• Wed 23 – Thu 24 05 2018 •
Rethinking Locality


WED 23 5 18 / 19:00: King Georg, Sudermanstraße 2, 50670 Cologne
THU 24 5 18 / 19:00: Altes Pfandhaus, Kartäuserwall 20, 50678 Cologne

In English
Tickets: 23 5 18: 5 €; 24 5 18: 8 €

In cooperation with Alexander Koch / KOW, New Patrons and King Georg

23 05 (King Georg)

Part I – Rethinking Locality: Artistic and Curatorial Methodologies

19.00–19.45 Talk by OLIVIER MARBEOUF
20.00–20.45 Paradise on Earth, film screening
21.00–22.30 Discussion with Cecylia Malik, Olivier Marboeuf, and Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, moderated by Aneta Rostkowska

24.05 (Altes Pfandhaus)

Part II – Rethinking Locality: Art and Economy

19.00–19.45 Talk by Alexander Koch
20.00–20.45 Tell/Sell, a Common Story, a performance and installation by Sarah van Lamsweerde, created and performed in collaboration with Esther Mugambi
21.00–22.30 Discussion with Mikołaj Iwański, Suhail Malik, and Britta Peters, moderated by Alexander Koch

Contemporary artistic and curatorial practices oscillate between two seemingly contradictory ideologies. On the one hand, there is the tradition of modernism with its universalist and utopian ambition of creating a common language of forms and concerns, transcending specific cultural or national differences to approach an all-encompassing solidarity. On the other hand, in recent years we have been able to observe a certain turn towards the specific or the local. Artists and institutions solidarize with minorities and provide platforms for expressing the identities of marginalized groups. Some of them start to work with communities and use art to support a particular agenda, pursuing community art, participatory art, or activist art. Art institutions are becoming spaces for activities reaching far beyond contemporary art into the spheres of the academic, the social, the scientific, and the political. The fetish of “indeterminacy,” or openness of meaning, so crucial for modernism, is being questioned by the desire to make art more relevant, concrete, and effective – more “real.”

These two sets of beliefs create a certain tension within which artists and institutions operate nowadays. If we look more closely, however, we will see that the universality of modernism has been undermined by many scholars investigating the ways in which it was very often adjusted to local conditions. The site-specific artistic practices on the other hand, even if they struggle to go beyond art itself, still – as they are undertaken by art institutions and artists – operate within the global art field with all its conceptual and procedural limitations. In a way, the universal desire is haunted by the specific or local and vice versa. What makes the situation even more complicated is the influence of a globally present capitalism that brings forth its own kind of universalism, praising individual authorship, competition, private ownership, and measurable effects.

How do we make sense of this situation? Are we able to map all the processes at play and make our map useful for our artistic and curatorial practices? Would it be helpful if we replaced the notion of “locality” (meaning a particular neighborhood or place) with a notion of “translocality” (emphasizing a variety of interrelations between different places and people that are produced through open, nonlinear exchange, very often going beyond the actual tactile borders)? The goal of this symposium is to reflect upon how the global and the local permeate each other culturally and economically, and what would constitute a genuinely “translocal” art institution. During the first evening, we will focus on artistic and curatorial methodologies; during the second, which takes place in a historical pawnshop building, we will analyze the economic underpinnings of these processes.

The event is accompanied by a seminar on the theme of slowness in artistic and institutional life, with NATAŠA PETREŠIN-BACHELEZ and VIOLA VAHRSON as guests. The seminar is organized in collaboration with REGINA BARUNKE (Temporary Gallery).

Paradise on Earth*

The film is an intimate record of a two-year friendship between CECYLIA MALIK, the director of the film and an artist from Kraków, and a homeless couple living next to her house. The relationship started when Artur and Iwona invited the director to their wedding, after which they continued to exchange experiences. The couple in love reveals a different world to Malik ‒ an image of the city unknown to her until then ‒ while the director invites the protagonists to participate in one of her artistic projects.

Tell/Sell, a Common Story

A performance and installation by SARAH VAN LAMSWEERDE
Created and performed in collaboration with ESTHER MUGAMBI
In English

The performance Tell/Sell, a Common Story centers around found, fictional, or factual narratives of art objects. The work takes the form of a classical art auction, but although an object is actually presented on a plinth, as opposed to a conventional sale, it is the story behind the artifact that can be purchased. Each word of the story must be sold to willing bidders before it can be told as part of a narrative whole. The audience in attendance blindly shapes the tale, through the frame of their own consuming desires, in advance of the story being spilled, leading to a situation where a work of art is not owned by one individual, but several people.

A new story is written specially for each occasion by artist SARAH VAN LAMSWEERDE. Story #9, (title to be announced) will be sold and shared word for word during the symposium. Unsold words affect how the story is ultimately told. After purchasing a word, new owners will receive a certificate of authenticity, specifying their share in the story.

Tell/Sell, a Common Story is a performance work created in collaboration with artist and performer ESTHER MUGAMBI, originally commissioned in 2014 by the Amsterdam gallery Ellen de Bruijne Projects. The work has been presented at various art and performance venues, such as De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam; ISELP, Brussels; and Bunkier Sztuki in Kraków.