Raimar Stange over the week-long marathon of Camp Truth is concrete steirischer herbst 2012th
The centerpiece of this year’s steirischer herbst in Graz was a one week under the title Truth is concrete barred marathon camp. 24 hours a day were reflected in workshops, discussions, lectures, concerts, performances, excursions and the process-scale exhibition and interactive adaptation of the possibilities of concrete, both artistic and politically effective action. Purpose, 100 Fellows have been invited from all over the world who were in the camp and its space lab created by the Berlin architecture then housed for the duration of the event. As with the summer seventh biennial stood at Truth is concrete that is not a detached, but. perfectly formed art practice of individual artists producing works in focus Rather, an art was discussed, which is characterized by a project-based, explicitly political broader activity. The collective, process-oriented form of this camp was perfect for such an artistic approach.
The contrast of – once put pointedly – “noble” and “committed” art practice was then also, for example, in the six hours Panel The politics of artistic practices, which was led by Chantal Mouffe, in the center. Significantly, Stephen Wright and Stefan Hertmans who uphold the qualities of the sublime, sublime artwork fought, did not hesitate to throw erzbürgerliche categories like artistic autonomy and the Kantian “disinterested pleasure” to the discussion. Especially Anette Baldauf and Gerald Raunig disagreed as energetic and pointed to the obsolescence of categories that could make far more than to legitimize the production aestheticist and market-oriented art.
Another highlight of the total of over 170 hours long program: Jonas Staal’s lecture History of art, recording to the resistance. Staal put inter alia to the New World Summit, a kind of “terrorist Parliament” to be negotiated in the how “terrorism” can actually characterize. Who has power to define who sets so when we speak of “violence” when such is legitimate “rule of law” and when not to? Discussed these issues at the New World Summit include with lawyers and activists. Also the panel moderated by Florian Malzacher Occupy now? Where others Attended by members of Occupy Museum of New York asked, questions about the legality or illegality of different ways to combine art and politics. Speaking of Occupy: Halfway through the marathon camps studied members of the group, supported by the local activist group “KIG! Culture in Graz “, the Kunsthaus Graz home – even after all of the participants steirischer herbst. About 50 activists spilled thick black and reminiscent of oil paint in the foyer of the building and also torched in front of the temple of art from pyrotechnics. The whole spectacle was, of course, meant as a message of solidarity to parallel in time to ereignende demonstrations in Greece and Spain.
Admittedly Such provocative actions meant threaten to degenerate into a stitch, they are close to it in the fall just to style and genre event, which also works with art character continues to slip. This is certainly a serious problem. It is striking, however, that this precarious situation of political art is accused of a lot faster than some of the paintings.
In contrast to the seventh the biennial marathon Camp Truth is concrete but was taken mostly friendly – both the “experts” as the local media in Graz. And even though there were several overlapping between the two events in programmatic terms. The reason for the benevolent criticism may be found in the different orientation of the two cities: Berlin, with its more than 400 galleries, is heavily focused on the production of object-shaped art, process-working artists but have always had been difficult. In contrast, Graz has always been more likely to dominate the fields of music, literature and theater, so aesthetic fields that will not put a priority on producing objects. Accordingly easier it is here to welcome the rejection of the primacy of the unique work of art well.
Does art speak in commands when a museum is run like a dictatorship? This question initiated our project. We are artists who are critical of the abuse of labor as modus operandi. From preliminary research it seemed that such a situation existed at the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum (MWW). Abuse of power is a fitting theme because the particular museum in question is situated in a former Nazi bunker.
We embarked on a collective audit of the MWW, but we did not conceive of this audit ourselves. Rather we were invited by the museum director, perhaps because she herself realized that an institution that shares power can be a more interesting place. By inviting us, she played a major creative role: director as artist. In fact the director had already incorporated politically progressive activism within her role.
We took up the labor of listening, conducting long interviews with the director and staff and creating a report. Two things emerged: she was a strong founding director but not a dictator. Secondly the staff emerged as an overlooked group of voices. They are also ambitious. Ultimately they were not willing to play the role of victim in our project. After reading our report, the staff felt we had fixated on the director and largely omitted their agency in the museum.
Meanwhile, the political ground was shifting. This is taking place in Poland, a country only a few months into a far right government. Ultimately, it erupted on the surface when the progressive director was removed by a right wing city government. With the founding director now missing from the museum’s horizon, the staff looms larger, and this is now reflected in our report. They unanimously decided to create a labor union and began a process of creating a new identity as a unified community. We are reporting a critical moment when cultural labor politicizes and gets empowered.
Maureen Connor, Noah Fischer, Oleksiy Radynski, Zofia Waślicka i Artur Żmijewski – See more at: http://muzeumwspolczesne.pl/mww/kalendarium/wystawa/muzeum-wspolczesne-artur-zmijewski-feat-noah-fisher-oleksiy-radinsky-maureen-connor-zofia-waslicka/#sthash.Ow73h8W0.dpuf
In response to the request of the editors of “Circulation” send a subjective summary of the past year. Usually on such occasions I read in summary, they do not like to do that, do not see themselves in that role, or do not feel. I first instinct too, so I reacted. But then it started to follow me around, until I realized that such a summary of yourself to me useful to recapitulate the conclusions from my own experiences. Since I lack clear criteria, but I wanted to avoid ranking.Finally, I decided to evaluate in this way only three categories of events the most interesting, the most embarrassing and most inspiring public institutions. Other indications I created alphabetically or chronologically. Most of them tried to somehow better define or justify. I realize that, as a critic put only the first steps, I did not recognize yet all institutions, artists and events, so my list is not exhaustive. However, it is an honest opinion of this matter, which over the years he had learned.Time will tell, of course, where I was wrong, and where I am right. I’m curious.
5 Winter Holiday Camp at Ujazdowski Castle – an unprecedented experiment studying the mechanisms of power in the field of cultural institutions and seeking ways of democratic transformation. Initially admitted to the CCA, then torpedoed by the management, then – under pressure from the media and the environment – re-adopted (in part). The project was attended by artists and art-activists of the Polish, Germany, USA and Hungary, among others, Pawel Althamer, Noah Fischer and Arthur Zmijewski. Formulated their demands radical egalitarian in the management of cultural institutions derive from the experience of the international Occupy movement and represent an interesting model of society (not?) Distant future.
