CURATING EXCHANGE 4: Artistic Labor between the Resistance and the Precariat
Symposium | Curating Exchange 4 | presentations by Albert Heta and Anders Kreuger | organized by press to exit project space | Gem Klub and Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje | 3th and 7th of November 2015, 19.30 h.
The program of the International Symposium “Curatorial exchanges 4” reflects on the questions related with the concept of the welfare state, the ways in which it corresponds with the precarious socially critical discourse and its manifestations in today’s cultural context. It also raises topics of relevance to the current situation in the world, such as the communication between citizens of different socio-economic status, the social implications of artificial intelligence, the changing status of labor, the rise of the European far-right, the plight of refugees from the civil war in Syria, or a possible shift to a non-monetary economy.
The program includes lectures by Albert Heta, artist, designer, social critic and the head curator of Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina, and Anders Kreuger, curator at M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, and one of the editors of the London-based art journal Afterall.
CURATING EXCHANGE is an annual symposium addressing local and regional need for an insightful and qualitative exchange of experience and knowledge in theoretical and artistic research, curatorial practice and education. Initiated in 2012, this is the fourth edition of the program. This edition is in part supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia, in partnership with Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities-Skopje and GEM Klub (Gragjani za Evropska Makedonija).
Location: GEM Klub, Skopje
Lecture by Albert Heta: The State of Oppression and the Welfare State
The lecture will present projects that corresponds with Stacion-Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina’s institutional practices and work. ‘Identity Restoration Reloaded’(2012), a re-enactment of the conference ‘Event0: Identity Restoration’ (27 June 2007), appeared in a context and a country with no such practice in the art scene, a country with diminishing archival culture and disappearing public institutions that can function as a memory of a society – ‘history making’ as a tool for erasure and engineering the past for the present power players is a dominant practice in this country. do it at Stacion (2013) was about utilizing means for mass transport of information and disseminating content that was not supposed to reach you today. Thorugh do itStacion aimed to create new uncalculated spaces for thinking and initiate an action that opens the possibility to additionally alter the position of the end receiver of the information or art.
Location: Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities-Skopje
Lecture by Anders Kreuger: Is the Welfare State the Anthithesis of Art?
The welfare state is not a thing of the past: its future is now ﬁercely debated, and many of its key features are being put in place by countries such as China or Indonesia. In the summer of 2015 M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, showed an exhibition titled ‘The Welfare State, with election posters and other visual material from the archives of four political movements in Flanders and new and existing works by eight contemporary artists.The exhibition was not nostalgic about the welfare state in its ‘classical’ version. Instead it examined some fundamental contradictions and inconsistencies of this sprawling conglomerate of interconnected institutions, which may be called the greatest monument to democracy and peaceful pragmatic politics. Yet the Western welfare state is at least partly a bureaucratic, anti-revolutionary project launched by the nineteenth-century establishment. Its rise was entangled with political realities such as the centralised power vertical, the Cold War, colonialism and decolonisation, isolationism and xenophobia or the depletion of the natural environment through relentless industrialisation. To this day the welfare state operates with regulations that must be applied to everyone in the same way. It is in this sense that it might be called ‘the antithesis of art’. While it protects individual rights and freedoms, the welfare state demands something in return: individuals must identify themselves as members of society ﬁrst and foremost.
What, in the end, is a price that few artists are prepared to pay in full. Although many of them are ardent supporters of the welfare state in both theory and practice, and although they may be fascinated by rules as such, they are not usually ‘nown for their readiness to adhere to rules formulated by others then themselves.
Moderator of the discussions: Yane Calovski
Short narrative biographies of the lecturers:
Albert Heta is an artist, curator, designer and social critic based in Prishtina, Kosovo. Heta’s works in contemporary art are often simple acts of intervention in an existing social condition, responses to a given situation, or rethinking of existing objects. His notable works ‘It’s time to go visiting: No visa required’, a public intervention on British Airways billboards in Prishtina (2003), ‘Embassy of the Republic of Kosova in Cetinje, SCG’ (2004) for Cetinje Biennale or his ‘Kosovar Pavilion Venice Biennial 2005’ (2005) distributed in collaboration with e-flux, are not merely the installations or acts of appropriation, but also acts of engagements with the conditions under which the works were accepted by the curators, media, politicians, and the public. Heta’s work has been exhibited in a wide international context including: Apexart, New York, MARCO, Vigo, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Gallery Nova, Zagreb, Manege, Moscow etc. Since 2006, his work is also channeled through a collaborative intervention, independent art institution Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina. Since 2006, Albert Heta works as the head curator of Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina and has curated exhibitions part of the exhibitions program of Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina.
Anders Kreuger is curator at M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, and one of the editors of the London-based art journal Afterall. From 2006-2010 he was curator at Lunds konsthal and in 2007-2010 director of the Malmo Art Academy, both in his native Sweden. From 2007-2010 he was a member of the Programme Team for the European Kunsthalle in Cologne. From 1997-1999 he was founding director of NIFCA, the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art in Helsinki. Kreuger has worked extensively as an independent curator in Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, India and the US. He has published extensively in journals and catalogues across the world, edited numerous books and taught at several art academies in Scandinavia (2001-2011) at the MA Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art in London (2003-2014) and at the Salzburg International Summer Academy (2014).