a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 1


B R OAD CAS T ING

THE HIVE ARC


Broadcasting the archive is an independent project conceived by Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti to emancipate the usership around the Arte Útil archive.

2


Broadcasting the archive About the project The project aims to re-activate and mediate the Arte Útil’s archive within and beyond the museum’s context, developing a year touring programme of workshops and discussions hosted by different organisations in The Netherlands and abroad. Archive cards, sound and video documents, interviews, guided tours through some projects, production of public events, activities, workshops, seminars and conferences will be the materials to activate and spread the archive. Our objective is to break the physical walls of the institution through a call for action, becoming a source of inspiration both for a specialized public as well as a non-trained contemporary art audience.

3


Every activity, programme or project will be available in a digital format on the Arte Ăštil website in order to function as a pedagogical device for students, curators, artists, researchers, critics and the general public, too. Based in a network of collaborations and institutions, Broadcasting the archive will open up the archive to global analysis. The possibility to work with the archive independently and transforming its documentation in a digital format, allows the archive to be broadcasted via the internet, going beyond institutional barriers and creating infinite possibilities for future collaboration, knowledge building, and the possibilities of highlighting Dutch art and social design practice. Additionally, Broadcasting the archive attempts to emphasize the history of the city of Eindhoven and The Netherlands, making vital connections with the present.

4


In 1927, Philips presented its first radioreception set improving the radio technology applied by the Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi, used mainly as a wireless telegraph. The Radio Lamps developed by Philips made it possible to transmit clear, amplified signals: not only morse code but also spoken messages and music. NatLab researchers built the crystal-driven PCJJ, the first shortwave radio station in Europe with which radio broadcasts could transmit over long distances. The Netherlands used the radio to connect with its former colonies and the world adopting Philips and Eindhoven as a platform. Now Broadcasting the archive seeks to re-purpose that history, connecting Eindhoven and The Netherlands with the world, using the Internet and digital media to expand the Arte Ăštil archive as an “archive of the commonsâ€?. Information on the activities and programme of Broadcasting the archive are documented online at www.arte-util.org and in this publication.

5


Acknowledgments: The project would not be possible without the generosity and collaboration of Daniel Blanga-Gubbay (Aleppo); Canal|05 Art Gallery; Matteo Lucchetti and Judith Wielander (Visible project); Charles Esche, Nick Aikens, Annie Fletcher, Steven ten Thije, Daniel Neugebauer (Van Abbemuseum); James & Brea McAnally (The Luminary); Sarrita Hunn (Temporary Art Review); Olga Mink (Baltan Laboratories); Christine Wagner (Hivos); John Byrne (Liverpool John Moores University – The Uses of Art Lab); Jess Fairclough, Emma Curd, Aimee Harrison, Evelyn Broderick (Quad Collective); Yolanda Peralta (Tenerife Espacio de las Artes) & Maisa Navarro (University of La Laguna); Victor Tur, Sergi Casero, Cloe Masotta, Elena Blesa Cábez (Avalancha in collaboration with Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona);

6


Christine van Meegen, Minsung Wang, Conor Trawinsky, Ron Krielen (The Umbrella Network); Alec Steadman (Arts Catalyst); Alistair Hudson, Miguel Amado, Giles Maffet (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art); Emily Hesse & James Beighton (New Linthorpe); Bini Araia (Investing in People and Culture); Giulia Crisci (roots&routes); Anna Santomauro (University of Wolverhampton); Kuba Szreder (Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw); Peter Zuiderwijk (Collective Works); Onur Yıldız, Meriç Öner, Naz Kocadere (SALT); Emma O’Hara (Cork Printmakers). Special Thanks to Tania Bruguera; Asociación de Arte Útil; Van Abbemuseum; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA); Cork Printmakers; Visible, Aleppo and the artists whose projects are included in the Arte Útil archive.

7


Broadcasting the Archive 2015-2018 Use the stickers to locate the projects


#1

THE HIVE ARC

Aleppo /Brussels

B R OAD CAS T ING


effectiveness

Broadcasting the archive #1 12-13 September 2015 Aleppo, Canal|05 - Brussels (BE) >We were invited by Aleppo to deliver a workshop in the frame of the programme â&#x20AC;&#x153;The use of the useâ&#x20AC;? as part of the curated tour of Brussels Art Days. The workshop took place at CANAL|05 Art Gallery.<

nomad institution alternative ways of displaying the archive


4


The programme of the day included a public discussion with a panel of artists and curators, a reading session of Towards a Lexicon of Usership by Stephen Wright, our activity and a final Q&A Skype conference with Stephen Wright. The programme was built within a strong theoreticalreflective context around the concepts of usership and alternative-independent forms of institutions. For the public, it was based on a conventional passive position as spectators, just with a few open moments to participate in the discussions. We decided to activate the participants with a workshop that would promote a deep understanding of Arte Ă&#x161;til, the criteria, the archive and its strategies. We proposed the participants to play the role of a nomad institution aimed to legitimate and promote the Arte Ă&#x161;til movement. We provided them with a selection of case studies according to three different strategies: a-legal, institutional re-purpose and legislative change. Using these strategies, artists activated a process of negotiation, alteration, and transformation of institutions and the institution of society in general dealing with concrete rules and legislation.

BtA Aleppo/Brussels

5


6

to play the role of a nomad institution


We proposed them to check the archive cards, discuss and analyse the selection of case studies in relation with the criteria and the strategy to finally make decisions about the one they would consider as the most representative or paradigmatic for each category. The activity brought interesting reflections about the strategies itself, the ethics around Arte Ă&#x161;til, and concepts like authorship, the interpretation of aesthetics in socially engaged practices, art as a tool, re-purposing artâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s autonomy, the users and their position/ownership within the process.

BtA Aleppo/Brussels

7


Finally, the activity was evaluated and defined by the participants as an inspiring and meaningful approach to Arte Ă&#x161;til and the possibilities of analysing the archive. For the participants coming from another context (non-art field), it was even more significant because it opened a completely different approach to contemporary art and its possibilities of interaction and impact in the real world. Aleppo is a Brussels-based independent project, engaged in opening public programmes through artistic interventions and reflections. www.aleppo.eu

8


List of case studies #Usership #Spectatorship #Loopholes Institutional Repurpose No. 231 / 1970 - ongoing / US, Austria, France, United Kingdom The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art Tom Marioni No. 192 / 1972-1988 / Germany Free International University (FIU) for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Research Joseph Beuys No. 140 / 1993 - ongoing / Austria Medical Care for Homeless People WochenKlausur No. 187 / 1994 - 2000 / Switzerland Shelter for drug-addicted women WochenKlausur No. 156 / 1995 - 1998 / 2001 - 2003 / Colombia Cultura Ciudadana Antanas Mockus No. 004 / 1998 - 2007 / US, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates TOOLS/SUPERCHANNEL Superflex and Sean Treadway No. 092 / 1999 / Slovenia Non Stop Video Club Apolonija Šušteršič No. 089 / 1999 / Sweden Light Therapy Apolonija Šušteršič No. 254 / 1999 - 2003 / Italy, Kosovo Language Schools in the Kosovo War WochenKlausur BtA Aleppo/Brussels

9


No. 037 / 2003 / Albania Cezme Matei Bejenaru No. 073 / 2009 / US The Mending Project Lee Mingwei No. 239 / 2011 / Spain Offside Núria Güell No. 473 / 2012 - ongoing / Germany, The Netherlands, India, Belgium. New World Summit Jonas Staal No. 241 / 2012 - ongoing / United Kingdom The Silent University Ahmet Öğüt No. 528 / 2012 - ongoing / Various Locations Rosas – Movie Set Marinella Senatore No. 472 / 2012 - ongoing / United Kingdom Honest Shop Grizedale Arts No. 519 / 2014 - ongoing / Chicago, US and Middlesbrough UK Addams-Dewey Gymnasium Pablo Helguera A-Legal No. 219 / 2012 / Spain Intervention #1 Núria Güell No. 236 / 2012 / Italy Intervention #2 Núria Güell

10


No. 473 / 2012 - ongoing / Germany, The Netherlands, India, Belgium. New World Summit Jonas Staal No. 476 / 2012 / The Netherlands A Parasitical Breed of Consumer Jeannette Petrik No. 239 / 2011 / Spain Offside Núria Güell No. 026 / 2010 - 2011 / Spain, Online Aplicación Legal Desplazada #1: Reserva Fraccionaria Núria Güell No. 215 / 2010 - ongoing / Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Mexico Memetro No. 025 / 2008 / Cuba Acceso a lo denegado Núria Güell No. 126 / 2007 - ongoing / US, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Austria Public School (aaaarg) Telic Arts Exchange No. 108 / 2007 / Spain Turning a public toilet into a spa Ruben Santiago No. 042 / 2007 - ongoing / Spain, France ID: a criminal project Ruben Santiago No. 271 / 2005 - ongoing / Italy, China Copy_Right_No_Copy_Right Alterazioni Video

BtA Aleppo/Brussels

11


12


artists activate a process of negotiation, alteration and transformation of institutions

BtA Aleppo/Brussels

13


No. 020 / 2005 - 2006 / Cuba Vigilia / Night Watch Adrian Melis No. 128 / 2002 - ongoing / Spain Yomango No. 247 / 2000 / Austria Please Love Austria Christoph Schlingensief No. 197 / 1999 - ongoing / The Netherlands Women on waves Rebecca Gomperts No. 017 / 1997 - ongoing / Mexico, US, Canada Mejor Vida Corp Minerva Cuevas No. 013 / 1996 - ongoing / Spain Recetas Urbanas Santiago Cirugueda No. 249 / 1995 / Austria Immigrant Labor Issues WochenKlausur No. 199 / 1992 - ongoing / Slovenia State in Time or NSK State Irwin No. 112 / 1987 - ongoing / US Mad Housers Michael Connor and Brian Finkle No. 212 / 1973 - ongoing / US Green Guerrillas Liz Christy No. 518 / 1969 - ongoing / United States Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s park Inhabitants of Berkeley

14


Legislative Change No. 527 / 2014-2017 / Spain BioBui(L)t Txema V. Maini (BaM-Bioarquitectura Mediterranean Association), E. Silvestre, T. Solanas, J. Capell’s, more than 20 professionals and activists No. 470 / 2010 - ongoing / Mexico Tequiografías Daniel Godínez Nivón No. 216 / 2010 / US Ticketing Jessica Lappin REV No. 086 / 2009 - ongoing / The Netherlands Freehouse Jeanne van Heeswijk No. 027 / 2008 - ongoing / Chigago, IL (US) Tamms Year Ten Laurie Jo Reynolds (organizer) No. 159 / 1995 - ongoing / Germany Park Fiction Christoph Schafer and Margit Czenki No. 451 / 1965 - 1967 / The Netherlands Provo R. van Duijn, R. Stolk, J. Berk, H. Metz, P. Dekker, P. Bronkhorst, K. Calliauw, F. Burlage, J. Dielemans, R. de Groot, B. van Heerrikhuizen, G. Kroeze, M. Götze, L. Schimmelpenninck, C. Piesaar No. 393 / 1963 - ongoing / Australia Yalangbara Djambawa Marawili and artists from the Yirrkala region No. 285 / 1956-ongoing / Brazil Theatre of the Oppressed: Legislative Theater Augusto Boal

BtA Aleppo/Brussels

15


#2

THE HIVE ARC

The Luminary / St. Louis

B R OAD CAS T ING


alternative education models

black lives matter

public space as common good

gentrification

urban development Broadcasting the archive #2 21 October - 30 November 2015 The Luminary - St. Louis (MO) > I* was invited for a 6-weeks residency in St. Louis (MO), hosted by The Luminary, where I researched socially engaged art practices in the city and the region through a temporary Arte Ă&#x161;til office. At the end of the residency, I delivered a workshop inviting the artists, activists and other practitioners who I met during the residency. < *Alessandra Saviotti

alternative ways of producing and consuming food


4


For 6 weeks, I stayed in St. Louis, MO, where I was curatorin-residence at The Luminary. I spent most of my time engaging with the local art community, meeting artists, urban planners, curators and practitioners, mostly related with the Cherokee street area, as well as cultural producers developing projects all around the city. The aim of my visit was essentially to spread the AU archive as a tool for the local practitioners, to gather material about possible case studies to potentially add to the archive, and to record interviews with producers and users as well, for broadcasting. ‘Broadcasting the archive’ was included in the exhibition Sporadic Democracy – a culmination of a year-long exploration of how communities come together and fall apart, how public space is shaped, and wide-ranging experimentations with artistic forms appropriate to these questions. The exhibition was conceived as a cycle of actions, expansions and gathering points, containing independent but interrelated projects within a shared space. Thinking about the context of St. Louis and its urgencies, we presented a selection of case studies dealing with the gentrification process, the use of public space as a ‘common good’ and alternative education systems implemented by artists. On the second week of the residency, I organised a 2-hour workshop around the Arte Útil archive, in which 12 people took part, mostly with an artistic background and active in the local art context. The structure of the workshop was flexible in order to make participants feel comfortable and with a certain level of freedom to add elements to the activity. The participants were divided into 2 groups and after a 30-minute introduction about the project, they were asked to first discuss and analyse the criteria, and then to identify – among the 10 case studies I proposed – 1 or 2 more representative projects in the context of the Arte Útil movement. BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

5


The discussion lasted between 30 and 40 minutes and each group selected just one case study. The final decision was debated collectively and accepted without any particular objection. During the last part â&#x20AC;&#x201C; consisting of a 30-minute Q&A session â&#x20AC;&#x201C; several questions arose from the workshop concerning the aim of the activity and its value. One of the most discussed aspects was whether the workshop is relevant either in a specific context or in an educational one. The archive is certainly seen as an important pedagogical tool that could be integrated in school programmes, giving students and professors an important resource for their research. Rather, the usability as well as the access to the archive for another kind of audience is still an unresolved issue emphasized by the question:

6


BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

7

art?

what would happen if the archive were installed in a different context than the one of


Another aspect that was widely discussed was the authorship both of the project and the case studies; the general feeling was that an artist would never replicate any of the projects, whereas the possibility to use case studies as inspiration was likely to happen by someone operating in another context i.e. civil servants, educators, teachers. In addition, the archive is seen as a project by Tania Bruguera even if I underlined its permeability, starting from the Lab at the Queens Museum, the Museum of Arte Ă&#x161;til and the most recent Broadcasting the archive. How can we use the archive differently? How to effectively emancipate usership? Which kind of activities could we add to the structure of the workshop?