“Mask of Money” an artwork/artifact from the 2011 Occupy Movement positioned on a pyramidal display structure was included in the exhibition, plus three videos. In January an “Activist Summit” provided means to “unfreeze the frame” of the exhibition by holding an assembly which ended in an action to intervene in the curatorial text and exhibition walls.
Priests of Growth:
Value of Occupy
global aCtIVISm is dedicated to the field of artistic form of expression as politically inspired by actions, demonstrations and performances in the public sphere, which draw attention to socio-political grievances and call for changes to existing conditions. By means of objects, photographic, cinematographic, videographic and mass medial documents, the exhibition presents global activism as the first novel art form of the 21st century.
global aCtIVISm serves as prelude to the exhibition marathon “Globale”, scheduled to be held on the occasion of the 300-year anniversary of the founding of the city of Karlsruhe 2015.
Project Team: Peter Weibel and Andreas Beitin, Andrea Buddensieg, Dietrich Heissenbüttel, Sabiha Keyif, Elisabeth Klotz, Sarah Maske, Linnea Semmerling, Joulia Strauss, Tatiana Volkova, Philipp Ziegler
Adbusters Media Foundation, G.M.B. Akash, Anonymous News Germany, ATTAC, Martin Balluch, Zanny Begg, John Beieler, Bombily Group, Ángela Bonadies & Juan José Olavarría, Nadir Bouhmouch, Osman Bozkurt, Campact, Center for Artistic Activism, Chim↑Pom, Noam Chomsky, Ralf Christensen, Chto delat?, Paolo Cirio, Cyber Guerilla, Hassan Darsi, Johanna Domke & Marouan Omara, Electronic Disturbance Theater, Enmedio, Everyday Rebellion, Femen, Noah Fischer, Floating Lab Collective, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Muath Freij, Isabelle Fremeaux & John Jordan, Jakob Gautel & Jason Karaïndros, Greenpeace, Stéphane M. Grueso, Ed Hall, Hedonistische Internationale, Stéphane Hessel, Niklas Hoffmann, Jim Hubbard, Indymedia, Alexey Iorsh, Just do it (Kim Asendorf & Ole Fach), Amadou Kane Sy, Thomas Kilpper, Kiss my Ba, kreativerstrassenprotest.twoday.net, Mischa Kuball, Jan Jaap Kuiper & Katja Sokolova, Sasha Kurmaz, Christopher LaMarca, Mohammed Laouli, Lynn Lauterbach, Julia Leser & Clarissa Seidel, Let’s Do It!, Viktoria Lomasko, Renzo Martens, Masasit Mati, Mikaela, Mootiro Maps, Carlos Motta, Neozoon, No TAV, occupygezipics.tumblr.com, Otpor!, Partizaning, Jean-Gabriel Périot, Platform, Pussy Riot, R.E.P., Resist, Oliver Ressler, Mykola Ridnyi, Itamar Rose & Yossi Atia, Faten Rouissi, Sandra Schäfer, Bahia Shehab, Lisa Sperling & Florian Kläger, Jonas Staal & Metahaven, Stop the Traffik, Joulia Strauss & Moritz Mattern, Stuttgart 21-Protest, Jackie Sumell, Surveillance Camera Players, Tanya Sushenkova, Aaron Swartz & Taryn Simon, Take The Square, Pelin Tan, Teatro Valle Occupato,The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, The Yes Men, Thomson & Craighead, Patricia Triki & Christine Bruckbauer, Troika, UK Uncut, Various authors organized by Sharon Hayes with Angela Beallor, Voina, Christoph Wachter & Mathias Jud, Mark Wallinger, WANGO, wearethe99percent.tumblr.com, WikiLeaks, Alexander Wolodarskij, Yomango, Malala Yousafzai, Salam Yousri and others
The exhibition global aCtIVISm is dedicated to the field of artistic form of expression as politically inspired by actions, demonstrations and performances in the public sphere, which draw attention to socio-political grievances and call for changes to existing conditions. By means of objects, photographic, cinematographic, videographic and mass medial documents, the exhibition presents global activism as the first novel art form of the 21st century.
global aCtIVISm serves as prelude to the exhibition marathon “Globale”, scheduled to be held on the occasion of the 300-year anniversary of the founding of the city of Karlsruhe 2015.
IWO ZMY T Lona: Within happening before Ujazdowski Castle hung Th shadow word “Institution in Crisis”. What is this crisis? ARTHUR ŻMIJEWSKI: The fact that the conflict between the management and employees of the Castle, which arises from changes in the management in 2010, has reached a critical mass. Employees do not want to accept the management of what is imposed by the Fabio Cavallucci. Over a year ago, in September 2012, directed in this case a non-public letter to the Minister of Culture, who also handed over to the Directorate. Since then, however, the policy directorates, namely Fabio Cavallucciego and Joanna Szwajcowski, there was improved, but exacerbated. Therefore, in mid-September 2013 union members decided to write to the Minister of Culture second letter and publicize its allegations . It was aimed at transparency effects CCA employees that Winter Holiday Camp supported their actions in December 2013.
The project, however, been planning since March 2013. The primary assumptions he had no concern the ongoing conflict, much less a person Fabio Cavallucciego. What was your goal? IGOR Stokfiszewski: Winter Holiday Camp [WHC] is a movement for democratic transformation of culture, our goal is described on the website . Our aim is to change the way of thinking about the social function of institutions such as the CCA. The question is whether culture is a creation of artistic elites, whether it is a common resource from which we all derive and to which all a bit of the composition? We we assume that any action to create symbols or building social bonds is a culture-operation. Within the project, we wanted to know how it understood the culture – an open, common practice, may be developed by institutions such as the CCA.
Artur Zmijewski: So looking for a model for cultural institutions – one in which it is possible to actual participation of artists and audiences in codecision with the program, the aims and objectives of these institutions. At this time, the power of decision-making are only a few prominent people. CCA took as an example of such an institution, which could be changed – formatted differently.
