Longitudes

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). 

Related content: 

      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. Our current Cover Story on Latitudes' 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 Bageion 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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