"Barcelona / Such a beautiful horizon: Critical social infrastructure to promote art scene health resilience" sessions with BAR Tool 2018–19 participants

Poster produced for the 2015 seminar at the Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco. Photo: Latitudes.

Latitudes has been invited to lead three closed-door sessions with BAR Tool's 2018–19 participants Milagros Bedoya, Arash Fayez, Adëláide Feriot, Fran Glez, Céline Mathieu, Marina Salvo, Gabriella Torres-Ferrer. The sessions will take place on October 29, 2018; January 22 and March 5, 2019.

Titled "Barcelona / Such a beautiful horizon: Critical social infrastructure to promote art scene health resilience", the three-part seminar will draw on the qualitative analysis of the legacy of three meetings of the "Near Future Artworlds Curatorial Foresight Disruption Group" convened in 2015 (Vessel–MADA International Curatorial Retreat, Bari, Italy; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, USA; Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK). The invitation is to collectively instigate a collective systematic review of proposed decisive factors that underpin the psychological fitness and physical well-being of a city art scene, with Barcelona as a case study.

With a focus on developing taxonomies and diagnostics, as well as therapies and triage, this strand of BAR Tool will culminate in a series of institutional simulations and operations. Viva! Barcelona! Such a beautiful horizon!

BAR TOOL is a practice-based training program articulated around research, production and presentation processes. Conceived by BAR project in collaboration with Fundació Antoni Tàpies and Fabra i Coats – Art Factory, Barcelona.


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Cover Story—June 2018: Near-Future Artworlds Curatorial Disruption Foresight Group

Latitudes' home page www.lttds.org

The June 2018 Monthly Cover Story "Near-Future Artworlds Curatorial Disruption Foresight Group" is now up on Latitudes' homepage.

"Sporadically convened by Latitudes, the Near-Future Artworlds Curatorial Disruption Foresight Group is a forum for informal dialogue about megatrends and the future of contemporary art institutions.

In order to be conducive to freedom of interaction, this by-invitation, closed-door meetings have been held under the Chatham House Rule. The list of attendees is not circulated beyond those participating in the meeting, and no documentation is made."


—> Continue reading
—> After June it will be archived here.

Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepage featuring past, present or forthcoming projects, research, texts, artworks, exhibitions, films, objects or field trips related to our curatorial activities.


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A report from the symposium 'How Institutions Think' organised by the LUMA Foundation and CCS Bard College, Arles, 24–27 February 2016

All photographs: Latitudes.

[The following text was originally published on Frieze Blog on 9 March 2016].

Co-presented by the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College with the LUMA Foundation, the four-day symposium ‘How Institutions Think’ [pdf of the programme] met to reconsider the habits and rhetorics of contemporary art institutions and curatorial practice. The event, held at the Parc des Ateliers, Arles, from 24–27 February, was developed in partnership with a long list of collaborators (Valand Academy of Arts, Gothenburg, Sweden; Afterall Books and the Exhibition Histories programme at Saint Martins, London, UK; Goldsmiths, London; the V-A-C Foundation, Moscow; and de Appel art centre, Amsterdam).

Taking its title from the 1986 book by British anthropologist Mary Douglas, the symposium played out on the site of the future LUMA Arles, a 20-acre former railway yard that includes a new building designed by Frank Gehry scheduled to open in summer 2018 as exhibitions spaces, archives, residency and study facilities, as well as a restaurant, hotel and park. Introduced by CCS Bard’s Paul O’Neill and LUMA founder Maja Hoffmann, the presentations were hosted in the recently-restored L’Atelier des Forges spaces in the middle of this construction site. O’Neill took the work-in-progress status outside as an invitation for the more than 30 speakers and around 150 delegates to debate not only what the future of art institutions in general might be, but more immediately, how new ways of operating could underpin this nascent institution in the south of France. 

LUMA Arles is located in the former railway yards of Arles and includes a new building designed by Frank Gehry and the renovation of the industrial buildings on the Parc des Ateliers by Selldorf Architects.