WINTER HOLIDAY CAMP
project of artists and art-activists investigating the mechanisms of power in the field of cultural institutions and seeking ways of democratic transformation. In July 2013 it was officially introduced to the CCA program. According to the original plans for its implementation was to last two months – at the end of December, and January 2014. Especially for this purpose managed to get a grant from the Ministry of Culture. In mid-November the management of the CCA, however, withdrew from previous commitments, arguing that financial considerations. At the same time in an internal letter to employees CCA forbade them any contact with members of the WHC, threatening sanctions arising out of the labor code. Deprived of grants artists came to Warsaw at its own expense, surrounded by the Castle and its grounds to arrange a series of “guerrilla” activities. The group included activists from the Polish, Germany, USA and Hungary.Ultimately, director of the CCA Fabio Cavallucci officially approved part of the group’s activities – took to the collection Castle gift WHC, the work covering all initiated by the group process, ie both various objects, and such meetings with CCA. WHC page: www.winterholidaycamp.org
So CCA treat as a kind of testing ground? TAL Beery: You could say that. We’re dealing with the authoritarian system of organization of power, which is quite typical, and which artists do not devote sufficient attention. Do not wonder about the conditions of employment and the quality of social relations within the institution, which present their work. Meanwhile, it is these relations binding on the institutions of the ideologies that generate anti-democratic attitudes. So I think that our task at CCA is to mobilize artists and workers themselves to fight to change this state of affairs.MAUREEN CONNOR: In a broader plan applies to the structure of the world of art, which is very hierarchical – resembles a pyramid burgeoning downwards, on top of which there is a narrow group of people. Most of artistic institutions replicates this model – someone sitting at the top, and below a multitude of anonymous workers. Is not conducive to respect for the work of these people. If – for comparison – look at the theater or film productions, then all employees are honored there on posters or in the final. Most also retains an autonomous field of creative work – creative works not only a director but also the cameraman, actor, set designer and writer. The institutions of the art world somehow does not work this way – here revalorises the work of artists and curators, the rest are anonymous.
NOAH FISCHER: It is of course the reason why in the world of art distinguished by the names of the artist or curator, przemilczając work of the whole multitude of invisible people. This reason is the market. If endorses the work of a particular name, it becomes a kind product – a trademark which it is easy to trade. Another such reason is a kind of mythology, typical of Western culture, especially for the privileged classes, including art historians. We have been taught to think that the course of history form a single person whose ideas are changing the reality. Meanwhile, progress is always the result of complex processes, the result of the collaboration of many different people. For the same reason we – as WHC – we work as a team.
Joules STRAUSS: For us, this also means that the ethical value of collective action is higher than the deep-rooted in our culture, the myth of the artist-genius. Today, moreover, in various fields of culture can be seen as the value of creative work in the collective mythology displaces unique, irreplaceable gesture individualist.
So we can probably say that the main opponent of the art market for you? IMANI BROWN: Definitely. I look at it from the perspective of New York, where the art scene is totally dominated by the market. Creating market value is the performance, in the sense defined by Guy Debord . On the one hand we have a media that talk about art only in the context of the great scandals and auction records, and other artists Marina Abramović in kind, which first made about the movie itself, then began rapping with Jay-Z , and recently arranged a banquet in Los Angeles where artists were laid on the table as props. This performance not only commercialized art, but also objectifies people, making them the goods on sale.
Imani and Noah – are activists Occupy Museums. What are the positive values of that fight? Imani Brown: Certainly with dignity. The dignity of those who are excluded – various minorities. But also fighting to restore the importance of traditional concepts such as solidarity, art, freedom or democracy. These words are so often abused by various politicians that completely lost their significance. In the mouth has become a blank sign, which is manipulating people and the quest for power. Therefore, the Occupy movement repeat that it is not just about us occupying physical space, but also the fight against mental occupation – by the process of internal, personal restructuring, in which we get rid imposed from above, meaningless platitudes.We are fighting for it to important concepts ceased to be empty phrases.
Noah Fischer: In Poland – unlike in the United States – the main problem is not the art market nor the related restrictions on access to culture. In the U.S. a huge impact on public bodies to rich collectors, because their money is an important source of funding the budgets of these institutions. In Poland, it is more about creating a new model of governance in cultural institutions that actually take into account the interests and needs of the workers in their employees and the public.
In the original version of the project was about to precipitate the audience from passive, passive attitude of the recipient – for creative activation viewer through play and improvisation. Also wanted to give Castle in the hands of children – it was not a metaphor? PAUL ALTHAMER: Then you have not ( laughs ). We wanted to be involved, as is the only group that is able to operate without any resistance, based on the unusual relationships and connections. Children join the action immediately around each other in an extraordinary confidence – offer themselves in all perfection. Thanks to Arthur and other friends arrived, however, to me that this is the time for us. But this is not about any age group, but a state of mind – the ability to establish contacts and internal integrity that children bring to the world in wonderful form, and that only some manage to then store. It evolves around the world – becomes the adult world, which is unbearably boring, degenerate, which is based on cold, rational calculations and mechanisms that lead to vomiting. So finally departed from the division into age groups and focused on what we feel and what we have visions. That’s what kids do.
Artur Zmijewski: Children had to move our imagination. We wanted to stay at the CCA internal order – anarchize institution, replacing all the employees children. And only in such a purified field – together with the employees, artists and audience – we wanted to invent and test new institution, emerging from the debates, proposals, fantasy. This artistic project changed to a more political – recognition of institutions and cooperation with crew to transform the institution.
How to avoid such a situation of chaos? ZOFIA WAŚLICKA: In order not to err, we created a map of the institution – conducted a series of in-depth interviews with employees Castle – a total of more than thirty. These discussions were continued also in early December, although formulated by the management of the official ban on communicating with us. From these discussions emerged the image of the institution in crisis, where the relationship between management and employees are pathological. And this is why ultimately we stood on the side of workers – we supported their demands and desire to make public the whole situation.
Igor Stokfiszewski: It should be noted that the axis runs clear conflict between the direction of the Castle and its employees. WHC is not and never will be at the party. Of course, much more is on the way to us from the staff, but from the beginning we also had contact with Fabio Cavalluccim. Most importantly, we were able to just slip between the two sides of the conflict that everyone – employees, management and WHC, we could meet peacefully. I know that activism or art-activism tend to be perceived as confrontational actions that fall on a sharp an institution.However, we are operating with the help of artistic practices – in a democratic, empathetic manner, taking into account the interests of all parties and stakeholders.
Artur Zmijewski: Here I do not agree with Igor. This process can and is empathetic, but it is the job of the conflict, thus also leads to antagonism, making enemies.