Right after the workshop, one of the participants expressed his gratitude for the activity asking for some links and saying that he will definitely use it for his own research. The day after, I received an email from another participant, Con Christeson, who is an artist and community organizer, running The Community CollabARTive, asking how the archive could be used in the context of the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute. Over a span of 6 weeks, I met 14 people during open office hours at the Luminary where the archive was installed, through one to one meetings and studio visits as well. The people I met had different backgrounds, but more or less all of them were connected via the CAT Alumni Network. The presence of this programme has stimulated the growth of an art scene devoted to socially engaged practices, community art and cultural activism, helping to redefine the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s identity through the arts. Various other initiatives dedicated to the impact of art in the city have existed since the beginning of the 2000s. 8


For example, the St. Louis Public Art Consortium (STLPACK) is an organisation that groups ten different institutions such as the city council and the university among others, and whose mission is to promote public art and public art education in the St. Louis region. They produced a Curriculum Kit dedicated to teachers and students featuring public art works from the metro area; the kit includes slides, locator maps, posters, teaching suggestions and information about each artwork, and it is designed to encourage teachers and students to explore the public art works and develop a context for understanding them. Analysing the context of St. Louis, it is clear that it is a place where social tension is palpable, especially due to residential segregation and criminalization of the use of public space. St. Louis remains one of the most segregated cities in the USA with a visible dividing line between rich and poor along Delmar Boulevard, literally called the ‘Delmar divide’. In the blocks to the immediate north the population is 98% black, and in the blocks to the immediate south, it is 70% white. The differences are pretty evident, especially associated to the architecture; on one side of the divide you see Tudor homes, nice bars and lovely shops while on the other side you see collapsing and vacant houses, knocked-over street signs and trash on the sidewalk. Some practitioners I met are directly engaged in the #BlackLivesMatter movement or other forms of activism, which use art-based actions. One of their performative actions was supported by an artwork called ‘The Mirror Casket’. The piece was conceived collectively and it consists in a collaborative sculpture shaped like a closed coffin and made of mirrors. Officers would see their images reflected on it in order to question their own role in remedying the crisis of the innumerable deaths of black and brown people in the US. BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

9


10

#BlackLivesMatter

Various Authors, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Mirror Casketâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, 2014. Protesters carry the casket in front of the police station. Ferguson (MO). Photo: Lawrence Bryant/St. Louis American.


The casket was carried during several demonstrations in Ferguson following the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. The coffin was sold to the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington this year after the museum requested it. The negotiation with the museum lasted 10 months and was hardly debated between the artivists who created the work. St. Louis has another big issue directly connected to the use – or better, the misuse – of public space: brick theft. The phenomenon goes back to the 1970’s; when large parts of neighbourhoods were left unwanted, thieves started to collect bricks to sell them for cash. After 2003, brick theft rose dramatically, to the point that entire buildings have been stolen. The city’s bricks are known for their good quality and are therefore prized by developers throughout the South of the country. Consequently, bricks are very easy to sell and they represent an easy profit for poor people. Artist and activist Juan W. Chávez addressed the issue and after one year research in North Saint Louis, in collaboration with other groups and an arts foundation, began an intervention to regenerate a historic brick building in danger of being destroyed due to being vacant. After two years of restoration, the building became a community art space called ‘Northside workshop’ (NSW). NSW is a non-profit art space dedicated to addressing cultural and community issues in the Northern city. The project is linked to another initiative by Chávez, ‘The Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary’ which is already included in the AU archive (case study No.426). The leitmotiv that links almost every practitioner in St. Louis is the level of negotiation between them and the institutions and consequently the level of sincerity of the latter is a relevant topic. BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

11


The Luminary had a pivotal role in the research. Apart from being the independent institution hosting the project and offering space to organise the open office, it functioned as a mediator between the local constituencies and myself. The Luminary is an extremely active art centre, located right in the middle of Cherokee street and presenting a rich programme of events, artists’ talks and presentations, concerts and workshops almost every week. Located in one of the most vibrant areas of St. Louis, it became a reference point for the art life of the city. James McAnally, founder, co-director and curator at The Luminary, reiterated in a recent article published on the Temporary Art Review how the art-centric action has again taken root as a dominant mode of working. He explains that “Protest is again present in America, but what about connecting in order to build alternatives? To some it seems as if it is just starting, but what if that is what we’ve been doing all along? […] We are in search of ways of supporting artists and operating within the world that poses valid alternatives to economic and political structures, that attempt to create alternate forms of convening and community. […] More importantly, we also see it in the daily grain of our artistrun spaces and studio practices, our anti-profit publications, bootlegged radio stations and all the unremarkable moments where we chose to carry a community forward and take our form seriously as the work itself. How can we forefront this latent force? We have already assembled an immense network – a distribution system, a circulated community – now what could we do with it? How could we charge it with meaning?” I see a parallel between his words and what we have been trying to address through Broadcasting the archive; now that we have composed such an important series of tools, what could we do with it? How can we measure the impact that our 12


practices can have, both on local communities and the way we see the world around us? How can we bring the case studies to the fore? Concerning the archive, after many conversations with CAT Alumni in St. Louis, the possibility emerged to include it as possible reference for schools programmes. The archive is seen as an important resource, which is alive and always up to date. Its porosity, easy accessibility and reproducibility renders the archive a real tool to approach the practice and to go deep into it, especially for students and practitioners who are approaching socially engaged practices. The fact that it is presented as a modular installation is an additional element toward its free interpretation and emancipation; it is clear that a design for the structure already exists, but it can be modified and adapted to different spatial circumstances like classrooms, gallery spaces, meeting rooms, etc. — Practitioners, artists, curators, designers and initiatives based in St. Louis who I interviewed: Citizen Carpentry – De Andrea Nichols – Con Christeson – Juan William Chàvez – Ilene Berman – Tori Abernathy – Gavin Kroeber – Mallory M. Nezam – The Luminary – Cherokee Station Business Association – Dayna Kriz – Gina Martinez

BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

13


Various Authors, “Granby Four Streets Regeneration”, 1998­– ongoing, Liverpool (UK). Photo: Gemma Medina

14


Broadcasting the Archive: Redefining the City Through Socially Engaged Practices, Community Art and Cultural Activism A conversation between Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti Published February 2016 on www.temporaryartreview.com

Broadcasting the archive is a project that arose from the urgency to spread the Arte Útil archive, a project initiated by Tania Bruguera, beyond the institution which hosts the material. Being the initial archive researchers, we started thinking how to make visible the incredible potential that the archive (intended as a tool) has. Therefore, our desire is to re-activate and mediate the archive in different geographical, cultural and social contexts in order to test the effectiveness of the strategies we have been investigating so far. Last September we started with some workshops and informal discussions, which led us to a more structured series of activities we proposed in Liverpool, UK – in collaboration with the Office of Useful Art and in St. Louis, US – in collaboration with The Luminary. In both cases we spent some time meeting local constituencies, artists, curators, writers, urban planners and users, digging into the history of these places and try to understand if a common ground could be identified between the two communities.

BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

15


Alessandra Saviotti:

I was in St. Louis for six weeks where I was curator-in-residence at The Luminary. I spent most of my time engaging with the local art community mostly related with Cherokee Street area, as well as other practitioners developing projects all around the city. The people I met had different backgrounds, but more or less all of them connected via the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute alumni network. The presence of the CAT program has stimulated the growth of an art scene devoted to socially engaged practices, community art and cultural activism, helping to redefine the city’s identity through the arts. When I was there I noticed very clearly that this city is a place where social tension is palpable, especially due to residential segregation and criminalization of the use of public space. St. Louis remains one of the most segregated cities in the US with a visible dividing line between wealthier (mostly white people) and poorer (mostly black people) along Delmar Boulevard, commonly called the ‘Delmar divide.’ Many conversations were about which role art should have in this kind of context and the word ‘gentrification’ came up many times. This particular focus on the archive’s relationship to projects dealing with gentrification developed naturally in both cities. A recent article by Dan Ancox in The Guardian recognizes how the word ‘gentrification’ deals with emotions and it has an almost endless potential to arguments, because it speaks to fundamental rights like the right to housing, among others. Ancox continues, stating that in recent years the topic has become mainstream and, as a consequence, opposition to gentrification is rapidly becoming more organized. People living in places torn by gentrification are well aware of what their future could be. Gemma Medina:

In my case I was invited to participate in the Office of Useful Art (OUA) for four days. The OUA was a collaboration between Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), Tate Liverpool and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) to expand the understanding of Arte 16


Útil and socially engaged art practices as bridges to connect institutions and community projects. The Office was located at the Exhibition Research Centre (ERC) within the John Lennon Art and Design Building. Recovering the local tradition and the history of the school as a ‘Mechanics Institute,’ the Office included a range of tools to be used freely by the participants like a 3D printer, serigraph, laser cutter, etc. This fact largely defined the people involved with the programme of activities and the ones who came to use the equipment. The majority of visitors were composed by art students or groups involved with technological and experimental projects related to the University in some way. Even in my limited time in Liverpool, I had the opportunity to visit some community projects, being part of the open public jury discussion of The Visible Award and attend the community arts conference organized by the Liverpool Biennial. “Gentrification” was an important issue to be discussed in Liverpool as well. As Ancox remarked, the problem of housing in U.K is huge. Liverpool has a high average of social housing and it makes the city a playground for gentrification and driven politics of housing. After visiting some projects, I saw that there is a clash between two levels of development within the city: a private propelled operation for economical blooming of certain sectors strategically located in the centre and the steady decline of some old neighbourhoods in the outskirts. The housing abandonment is the most visible consequence of a series of failed government policies and stalled regeneration plans like the Housing Market Renewal programme for the areas that suffered from the decline of traditional industries like manufacturing. Of course, different groups of residents have been opposed to these plans for decades. In this context, community arts and socially engaged practices are spreading out alternative strategies based on community involvement and self-organization. The last panel of the conference was specifically focused on housing and art. During the discussion, it was clear that the best way to face current challenges is through common “organization.” BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

17


AS:

It is curious to notice how naturally we decided to activate the project in both locations implementing the idea of the ‘open office.’ We sought to place focus on the question of hospitality and openness adopting the same approach and process, starting from one to one meetings and then opening the floor to occasional visitors for conversations. However, in St. Louis I didn’t focus on the ‘making’ but more on conversations and tours around the city to understand the context, which is very different from ours in Europe. Yet, I can affirm that some analogies exist between Liverpool and St. Louis. Both of them saw a fast rise and then a huge crisis between the 60’s and the 70’s whose effects are still visible. The infamous PruittIgoe area in St. Louis, for instance, is such a visual admonishment to a certain modernist political plan that is still hard to digest. Local artists like Juan William Chávez, Ilene Berman [NODhouse], the coordinators of The Pink House [formerly connected to the Rebuild Foundation] and many others I met, activated their projects in either marginal or difficult neighbourhoods, but they did it with the community living there, as a form of resistance; especially taking the city as an inspiration to react to the current situation. GM:

Exactly. In Liverpool, socially engaged art practices have a strong legacy since the Blackie (now Black-e) was founded in 1968 by Peter Moores, Wendy and Bill Harpe, becoming the UK’s first community art project. The idea behind the project was to combine a contemporary art centre with a community centre, involving a diverse community from different ethnic groups and artists in a process of collective creation, sharing, doing, learning and unlearning to define a common ground, towards a common language. Socially engaged art has always implied a critical position and a kind of political action. As Bill Harpe stated during the conference: “You can’t have a democracy without a common language.”