Yet what transpired was something far more pervasive. An amplification of the noun ‘institution’ and the verb ‘instituting’ soon engulfed not only a discussion of art and academic establishments, but law, governance, and the psyche of the French state, post-November 2015 Paris attacks. The grim predicament of a Europe in the depths of the refugee crisis – as the symposium took place, at the other end of the country, Calais’s ‘Jungle’ camp was being dismantled – became the lens for considering nothing less than the spectral institution that is Western European colonial imperialism. In the first evening’s fragmented keynote by Zahia Rahmani, the writer and historian gave an account of the ‘Made in Algeria’ exhibition of colonial cartography she has curated for the MuCEM museum in Marseilles. She argued that we cannot plausibly think about the future of any institution without confronting the terrible failures and opprobrious injustices of the past, most glaringly what she characterised as the ‘toxicity’ of Western Europe’s colonial system. 


Céline Condorelli's 'All our tomorrows' (2015) hanging curtain.

‘Is institution building still desirable?’ wondered artist Céline Condorelli in her presentation the following day as she evoked All our tomorrows (2015), her installation that humbly corralled the symposium’s setting, comprised a large hanging curtain inspired by the ‘poor architecture’ of Lina Bo Bardi’s SESC Pompéia, the social and cultural centre established in São Paulo. 

Reflecting on his own transformative experiences made while directing the 2014 edition of the São Paulo Biennial, Charles Esche – Director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands – astutely articulated both the decisiveness of Western Imperialism’s poisonous effect on the rest of the world, and the nervousness about whether anyone can even venture to be hopeful about the future. Esche persuasively argued that Western museums must make decolonialisation fundamental to their missions and no longer a marginal issue by analysing the entrails of neoliberalism’s ‘dogged persistence’ and, soothsayer-like, intuitively sensing the ‘weak signals’ of a more just politics.
 
 Question from Mick Wilson, artist, educator and Head of the Valand Academy of Arts, University of Gothernburg, Sweden, and moderatior of one of the sessions.  

Attendees gather outside the symposium venue at the Parc des Ateliers.

Sociologists Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre spoke of France’s deep investment in what they termed the ‘economy of enrichment’ in observations that were particularly prickly given the art-destination place-making unfolding on the very site of the symposium. They submitted that the luxury brands that dominate the image of the country abroad enjoy a close but officially-unacknowledged complicity with heritage and culture. They argue that this compound myth of the French art de vivre accounts for the country consistently being the globe’s most visited tourist destination, yet also that, less innocuously, France’s defiance of normative economic rules about price and value make it both a haven for inequality as well as unusually susceptible to instability. Put candidly, the presence of refugee and terrorists is not conducive to tourism and handbag sales. Later, speaking about ‘turbo-fascism’ and a transition to ‘necropolitics’ (a term coined by philosopher Achille Mbembe regarding the politics of sovereignty over life and death), philosopher Marina Gržinić contended that we are living in a time of war in which our institutions battle to preserve this ‘good life’ at any cost. 

Céline Condorelli, Artist, Professor at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan, and Founding Co-Director Eastside Projects, in conversation with Helena Reckitt, Senior Lecturer in Curating at Goldsmiths, University of London.  
 Clémentine Deliss, Independent Curator and Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg).

Turning more specifically to art’s institutions, independent curator and editor Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez argued that they are so often so deeply implicated in an economy of precarity that they spawn new toothless art forms of ‘safe participation’ and ‘soft interactivity’. ‘Stubborn’ institutions thus appeared to be both the problem and the solution. Accordingly, Clémentine Deliss – recently dismissed as the Director of the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt – delivered a scorching critique of the racism and intransigence persisting in ethnographic museums founded in the 19th century, particularly in Germany and France. She characterised how the hundreds of thousands of objects ‘salvaged’ from the frontline of the colonial project are now trapped in a legislative embargo, reduced to little more than dormant entries on databases. Access to these hoards of material culture and their restitution is critical she asserted, yet young curators are too afraid to deal with them – contemporary art offers an easier ride. 