Conceptually, you invoke the experience of 7 Berlin Biennale . What is the relationship? Igor Stokfiszewski: I would have linked it was not connected at the same time. It is, of course, ideological and personal flow between these situations. Noah [Fischer] Tal [Beery], Sophie [Waślicka] Joulia [Strauss], Arthur, Paul and me – it is what connects the two situations. They share also attempt a radical democratization of the institutions of culture.
Althamer: We then got to know each other in Berlin, a little on the principle of attraction similarities. Even if our forms of expression are different, we are a bit like members of the same family, who sought out – this is for me the most in all of this phenomenon. I’m not talking now about ideology, but about the fact that among some people produce a real, completely spontaneous bond.
Artur Zmijewski: The Berlin Biennale participated in only part of a group that participates in the project WHC – they were people from the Indignados movement, Occupy Museums. After ten days they offered me and Joanna Warsza we withdrew from the position of trustees and opened them access to the Kunst-Werke [KW]. We agree to it, and so began a very interesting process of institutional change in the status quo – was established several working groups, partly overlapping with the departments KW, which began in a horizontal manner to meet the challenges of the institution. Occupy Museums anxious that the whole process was transparent.There was therefore a public debate on the budget Biennale and KW, in which took part the director Gaby Horn and other employees, including those who watch shows. Of course, the institution resisted – because, for example, an interview about the budget, on whose publication Gaby Horn did not agree, has finally posted on the hacked page KW.
Igor Stokfiszewski: That experiment showed that the democratization of culture is possible.The symbolic emancipation WHC was spraying banner that year and a half before the people of Occupy Museums hung on the facade KW. It was the same banner with a manifesto: “Play with the dictator. 7th Berlin Biennale goes towards horizontality “- the day before yesterday [Dec. 10] Paul painted over it along with the audience and the children. In this sense, left behind Berlin Biennale, although we continue to the very idea of horizontality. No łączyłbym too both of these situations, therefore, that the main entity operating in the CCA are the employees of the institution. And it must always be emphasized. They were the ones who actually started the fight.
The idea of horizontality – what’s going on? Artur Zmijewski: The structure of the CCA is hierarchical. We wanted to put in place an open system that can be changed until it is the shape, which may resound interests crew, artists, audience expectations, directorates, local needs.
Igor Stokfiszewski: CCA is a special case for us. We are concerned about the movement for the democratization of the field of culture, that is empowerment of all of us.
Sophia Waślicka: We do not claim that the majority of cultural institutions working badly. It would be untrue and unfair opinion, none of us does not think so. Also interviewed staff in other institutions, not just the CCA. Very good reputation has, for example, the Museum of Art in Lodz.There is also a hierarchical management model: the director, the undersigned managers, then curators, lower-level employees. However, there is a good atmosphere, no one no one screams.When I held the position of director Suchan, started from the implementation of such an internal audit – to rationalize the powers and responsibilities of each employee, which was then formulated as “book value”. Another nice example is the annual reports Incentives which include a section “Achievements Team Incentives”.
You say that the problem relates to a new model of cultural institutions. What do you want to propose concrete solutions? Imani Brown: We want to share our techniques – strategies of mediation [ facilitation strategies ] and tactics we’ve learned during the assembly the squares of the Occupy movement.But we do not want too much to overestimate their own abilities. In fact, we learn from each other here.
Igor Stokfiszewski: The greatest achievement of “squares” [the Occupy movement – ed. note] is to develop real tools to practice direct democracy. There’s people in a bottom-shaped structures such as general assembly, committees, working groups, tested formula of political representation, namely the Council of Representatives. There is now question whether it can be applied to cultural institutions? Our answer is yes, can you just need a process of transformation. The cultural institutions dominate because labor relations, not relations based on the idea.Meanwhile, the people in the squares identified rather with a certain idea, therefore, enough to develop a common technique to implement this idea.
Do you think you manage to work out some kind of curatorial participatory? Can you imagine such a model of cultural institutions in which the program – about what is actually shown in galleries – decisively audience? Noah Fischer: Yes, that would be interesting. We want people began to perceive otherwise his position in the culture – to actually feel the participants and owners of public institutions. But this is a long-term experiment – we do not expect that we will change this in a few months. For now, we create the appropriate language.
Joulia Strauss: We are concerned about deelitaryzację radical democratization of culture and the very notion of art. It’s still happening. I believe that the society of the future alone will decide which to serve institutions such as the CCA – not rigid division between art and non-art, science or social affairs.
Artur Zmijewski: We say, let’s see if it works, let us have the time to experiment. Maybe our program to check, and can emerge its alternatives. In fact, there is not even “our” program – is discussed with the staff of the possible direction of the institutional relationships and conscription of their implementation in a complex, community-based process on trust.
So you mean the opening of a new process? Artur Zmijewski: Yes, the process of an unknown solution. We propose a different institutional frame – flexible, plastic, capable of change. Participants in the process of responding to its operation, verify that suits them and, depending on the needs of the alter.
Noah Fischer: As Arthur said, we do not have a specific solution to the crisis in the CCA. But we have the tools that can help you find such a solution and began his search process itself. It is important that this process involves transgressive attitude that we ourselves accept. WHC has proved to be yet in the original version so radical that the management Castle decided to recall him, and we decided to finally come to Warsaw at their own expense. Continuing this project when it was banned, get out of the role of artists and put ourselves in the situation of ordinary citizens – the audience thinking about the condition of the institution, which should serve them.Thus, we appeal to all employees of the Castle and other artists that we take a stand on its own.
Imani Brown: This is the crux of the matter. This is what Noah says, it’s called complicity [complicity ]. One of the main problems of the institution, and in general all institutions in the art world, lies in the fact that people opposed to the painful operation of a system that uses them.They are afraid to go against him, because they do not feel solidarity, but fear.
Noah Fischer: Yes, fear and complicity – that the atmosphere inside the CCA.
So let’s get back to Cavallucciego. Ask now perversely – which he did for three years directorates? When embraced his office, expectations were quite . Artur Zmijewski: You can say that this has been Cavallucciemu you do not heralded. What promised? Institution treated as a tool for social change, experimenting with a new model of action gallery – other than an exhibition, the reaction to the financial crisis, etc. He also has to deal with potential conflicts. Meanwhile, the lead institution, which dominates the exhibition format and which itself fell into financial crisis. CCA does not become a tool for social change, is also a sharp conflict between management and crew. It might seem that such “Green Jazdów” was a successful event because attracted crowds and had a friendly atmosphere. If, however, on banners “green vehicles” states that it is a healthy lifestyle and environmental awareness, while in the institution that organizes this event, people are simply very bad work, it is difficult to talk about success. Conflict within the CCA eventually neutralized the positive effects of “green vehicles”.