18


Projects like Homebaked or Granby Four Streets are based on a similar concept of co-ownership and working together: neighbours, designers, architects and artists, on the same level. But in fact, as many Arte Útil projects, they are directly reacting to the current state. As you mentioned, it is distinctly an act of resistance to the market and neoliberalism. In the case of Granby Four Streets, the project started with the activism of a small group of residents, a core group of older ladies, firmly opposed to leaving their houses. They stayed and initiated a guerrilla gardening campaign to green the streets, improving the aesthetics of the urban environment and recovering the sense of community. As soon as the interdisciplinary group Assemble got the assignment, they moved into one of the houses that they should rehabilitate. They listened to the community and made decisions together, designing an affordable model and refurbishing the buildings side by side with the neighbours from the very first moment. As Lewis Jones and Fran Edgerley (members of Assemble) told me, their practice is based on rethinking the way in which the cities are made, conventionally in a very transitional top-down way, determined by the market. They propose to turn it around, looking for alternative ways, empowering people during the process of building their own neighbourhood. Granby Four Streets, like many other Arte Útil projects, demonstrates that another reality is possible and it shouldn’t be defined just by the dictates of the market and political agendas. They are opening up our imagination, providing us with effective strategies. As we have discussed several times, it is paradoxical that after winning the Turner Prize, as part of the controversy has arisen, they have been described as “acritical,” accusing the project of being an almost completely depoliticized response to a highly politicized social situation and even some jurors were accused to be promoting a “new conservatism.” For us, it was disappointing to see this orthodox reaction from those who clearly didn’t experience the context of the project. BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

19


AS:

We both came across different cases that are currently in the spotlight: the collective Assemble winning the Turner Prize in the UK and “The Mirror Casket,” an artwork created by a group of artists and activists to support the #Blacklivesmatter’s protest in St. Louis, being acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. I met some of the artists and activists who created the piece (De Nichols, Mallory R. Nezam, Marcis Curtis from Citizen Carpentry, among others) and I asked them how they felt about it. Of course, the very first reaction was excitement, then fear of the work being instrumentalized, and finally the awareness of a possibility to use the power of an institution like the Smithsonian to actually maintain autonomy toward the project. Eventually, the work was sold for thousands of dollars after ten months of negotiation and the profit was put back into the activities of the movement. I mention this case because I believe that the transdisciplinarity of this action – like the majority of the projects we have in the archive – came from a sort of shift happening in education. Key to St. Louis’s art scene is the CAT program, a transdisciplinary institute that matches people with very different backgrounds under the same roof of the art. The most interesting fact is that during the programme students are really working in cooperation. The effect of it is that most of them stay in the city, perhaps start non-profits or other organizations and remain connected through a real network of solidarity. The initial investment they are putting in the city is paid back form the response of the city itself, in a way. The issue of being instrumentalized by the government is present, but due to the different system in the United States, is not perceived as a real danger. However, the relationship with art institutions is relevant and helpful in some cases. GM:

I agree. The collective Assemble went through a similar process with the Turner nomination. Finally, they decided to use the institution and 20


the visibility of the prize to gain incomes for the community of Granby. They transformed the Granby Workshop into a social enterprise, manufacturing handmade products used to refurbish the houses where every product can be bought online. The risk of instrumentalization is always there, but there is a fascinating question around many Arte Útil projects: who instrumentalizes who? In the Office of Useful Art, we had some interesting discussions about the relation with art institutions. There exists a huge gap between cultural institutions and local communities in Liverpool. In that sense, socially engaged art projects are bridging this gap clearly and building long-term processes of dialogue and mutual trust. In some conversations with the participants of the projects there was not a real confrontation or counter-movement against cultural institutions, but the feeling that they are invariably in a power position and they don’t offer enough support or agency to independent local initiatives dealing with culture and society. In this respect, the Arte Útil archive is a platform to build up relations with the institutions and provide a network with other projects and practitioners around the world. It is a tool in many different levels not just for the researcher, but also for the institutions, for the practitioners and the projects. Various Authors, “The Office of Useful Art”, 2015. Installation view. ‘The Office of Useful Art 2015: Localist Worker’, organized by Liverpool John Moores University’s Liverpool School of Art and Design, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and Tate Liverpool, 2015. Exhibition Research Centre, Liverpool (UK). Courtesy of The Office of Useful Art BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

21


In both cases, Broadcasting the archive has functioned as a device to investigate the local contexts and to understand the relationships between different actors working in the cities. The fact that many artists are using the same strategies in such different environments reinforced the idea that Arte Útil could be defined as a transnational movement. Having an archive, which can be considered as a hub, where people can finally understand that these practices happen on a global scale, could function as a sort of ‘shelter’ for the artists. Broadcasting the archive also served as a tool for analysing failures especially when an artist tried to replicate a successful project. Despite the fact that many case studies have been successfully implemented in different places, we need to take into account that every context has its own history, urgencies and practitioners. Sometimes it is simply wrong trying to push for a new implementation of the same successful case study in a different location from where it originated. The risk is to appear as a sort of franchise that pretends to activate something for the community, instead of with it. And it simply doesn’t work. Finally, the archive ended up as an important pedagogical resource for students and schools. Through the workshops we organized, we met some artists who are teaching in different art schools who decided to include the archive as an important resource for their classes, in Liverpool and in St. Louis as well.

22


Broadcasting the archive, workshop, The Luminary, St. Louis. Photo: Brea McAnally.

BtA The Luminary/St.Louis

23


#3

Baltan Laboratoriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201C; Hivos / Eindhoven

THE HIVE ARC

B R OAD CAS T ING


natural role of art Broadcasting the archive #3 17-26 October 2015 Baltan Laboratories, Eindhoven (NL) >I* was invited to display and activate the archive as part of the Age of Wonderland: balancing Green and Fair Food, an initiative by Hivos and Baltan Laboratories, developed for Dutch Design Week. The activity took place in Baltan Laboratories.< *Gemma Medina Estupiùån

local wisdom researching artistic practices


4


During Dutch Design Week, we made a selection of case studies related to food, water and their production, consumption and distribution, to be activated in the context of the project Age of Wonderland – Balancing Green and Fair Food. This programme, co-organised by Hivos and Baltan Laboratories, addressed the complex issues ingrained in our globalised food system by inviting six artists from across the world to exchange knowledge: Symbat Satybaldieva (Kyrgyzstan), Yoyo Yogasmana (Indonesia), Achmad Fadillah (Indonesia), Arie Syarifuddin (Indonesia), Ahadi Katera (Tanzania), Sari Dennise-Crater Invertido (Mexico). On October 23th, I mediated an open public conversation with the artists. Proposing some case studies akin to their own projects as a starting point, I encouraged them to use the archive as a catalyst, reflecting on their practice and their role as artist, initiator and user. Making use of the physical structure on which the case studies were on display, I asked each artist to look for concrete projects within the archive and bring the cards to the area of discussion. Doing so, they initiated a short research through the structure, until discovering those projects more directly related to their practices. Later, we opened the floor to participants fostering a thinktank, opening the debate to define some key questions for socially engaged art practices, the uses of art and the archive. During the conversation these artists went through the criteria, explaining their practice, reflecting about their projects through the lens of Arte Útil. The debate pointed out the relevance of the process of horizontal collaborative learning within socially engaged art practices, the risk of appropriation when the artists don’t become part of the communities, the importance of the local understanding and the current use or misuse of traditional knowledge without analysing its implicit value for our contemporary society.

BtA Baltan Laboratories– Hivos / Eindhoven

5


Instead of looking for a continuous process of innovation, their practices are based in the analysis of an existing local context, its heritage and the popular wisdom as the foundation of multiple re-interpretations of our reality in conjunction with the technological development. At this point, it is necessary to raise more questions than answers, and it is a natural role for art. It is important, especially within the neoliberal system. Some of their projects are creating prototypes or models of social innovation working in close collaboration with local farmers, communities, cultural institutions and companies. In this process, artists can bring questions that normally are not possible within a business environment, challenging companies and institutions, paving the way for social issues and urgencies.

6


artists can bring up questions that are normally not possible within other environments, challenging companies and institutions BtA Baltan Laboratoriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201C; Hivos / Eindhoven

7


List of case studies #Food #Sustainability #Water #Environment #Expert Culture No. 519 / 2014 - ongoing / Chicago, US and Middlesbrough UK Addams-Dewey Gymnasium Pablo Helguera No. 517 / 2008 - ongoing / Newham, East London What Will The Harvest Be? Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope No. 514 / 2011 / The Netherlands Handboek voor de Stadswildernis Doris Denekamp, Noah Venezia No. 052 / 2010 / Italy Rainwater Harvesting Marjetica PotrÄ? and Marguerite Kahrl No. 116 / 2003 - 2004 / Germany, Austria Free-Range Grain Critical Art Ensemble No. 476 / 2012 / The Netherlands A Parasitical Breed of Consumer Jeannette Petrik Nr. 469 / 2007 - ongoing / Ireland X-PO Deidre Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Mahony No. 043 / 1997 - ongoing / US The center of urban pedagogy (CUP) Damon Rich, Jason Anderson, AJ Blandford, Josh Breitbart, Stella Bugbee, Sarah Dadush, Althea Wasow, Rosten Woo No. 121 / 2004-2007 / US Temescal Amity Works Fieldfaring No. 433 / 2010 - ongoing / US Conflict Kitchen Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski

8


No. 436 / 2013- ongoing / Online Falling Fruit Caleb Phillips, Ethan Welty No. 426 / 2012 - ongoing / US Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary: Living Proposal Juan William Chavez No. 449 / 2012 / Egypt El Matam El Mish Masry Asunción Molinos Gordos No. 468 / 2004 - ongoing / US, Colombia, Denmark, Norway, Austria Public Fruit Maps David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young No. 482 / 2009 - ongoing / United Kingdom Culture Shop Grizedale Arts Nr. 086 / 2009 - ongoing / The Netherlands Freehouse Jeanne van Heeswijk No. 014 / 2009 / The Netherlands The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour Marjetica Potrč No. 419 / 2008 - ongoing / US, Spain, Germany Urban Space Station Angel Borrego Cubero and Natalie Jeremijenko No. 486 / 2011 - ongoing / United Kingdom Mobile Diary Unit Fernando Garcia-Dory No. 264 / 2006 - ongoing / Spain Bionic Sheep Fernando Garcia-Dory No. 487 / 2011 - ongoing / The Netherlands BeeCare Amsterdam Hans Kalliwoda No. 500 / 2010 / United Kingdom Harvest Festival Grizedale Arts BtA Baltan Laboratories– Hivos / Eindhoven

9


use or misuse of traditional knowledge

10


No. 499 / 2009 - 2011 / United Kingdom Apothecary Arboretum Dimitri Launder No. 432 / 2008 / Germany Peep Under the Elbe Critical Art Ensemble No. 164 / 2008 / United States Love apples Fallen Fruit, Islands LA No. 088 / 2003 / Germany Prototype For Self Employed Economic Unit (Street shop box) Apolonija Šušteršič No. 101 / 2003 - ongoing / Brazil Guaraná Power Superflex No. 370 / 2000 - ongoing / Argentina AA Project Ala Plastica No. 003 / 1997 - ongoing / Tanzania, Thailand, Cambodia, Zanzibar, Mexico. TOOLS/SUPERGAS Superflex No. 158 / 1992 - 1995 / US Flood Haha No. 011 / 1991 - ongoing / US, Germany Revival Field Mel Chin No. 124 / 1977 - ongoing / Israel Green House Avital Geva No. 007 / 1974 - 1980 / US Crossroads Community (The Farm) Bonnie Ora Sherk No. 260 / 1973 - ongoing / United Kingdom Center for Alternative Technology (CAT) Gerard Morgan-Grenville BtA Baltan Laboratories– Hivos / Eindhoven

11


#4

THE HIVE ARC

LJMU / Liverpool

B R OAD CAS T ING


common learning

local exchange

Broadcasting the archive #4 19-31 October 2015 Liverpool John Moores University (UK) > We were invited by Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) to be part of the Office of Useful Art (OUA). We participated in the design and setting up the office. In Liverpool, I* actively took part in the programme of the OUA over four days, engaging in informal conversations and Q&A sessions, a workshop, conducting interviews, visiting local projects and facilitating the use of the archive among students and academics. < * Gemma Medina Estupiùån ** An expanded conversation about this activity can be found in Broadcasting the archive#2

language of praxis


4


Office of Useful Art, inside view. Photo: Gemma Medina Estupiñán

The Office of Useful Art (OUA) is a collaboration between LJMU, Tate Liverpool and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) to expand the understanding about Arte Útil and socially engaged art practices as a bridge to connect institutions and community projects. The Office was located at the Exhibition Research Centre (ERC) at the John Lennon Art and Design School building. Recovering the local tradition and the history of the school as a former Mechanics Institute, the OUA included a range of tools to be used freely by the participants, like a 3D printer, serigraphy, laser-cutter, etc. As a first step, we worked in close collaboration with John Byrne, Lindsey Fryer, Quad Collective and MA students from Liverpool School of Art and Design (Fine Art, Fashion, Graphics and Illustration, Exhibition Studies and Urban Design) to set up the office with images and texts about Broadcasting the archive and the educational toolkit. BtA LJMU / Liverpool

5


After a series of conversations, we made a selection of 50 case studies related to some important issues within the context of Liverpool and the Office. These case studies focusing on gentrification, health care, food and Institutional re-purpose strategy were on display to spark off the conversations. It was complemented with the Arte Útil criteria and a world-map with the locations of the selected projects. Additionally, we collaborated with Quad Collective producing the first version of the educational toolkit. A notebook that was specifically co-designed to be a local tool of exchange and common learning, with the aim at being activated by institutions, constituencies and community projects in Liverpool initiating a dialogue about possibilities of future collaborations. The notebook provided a series of words /terms related with Arte Útil and socially engaged art practices inviting users to write their own definitions and /or adding new terms as a starting point of a discussion. Some of those terms were integrated in the debates held during the four days, they are highlighted in this report. The cooperation and exchange with Quad Collective was continuous and fundamental during my stay to generate a better understanding of Liverpool in just a few days. They shared their methodology and their experience, putting me in touch with some of the community projects and guiding me through the city. I participated in the Visible Award 2015 ceremony, a public jury in the form of a temporary parliament located at the grand Council Chamber of Liverpool Town Hall (organized in collaboration with Tate Liverpool). Finally, on Sunday, I joined the conference Community Arts? Learning from the Legacy of Artists’ Social Initiatives, part of the Liverpool Biennial.

