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CURATING EXCHANGE 5: The Institutional as Public

Symposium | The 5th International Symposium Curating Exchange  | The Institutional as Public | organized by press to exit project space | 22 September – 01 October, 2016

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. The fifth edition is titled “The Institutional as Public” and welcomes Slovenian art historian and art theorist Beti Žerovc, Austrian curator, cultural theorist, urban researcher and writer Elke Krasny, and Macedonian Berlin-based visual artist and urban researcher Ivana Sidzimovska, who contribute a variaty of discoursive presentations and projects that question to what extent the institution, the public, and the artistic activity correspond to the ever-evolving concept of critical curating. The role and the increasing influence of the curator in context of cultural production in general, as well as the conditionality within and outside the institutional frame in particular, will be subjected to critical rethinking and analysis with each presentation and workshop session. The symposium will thus try to addresses the variety of methodologies and conditions that define the curatorial practice as a channel for social and political criticism and a practice expressed as a logical continuum in the processes of instigating cultural as well as socio-political change in contemporary society. 

The symposium is curated, organized and managed by art historian and curator Jovanka Popova, and artists and co-founders of press to exit project space, Hristina Ivanoska and Yane Calovski. 


Presentation by Beti Žerovc: “When Attitudes Become the Norm: the contemporary curator and institutional art” 

Date: Thursday, 22.09.2016 
Place: GEM Club, Skopje
Time: from 19.00 until 21.00 h
Q/A at the end of the presentation moderated by Yane Calovski 

The book “When Attitudes Become the Norm” (published by Archive Books and Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, 2016) is a collection of essays and interviews by art historian and theorist Beti Žerovc on the topic of curatorship in contemporary art. Žerovc examines curatorship in its broader social, political and economic contexts, as well as in relation to the profound changes that have taken place in the art field over the last century. She analyses the curator as a figure who appears, evolves, and participates in the institutionalisation of contemporary art and argues that with the curator institutional art – art designed to fit the art institution’s space and needs – achieves its fullest expression. 

Working session with Beti Žerovc 

Date: Friday, 23.09.2016 
Place: GEM Club / Menada Skopje
Time: from 16.00 until 19.00 h

The starting point of the working session will be the essay The Curator and the Leftist Politicisation of Contemporary Art published in the book “When Attitudes Become the Norm”. The workshop will give the opportunity to rethink some of its central topics and their validity today. How did the art system change in the last ten years? Did it change for the better? Are we right when we claim that social issues and similar should have a stronger presence in such framework? Or should we better try to find a way to work outside of it or at least avoid practices we disagree with? Can we imagine doing art outside of the “classical western type art system” at all? In Macedonia, similar as in Slovenia, art is still largely financed with public money. Private funding and art market are week. What are the positive aspects of such a situation and what should we do to get the most out of it?

Audio-tour: “Recounting Skopje. Skopje 2014: Hegemonic and Speculative Narratives”, artistic part of the PhD Project by Ivana Sidzimovska, Bauhaus University Weimar, Faculty of Design and Media

Date: Friday, 30.09.2016 
Time: 10:30-12:00; 12:00-13:30; 13:30-15:00, 15:00-16:30, 16:30.18:00 h
Starting point: the plateau in front of the Museum of City of Skopje

Sidzimovska’s artistic-based PhD research is related to neoliberal symbolic urban reconstructions with focus on the urban renewal of Skopje and the effects the reconstruction has on the public space in the city. Informed by subjective citizen’s stories, imaginaries and experiences of the urban, and these elicited while walking, a speculative narrative of the city is created, in which to project ideas for reevaluating, reframing and reinterpreting the reconstruction. Combined with various sonic observations, recorded in a binaural manner, the original interviews with citizens are processed, translated and reenacted in the form of an interactive sonic walk. 