Igor Stokfiszewski: These social costs which says Arthur, is a matter of absolutely crucial. I also do not know about Cavalluccim something good, except perhaps that the personal contacts seem sympathetic. However, the relationship of its employees paint a picture of a man with real mental constitution monarch. I do not think even that his actions were an expression of ill will. He is rather designed as a king – coincidentally – the castle, which acts in accordance with its own constitution: it is imperious, treats people as subjects, trying to practice absolute monarchy. So the question arises: is undemocratic institution may affect the democratic values? I do not think.CCA impact on society as the practice itself – not promotes democratic values, it activates citizens, suppresses social capital.
Your presence in the vicinity of Castle raised considerable nervousness. Igor Stokfiszewski: Fabio Cavallucci actually threatened to removing the sanctions against employees who come to work with the WHC. Then the conflict was so deep that communication between management and employees were solely using e-mails, orders, injunctions, prohibitions.We have worked in this field, contrary to the directorate, a little guerrilla, passing in different ways inside the institution.
Finally Cavallucci changed his approach – officially accepted all your actions, your work also adopted for the collection. When I saw this “click”? Sophia Waślicka: Well, we did the “click” long provoked. As said Igor – WHC office opened in the cafe CCA and hung in front of the Castle, our word “Institution in Crisis”. We smoked a fire in koksowniku – without permission, so called protection of the city guard. In the end, brought about the public meeting with the director, during which formally handed over our work to the collection. Then it was an open debate with employees CCA, during which spoke of the situation in the Castle, and Fabio listened to them, I think for the first time. The next day we did the opening of the exhibition “Collection. Fragment “, the directorate had not planned.
Do you think that a breakthrough? That you managed to change the Fabia Cavallucciego? Althamer: If we thought that we would return to the principles of adults – attitude expectations.No, we’re having fun at it because it is interesting and inspiring. We can even be grateful for this crisis, because if not this combination of events – if not banning our attempts to do a project with children – all these overloads that occur in the Castle, would probably further considered bearable. And they are not tolerable, because they are against our peaceful and benevolent nature.
Igor Stokfiszewski: I do not know if this is a breakthrough. Our meeting was aimed at Cavalluccim is to drive out evil spirits from the Castle. And the evil spirit is not Cavallucci, but fear, mistrust, frustration – lack of confidence and crazy tension between management and workers, which does not allow them to meet on some human principles. I managed to achieve the expulsion of the evil spirit from the Castle. We’ll see for how long.
Maureen Connor: I think that we have to change the mindset of employees Castle – helped them to rethink their situation anew, discuss alternative models of work organization, develop a new awareness. I do not know what will be the effect. With things concrete is made by our analysis of labor relations in the CCA – from our interviews indicate, for example, that the effort of workers is often wasted because the ranges of their duties intersect with each other. It happened that kept duplicate posts, and even entire departments. In this overlap Personal friction and lack of communication.
Artur Zmijewski: Internal conflict within the institution was made public by the Solidarity Trade Union, and thus moved to the political level and democratized. But the management did not begin to think differently. Workers are still afraid of exemptions for his reformist activity.
What still needs to change in order to remedy the situation in the CCA? What is your diagnosis? Artur Zmijewski: There is no appeal mechanism, which could be initiated by employees. In the case of CCA, in addition to the minister of culture, there is an external entity that could really affect this institution. The same applies to the appointment of director – competition is a kind of experiment, but people who arrange it, they are not related to liability for the consequences of their choice. Today, paradoxically, only representatives of both trade unions operating in the CCA have to deal with the consequences of its decision. That’s why I wondered whether the members of the jury should not automatically come to the Programme Board and the institutions or among them should sit – next to the representatives of the crew – including representatives of the artists and the audience.
Sophia Waślicka: We thought about hiring a director for a trial period during which he could begin to implement programmatic assumptions that decided about his election. During this time, the assessment could also be the quality of the relationship between employees and management.
Current Program Council Castle was established in late October 2013 – de facto three years after taking office by the current management. Do not you think that it was a facade action? Sophia Waślicka: You’re right and front. From conversations with the staff, we know that none of the Programme Council did not react to the information about the conflict in the Castle, the reasons for the degradation of the institution, despite the fact that such information appeared at the beginning of its first official meeting. But some members of the Program Council often themselves involved in understanding social conflicts, problems of power.
Igor Stokfiszewski I nevertheless believe that the CCA may be a precedent – the forefront of shaping the modern collegiate cultural institutions. There is another instrument that is not used in the CCA, and that really solves a lot of problems. Namely transparency. Publicity is a form of control, and more importantly – self-control.
The most in all this dead silence of the Minister of Culture. Today [December 12] zanieśliście to the building of the Ministry official petition in this case . Zofia Waślicka: Demonstration of the Ministry of Culture that was our stand-alone operation, which did not participate CCA employees. The aim was to show that Castle is a common good – that also belongs to us, the artists and the audience. And the condition of the place, manner “production” in the culture, makes us care.
Althamer: I just was not there, I came later and then found out that the visit took place, which should be something normal, routine, and had the nature of festivals, demonstrations. And actually, this is great – let them initiate a tradition of meeting artists from ministers. Let guests Ministry of artists and curators, or vice versa – let the minister come to the exhibition, talking with artists, curators, employees. May even work with them. Why did the minister would have us paint, dance or write poems? But it would be a very great minister.
Co-facilitated an activist’s summit at ZKM museum along with artist Joulia Strauss and curator Linnea Semmerling
“Almost fifty scholars, artists and activists are scheduled to come together as part of the large-scale exhibition project “global aCtIVISm” at the ZKM, with the purpose of discussing the development and form of the socio-political significance of civil engagement in the 21st century. This development, under the influence of contemporary fine art, communications media as well as the growing possibilities and dangers of the Internet forms the focus of the discussion. But the role of citizens has also radically changed over the course of the development –its new role as actor in a performative democracy likewise forms an aspect of the symposium.