6


BtA LJMU / Liverpool

7

theoretical expertise language vs. the language of the praxis


I started the activities at OUA with an open discussion around the idea of Broadcasting the archive and Arte Útil as a catalyst of change. I introduced Bta and our methodology during its initial stages, pointing out the potential of the Arte Útil archive as a key to ignite discussions about the relation between art, socially engaged practices, local communities, cultural institutions and the importance of bringing this conversation out of the museum and galleries. The participants – among them John Byrne, Mark Wright (FactLab), Lindsay Fryer (Tate Liverpool), and some PhD and Master students from the Art and Design School at LJMU– presented an overview of their own practices and experiences. Questions: How can socially engaged art practices be continuous within an institution? What is the role of the institution? How can we use the archive differently?

Open discussion: “Broadcasting the archive and Arte Útil as a catalyst of change”, OUA. Photo: John Byrne. 8


We all agreed that a main issue was the difficulty of keeping a long-term meaningful relationship between cultural institutions and communities, due mainly to the internal structure of the institutions and the conventional characteristics of the cultural establishment. It is traditionally tied to temporary funded-based projects that force institutions and organizations to justify the funding proving their outcomes in quantifiable terms so there is not enough room for prolonged processes. Although it is a general problem within the cultural production, it constitutes one important aspect within the local context of Liverpool. It is a city with a wide range of cultural and academic highlights, but a very low rate of participation in cultural activities. It was clear that socially engaged art projects are building a bridge between informed and non-informed audiences and a long-term sustainable change. If the institutions could reach these communities, it would create new spaces and possibilities of dialogue and negotiation. On October 29th, Emma Curd and I visited two projects commissioned by Liverpool Biennial: the glowing Skatepark Evertro (Koo Jeong A, x Wheelscape, 2015) in Everton Park and Homebaked (Jeanne van Heeswijk, 2010). The volunteer Sue Humphreys gave us an extensive introduction to Homebaked (case study no.115) a co-operative bakery and community land trust located just opposite Liverpoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s football club in the Anfield/Breckfield area. During the last decade, this neighbourhood fell into decline included in a demolition plan that was finally stalled. Jeanne van Heeswijk started the project working in collaboration with an architectsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; studio and a group of 40 young local people to co-design four new homes and rethink the future of the neighbourhood. They refurbished an empty property implementing an affordable housing scheme, bakery and kitchen. In 2012, the group of volunteers and participants set up Homebaked Community Land Trust to enable the collective community ownership of the properties and a co-operative business to reopen the bakery as a social enterprise. Her engagement with the project confirmed its achievement. BtA LJMU / Liverpool

9


sometimes, we don’t hear the voice of the users Sue Humphreys presenting Homebaked to students of the Master in Arts & Management from Manchester University. Photo: Gemma Medina Estupiñán. 10


One of our main concerns about Arte Útil and socially engaged practices is that sometimes, we don’t hear the voice of the real users. Sue Humphreys represented clearly this voice. In this case, the success of the project is based in the shared ownership of the space/business by the community. Afterwards we had an informal conversation with a group of about 25 students and two professors of the Master in Arts & Management from Manchester University. They were enthusiastic about the Homebaked project and they showed evident interest for the Arte Útil archive and its potential of academic analysis. During the afternoon I had the opportunity to interview Lewis Jones and Fran Edgerley from the collective Assemble whose project Granby Workshop (part of Granby Four Streets Regeneration Project) was at that moment nominated, and finally won the Turner Prize 2015. Their practice is based on reflecting about the way in which the cities are designed and inhabited (still in a very transitional, top-down way). They believe that at this moment of “austerity” that is cutting the public funding, it is relevant using the process of making buildings and places as a way of empowering people. It provides new opportunities, private funding or small-scale subsidies for building up, so everything is possible in a different manner rather than being defined by the market. A few days later I visited Granby Four Streets Regeneration Project. The area is historically linked to diverse black communities that never recovered from the racial riots of 1981, suffering a series of failed demolition/renovation plans. Subsequently, the depopulation of the neighbourhood left neglected houses behind. Since 2010, a group of inhabitants that refused to leave got into action to improve the neighbourhood, starting a negotiation about possibilities of renovation, inviting Assemble to work with them and forming a Community Land Trust, “securing assets from the local authority and taking the regeneration of their immediate surroundings into genuine community ownership”. (case study no. 532).

BtA LJMU / Liverpool

11


Michael Simon and Eleanor Lee, members of Granby community believe that the Arte Útil archive and the Asociación is a helpful resource for the practitioners as a platform for groups, individuals and advice. They expressed their interest in becoming members and to collaborate actively with future developments, hosting the Office of Useful Art in Liverpool. There, we discussed how the government has been unable to solve the problem of derelict housing in the old neighbourhoods with Victorian post-industrial revolution terraced houses. This generated forgotten and “forbidden” inner-city areas, which caused a process of either inclusion or exclusion of citizens due to lack of services, infrastructures and opportunities in relation with the city centre and other wealthier areas.

Eleanor Lee talking to Gemma Medina in Granby Four Streets Regeneration Project. Photo: Michael Simon.

12


In the afternoon we had an informal open conversation with Matteo Luchetti and Judith Wielander (curators of Visible Award), John Byrne, Elly Langlois from In-Situ, Lol Baker from FACTLab and students. We talked about how to define a socially engaged art prize and the importance of bringing up these practices into the art world. Finally, we had a Skype Q&A session with Tania Bruguera and about 20 students of LJMU. We discussed Arte Útil, institutions and possible ways of curating political art. On October 30th, I teamed up for a workshop organized by Quad about Arte Útil, the Visible Award and the languages of production, as part of the international programme Cooperative Arts Partnership Programme – Tate Liverpool (CAPP). We developed the activity in collaboration with Lindsay Fryer (Head of Learning at Tate Liverpool) together with the participants, a group of artists and art students who are part of the CAPP Programme at TATE Liverpool. During the morning, I mediated a discussion around Arte Útil, the criteria and the use of the archive. We analysed the shortlisted projects for the Visible Award through the criteria, proceeding to vote after lunch. Later we analysed the use of language within socially engaged practices. From the lexicon and classification proposed by Steven Wright in Towards a Lexicon of Usership, we reclassified a selection of words according to three categories defined in the book, such as concepts “to keep”, “to retire” and “forms of usership”. This exercise provoked a reflection about the words, their meaning and their current use. It lead the way to a conversation about the relation-confrontation between theoretical expertise language and the language of the praxis. We all agreed that, to avoid exclusion, we need to generate a common, shared language, principally based on the local, reformulating the language we use within the institutions in a process of collective learning, using the institutions as a resource and agency, facilitating an interpretative language. Questions: Why relocate Arte Útil inside institutions? How to effectively emancipate its usership? How can it be useful for artists and practitioners? BtA LJMU / Liverpool

13


CAPP Workshop with QUAD Collective. Photo: Gemma Medina Estupiñán.

On October 31st I was part of the public jury of Visible Award where I took the chance to activate Broadcasting the archive and the questionnaire included in the educational toolkit with some members of the public. Among them, I interviewed Justin O’Shaugnessy and two architecture students. They all confirmed the importance of giving room to socially engaged practices within the art institutions stressing the unquestionable value of the Arte Útil archive as a pedagogical tool. They were committed to use it in their Academic context as a tool for research. Also, some Skype interviews were planned with other members of the jury: Nato Thompson, Matteo Lucchetti & Judith Wielander and Beatrice Cantanzaro. Practitioners, artists, curators, designers and initiatives I encountered in Liverpool: John Byrne – Lindsey Fryer – QUAD collective – FACTLab – Mark Wright – Insitu – Digital Fabrication Laboratory – Justin O’Shaughnessy – Homebaked – Evertro – Assemble – Granby Four Streets Regeneration Project.

14


List of case studies #Gentrification #Health care #Food #Institutional repurpose Gentrification No. 513/ 2012 - Ongoing / Congo. Institute for Human Activities Delphine Hesters, Jacob Koster, Renzo Martens, Els Roelandt, Guido van Staveren van Dijk No. 443 / 2010 / Portugal A vacant house for students Wochenklausur No. 062 / 2006 - ongoing / US Dorchester Project Theaster Gates No. 407 / 2006 - ongoing / South Africa Violence prevention through urban upgrading (VPUU) AHT Group, Sun Development PTY No. 100 / 2005 - ongoing / Germany ExRotaprint Daniela Brahm, Les Schliesser No. 406 / 1996 - ongoing / Japan Koshirakura Landscape Workshop Shin Egashira No. 204 / 2011 - ongoing / Colombia Cultural Development Node no.1 “El Morro” Centro de Desarrollo Cultural de Moravia (CDCM), El puente_lab collective and STEALTH.unlimited No. 447 / 2011 - ongoing / Egypt Mosireen Mosireen No. 201 / 2004 - ongoing / The Netherlands NAC Foundation (New Ateliers Charlois) Kamiel Verschuren and Jaap Verheul No. 222 / 2002 - 2005 / Mexico 9 familias, Arquitectura de Emergencia Torolab No. 159 / 1995 - ongoing / Germany Park Fiction Cathy Skene, Christoph Schäfer, Hafenrandverein BtA LJMU / Liverpool

15


No. 018 / 1993 - ongoing / US Project Row Houses Rick Lowe, James Bettison, Bert Long, Jesse Lott, Floyd Newsum, Bert Samples, George Smith Gentrification/Food No. 014 / 2009 / The Netherlands The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour Marjetica Potrฤ and Wilde Westen No. 086 / 2009 - ongoing / The Netherlands Freehouse Jeanne van Heeswijk Food No. 403 / 1926 - ongoing / Russian Federation Pavlovsk Experimental Station Nikolai Vavilov No. 260 / 1973 - ongoing / United Kingdom Center for Alternative Technology (CAT) Gerard Morgan-Grenville No. 226 / 1988 / US Chicago Compost Shelter Dan Peterman No. 405 / 1992 - ongoing / US The Garden Project Cathrine Sneed No. 037 / 2003 / Albania Cezme Matei Bejenaru No. 101 / 2003 - ongoing / Brazil Guaranรก Power Superflex No. 468 / 2004 - ongoing / US, Colombia, Denmark, Norway, Austria. Public Fruit Maps. Fallen Fruit No. 486 / 2011 - ongoing / United Kingdom Mobile Dairy Unit Fernando Garcia-Dory

16


No. 433 / 2010 - ongoing / US Conflict Kitchen Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski No. 479 / 2011 - ongoing / US The Milk Truck Jill Miller No. 449 / 2012 / Egypt El Matam El Mish Masry Asunción Molinos Gordo No. 367 / 2000 - ongoing / India Water Pumps (Nalapar sites) Dialogue Institutional Repurpose No. 520 / 1998 - ongoing / Chicago, Copenhagen, Philadelphia Temporary Services No. 257 / 2005 - ongoing / US Furnishing Social Institutions No. 163 / 2003 / US The Patriot Library Finishing School, Christy Thomas No. 156 / 1995 - 1998 / 2001 - 2003 / Colombia Cultura Ciudadana Antanas Mockus No. 092 / 1999 / Slovenia Non Stop Video Club Apolonija Šušteršič No. 192 / 1972-1988 / Germany Free International University (FIU) for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Research Joseph Beuys No. 519 / 2014 - ongoing / Chicago, US and Middlesbrough UK Addams-Dewey Gymnasium Pablo Helguera No. 473 / 2012 - ongoing / Germany, The Netherlands, India, Belgium. New World Summit Jonas Staal BtA LJMU / Liverpool

17


No. 241 / 2012 - ongoing / United Kingdom The Silent University Ahmet Öğüt No. 089 / 1999 / Sweden Light Therapy Apolonija Šušteršič No. 472 / 2012 - ongoing / United Kingdom Honest Shop Grizedale Arts No. 239 / 2011 / Spain Offside Núria Güell Health Care No. 298 / 1995 - ongoing / The Netherlands Circuit II John Körmeling No. 529 / 2014 - 2016 / The Netherlands Two Hats Ron Krielen No. 523 / 2014 / Croatia Destigmatization Andreja Kulunčić No. 140 / 1993 - ongoing / Austria Medical Care for Homeless People WochenKlausur No. 158 / 1992 - 1995 / US Flood Haha No. 171 / 1991 - ongoing / United Kingdom Cardboard Citizens Adrian Jackson No. 296 / 2003 / Mexico, US Proyecto Meteoro Claudia Fernández No. 197 / 1999 - ongoing / The Netherlands Women on waves Rebecca Gompers

18


No. 485 / 2010 - ongoing / Germany 3D 87 Deutschlandbilder Boran Burchhardt, Ana Siler No. 483 / 2009 - ongoing / Online, Berlin. Freiräume Map Berlin Jaime Iglehart

BtA LJMU / Liverpool

19


#5

THE HIVE ARC

TEA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ULL / Santa Cruz

B R OAD CAS T ING


class outside the academia Broadcasting the archive #5 16 December 2015 Universidad de La Laguna – Tenerife Espacio de las Artes (SP) > As part of the Master of Art Theory, Art History and Cultural Management I* proposed the Arte Útil archive and Broadcasting the archive as examples of alternative ways for co-creation, curatorial and mediation practices dealing with local challenges. According to the criteria, we analysed a couple of local projects to be considered as case studies for the archive. < * Gemma Medina Estupiñán

co-creation

blurring the canon


Maisa Navarro Segura taking part in the discussion: new case studies for the archive, 16 December 2015, Tenerife Espacio de las Artes (TEA). Photo: Courtesy of TEA

4


In December 2015, I was invited by Maisa Navarro Segura (Professor at Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain) to participate in a programme of conferences as part of the Master of Art Theory, Art History and Cultural Management organized in collaboration with Tenerife Espacio de las Artes (TEA). The aim was to provide an overview beyond the academic context of different practices related to contemporary art inside and outside the galleries. Broadcasting the archive was part of a two-day programme. On one side, we presented Arte Útil and socially engaged art practices as a thriving movement outside the art institutions. On the other side, we attended a comprehensive lecture by Elena de la Poza (Doctor in Mathematics at Universitat Politècnica de València) about current trends in the international art market. In that context, we considered Arte Útil and Broadcasting the archive as examples of alternative forms of co-creation, authorship, spectatorship, usership, archiving, curatorial and mediation practices dealing with current local challenges. Following our focus, which was about the activation and emancipation of the usership of the archive, I organized a collective learning process using the digital archive. I proposed some local projects as new case studies to be analysed through the criteria. I split the students into groups encouraging the discussion. After this exercise, they were able to openly evaluate the projects and the criteria. Finally, we returned to a plenary group and shared our thoughts and conclusions. The session brought up relevant questions and intense discussions in relation to the criteria, their value, and what should be considered during the evaluation process of the projects.