In the context her work directing the SBG Gallery in Montréal, Canada, curator Pip Day discussed Canada’s settler-colonialist legacy, the evasions allowed by conceiving of decolonization as merely a metaphor, and her advocacy of the work of First Nation artists such as Maria Hupfield. Bassam El Baroni, an independent curator based in Alexandria, Egypt, later presented a paper that threaded a bewilderingly dense route through a tangle of cognitive philosophy and ‘prometheanism’. Yet Day’s case studies, as well as those discussed by Mélaine Bouteloup, curator of Paris’s Bétonsalon, regarding the recently opened Villa Vassilieff which is now the second site of that institution, helped to link such abstraction to more practical curatorial and artistic thinking-in-action that addresses the past while creating new knowledge. 

Gehry’s LUMA building will comprise presentation and exhibition spaces, archive, library, offices, seminar rooms, artist-in-residence facilities, café-restaurant and hotel and is due to open in summer 2018.

Yet it was through the presentations by writer Dave Beech and especially architect Keller Easterling that the symposium actually approached something resembling a strategy to address what had been almost uniformly painted as the shameful, broken state of the contemporary institution. According to both Beech and Easterling, we should be paying keener attention to infrastructure rather than institution per se. Following her book Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (2014) Easterling’s bruising and exhilarating contention was that an enveloping urban medium (including preposterous towers, mall sprawl, special-trade-zone legal lacunae) defies consideration as a thing and is better thought of as a global operating system, a ‘disposition’ that thrives on saying one thing and doing quite another. 

Ljublijanan philosopher, theoretician and artist Marina Gržinić; writer and professor Dave Beech and curator and theorist Simon Sheikh.

At the start of the symposium artist Liam Gillick – one of LUMA’s luminary consultants alongside Tom Eccles, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno and Beatrix Ruf – had asked somewhat rhetorically, ‘can an institution be thought collectively on this scale?’ It was clearly not only Charles Esche who looked out at the spine of what will be a 24,000 square metre Frank Gehry-designed tower and noticed that the institution’s die was cast already – and thanks to an architect long synonymous with the art museum as an importunate form of trophy. Following Keller’s strategic spatial repertoire of ‘counterbalances’, ‘interplays’, ‘toggles’, ‘incentives’ and ‘ratchets’, as well as her talk of heeding the dynamics of joke-telling or dough-tending, she implied that if we are going to formulate a resilient future for art institutions, we had better start feeling our way – and get a whole lot more canny. 


Max Andrews is a contributing editor of frieze and, with Mariana Cánepa Luna, runs Latitudes, an independent curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain.
– 

 LUMA Foundation spaces under construction.

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Documentation of Latitudes' talks at the Athens Biennale summit and Tabakalera, Donostia-San Sebastián, November 2015


Latitudes in the international Summit 'Synapse 1' at New Rex of the National Theatre of Greece. 'Session II: Rethinking Institutions', November 18, 2015. Photo: Athens Biennale.

Documentation of two recent presentations by Latitudes in Athens and Donostia–San Sebastián is now online. 

Entitled Omonoia (‘concord’ in Greek), the Athens Biennale 2015–17 is directed by Massimiliano Mollona and will grow over the next two years with the help of anthropologists, researchers, activists, academics, artists and civic organisations. In November 2016, Omonoia launched with the summit Synapse 1: Introducing a laboratory for production post-2011. Latitudes participated in the “Rethinking Institutions” session alongside Maria Hlavajova (founder and artistic director of BAK, Utrecht); political economist Leo Panitch; Emily Pethick, director of The Showroom, London; Documenta 14 Artistic Director Adam Szymczyk; public services expert Hilary Wainwright, and Amalia Zepou, Athens Vice Mayor for Civil Society and Municipality Decentralization. 

By way of introduced we discussed the “Near-Future Artworlds Curatorial Disruption Foresight Group”, the forum for megatrends and the future of institutions of contemporary art that has taken place in May 2015 at the Vessel / MADA (Monash Art Design and Architecture) 2015 International Curatorial Retreat in Bari, Italy; in August at Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, and in November at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK. We followed this with some geological speculation that in “digging deeper” both literally and figuratively, we perhaps find new institutional models. How do we think about artworks and institutions in terms of tens of thousands of years, for example.

See the video here (in English).


Public lecture organised by consonni as part of LaPublika. Tabakalera, Donostia–San Sebastián. Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Photo: Consonni.