The symposium is divided in two parts − scientific symposium and activist’s summit. Scholars from the fields of political science, sociology, anthropology, jurisprudence, media sciences, computer science and art theory will discuss and exchange ideas in the first two days with film makers, artists and activists about the role of the citizen in performative democracy. The final day of the symposium is given over to the activists summit at the focus of which are the future of activist artists – the artivists – as citizens.”
Wed, Feb 5, 2014: Art in Conflict. Action Groups by Artists
Panel Discussion with Dietrich Heißenbütel, John Jordan and Elke aus dem Moore
ZKM in Cooperation with ifa (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations
ZKM_Lecture Hall, 6 p.m.−8 p.m.
Sat, March 29, 2014: Power and Law. Fluid Forms of Protest
Symposium in Cooperation with Zentrum für angewandte Rechtswissenschaft [Center for Applied Legal Studies] (ZAR) at Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT)
ZKM_Media Theater, 10 a.m.−6 p.m.
The primary goal of Winter Holiday Camp is to form a deeper understanding of the cultural institution and to transform it playfully. Throughout a long process of research which started last March and has included may trips to Warsaw, the project was cancelled by the director, and then the unionized workers of the CCA began to openly oppose the directorship, and are voting independantly to reinstate the project. So we are returning to Warsaw in early December to continue the project in collaboration with the CCA workers and public but autonomously from the contemporary art institution.
In Early December 2013, we travelled to Warsaw to engage with the CCA uninvited. In the ensuing series of events we staged open meetings with the director, created sculptures outside and inside the castle, and the project was finally accepted into the collection of the CCA.
Letter to CCA employees on return to Warsaw:
Dear CCA employees
As most of you already know, we are international group of artists and activists whose aim is to change the institution of art — in this case CCA — into an environment where all employees are treated with respect, where chronically oppressive power relations do not exist, and where the program is designed democratically and promotes art for citizens, not financial markets.
We know about the situation in the CCA. We published a letter to support the resistance of the CCA employees against the authoritarian style of power in the institution. We agree with your resistance to unbearable relations between the directors and employees. As artists, spectators and ordinary people, we do not believe that a progressive culture can be created under such oppressive institutional conditions.
Many of us are experienced collaborators and activists. Some of us have worked closely for many years with employees at art institutions for democratic conditions. We have worked with activist groups all over the world to struggle for citizen’s rights and by working together, we have formed our own democratic process among ourselves. In previous research at CCA, we experienced difficult and nearly impossible negotiations with the director. We also spent a lot of time listening to the CCA workers and learning about how the whole institution functions. Some of your agreed to be interviewed and we very much appreciate your willingness to explain the work you do and to share your workplace experiences with us. Thanks to these conversations we witnessed the strong need of liberation from authoritarian power, and saw that both employees and artists need to be respected.
Our presence in CCA in 2013, both the interviews with the employees and negotiations with the directors, were a part of the preparation process for “Winter Holiday Camp”. The aim of this project is a deep transformation of the art institution—and an exploration in democracy. We are aiming at the creation of an open and respectful culture which the fragmented contemporary society really needs. The first goal of our activity was to propose a holiday for all CCA workers, spectators and artists; a holiday from hierarchy and struggle, from the facade of culture, from restrictive rules. This holiday time could be used to create ideas for a new institution, as well as new relations between workers and directors, spectators and artists, citizens of Warsaw, in solidarity with the all CCA workers.
All that has happened at the CCA recently has changed these plans. Our project has been cancelled by Fabio who did not inform us of the cancellation, and CCA workers have organized themselves and are practicing resistance. This is opening up new possibilities. Together with cultural workers from many countries we can use this opportunity called Winter Holiday Camp, to stop the institutional “culture machine” and create an institution in which we would like to work with which we would like to work, and which all would like to visit. Since we are now coming to Warsaw autonomously, with no support from the directors, there are no limits on how to proceed with this collaboration. We will be in Warsaw between the 1st and 12th of December. We can offer you the research we’ve done so far, and we want to work with you.
Members of the WHC working group
Paweł Althamer, Raquel Gomez Amborosio, Tal Beery, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Antonio Calleja-Lopez, Maureen Connor, Gabriella Csoszó, Noah Fischer, Federico Geller, Zuzanna Ratajczyk, Dorota Sajewska, Igor Stokfiszewski, Joulia Strauss, Paula Strugińska, Martyna Sztaba, Zofia Waślicka, Katarzyna Wąs, Artur Żmijewski
Winter Holiday Camp is an artistic experiment in institutional democracy open to the collaboration of children and adults alike, including every worker of CCA Ujazdowski Castle and its visiting public.
The project was cancelled by the CCA for political reasons, (though talks of a continued form are in progress 11/07/13) yet continues in an autonomous form by the working group described below.
Winter Holiday Camp is an artistic experiment in institutional democracy open to the collaboration of children and adults alike, including every worker of CCA Ujazdowski Castle and its visiting public.
The project was cancelled by the CCA for political reasons, (though talks of a continued form are in progress 11/07/13) yet continues in an autonomous form by the working group described below.
The Working Group of Winter Holiday Camp is a collective of artists and activists from a diverse array of countries. We don’t exist singularly, but rather form a node in a series of networks that straddles political and artistic spheres.
The primary goal of Winter Holiday Camp is to form a deeper understanding of the cultural institution and to transform it playfully–working with children as our guides into the future, in search of real solutions to satisfy the shifting fantasies and expectations of a society in transition. Our goals will be bolstered by two primary areas of research: firstly, to grasp the position of the CCA within the larger cultural-political context of a rapidly changing Europe and a global crisis of late-stage capitalism breached by trans-local social uprisings; and further, to understand the internal structure–hidden values and points of conflict–of this specific institution.
Originally a solo project of Pawel Althamer, Winter Holiday Camp will build from the pedagogical practice developed by Janusz Korczak, who worked with children as “little citizens” with full rights, respect and agency. Korczak’s work with children contained an ethical imperative that all people be included in horizontal decision-making processes that affect their lives and livelihoods. This visionary and functional model of democracy resonates with the democratic tools adopted and developed by the recent social movements, including general assemblies, non-hierarchical working groups and collective propositions.