BtA TEA – ULL / Santa Cruz

5


Should we redefine them? Or should we eradicate the initial requirement to the four fundamental criteria, such as No. 1, 4, 6 and 8? Reflecting on the context of Spain and Canary Islands, what would be a more meaningful role for Arte Útil: to propose new uses for art within society or to respond to current urgencies? Shouldn’t we acknowledge the 3rd criterion as the most fundamental criterion? What is the role of aesthetics in our daily life? How can we contemplate immaterial projects as pieces of art? Can we blur the canon of art history? What has changed from the 90’s Relational Aesthetics until now? Could we recognize activism, tactical media and acts of resistance as art? When we talk about Arte Útil, to which extent should art be useful? For whom would this kind of practice be useful?

After the discussion, we selected two projects to be added to the archive: Reflecto Cubo by Colectivo Enmedio-Eclectic Electric Collective and Barrios Orquestados by José Brito. At that point, it was clear that the Arte Útil archive opens up the possibility of rethinking the role of art and its implications within society. Arte Útil serves as a link between contemporary art, cultural institutions and art students, reflecting on their own position and behaviour within society. This archive is a flexible nomadic artefact of knowledge that serves as a catalyst on many different scales, beyond institutions and outside the academia, starting new forms of dialogue with the traditional structures of curatorial practice and the static possibilities that any conventional art institutions can offer.

6


BtA TEA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ULL / Santa Cruz

7

8) Re-establish aesthetics as a system of transformation

7) Pursue sustainability

6) Have practical, beneficial outcomes for its users

5) Replace authors with initiators and spectators with users

4) Operate on a 1:1 scale

3) Respond to current urgencies

2) Use artistic thinking to challenge the field within which it operates

1) Propose new uses for art within society

Arte Ă&#x161;til projects should:


Could we recognize acts of resistance, activism and tactical media as art? 8


List of case studies #Usership #Spectatorship #1:1 Scale # Authorship #Urgencies No. 532 / 1998 - ongoing / UK Granby Four Streets Regeneration Granby Residents Association, That blooming Green Triangle, Granby Street Market, Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust, Granby Somali Women’s Group, Steinbeck Studios, Assemble, A Sense of Place. Terrace 21 Co-op Nr. 044 / 1975 - ongoing / Venezuela El Sistema José Antonio Abreu Anselmi No. 535 / 2011 - ongoing / Spain Barrios Orquestados (Orchestrated neighbourhoods) José Brito No. 536 / 2012 - ongoing / Spain-Germany Reflecto-cube Eclectic Electric Collective, Colectivo Enmedio

BtA TEA – ULL / Santa Cruz

9


For whom would this kind of practice be useful?

10


José Brito, ‘Barrios Orquestados’, 2011 - ongoing. Gran Canaria, Spain. Photo: Courtesy of José Brito. BtA TEA – ULL / Santa Cruz

11


#6

THE HIVE ARC

MACBA / Barcelona

B R OAD CAS T ING


failure

gentrification

Broadcasting the archive #6 25-26 June 2016 Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (ES) > A 2-days programme realised in collaboration with Avalancha and The Umbrella Network* at MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona. Guests: Núria Güell, Rubén Santiago, Valentina Maini and BioBui(L)t-Txema. < This paper was originally published on Art & the Public Sphere, Volume 6, Issue 1&2, Intellect Books ed, 2017. Page: 103-116 * The Umbrella is a collaborative network of designers, creative collectives and curators who value social processes within their creative and curatorial work www.theumbrella.nl

public space

side effect


4

workshop table at MACBA. Photo: Alessandra Saviotti.


Broadcasting the archive in Barcelona: Analysing the side effects of Arte Útil projects INTERVIEW Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti Universidad de La Laguna and Asociación de Arte Útil

‘Broadcasting the archive’ is an independent project conceived and curated by us in collaboration with Van Abbemuseum, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) and the Asociación de Arte Útil. The idea arose from the urgency to spread the Arte Útil archive created as a principal source of reference and the core of ‘The Museum of Arte Útil’1 beyond the institution, which hosts the material. Being the initial archive researchers, we started thinking about how to make visible the potentiality that the archive – intended as a tool – has. The project is the first attempt to emancipate usership around the Arte Útil archive through a year touring activity programmes such as workshops, discussions and tours hosted by different organizations in various locations in Europe and United States. This interview will reflect on how ‘Broadcasting the archive’ could be considered as a new methodology to understand the porosity of Arte Útil – intended as a movement – outside and inside the institutional framework, with a particular reference to the programme we developed at Museo d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), in collaboration with the Avalancha collective, Núria Güell, Rubén Santiago and Valentina Maini. We invited them to revisit the conversations we had during the weekend for this journal.

1

The Museum of Arte Útil was a long-term research project initiated by Tania Bruguera in collaboration with the

Van Abbemuseum (NL), the Queens Museum (US) and Grizedale Arts (UK) focused on rethinking the role of art and art institutions in our contemporary society. Arte Útil roughly translates into English as ‘useful art’ but it goes further suggesting art as a tool or device. The aim was to present a survey of past and present projects that draw on artistic thinking to imagine, create and implement tactics that change how we act in society. The project comprised a research, an international open call, an online platform as the starting point of the association of Arte Útil practitioners, a series of public projects, a lab presentation at Queens Museum and culminated in an exhibition that transformed the old building of the Van Abbemuseum into the Museum of Arte Útil (December 2013–March 2014). More info available at http://www.museumarteutil. net.

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

5


City tour organised by Avalancha. Photo: Alessandra Saviotti.

6


Alessandra Saviotti (AS):

The programme we developed for ‘Broadcasting the archive #6 – Barcelona’ was the richest of all of those we presented during 2015–16, in terms of discussions and engagement with a specific local constituency. We activated a series of online conversations as well as Skype calls to prepare ourselves and create a common ground between our partners.2 I think that the strength of it laid precisely in the open collaboration we activated with the collective Avalancha3 who hosted us, being the mediator between us, the museum and the city. At the same time, we used the Arte Útil archive to look for meaningful case studies to include in the conversation. We focused on the role that the city of Barcelona played in the projects we chose, in particular considering the city’s public space and its inhabitants, both temporary and permanent. The first action towards the implementation of ‘Broadcasting the archive’ as a methodology started with the idea of the city tour. As the researchers who compiled the archive, we have a strong knowledge of every case study included in it, but we are not necessarily familiar with the geographical contexts and locations of every specific project. Thus, we involved Avalancha in creating the context utilizing a series of resources that they have been using in their practice as artists and researchers, combining art and film history with their personal experience as inhabitants of Barcelona. We invited them to curate a tour around the city and, as a result, they proposed to show a different aspect of the Raval, the neighbourhood where the MACBA museum is located. The Raval is one of the two oldest neighbourhoods of Barcelona and it has also been the theatre of many urban experimentations. Recently, it has been transformed from a very depressed and working class area, into one of Europe’s key touristic references. At the centre of the Raval lies the MACBA, the so-called ‘la perla del Raval’ (the Raval’s gem), which represents the cultural shift that the city’s government is striving for. For the first time, we decided to invite the artists to join the conversation with the twofold aim to use the archive as a possible medium for connecting practitioners and to analyse which particular tactics they had enacted to respond to certain demands. As Núria Güell, Rubén Santiago and Valentina Maini have worked in the city as well as in this particular neighbourhood, we invited them to talk about the difficulties, or perhaps rather, the side effects they experienced with each project. 2

The programme developed during ‘Broadcasting the archive’ is available at https://www.arte-util.org,

accessed 26 January 2017.

3

Avalancha is a collective founded by Elena Blesa Cábez, Cloe Masotta Lijtmaer, Víctor Ramírez Tur and Sergi

Casero in 2013 and based in Barcelona (Spain).

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

7


Our aim was to experiment around the idea of using ‘Broadcasting the archive #6’ as a project in transformation, a project in which we could adopt a practice methodology based on dialogue. The idea to use the project as a model to implement a pedagogical methodology around Arte Útil, came from Paulo Freire’s definition of ‘problem posing education’ (Freire 2005: 88). According to the method developed by the philosopher, we proposed to discuss with the artists their process of creating, striving for the emergence of critical intervention in reality. Considering that all of them used a dialogical approach in the process of generating their works, we wanted to explore the possibility of activating an ongoing activity which had a particular context as a starting point. Gemma Medina Estupiñán (GM):

The proposal of analysing the concepts of gentrification, and the use and abuse of public space as a common good from the perspective of the arts, gave us the opportunity to reckon, appreciate and experiment with the history of the city and the urban process from El Raval (Carandel 1974).4 I think that one of the main obstacles about operating with an online archive is that you miss part of the context and it can reduce your perspective. When we talk about Arte Útil, this intricacy is significant because we are analysing practices that are reacting to local dilemmas. It is fundamental to understand the circumstances around each project and learn from the local knowledge. As a methodology, ‘Broadcasting the archive’ intends to fill this gap. We are opening up the discussion and an exchange of case studies with other local practitioners and communities that could apply the Arte Útil criteria and their strategies. The tour led by Avalancha illustrated how this neighbourhood had been transformed throughout the last two centuries with many different interventions. It also showed how nowadays, Raval remains immersed in a process of constant transformation that often doesn’t involve its inhabitants. This aspect was completely intertwined with the selected projects. Within this context, art and communities have gained a fundamental role in the formation and deformation, irruption and disruption of the public space. It addressed another critical discussion and contradiction inherent of Arte Útil: the fact and the threat of instrumentalisation. In Barcelona, art has been used by the government as a tool for marketing, attraction, local and international promotion, as an instrument of sanitation or even as a touristic advertisement. 4

Avalancha ‘Carnavalized’ Chapter 3 of La guia secreta de Barcelona (The Secret Guide to Barcelona) (Carandel

1974), into a collection of critical stories that affected the district during the last 40 years. Using the guide as a series of visual, literary and artistic references, they reviewed the visual heritage related to the Raval, facing the changes of this iconical place.

8


Furthermore, we discussed art as a process that burst into the public space, changing its function. We examined examples where art was a tool for protest, giving visibility to local urgencies: art that denounced; art that questioned itself, challenging its limits as agglutinative or sparking political participation, collaborating in campaigns initiated by the citizens. We walked through the history from the rationalist plans of GATCPAC5 to the construction of MACBA; from the Keith Haring mural, ‘Together We Can Stop AIDS’ to a series of sculptures marking routes as pinpoints on a map and defining a new face of the city for the Olympics.6 Finally, we considered several present projects like ‘BioBui(L)t’ by Valentina Maini in collaboration with BaM and others; ‘Black on White’ and ‘Support Swedish Culture’ by Núria Güell; ‘How to transform a public toilet into a Spa’ by Rubén Santiago or the intervention MVRDV7 at Plaça dels Àngels in front of MACBA.8 Namely, the last project succeeded in activating an empty and unblemished space that hindered locals’ interaction just by drawing a series of sport grounds on the paving. Kids took over the space and after closing the exhibition, they maintained the sense of usership and ownership of the zone. Ultimately, this sense was assumed by the skaters that have colonized the square, opening up new dynamics of negotiation with the institution, giving MACBA a strong legitimation beyond the art world that is more than evident via social media, if you search for #macba on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I think ‘Broadcasting the archive’ as a methodology has been fundamental to understanding this context through collaboration. Activating the Arte Útil archive through a dialogue with the initiators of the projects allowed us to go a step further, addressing its effectiveness and its inspirational potential, and it enabled us to focus on the complexities of these practices in order to develop a pedagogical model to be implemented in the future. We wanted to consider the backstage, the actions and reactions of the participants; the use, misuse and abuse of/by the agents involved; the consequences or side effects of these projects, thinking about the failure or the coefficient of art (Wright 2013: 13).

5

GATCPAC (Grup d’arquitectes i Tecnics Catalans per al Progrés de l’Arquitectura Contemporània, 1928–39).