Public lecture and talk with Elke Krasny: “Involved: Urban Curatorial Practice”

Date: Friday, 30.09.2016 
Place: GEM Club, Skopje
Time: 19.00 – 21.00 h
Q/A at the end of the lecture moderated by Yane Calovski 

“What does it mean to become involved? Against the backdrop of the histories and theories of urban interventions, temporary experimental architectures, socially engaged art practices, and critical spatial practices, I introduce here the idea of involvement. Urban curating is necessarily involved. Involvement means both sharing and being entangled. What are the implications and the complications of such sharing and such entanglements, in short such involvement? Urban curating is involved in the material, social, cultural, political, and economic urban conditions. Urban curating is part of urban transformation dynamics. Therefore, urban curating is implicated in and complicated by the real world conditions of globalized neoliberalism, postcoloniality, international migration, accelerating uneven development, and urban crises. Involved practice therefore requires critical research, materialist analysis, and transversal collaboration. Involved practice relies on many different situated urban knowledge, in plural. This lecture is based on examples from my own curatorial practice such as Mapping the Everyday.Neighbourhood Claims for the Future and Hands-On Urbanism. The Right to Green.” 

Working session with Elke Krasny 

Date: Saturday, 01.10.2016 
Place: Mobile/Montage Gallery and MAD Kitchen, Skopje
Time: 11.00 – 17.00 h

Involve; Urban Curatorial Practice; What does it take to become involved?
We will work together on notions of involvement collecting our thoughts and feelings. 
Our work will be supported by the following texts:
Walter Benjamin: On the Concept of History (written in German in 1940)
Lauren Berlant: Austerity, Precarity, Awkardness (2011)
Elke Krasny: Demonstrations between Criticism and Crisis (2012)

Together, we will choose a site of urban transformation in Skopje.
We will think of what it means to become involved.
We will think of what it takes to become involved.


Beti Žerovc is a Slovene art historian and art theorist. She teaches at the Department of Art History at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana. Her areas of research are visual art and the art system since the mid-nineteenth century with a focus on their role in society. In the past fifteen years her research has concentrated on the phenomena of the contemporary art curator, the contemporary art exhibition as a medium, and the changing role of art institutions. 

Elke Krasny is a curator, cultural theorist, urban researcher and writer. She is professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria. Her theoretical and curatorial work is firmly rooted in socially engaged art and spatial practices, urban epistemology, post-colonial theory, and feminist historiography. In her conceptually driven and research-based curatorial practice she works along the intersections of art, architecture, education, feminism, landscape, spatial politics, and urbanism. She aims to contribute to innovation and debate in these fields through forging experimental post-disciplinary alliances between research, teaching, curating, and writing.

Ivana Sidzimovska is a visual artist and an urban researcher. She completed BA studies in Painting and Art Pedagogy at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Skopje and MA studies in Space Strategies at the Art School Berlin – Weißensee. Her artistic practice and research involves transdiciplinary work on the intersection between arts, architecture and urban sociology and is mostly concerned with work in public space by using various methods, media and technologies. Since 2012 she is a PhD Candidate at the Bauhaus University Weimar, Faculty of Design and Media.

Organized by:
press to exit project space (Skopje)

Jovanka Popova, art historian and curator
Hristina Ivanoska, artist and co-founder
Yane Calovski, artist and co-founder

press to exit project space was established in 2004 by artists Yane Calovski and Hristina Ivanoska as a special program-based artist initiative for research and production in the field of visual arts and curatorial practices. The three main programs of activities are: Visiting Curatorial Initiative, New Project Productions and Lectures, Publications and Exhibitions which are exploring ways of generating ideas, projects and collaborations with artists and curators form Macedonia, Europe and beyond. From November 2010, press to exit project space continues functioning as a non-governmental organization with the same focus of interest.

In partnership with:
GEM Club (Skopje)

Mobile/Montage Gallery (Skopje)
MAD Kitchen (Skopje) 
Modesty (Tokyo) 

Supported by:
Ministry of culture of the Republic of Macedonia
City of Skopje
Österreichischen Botschaft Skopje



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