Last year in February, BUDA brought together artists, theorists and directors from all over Europe to discuss the possibility of a different artistic institution. One that would be more permeable to its own political or socially engaged artistic program and that would finally do what it preaches. This symposium was called the Fantastic Institution, a 3-day discussion platform between reality and fiction. One year later, where are we? Are we anywhere more fantastic than before? Or not at all? In any case, we thought it would be interesting to « stay with the trouble » a little bit longer and hammer this question once again. So here comes The Return of the Fantastic Institution, a 3-day gathering, that runs parallel to our End of Winter festival.
As a statement and a reaction to last year’s edition, this session will be small, very hands-on, probably half self-organized and open to a limited amount of invited guests only, so as to form a tiny temporary mutual school. Nevertheless, and in an attempt to share this collective process with a broader audience, every day from 17:00 till 18:00, one participant will give a public lecture in the form of a more theoretical, imaginative or speculative approach to the re-imagination of the artistic institutions today. A detailed list of contributors will follow on the website.
And as for last year’s symposium, the Flanders Institute for the Arts will document the workshop and post all the discussions online. FYI, the documentation of the past edition (2017) can still be found here on www.kunsten.be.
Lectures by day:
22nd of February, 17:00 in Foyer
Maria Hlavajova, bak, Utrecht
In her lecture, Maria Hlavajova speculates about the notion of "instituting otherwise"--the mainstay conceptual paradigm in her practice, through which she has systematically engaged in developing and testing institutional models to best accommodate and further shape the dynamically evolving field of theoretically-informed and politically-driven art and experimental research. Probing the question "How do we take responsibility towards the context?," she thinks through her current research into "propositions for non-fascist living."
Maria Hlavajova is a curator, researcher, educator, and organizer. She is a founding general and artistic director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, established in 2000. In 2008–2016 she was research and artistic director of FORMER WEST, which she initiated and developed as an international collaborative research, education, publication, and exhibition project. Hlavajova has instigated and organized numerous projects at BAK and beyond, including the series Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–ongoing), Future Vocabularies (2014–2017), New World Academy with artist Jonas Staal (2013–2016), among many other international research projects. In 2011, Hlavajova organized the Roma Pavilion titled Call the Witness in the context of the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice and in 2007 she curated the Dutch Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice. In 2000, Hlavajova co-curated Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana, titled Borderline Syndrome.
Friday 23rd of February, 17:00 in de Rotonde
iLiana Fokianaki, State of Concept Athens, Extra City Antwerp and Future Climates
“The Future Climates of Precarious Art Work or how not to be alone”.
Working and thinking with DIY economies and lack of infrastructure, and imagining the future climates of cultural workers in the format of an experiment, iLiana Fokianaki will give future scenarios via the examples of State of Concept Athens and Future Climates (the research platform she co-founded with Antonia Alampi) that aim to break the classic format of the institutional power structures and set theoretical framework by appropriating power and enacting it differently and will try to reformulate the problematic of how to work together when hierarchies inevitably exist and the financial pie is tiny.
iLiana Fokianaki is a writer and curator based in Athens and Rotterdam. In 2013 she founded State of Concept Athens, the first non-profit institution in Athens that promotes Greek and international artists through solo exhibitions, but also invites international curators to create exhibitions that comment on the current socio-political landscape of Greece and beyond. State of Concept is also focusing on a pedagogical programme that enables Greek art students through free consultations, to further their studies and develop their projects. It has also been operating as an open platform that hosts fellow curators and artists for talks, events and presentations. In 2016, together with Antonia Alampi she founded Future Climates, a platform that aims to propose viable futures for small-scale organizations of contemporary art and culture, which manifested in Athens in March 2017 with a three-month program.
Saturday 24th of February, 17:00 in the Rotonde
Francis McKee, CCA Glasgow
“The Rainbow Wrasse”
The Rainbow Wrasse is a speculative fiction that questions the future of art, institutions and artefacts in a future where climate change and its wide ranging impact on societies and their infrastructure is resetting all our relationships.
Francis McKee is director of CCA, Glasgow and also a tutor on the MFA at Glasgow School of Art. He has just published two books - How to Know What is Really Happening (Sternberg, 2016) and Even The Dead Rise Up (Book Works, 2017)