Together with Le Corbusier, they designed the Plan Macià, an attempt to clean, physically and morally, the effects of the industrialization in the Raval. Based on a functional distribution of the city, they proposed to demolish the whole area to build a new and modern Barcelona, erasing any trace of its history. The plan was truncated by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, see Ealham (2005). 6

Sculptures of Joan Miro, Fernando Botero, Roy Lichtenstein, Javier Mariscal, Frank Gehry and Claes Oldenbourg

among others were commissioned or acquired as part of a long-term Public Art plan for the 1992 Olympics. From Wikipedia: ‘Public art in Barcelona’, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_art_in_ Barcelona#1992_ Olympics, accessed 18 September 2016. 7

Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries.

8

http://www.macba. cat/en/exhibitions-fabrications/1/exhibition-archive/calendar, accessed 15 September 2016.

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

9


The intrinsic conditions of these practices also carry enormous risks. In Arte Útil, failure is the compost of success9 and we wanted to delve into these side effects, considering the learning process and whether some particular conditions existed that would enable us to identify concrete strategies to combat them.

Keith Haring, Todos juntos podemos parar el sida, 1989 (1996) (1998) (2014) Drawing, MACBA Collection. Barcelona City Council long-term. Photo: Alessandra Saviotti.

9

Motto of the Center for Alternative Technology (Arte Útil No. 260): failure is the compost of success’ type, because

that is why we did things: to see if they would work, because nobody anywhere was doing that and still do not. Pat Borer, co-founder, in Allan Shepherd (2015) or National Library of Wales, catalogue reference CAT/6/1.

10


AS:

Núria, we would like to hear about two projects in particular: ‘Support Swedish Culture’ (2014)10 and ‘Analysis on discourse’ (2016); the latter is the development of your previous project ‘Black on White’ (2013).11 I am personally intrigued with your capacity for re-purposing institutions which commission a work from you whilst, at the same time, using your privileged position as a white European woman artist to create projects that challenge the law operating in a condition of alegalism (Wallis 2015: 37). How and why did you start these projects? Núria Güell (NG):

In the last years, as you said, I have done some projects challenging the law through my own privileges as a European woman artist, assuming all the risks that implies. Some institutions wanted to show the result of these projects but they didn’t assume any risk. So, at a certain point I started thinking that institutions can get involved themselves in the projects in a deep way too, which includes using different privileges that art institutions typically enjoy. Generally, they are part of the national structure but, on the other hand, they are covered by the conceptual framework of art, which implies that they can instrumentalise the autonomy that art has gained in the last century. Part of my methodology is based on including institutions as participants and exploiting their privileges concerning the requirements of each project. Generally, it aims to ‘subvert’ some laws or question some moral rules. Sometimes, I say that I use the art as an umbrella. In other words, it means to use art institutions as a legal shield concerning legal structures or processes, where I activate a-legal actions as a semantic resource. The Project ‘Black on White’ started because of my anger against immigration laws in Europe. I began because I wanted to use the privileges of an art institution to subvert the immigration laws. Additionally, I considered the racism that is involved in these kind of processes, both the one executed in an institutional way and the one that arises, unintentionally or unconsciously, through the ‘good will’. I started a legal research for a project in the Netherlands and later, the MACBA invited me to work there, so I readjusted my research to the legal conditions in Spain. 10

The artist employed four Roma people, who usually begged on the streets, to raise funds professionally in the

public space, emulating what many NGOs do. In this case, the funds collected were supposed to support the Swedish culture. Through these temporary employment contracts, the Roma would acquire access to the Swedish social services. After several months of negotiations the commissioner of the project decided to cancel it because of external pressures coming from other cultural institutions who felt Roma would be instrumentalized. 11

The artist used the budget of 3000 € proposed for the project to create a cooperative providing services, lead by

migrants that functioned as a legal framework with which to subvert the Spanish Immigration law. The MACBA was their first client. http://www.nuriaguell.net/, accessed 27 January 2017.

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

11


I made a proposal to one representative of the collective SOM 300, who was one of the spokesperson of the group of migrants recently evicted from the ware-houses in Poble Nou. In the case of ‘Support Swedish Culture’, it began with an invitation from a public art institution in Sweden. I proposed two ideas, and they chose the one related to the gipsy phobia, which was a dominant discourse of the political representatives during the campaign for the last European elections in Sweden. I did some field research in Stockholm that included conversations with Roma people from Romania that survived begging in the streets, with workers from the Romanian Embassy, and Swedish citizens. Then it became a legal examination and the result was a project that also subverted the exclusion of the Roma people to have any right in the Swedish society while trying to question its prejudices. GM:

I am also intrigued by the fact that you totally embrace being an artist who creates 1:1 scale (Wright 2013: 3) projects, which imply a certain danger in terms of control. Your position as author, in fact, mutates into an initiator at the same time as your audience becomes user and co-producer of the project. The artist or initiator cannot control the whole process, but she or he has the responsibility to acknowledge it. Sometimes, in the long term, this shift hints at a failure or a side effect in the process, like it happened for the aforementioned projects. I’m interested in this inter-subjective space-time within a ‘social phenomenological framework’ (Knon 2002: 3) and how it affects the project. In concrete terms, how did the temporality of both projects determine their failure? NG:

I wouldn’t call it a failure. I think it has more to do with the fact that the results do not concur with the initial intentions. It is basically a discrepancy between the ideal – that which you had in mind when you created the projects – and the real – in other words, how it finally happens. In all my projects, I work with people and this means that I work with yearning subjects; therefore, you cannot foresee the result. The first project that you mentioned contained a mistake from the beginning – maybe even since its planning – and also because of the accomplices with whom I formed an alliance to achieve the plan. In this case, the temporality was necessary to bring to light this ‘mistake’. In the case of ‘Support Swedish Culture’, the time factor played a significant role due to the fact that the presidential elections brought a change in the government during the process and from my point of view it affected the political agenda of the institution that had invited me. 12


BtA MACBA / Barcelona

13

when the project took a controversial direction, I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have any legal power to do anything


AS:

Finally, we appreciate your openness in talking about the side effects and your honesty in analysing the process, which you add as an additional step to the work itself. As a matter of fact, you included both projects on your website12 and this opens up a possibility to create a second or even third chapter of the same work. Looking back, could you elaborate on what you would change? NG:

Well, the project at MACBA was incorrectly outlined from the beginning, because beyond creating a legal framework to subvert the immigration law, it created a tool of power that could have many applications, other than the ones that I could be responsible for. Because my intention was to avoid any power position within the collective, so when the project took a controversial direction, I didn’t have any legal power to do anything. Some of my mistakes were based on believing in the discourses without being aware that, even when they are akin in ideological terms, they can be just pure rhetoric. For example, I trusted one of the leaders of the movement whom the left wing had legitimized to be its spokesperson, without questioning and verifying if he was considered as legitimate within the community that he supposedly was representing. On the other project, ‘Support Swedish Culture’, I would not change anything. I would repeat everything as it was conceived. Maybe I should have been just more strategic in our last meeting with the director of the Institution who cancelled the project, as I let myself be carried away by emotion. And yes, I included the projects on my website because I think that although the results were not the expected ones, both projects can be very useful as a knowledge device, also it enables us to rethink this kind of practice. Habitually, the projects that are shown are the ‘happy ending projects’, but I felt important to show the so-called ‘failed’ projects as an exercise of honesty with the real and its complexities, purposefully avoiding idealistic discourses.

12 http://www.nuriaguell.net

14


Visiting BioBui(L)t-Txema. Photo: Alessandra Saviotti.

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

15


GM:

Rubén, your project ‘Turning a Public Toilet into a Spa’ (2007) operated both in the public space and the public sphere, tackling some urgent issues such as the lack of services for homeless people and the presence of drug addicts and dealers in the square. Gayatri Spivak considered it in a conference as a model of intertextuality in action. She defined it as an account of a failure explaining that even if was not done with such intention, the textuality of the installation ‘took on board the fact of the failure’ (Spivak 2007). Could you explain about this intertextuality? How was the project related to the context and how did it respond to past interventions of the Council in the area? Rubén Santiago (RS):

I moved to the neighbourhood Barri Gotic in 2007 at a time when a process of gentrification started to become visible. There, while I was artist-in-residence at Hangar13 I realized ‘Turning a Public Toilet into a Spa’ at George Orwell square, commonly known as Plaza del Tripi, due to the large amount of psychedelic drugs consumed by people around the square, and due to the nearby presence of a supervised injection site. The area was so dangerous that you would often hear tourists screaming after being robbed on the streets. I got very inspired by the neighbourhood. It was where I lived, so my perspective was coming from the inside. I felt part of the community and sometimes I experienced the same conditions. The first time I moved to Barcelona, I was very young and sometimes I slept on the street too. My idea was not to realize a patronizing or charity project, instead, I wanted to create something to which I could relate personally. Despite the fact that the Gothic was one of the most overpopulated neighbourhoods in Barcelona in 2007, the city council decided to install just one public toilet in the middle of the square. I decided to commit an act of vandalism, because I did not ask any authorization from the city council, and with the help of the inhabitants I turned the toilet into a spa. Basically, I hacked (Wright 2013: 32) the hydraulic system with the help of some friends and I installed a hydro-massage shower, I provided homemade body soap, shampoo, and towels that I would replace regularly. People who lived in the square and the owner of the bars helped me to control the spa, especially to avoid clashes with the police, but unfortunately the spa lasted just three days, because it was vandalized by some drunk tourists.

13

Hangar is a centre for art research and production located in Barcelona, offering support to artists during the

different steps of the art production process.

16


BtA MACBA / Barcelona

17

George Orwell square commonly known as Plaza del Tripi. Photo: Christine van Meegen.


I could have been considered a terrorist if the action had occurred outside the art context

18


AS:

Did the police ever come or try to stop you in the process? RS:

No, they never came and probably nothing would have happened anyway. It is pretty hilarious because George Orwell square was one of the first areas where the city council decided to install a CCTV system. Once again, the inhabitants of the area reacted to it, but they did it in a festive way, dancing in front of the cameras and so on. GM:

We could affirm that you had the extensive support of the community involved. It relates to another question embedded in these practices: the legitimation from inside and outside the art world. Since in this case, you did not have any institutional support. RS:

No. But I would like to comment on the term institution. Earlier with Núria, we were mentioning institutions in relationship to the use of funding. I personally think that art is an institution in itself. I will try to explain it better: if I declare myself as an artist, I can have a certain degree of privilege. At the same time, I might also hate the idea of being in a sort of power, but the meaning does not change. Therefore, if an artist is stopped by the police, he or she could always say: ‘I am making art’. Then the action acquires an institutional value. AS:

We can say that sometimes artists use art as an alibi. RS:

I was an artist-in-residence at Hangar at that time, so the idea of using art as an alibi amplifies here. Speaking of which, once I realized a project in Santiago de Compostela14 where I was able to alter the proportion of chemical components needed for water purification for domestic use. As a consequence of that, people in Santiago drank, cooked and took showers using modified water. I could do that precisely because of my status as an artist. I could have been considered a terrorist if the action had occurred outside the art context.

14

‘The Interpreted City: Rubén Santiago’, 1 October – 28 November 2010, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea,

Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

19


GM:

Valentina, you are among the initiators of ‘BioBui(L)t Xtema’ a project that was awarded with the Pla de Buits grant by the city council of Barcelona. In a manner, the project was officially recognized and promoted by a public institution outside the art world. Could you please underline the relationship and dissensions with the city council, the public space and the users of the project? Valentina Maini (VM):

‘BioBui(L)t Txema’ started as a collaboration between volunteers from the BaM association,15 that is still leading the project, and four other local associations.16 Our idea was to create a project where one could learn and experiment with natural, compostable and re-used materials. Our aim was to provide a free space in which to develop a programme of activities to build bridges among citizens, private companies and institutions. Our interest was to learn, teach and discuss self-building systems, providing new models to implement in the public space. We also wanted to connect with other institutions in the cities, specifically the University, the MACBA and the CCCB17 using the public space as an excuse and a motivation for doing it. After submitting the project to the open call promoted by the city council called Pla de Buits, our proposal was selected.18 Despite the fact that we did not have a budget available, from the very beginning the project gained a lot of attention, particularly from architects: a lot of them subscribed for the meetings, which were mostly about how to practically build the building to develop our programme. The relationship with the city council was good, until the property of the designated area for the realization of the project changed from the city council to MACBA. The museum had already planned to extend the building occupying the area we were using. On the one hand, this fact gave us a lot of freedom for experimentation, because we were aware that the time frame of the project was three years, but on the other hand, the city council used the project as a propaganda tool for the coming elections. They put a lot of pressure on us to be successful because they had awarded us. 15

BioArquitectura Mediterranea (BaM) is a non-profit association located in Barcelona that promotes the

development of sustainability and good practices in architecture and urbanism.

16

The other associations involved in the project are SiteSize, Olab, Lab’s and Meridiano 70 y medio.

17

CCCB is the acronym for Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona.

18

Pla de Buits Urbans amb Implicació Territorial i Social (Plan for empty plots with territorial and social

involvement). The grant is aimed to revitalize wastelands of the city of Barcelona, through public interest activities on a temporary basis, driven by public or private non-profit or NGO organizations, promoting the involvement of civil society in the regeneration and revitalisation of urban fabric. ‘BioBui(L)t Txema’ was granted in the first edition, in 2013, among 12 projects that got the use and management of an empty plot in the city until the end of 2016.