Also in November, Latitudes led the workshop “Beyond The Roundabout, or How Public Is Public Art?” for consonni/LaPublika at Tabakalera. As part of this Latitudes gave a public lecture. The workshop addressed the work of artists who conceptualize or actualize their works against a backdrop of vast stretches of time or topological change. In the public lecture we made various transects through our curatorial projects determined by the public sphere, raw materials and their transformation. “From the zinc which led to an Esperanto micro-nation, to the air of a Beijing shopping centre, or the dead trees of printed news, Latitudes will join some traits and ideas around ‘human resources’, extractive modernity, obsolescence and the carbon cycle.” 

Hear the audio here (in Spanish). 

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      More from OMONOIA – Athens Biennale 2015–2017 on our December Cover Story

      International Summit Synapse 1 at New Rex of the National Theatre of Greece. 'Session II: Rethinking Institutions': (from left to right) Leo Panitch, Maria Hlavajova, Adam Szymczyk, Amalia Zepou (moderator), Hilary Wainwright, Emily Pethick, Latitudes (Max Andrews & Mariana Cánepa Luna) © Eva Galatsanou.

      The above picture by Eva Galatsanou was taken during 'Session II: Rethinking Institutions' one of the Summit panels that launched OMONOIA, the Athens Biennale 2015–2017. Latitudes participated in this panel on November 18, as one of the speakers. The current Cover Story on our home page features this event at the National Theatre of Greece, New Rex.  

      Below some more photos of that day and the working group meetings that took place at the former Bageion Hotel (18 Omonoia Square) on November 19, 2015.

       Omonoia Square. On the left the Bargeion Hotel (with the orange banner), HQ of the Athens Biennial 2015–2017.
       
      Omonoia Square from the first floor of the Bageion Hotel.

       Artistic Director Massimiliano Mollona, and Athens Biennale directors Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (left) and Poka-Yio (right) welcome guests to the second day of the Summit "Synapse 1: Introducing a laboratory for production post". 

       After the welcoming words, guests joined closed-door working groups sessions around the building on 'Cooperativism', 'Commons & Urban Welfare', 'Alternative Currencies' and 'Solidarity Networks'.

       10am–1pm: Latitudes joined the 'Commons & Urban Welfare' working group which had representatives of Avtonomi Akadimia (GR), Omada Metavasis / Transition (GR), Omikron Project (GR), Sarantaporo (GR), Votanikos Kipos Squat (GR), Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network (TBC) (GR), Green Park (TBC) (GR), Luigi Coppola (Parco Commune dei Frutti Minori, IT), Sylvia de Fanti (Teatro Valle, IT) and Federica Giardini.

      2–5pm: During the Open Assembly, artist, activist and Berlin-based curator Margarita Tsomou feeds back to the audience what was discussed during the 'Solidarity Networks' working group which had representatives from Refugees Welcome (GR), Solidarity4all (GR), HYLE[Ύλη]matter (GR), Notara Squat (TBC) (GR), The Other Human (TBC) (GR), Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko (GR), European Village (GR), Ivor Stodolsky (Perpetuum Mobile) (NO).

      Potent voices like that of Tsomou raised questions about a proposed 'open' biennale format and the possible (in)adequacy of visual arts to host activism. "I do my activism in the street" – she exclaimed. (Tsomou has recently interviewed Adam Szymczyk (artistic director of documenta 14) for DIE ZEIT – download here.)

       Other speakers were more direct in their pragmatism and asked the forum "What do we have? Do we have a hammer? Do we have chairs?" to which Mollona and Poka-Yio responded the biennial has the Bageion Hotel building and in-kind sponsorship for production, everything else has to be decided and invented collectively for the next two years. 

       End of the Open Assembly at the Bageion Hotel.

       Stairs of the Bageion Hotel.


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      Latitudes in the 'OMONOIA' Summit of the Athens Biennale 2015–2017

      1960s view of Omonoia Square (Concord Square) in Athens – one of the many views of the site shared in this flickr.

