Pe de-o parte, aceasta poate fi o zvonistica,
secretele fiind dezvaluite prin seductie ori manipulare, sau ideile
care sunt comunicate sau alterate de vreun fel prin transmitere; pe de
alta parte, poate fi privita drept slefuirea unor istorii specifice,
de la civic la personal, care produce un tip de «cunoastere» aparte,
care nu este neaparat despre nostalgie si nici narativa, ci mai
degraba despre prezentarea unei perspective complexe si contemporane a
vietii. Proiectele artistilor pentru spatii si contexte din Bucuresti
vor atinge o varietate de surse si locatii, ca o maniera de
reimprospatare a dialogului in jurul subiectelor mai vechi,
re-imaginarea unor narari specifice, sau pot sugera unele noi.

Adesea, artistii se sustrag sistemelor existente ca o modalitate de a
raspunde contextelor sociale si politice care sunt mai putin
previzibile. Modul lor de a lucra reflecta o practica care este mai
«evolutionista, dinamica si receptiva, greu de definit, esentiala
pentru situatii care se schimba rapid sau nu sunt inca pe deplin
intelese». Pentru unii artisti, lucrul cu structuri informale
inseamna munca impreuna, pentru altii, inseamna dezvoltarea de
abordari ce sunt distinct personale si individuale. Implementarea
strategiilor informale este ceva de rezonanta intr-un oras precum
Bucurestiul, printre altele, unde sisteme mai formale nu par sa
sustina neaparat practica de arta experimentala.

In termeni de format, Bienala va fi dezvoltata in jurul unui numar de
proiecte comisionate, ce se vor desfasura in locatii identificate,
precum Pavilion dar si in alte medii/locatii educationale, academice,
si in mod ideal, locatii publice si spatii deschise, cum ar fi pietele
publice, panourile publicitare, ecranele mass-media si vitrine. in
timp ce artele vizuale formeaza miezul Bienalei, alte discipline
precum literatura si filmul vor fi introduse in programul general
oferind un format care presupune o "expozitie" la deschidere, dar
care, de asemenea, se dezvolta dinamic pe durata bienalei.

Programul educational se va manifesta in BB5 prin crearea de "spatii
de gandire" in modul in care atat expozitia cat si programele publice
sunt puse impreuna. Programul Bienalei va starni curiozitatea
publicului si un angajament prin diferite mijloace: componente care
evolueaza in timp sau care se bazeaza pe ideea de repetitie; moduri de
angajament care sunt atat formale cat si informale in structura;
conectivitate cu alte discipline; implicarea pe termen lung a
artistilor prin intermediul unor relatii specifice cu institutiile
partenere, alaturi de elementele de surpriza si joaca, in plus fata de
evenimentele mai mult bazate pe teorie; si evenimente si proiecte

Notiunea de informal se contureaza pe strategiile existente evidente
in Bucuresti, si este o componenta clara a programului Free Academy
desfasurat in Pavilion UniCredit: ”Ceea ce face diferenta intre
sistemul formal propus de reteaua oficiala a puterii de stat prin
minister si educatia informala, propusa de proiectul Free Academy,
este crearea a ceea ce apare in discursul educational ca un «cetatean
activ» - acel tip de cetatean care participa in dezbaterea sociala,
care este un agent al schimbarii, care propune termenii de dezvoltare,
care are atitudinea, resursele si competentele pentru a se implica. »
(Eugen Radescu)

Privitor la relatia artei contemporane cu tema de mai sus, pot fi
consultate diverse referinte, printre care: textul lui Hal Foster,
“Precarious: Hal Foster on the art of the decade”, Artforum
International Magazine, December 2009; Open 17, A Precarious
Existence. Vulnerability in the Public Domain, SKOR | Foundation for
Art and Public Domain, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2009; Human
Condition: Empathy and Emancipation in Precarious Times, Kunsthaus
Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria, June-September 2010.
(Anne Barlow)

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