20


AS: In a sense, it was successful regarding numbers of participation and collaboration among citizens, tourists, and everyone who helped in the construction with some organizations engaged and private companies that donated materials. But still, there is a contradiction, misuse or instrumentalisation within the terms of use and involvement of the communities and the council. How would you define this dichotomy? VM:

It does not make sense to build a structure in the middle of Barcelona, where there are so many buildings to refurbish. We could have enrolled in a volunteer programme to just refurbish those empty buildings, for instance. With ‘BioBui(L)t’ we wanted to create a building we could use as a tool for testing another way for creating value by sharing our skills and creativity. We used the building as an excuse for learning from each other in order to create real goods that could be used to sustain the group which built the project and that could function as a model for other people. The fact that the project is embedded in the city is great for many reasons, in particular for its visibility, for the value of the land and for its location.19 The main problem I have now with the Pla de Buits grant is that it enforces a neo-liberal approach to the city: offering public land to an NGO or a non-profit organization is the same as privatizing the public space. The fact that no budget was offered to the project is the reason we won! Otherwise, the same old associations would have been the winners.20 GM:

Initiating an art project in the public space implies usership (Wright 2013: 66) from both the community that inhabits that space, but also from temporary inhabitants, like tourists for instance. In all of the four projects we analysed, some side effects occurred and the artists could not predict or avoid them. Going back to the project by Rubén, would you ever have guessed that tourists as temporary users of the public space, could destroy it? RS:

No, never. I hoped it would have lasted more. However, I think that the fact the project survived for three days was already a success, not a failure. At that time, I hoped the council would have taken it as a suggestion to install some more public toilets or to ameliorate the service. 19

‘BioBui(L)t Txema’ is located in Plaça de Angeles, between the MACBA and the Centre de Cultura Contemporania

de Barcelona (CCCB).

20

In December 2014, Valentina Maini decided to leave the project and she stepped down from her position as

president of BaM because of divergent ideas on how to shape the future of the activities related to ‘BioBui(L)t’.

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

21


Group discussion with Rubén Santiago, Avalancha Collective, The Umbrella Network, Gemma Medina and Núria Güell (Skype) at MACBA. Photo: Alessandra Saviotti.

22


It did not happen, and when the project was destroyed I just cleaned it up. And now it’s gone. The presence of public toilets can be interpreted as a signal denoting how the public space could potentially be problematic. Plus, I think that the process of gentrification works along these terms: the city council abandons a neighbourhood, which is already particularly difficult, and then it says: ‘Ok, there are several problems, hence let’s encourage the opening of some fancy cafés so poor people will go away’. The danger of creating art projects that provide solutions is always present. In the end, who is going to use and appropriate them? Thinking about the project now, I would be much more explicit about the intentions, I would try to be more didactic and explain my aim better.

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

23


CONCLUSION When we invited the artists to discuss their projects, we wanted to understand the reasons of what we thought was a failure and if we could foreclose a sort of manual for best practices to use and implement. To us, the fact that one user took over Núria’s project using it to exploit and threaten his collaborators, that tourists destroyed Rubén’s toilet just after three days, and that Valentina decided to leave the project after its implementation, underlines the fragility and the danger of being an initiator instead of an author. They all left the process open to other people’s agendas and this determined each project’s failure. As Barthes suggested, every project based on the activation of the public sphere implies the combination of multiple individual interpretations and decisions, those of the participants or even the institutions involved, and it can re-purpose itself (Barthes 1968: 1). Considering these projects, we wanted to face the complexities of these processes, stressing different ways of instrumentalisation and misuse. Furthermore, we were keen to understand how an artist deals with it and if they had some suggestion in order to avoid unfortunate situations like the above-mentioned. However, during the conversation, all of them explained how these events did not determine a failure, but rather a side effect or a misuse of the work. Precisely because the projects are included in the archive and they are representing what Arte Útil means, they imply that art only as a proposal is not enough (Aikens 2016: 316). Artists demonstrated to be ready to take all the risks to realize what Tania Bruguera defines as a feasible utopia (Bruguera 2016: 316). These side effects are an inherent part of what could be considered as the ‘art coefficient’ (Duchamp 1956: 139). We can affirm that all the projects described above operate in another territory, which is different from the one of the art. Güell, Santiago and Maini, operated in an extraterritorial reciprocity (Wright 2013: 29) leaving their own territory for another. They opened a space for other subjects to use, which became extremely desirable for practitioners belonging to other fields.

24


The tour of Avalancha Collective pointed out that the Raval itself exemplified throughout its history a continuous process of politically driven transformations and artistic interventions that affected, included and excluded communities and inhabitants. In many cases, the time factor played a significant role in redefining all these artistic interventions, where different subjects adapted and re-purposed them, building multiple layers of usership as a self-regulated mode of engagement and operation (Wright 2013: 68). It recovers the sense of use crumbling its bond with consuming (Burtenshaw 2013: 4). Taking the risks to situate their practice in the extraterritorial reciprocity, the artists opened the possibility for collaboration, transforming the idea of ‘space’ in ‘time’ of cooperation and intervention. As Stephen Wright affirms, they opened up the time of common, yet heterogeneous purpose, which is precisely the way in which Arte Útil operates, evidencing and assuming all the contradictions and risks implicated, and dealing with side effects to become more effective. We conclude that ‘Broadcasting the archive’ as a methodology can be considered as the first step for a pedagogical approach to Arte Útil. It is both a model and a tool that unfolds in a series of toolkits, manuals and dynamics that function as strategies of how to use and activate the archive, always in direct collaboration with local constituencies. Operating as Arte Útil, the project follows the conditions defined by Freire when he affirmed that ‘to teach is not to transfer knowledge, but to create the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge’ (Freire 1998: 30). In a broad sense, ‘Broadcasting the archive’ allowed us to rethink the role of the Asociación de Arte Útil and its future as a nomadic institution, a platform for users and a research environment. The project has proved the potentialities of collaboration to export and revisit the archive towards multiples contexts and perspectives, maintaining the primary lines that define Arte Útil as a movement, with all its porosity, but without dogmatising it. We have created a model that led us into an organic articulation of partnerships and collaborations that opened up a further step for the Asociación, focused in a pedagogical model. It will materialize in a series of exercises devoted to challenge the notion of Arte Útil using the idea of the curriculum as a starting point.

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

25


REFERENCES Aikens, N., Lange, T., Seijdel, J. and ten Thije, S. (eds) (2016), What’s the Use? Constellations of Art, History, and Knowledge: A Critical Reader, Amsterdam: Valiz. Avalancha (2016), ‘Capitol 3’, http://capitol3.tumblr.com. Accessed 15 September 2016. Barthes, R. (1968), ‘The death of the author’ (trans. Richard Howard), in R. Barthes, Image, Music, Text, New York: Hill and Wang, http://writing.upenn. edu/~taransky/Barthes.pdf. Accessed 15 September 2016. Benjamin, W. (1934), ‘The author as producer’, http://yaleunion.org/ wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Walter_Benjamin_-_The_Author_as_ Producer.pdf. Accessed 16 September 2016. Bishop, C. (2006), ‘The social turn: Collaboration and its discontents’, ArtForum 44, February, pp. 178–83. Bishop, C. (2012), Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, London: Verso. Burtenshaw, R. and Robinson, A. (2013), ‘David Harvey interview: The importance of postcapitalist imagination’, Red Pepper, 21 August, http:// www. redpepper.org.uk/david-harvey-interview-the-importance-of-postcapita-list-imagination/. Accessed 15 September 2016. Certeau, M. de (1984), The Practice of Everyday Life, Berkeley: University of California Press. Duchamp, M. (1956), ‘The creative act’, in M. Sanouillet and E. Peterson (eds), The Essential Writings of Marcel Duchamp, London: Thames and Hudson, pp. 138–40. Ealham, C. (2005), Class, Culture and Conflict in Barcelona, 1898–1937, New York: Routledge. Freire, P. (1998), Pedagogy of Freedom, Maryland: Rowman & Lifflefield Publishers. Freire, P. (2005), Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th Anniversary ed., New York: Continuum, http://www.msu.ac.zw/elearning/material/1335344125freire_ pedagogy_of_the_oppresed.pdf. Accessed 30 January 2017.

26


Kester, G. H. (2004), Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art, Berkeley: University of California Press. Kwon, M. (2002), One Place After Another: Site Specificity and Locational Identity, Cambridge: MIT Press, https://monoskop.org/images/d/d3/Kwon_Miwon_ One_Place_after_Another_Site-Specific_Art_and_Locational_Identity.pdf. Accessed 30 January 2017. Phillips, A. and Erdemci, F. (eds) (2012), Social Housing – Housing the Social: Art, Property, and Spatial Justice, Actors, Agents and Attendants, Amsterdam: Skor. Shepherd, A. (2015), Voices from a Disused Quarry: An Oral History of the Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales: CAT. Simon, N. (2010), ‘The participatory museum’, http://www.participatorymuseum.org/read/. Accessed 10 September 2016. Spivak, G. (2007), ‘Alter globalization and conceptual art’, Becoming Dutch Caucus, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 6 December, https://www.youtube. com/ watch?v=rgBxjukvpi4. Accessed 20 January 2017. Wallis, J. (2015), ‘Interview with Tania Bruguera’, Art & the Public Sphere, 4: 1&2, pp. 31–38. Wright, S. (2013), Toward a Lexicon of Usership, Eindhoven: Van Abbemuseum.

List of case studies #Public space #Instrumentalisation #Institutional #Re-purpose #Do-It-Yourself No. 108 / 2007 / Spain Turning a public toilet into a spa Rubén Santiago No. 527 / 2014-2017 / Spain BioBui(L)t Txema V. Maini (BaM), E. Silvestre, T. Solanas, J. Capell’s, 20 professionals and activists

BtA MACBA / Barcelona

27


#7

THE HIVE ARC

Arts Catalyst / London

B R OAD CAS T ING


authorship

appropriation Broadcasting the archive #7 29/01/2016 Arts Catalyst - London (UK) > As part as the exhibition ‘Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science’ I* was invited to take part in the Assembly on Useful Art, Science and Technology. Arts Catalyst activated the archive independently and their researchers submitted new entries. Based on that, we had a series of Skype conversations with curator Alec Steadman about our methodology of working with the archive analysing the Arte Útil criteria. < * Gemma Medina Estupiñán

situated social practice


Arts Catalyst Centre for Art, Science & Technology, Cromer Street, London.

4


Notes from the Field: Rearticulating the Role of Aesthetics in Relation to Functionality Author Alec Steadman The article explains the process behind the collaboration between Arts Catalyst and the Asociación de Arte Útil in the context of the exhibition ‘Notes from the Field. Commoning Practices in Art and Science’ (28 January 2016 - 19 March 2016) In January 2016 Arts Catalyst launched the first permanent fully public space in the organisations 21-year history:1 Arts Catalyst Centre for Art, Science & Technology. The ambition for the centre was to add to and extend, rather than replace, Arts Catalyst’s position as an international commissioning agency that produced work in varied local contexts as well as in partnership with museums and festivals across the globe. By providing a permanent London base the Centre could act as a site of encounter with this national and international activity, as well as being a generative space that would host research residencies and discursive programmes that might seed new large-scale ‘off-site’ projects. In addition to this reflective/generative position in relation to projects centered elsewhere, having a (semi)permanent base allowed, necessitated even, that we develop a long term relationship with the specific community living and working in our new neighborhood. The Centre is situated on Cromer Street in London, an area of predominantly council-owned social housing with an established community, many residents having lived on the street for several generations. This local community is made up of a mixed migrant population, hailing from a diverse range of backgrounds. As such English is only the third language spoken in the area after Bengali and Somalian. This immediate local context of the Centre is as far removed from the global art elite as possible in a city like London. However, this is a street on the fringes of the rapid and total gentrification project of ‘Kings Cross’. A vast regenerating machine just north of the Euston road that comes complete with its own brand new post code, the European HQ of Google, Central Saint Martins University, the Guardian newspaper and a range of other organizations, institutions and institutes that, together with the European transport links of St. Pancreas International, feed the ambition to re-brand the area as London’s ‘Knowledge Quarter’. 1

Arts Catalyst did previously occupy an office in Farringdon for a year that was also used as a public events space.

BtA Arts Catalyst / London

5


In this context, the existing communities of the area, many of who are on low incomes and have limited English language skills, are actively marginalized. This is not a development of the area with and for the local community, but a renovation of their neighborhood despite them for the benefit of others. It is into this complex territory that Arts Catalyst opened. Given this context, we understood the first project at the Centre would be key, not only in terms of putting a stake in the ground about kinds of practices we wanted to support and develop as an organisation, but also in trying to find points of understanding, a shared language and channels of communication with the local residents. As an organization that commissions artists to critically interrogate the intersections between art, science, technology and their relationship to society, Arts Catalyst has a long history of developing socially and politically critical work. One of the models of working Arts Catalyst has consistently employed is a form of situated social practice, developing long-term projects in specific localities that work directly with local constituents. This has included projects such as ‘Arctic Perspective Initiative’; a non-profit consortium led by artists Marko Peljhan and Matthew Biederman that sought to work with, learn from, and empower Inuit communities in the North and Arctic regions through open source technologies and applied education. This included developing hydroponic systems to grown vegetables (otherwise impossible in the arctic climate), the development of a network of climate sensors and the design and construction of lightweight, low impact yet highly insulated mobile living modules. Closer to home ‘East of Eden’ was a project developed with artist Lucy Stockton-Smith in which she worked with students and staff at Sandwich Technology School in Kent. Over 18 months the group collectively planned, designed, built and fully utilised two geodesic ecology domes in the grounds of the school. One used traditional permaculture methods of farming, the other the latest in agricultural technologies and intensities. The contrasting domes served as a starting point for a diverse range of classes and practical workshops led by Stockton-Smith as well as a range of invited practitioners, intervening across the schools curriculum in science, art, design and technology, geography, music and history.