Inspired by the implementation of institutional horizontality within the Berlin Biennale 7, Pawel Althamer made the critical decision to open this project to collaborative practice. He invited Artur Zmijewski, who in turn invited Occupy Museums member Noah Fischer, leading to the formation of a “working group” of artists and activists from Poland, as well as from New York City, New Orleans, Berlin, Mexico City, Madrid, Budapest and Buenos Aires, united in Warsaw to share full authorship over the project and offer participation to CCA staff. (A first document of shared authorship between CCA and the working group, which shares all copyright with CCA workers, can be viewed at Winterholidaycamp.org). The current Working Group of Winter Holiday Camp includes members Paweł Althamer, Raquel Gomez Amborosio, Tal Beery, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Antonio Calleja-Lopez, Maureen Connor, Gabriella Csoszó, Noah Fischer, Federico Geller, Zuzanna Ratajczyk, Dorota Sajewska, Igor Stokfiszewski, Joulia Strauss, Paula Strugińska, Martyna Sztaba, Zofia Waślicka, Katarzyna Wąs and Artur Żmijewski.
A few weeks ago, I thought that the 7th Berlin Biennale had constructed a kind of tomb where movements would come to die. Arriving in early June, we encountered exactly a human zoo, a position from which activated activism felt impossible. It seemed that an anemic representation of the movement was being exhibited and consumed by an audience; rather than occupying, we were being occupied by the institution. Also, the “global” activist community appeared surprisingly nationalistic and was blocking itself in various ways which Carolina details, leading to a culture of degeneration. For example, I witnessed an “activist” call the police on someone else to settle a dispute, which created a pleasing spectacle for the art audience. So my initial experience when we arrived was very close to Carolina’s picture and I was angry with the curators and wondered if anything helpful for the movements could come from the 7th Berlin Biennale. I even wondered how much damage the 7th Berlin Biennale would do to the movements.
However, after a two-week experience in Berlin, I have two questions to offer to her assessment. The first: is the goal of growing a healthy square on the model of Puerta del Sol or Liberty Park an appropriate measure for the 7th Berlin Biennale? Certainly a museum exhibition with “star” curators and with time limits is a strange place to set up an inclusive public square. And one that is funded by the German government is an even stranger place to invite members of 15M protesting austerity! Also, at least in New York, the #square stage of the movement passed months ago, partially because the logic of squares created problems in themselves and we are busy trying to understand how the post-square stage can work. So here, perhaps we could have started, not finished, from the conclusion that a “free square” wouldn’t be likely. This would lead to the question concerning the other strategies we can follow with the resources available here. It turned out that we found many tactics and some of them started with leaving behind the pure square model in search of hybrids.
The second question: Is it possible to pronounce an experiment a failure halfway through? This question touches on the “space of possibility,” which I think is kind of the bread and butter of the movements–another world is possible! (despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary). In my experience with Occupy Wall Street, you’ve got to trust the moment, even when it twists and turns out of control. Sometimes, for example, the moments when police exerted the most force – like that day of 700 arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge – the dispiriting situation quickly flipped around into a win for the movement. I feel like our involvement in this global movement, which is responding to 30 + years of Neo-Liberalism, is like scratching around for hidden pathways, secret allies, magic tactics within an extensive fortress-city. So maybe looking for new spheres in which to act, using new tactics, without giving up, keeping the space of possibility open despite all logic, despite absurdity, is a strong position to take.
So what did we do with the situation? After the initial shock of finding ourselves in a human zoo, I/we began to respond. What was first needed was to address the power hierarchy of the zoo and flip the situation so that we could regain our dignity. An international group of activists attempted this through a series of semiotic guerrilla actions (naming the curators publicly for example) and holding meetings which culminated in a proposal (which was accepted) for the former curators and director to step back. Our logic: to invite and exhibit the movements was not a bad thing in itself, but only a first step, and one that would naturally lead to degeneration if it stopped there. It was necessary for the institution to “go farther into the concept,” pushing the 7th Berlin Biennale structurally in a horizontal direction to make their invisible frame visible and put it under question. To accomplish this, we were leveraged by the strength of our group, by the public “failure” of the Biennial thus far (leading perhaps to desperation and willingness), and by allies in the press. The proposal was consensed upon in a simple version by the Biennale staff, and an experiment about the limits of activism in relation to institutions was initiated.
As we walked into the muddy waters of open meetings and the realization that in the short time we had, we could probably accomplish very little concrete changes within the institution (some of us wanted to support the guards in raising their 6.5 euros/hour salary for example), we did notice (not only occupiers but guards and staff too) that we got a lot of our dignity back. Things began to move. New allies emerged from all sides and we began to work together in groups that broke the boundaries of “occupiers” and “institution.” The former curators who at first seemed like our zookeepers became kind of collaborators, maybe even activists. Interesting collaborations were proposed and attempted. Could we use the 7th Berlin Biennale institutional name to pull off even stronger actions, hacking the ambiguity and class-relation of culture in service to the movement? We also used tools from the #square such as general assemblies, working groups, and our consensus process, but this move toward horizontality was not a “pure square model” but hybrid territory. We are conscious that as we play out this experiment we are also developing tactics that can be shared for future hybrids that transgress many lines. A “continuity working group” is busy planning such future hybrids.
So far, I would not call the experience in Berlin a success. I don’t think there is such a thing in this movement. Part of what we are doing is moving beyond a striving for success in the way we previously defined it (mostly through acquisition of money or status). But neither can I say that it was a failure. We entered a space of tension and possibility, created a kind of interesting mess and many people are now busy developing this mess collectively. It is possible that this is simultaneously a process of cooption of our movement and also the discovery of secret passageways in the fortress. Let the global movement be everywhere, attempt everything. We’ll see what happens next.
For the 7th Berlin Biennale Forget Fear, co-curators Artur Zmijewski and Joanna Warsza invited members from Occupy Movements around the world to take over the ground floor of the Kunst-Werke. How are the members fairing? Berlin-based critic Raimar Stange sat down to talk to Noah Fischer, an artist-activist based in New York. In addition to occupying Forget Fear, Fischer will be participating in this fall’s Steirischer Herbst festival in Austria.
Raimar Stange: Why is it interesting for the Occupy Movement to work in the context of the Berlin Biennale?
Noah Fischer: First of all, I’d just like to make it clear that these answers are my own opinions as an Occupy Museums member – I am not a spokesperson for the entire group.