      Latitudes will participate in one of the three panels that will comprise a two-day International Summit (18–19 November) that initiate the next two years of activities of the next edition of the Athens Biennale, titled “OMONOIA” (Concord). Intuitive towards the institution of biennales, the Athens Biennale intends to revise its identity and bridges the past with the present and the future by merging the fifth edition (2015) with the sixth (2017).

      The Summit is framed within the "Synapse 1: Introducing a laboratory for production post" the first synapse of what will be an ongoing series of events that will run over the next two years.  

      The first day (18 November, 9:30–20h: National Theatre – New Rex, 48 Panepistimiou ) of the Summit will be organised under three panel discussions – Alternative Economies, The Performative in the Political, Rethinking Institutions. See the programme here.
       

      The second day (19 November 2015, 9:30–20h, Bageion, 18 Omonoia Square) will host a series of working group meetings between scholars, self-organised initiatives, cooperatives and activists as well as an open assembly that will summarise the proceedings and discuss potentials for the future. 

      The aim of the Summit is to promote transnational knowledge-exchange and consider common grounds among academics, artists, activists and initiatives involved in practices of commoning, urban welfare and grassroots participation and kickstart the urban laboratory that the Athens Biennale aims to become for the next two years.

      #AB5to6
      #ΟΜΟΝΟΙΑ
      #AthensBiennale



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      Report from Athens: "AGORA", 4th Athens Biennale 2013, 4 November 2013.


      This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
      All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption).

      Work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.




      'Near-Future Artworlds Curatorial Disruption Foresight Group' seminar convenes in its third iteration in Birmingham's Eastside Projects, 15 November 2015

      Façade of Eastside Projects in Birmingham.

      Latitudes
      will lead a day-long session on November 15, one of the two-day self-reflective evaluation sessions that the Extra Special People (ESP) Associate scheme programme of Eastside Projects is organising under the title "Re-Imagining ESP II".

      Taking place during the weekend of the 14–15 November in Birmingham, UK, these two sessions are aimed at stimulating a conversation amongst the current members of the practice-led peer support network ESP in order to explore the possibility of them becoming active participants and even producers instead of receivers of predefined formats and contents.


      This will be the third iteration of the 'Near-Future Artworlds...' meetings (following those in Bari and San Francisco) – a forum for informal dialogue about megatrends and the future of contemporary art institutions.  

      The first meeting in Bari broadly addressed to what degree organisational forms of art institutions are embracing or resisting similar transformations through various curatorial/editorial prototypes and prognosticative use-case scenarios. With an emphasis on cross-pollination between design thinking and curatorial thinking, the second meeting in San Francisco broached, among other things, the notion of the post-disciplinary, and the question of appropriate speeds or periodicities institutions should follow

      Poster produced for the seminar by Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco.

      In Birmingham, the session will collectively imagine a ‘What if?’ – a post-apocalyptic scenario in which an art ecology has to be regrown from the ground up. What would be most urgent in terms of organisation, facilities, tools? The second part of the meeting will involve a practical exercise modeled to prototype initiatives that might be best suited to Birmingham’s real or imagined artistic, economic and social context.

      In order to be conducive to freedom of interaction, these meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule. This allows participants to express personal views, to listen, reflect and gather insights with a clear distinction from the position of their employers and/or the policies of any associated organization. Participation is expected, but there will be no resolutions issued, no votes are undertaken, and no policy statements proposed.


      Archive photo of ESP activity. Courtesy: Eastside Projects.

      Extra Special People (ESP)
      is a practice-led peer support network organised by Eastside Projects that "works with artists, designers, curators and writers to support the development of work, ideas, connections and careers through a programme of events, opportunities, and projects. Members become active contributors to a practice-led peer support network and benefit from Eastside Projects’ experience of the contemporary art world and regional, national and international contacts."

      Eastside Projects is an "internationally renowned centre of excellence based in a free public gallery imagined and organized by artists, in partnership with Birmingham City University." Eastside Projects is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund 2010-14, and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

      Eastside Projects
      86 Heath Mill Lane
      Birmingham B9 4AR
      0121-771-1778
      www.eastsideprojects.org
      www.extraspecialpeople.org


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      This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
      All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
      Work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.




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