The Occupy Movement is not fixed but rather constantly transforming and looking for new physical and intellectual spaces in which to spread our message. We actually develop the message and our new culture as we go. In the beginning, it was important to come together in city squares – in public space – and to develop a movement together ‘from the ground up’ which was autonomous from institutions.
In this way, we met each other somewhat outside of the persuasive framework of Neo-Liberalism and inside a space full of possibility. Then the initial public squares became less helpful – even corrupted – and eventually we lost them by force or through a withering away. But we also matured and refined the Occupy message about economic inequality in many new directions, for example in arts and culture with Occupy Museums and other groups.
People in these various groups began to experiment with a variety of tactics: new direct-action strategies and games in the streets, legal challenges to US laws or even engagement with media and institutions where allies had come forward. So the process has been open source and simultaneous: the Occupy Movement cannot afford to limit itself to a concept of political purity with absolute non-engagement. That’s what I mean when I say we’re part of a de-centered movement – a movement taking on a new post-1960’s model.
Personally, I feel that there is really no possibility to stand outside the economic disparity that we protest because this disparity is deeply structural. So, it makes sense to engage with institutions and go beyond ‘us and them‘, to experiment and to find solutions or steps forward here and there.
Last fall, at the height of Occupy Wall Street, Joanna Warsza came to New York and experienced the Movement just as it was forming into strong new groups. She saw some Occupy Museums actions in New York and asked me – without mentioning the Biennale – what would happen if an institution was willing to work together on our terms? I said that it would be a walk through the mud because obviously there are conflicts of interest in the form of power and financial hierarchies in all or most cultural institutions.
Yet I think there are two points that convinced the movement to work with the Berlin Biennale – after many meetings and discussions. Firstly, this cooperation represented a real sharing or offering of resources. The Biennale flew ten of our members from New York and had invited activists from movements all over the world as well. On a basic level, this exhibition was a chance to organize on a global level face to face – and that is what indeed happened.
Secondly, we knew that in some ways the Biennale represented an ideal art institution – at least from the American perspective. In the USA, the largest museums get about 15% of their funding from the government while the rest is corporate or comes from the super rich 1%. The private markets completely dominate our culture in the USA. Part of what we are fighting for is for art to be valued as part of the commons, as part of the shared treasures which support and are supported by society.
The Berlin Biennale is almost completely funded by the government, and we wanted to interact with this model, learn about it and see what was possible. It turned out to be very complicated politically, artistically, socially. I am now full of questions and also hope. We made new friends from international movements and helped to conduct an experiment with culture and politics that may lead to more good questions and to more action. We’ll see what happens next.
What do you see as the main difference between an activist and an artist?
Right now I am not interested in these definitions and actually don’t accept them. They must open up and change to be useful in the world we are in and we are heading towards. To what extent are these fields or identities defined by the Neo-Liberal system itself?
I used to call myself an artist – in the context of getting an MFA, working in academia, showing at galleries, art fairs, feeling part of art history. Then I entered into a people’s movement where the word ‘artist’ meant very little because creativity was everywhere, shared and initiated by many. We weren’t interested in the trappings of the market or in marketing our creativity, but rather in opening up the space for more creative action.
The same goes for activists. Of course, there is a particular specialized activist language and résumé. But in the movement context, I realized that everyone has a voice and can act autonomously and together, wandering in the direction of justice.
Photograph: Raimar Stange
What I am interested in now is the spark needed for action. When does a person who is deeply conditioned to produce and to consume make the move to go his or her own way? Or to join others in protest or in creating a new experimental culture? This illusive spark helped ignite Occupy, 15M and also movements in Cairo, Libya, Syria. Sometimes, people do reach a moment where long-held fears can dissolve, and I think this is also a creative state.
I don’t want to say that wisdom and experience should be ignored or that people who call themselves artists or activists should be shunned: not at all. The movement needs tools and strategies – people share them from their past efforts. These are the riches of the movement. But definitions need to be questioned – maybe we can even let them go in order to move on.
In the information age, we have a class of people who are specialists and ‘experts’ in politics, activism, art, economics, sports and many other fields. They comment and also reinforce a mental status quo regarding culture and treating people with respect. I’m interested in a naïve position that is more immediate but also highly autonomous and experimental – whereby I am able to act and to play in the world.
What was your best moment during the Berlin Biennale?
It has been a pleasure to be here with many special moments. Some were ‘high’ while others were quite low: down in the mud negotiating a way forward in communication and making mundane decisions together. These were also best moments for me.
Our action at the Pergamon Museum altar was also important. It was not an Occupy Museums action but rather planned by an international group, which included people from Spain, Poland, Russia, Poland and the USA who had met in Berlin. The action was responding to colonialism which is still a backdrop for cultural symbols internationally.
First, we created a fake university to gain free access to the museum for a large group. I played the professor for a class on the ancient roots of horizontalism. Once inside, we gathered on the alter and conducted a performance which included a song in ancient Greek sung by Joulia Strauss and played with a lyre accompaniment. We shouted statements, chanted and even burnt sage.
We were thrown out of the museum, but we went out chanting with our dignity intact. The police tried to detain us, but they had no grounds to do so as we were operating in collaboration with culture. We used the altar to send out messages and essentially to bless the movement. Our values of horizontalism and equality come in part from ancient Greece.
When you plan a creative direct action that is also a public disruption, you tend to get close to the people you’re working with. You find solidarity and trust. So the occupation of the Pergamon altar was also a node of unity between the international movement community – a node that was formalized and ceremonialized.
There was also a muddy process moment I’d like to mention: the ‘info-Com’ group at the Biennale. After the co-curators and the Biennale community agreed with our proposal to push the institution forward in a horizontal direction, we started some working groups, which consisted of movement members and staff from the Kunst-Werke, who were willing to try out the experiment – although it often means more work for them.
Although we are still conducting meetings to begin our cooperation, we are breaking down some barriers between the professional, the institutional, the activist and the movement. Our meetings have been respectful and quite functional. We’ve written a joint press release and started a newsletter which better represents the whole community in the Kunst-Werke space.
Our goal is to merge the whole media platform with the movement and institution including the website of the Biennale. There are of course moments of conflict in these meetings. But for me they prove that we can really work together and also that we care about the same things even though we might normally work on different sides of walls. For me, joining up and sharing is the whole point.