6


East of Eden (2004 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2006). Lucy Stockton-Smith & Arts Catalyst with staff and students at Sandwich Technology School in Kent.

Arctic Perspective Initiative (2006 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ongoing). Marko Peljhan and Matthew Biederman working with Inuit communities of the North and Arctic Regions.

BtA Arts Catalyst / London

7


Understanding this form of practice as a key driver for the organisation moving forward, as well as providing a strategy to meaningfully engage with our local community we began to develop the first programme for the new Centre. Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art & Science was a multi-faceted project that attempted to rearticulate the role of aesthetics in relation to functionality, exploring the possibility for art to be utilized as a tool or device for social change with and for specific constituencies. Given the organizational context, there was a focus on projects that utilized science and technology to address socio-ecological issues. Notes from the Field began with a two-part exhibition at the Centre; the first part of which was a presentation of films, interviews and objects relating to Arts Catalystâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long-term social research project â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Wrecked on the Intertidal Zoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Wrecked was developed with the artist collective YoHa and invited Critical Art Ensemble, Andy Freeman and Fran Gallardo to initiate projects with communities on the Thames estuary over the course of three years.

Installation shot of the Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone presentation in Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art & Science. 8


It examined the complex social, industrial and environmental context of the intertidal zone of the Thames. It explored issues as varied as the effects of an international container-port on the ecology of the estuary and traditional industries (such as fishing and cockling), to the lasting contaminations of an old rubbish tip on the nature reserve that has since been overlaid onto the same site. Investigations and interventions included DIY citizen science workshops; eco-political foraging walks and dinners; guided tours with invited experts; as well as interviews, meetings and conversations with local residents. The process culminated in a foraging cookbook of eco-political recipes and an anti-monument that recorded the lost species of the area, both social and ecological, engraving them onto the wreck of an old boat taken off the estuary. This Graveyard of Lost Species has since found a home back on the mud, standing as a socially and collectively constructed epitaph to the stark effects of globalizing processes on complex social-ecological systems. Albeit a temporary one, lasting only until it is eroded by the changing waters of the estuary. The approach that unified this diverse set of activities was an attempt to convene different forms of knowledge including artistic, scientific and environmental, alongside the situated knowledge of the local constituents. Importantly, working across these different forms of knowledge was driven by an understanding that all were of an equal value, an equal weight, just of different shapes.

Tasting event as part of Talking Dirty: Tongue First Research, Fran Gallardoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contribution to Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone.

BtA Arts Catalyst / London

9


we understood the contradiction inherent in exhibiting this form of situated social practice in the galleries of an art centre 10


We wanted to contextualise and analyze these forms of artistic and institutional praxis that Arts Catalyst had been employing and supporting in relation to the growing international discourse on socially driven practice operating on a 1:1 scale. Earlier attempts to convene the varied and multiform set of operations that could be understood as social artistic practices, such as Creative Time’s LIVING AS FORM, had since been expanded and driven forward with an increased urgency. One of the most comprehensive attempts for us was (and still is) the artwork-as-para-institution Asociación de Arte Útil. As you probably know by now, given the context of this text on arteutil.org, Arte Útil is a concept developed by the artist Tania Bruguera, borrowing from Pablo España who first used the phrase during a workshop with Tania in Havana in 2003. The English translation of ‘Arte Útil’ would be ‘Useful Art’ but the name is purposefully kept in the artist’s native Spanish (Cuban) due to the additional complexity of meaning, which goes beyond ‘usefulness’ suggesting “art as a tool or device” (Arte Útil).2 The summation you will find in the about section of the website explains that “Arte Útil draws on artistic thinking to imagine, create and implement tactics that change how we act in society” (Arte Útil). At the core of the Arte Útil project is the Arte Útil archive, a gathering of hundreds of project case studies those involved understood as Arte Útil from across the globe, and spanning from 1827 until the present.

Installation shot of the Arte Útil archive presentation in Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art & Science. 2

Arte Útil (no date) Available at: http://www.arte-util.org (Accessed: 20 August 2016).

BtA Arts Catalyst / London

11


The second part of Notes from the Field began with a presentation of the Arte Útil archive, focusing on two specific categories that we felt had most affinity to the ongoing practice of the organisation, namely the categories of ‘Scientific’ and ‘Environment’. This was complicated by the inclusion of a selection of individual projects categorized in different section across the archive, that we felt fit within the framework of our investigations. We worked closely with Peter Zuiderwijk of CollectiveWorks.nl in relation to the spatialisation both of the archive and the presentation of ‘Wrecked’. The ambition was not only to achieve a unity of experience between both parts of the exhibition through scenography but also importantly to create an active and flexible space that could play host to a range of talks, workshops, events and community meetings throughout the 8 weeks of the exhibition. In addition, we wanted the display system developed to have a life beyond this first programme, to be a structure that could function in different arrangements for different purposes over the course of the next year at the Centre. The result was an adaptable structure designed by Daya Bakker and CollectiveWorks.nl with ConstructLab. Working outwards from the dimensions of the A3 cards of the Arte Útil archive, the structure used various configurations of this central dimension to create an allencompassing display system, working both inside and outside the centre to provide poster and signage displays, chairs, tables, lecterns and plinths for users of the exhibition.

Exterior view of Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art & Science. 12


This focus on functionality was key, as from that start we understood the contradiction inherent in exhibiting this form of situated social practice in the galleries of an art centre, even one that positioned itself more as an active research and community space. To be captured, categorized and displayed inside the sterile white cube(’ish) is, in many cases, to put these works back into the very context they are fleeing. I can imagine one of the archives protagonists as Michael Corleone, grimacing; “Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in” (The Godfather Part III, 1990)3. The historical inevitability of the white cube is something much situated social artistic practice actively fights against. This dominant form of display of our time is not a “transhistorical, transgeographical, or apolitical construct” (Suvakovic, quoted in Filipovic, 2005, p. 68)4. In fact its aesthetic ideal is a political construction formed around the myth of arts representational autonomy. Situated models of praxis like API and East of Eden provide alternatives to this globally hegemonic container, actively seeking new models for cultural practice to relate to its constituency based on the specificities of its own content and context. As such, to bring them back into the gallery, neatly contained on a single side of A3 card, is to remove everything that makes them vital and urgent, neutering their critical potential. With this in mind our approach to the archive was as a tool, rather than something to be exhibited in and of itself. We used the archive as a catalyst for initiating a broad range of activities, some of which would extend well beyond the duration of the presentation of the archive at the Centre. Our first method of activation of the archive was to actively propose new projects from our specialist area of art, science and technology. Each week we hosted an invited researcher in residence who would work in the archive room of the exhibition, researching and submitting new projects to be included in the archive. Researchers included Lisa Ma (Design activist), Ben Vickers (Initiator of unMonastery / Curator of Digital, Serpentine Galleries), Neal White (Artist / Office of Experiments), Andy Freeman (Artist) as well as members of the Arts Catalyst team. In an attempt to render the submission process visible in the space, proposed projects were immediately printed out onto blue paper and displayed on a specific wall in the archive room whilst they await approval (or rejection) form the Arte Útil committee. If accepted, projects were re-printed on white paper and added to the main Arte Útil section of the display, marked with a small blue sticker to identify then as projects that were added during Notes from the Field. If rejected, projects remained on the blue paper and were moved to a partially obscured section of the display system, to highlight their uncertain status in relation to Arte Útil. 3

Corleone, M. in The Godfather Part III (1990) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola [Film]. US: Paramount Pictures.

4

Filipovic, E. (2005) ‘The Global White Cube’, The Manifesta Decade: Debates on Contemporary Art Exhibitions

and Biennials in Post-Wall Europe, pp. 63–84.

BtA Arts Catalyst / London

13


Secondly, we developed a range of talks, workshops and events with initiators of projects already in the archive as well as by practitioners from Arts Catalyst’s network who we identified as having affinities to the framework of Arte Útil. This included an Assembly of Useful Art that brought together speakers from a range of positions across art, science and technology including artist / designer Veronica Ranner whose research explores the possibilities of Silk as a bio technology of the future, the Centre for Alternative Technology who have been exploring alternative environmentally viable ways of living since 1973, Dimitri Launder ‘The Artist Gardener’, Graham Harwood (YoHa) initiators of Wrecked! on the Intertidal Zone (see above), complexity scientist Dr Sylvia Nagl, Dr Jonathan Rosenhead ex-chair of the activist and advocacy group British Society for Social Responsibility, and Gemma Medina Estupiñán from the Arte Útil team who initiated the project Broadcasting the archive. This was followed by more than 10 events over the proceeding 8 weeks of the programme including talks and workshops with project initiators that explored the practicalities for visitors to implement new versions of the projects explored, within their own communities. Importantly, Notes from the Field began the process of initiating two new longer-term commissions. The first, invited Dimitri Launder (The Artist Gardener) to develop a commission that would build on his medicinal planting systems included within the Arte Útil archive. The resulting project will be ‘A Remedy for the City’, which will see Launder work with communities at The Calthorpe Project, a community garden local to Arts Catalysts Centre. As I type this project is on going and will unfold over the coming months, with the aim of delivering new practical tools for the garden’s community of users. Secondly, October 2016 will see a new commission by Robert Whitman on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, the first project of Experiments in Art & Technology (E.A.T.) who are included in the Arte Útil archive. Alongside this new evening of performance will be an exhibition, screenings and talks programme reflecting on the histories of E.A.T., transdisciplinary collaboration and its potential to develop new useful technologies. Imbedded within the commissioning process of this project is an experimental pedagogical programme, working with students from MFA Curating, Goldsmiths University of London, MRes Art: Exhibitions Studies, MA Art & Science and MA Performance Design & Practice all at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London.

14


Walking and Sensing in the City, a citizen science workshop led by Andy Freeman.

BtA Arts Catalyst / London

15


perhaps the Arte Ă&#x161;til body can learn from its contents

16


Nonetheless, the form of situated social practice that is the focus of the Arte Útil archive and ‘Notes from the Field’ are part of a broader shift in understanding away from the notion of art as an autonomous representational field. A shift that sees artists and cultural workers disregarding the limited Greenbergian notion of autonomy and its embodiment in the ideologically constructed space of the white cube to re-claim their relationship to the real, rearticulating the role of aesthetics in relation to functionality and moving its scale of operation up to 1:1. Art has become a varied and multiform experimental activity that works trans-disciplinarily, overlapping “transversally with the world through its flight into other disciplines, dispositifs, and regimes, with the purpose of addressing sociopolitical concerns” (Emmelhainz, 2016a)5. In turn it has moved from the modernist fight to maintain the myth of representational autonomy, to instead build autonomous spaces in which the rules of the neo-liberal capital machine can be re-directed to construct new social relationships and new forms of social reproduction. As such, if we were true to the logic of the forms of practice at the centre of this project, then there wouldn’t be an exhibition at all, nor would there be an archive of Arte Útil. Instead we would be putting all our efforts into initiating and supporting the development of new Útil projects out in the world. Something an organisation like Arts Catalyst has been and will continue to do. So why then is their re-presentation in a gallery still one of the dominant forms of relation between these practices and arts institutions? And why did we at Arts Catalyst do just that, knowing the contradiction between the logic of the work and such a presentation? I would argue it is because this way of working allows the host organisation to recognize and register critical social practice, whilst still fulfilling the production imperative of the contemporary art institution, necessitated by having a public facing building needing to be filled. It also works within the rigid time management regime of the contemporary institution, reproduced by a complex range of interlocutors from local politicians, to funders, to a visiting public, all prioritizing (demanding even) a continual stream of temporary fixed term exhibitions, over long-term processual projects, for which outcomes are unclear. Moreover, if we look at the positives of this model, one could argue such presentations give a valuable overview (albeit a partial and subjective one) of dispersed models of working, allowing visitors insight into a range of practices they would otherwise not have access to. It can also serve to provide a historical context for a specific form of practice and a public platform for the projects included, giving them (at times much needed) visibility. 5

Emmelhainz, I. (2016a) Geopolitics and contemporary art, part I: From representation’s ruin to salvaging the

real. Available at: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/geopolitics-and-contemporary-art-part-1-from-representa

tions-ruin-to-salvaging-the-real/ (Accessed: 20 August 2016).

BtA Arts Catalyst / London

17


Finally, when such projects bring initiators together they have the potential to convene new meetings allowing for the sharing of urgencies, experiences and difficulties faced on the ground, perhaps even sparking new trans-local collaborations.

Students from Goldsmiths Centre for Research Architecture use archive room to discuss the next project at Arts Catalyst, building on Arte Ă&#x161;til; Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process. 18


Accepting there is a value in forms of re-presentation such as the Arte Útil archive or Notes from the Field, despite the inherent contradictions embedded in any such initiative, we must look more critically at some of the specificities of how Arte Útil in particular is structured. The model of meta-artwork or artwork-as-para-institution employed raises two key issues. Firstly, there is a clash between the collective imperative of many Arte Útil projects and the dominant logic of individual authorship necessary for such an initiative to have currency within the broader institutions of art. The result is what we might call a ‘double economy of visibility’. Despite attempts by those leading the Arte Útil initiative to make explicit the collective nature of the projects development and even to attempt to position it as a movement, Arte Útil still primarily circulates as a project initiated by Tania Bruguera. As such the development and continued distribution of Arte Útil primarily serves to benefit Bruguera’s career and position as uberpolitical artist, as well as the positions of the institutions, curators and directors who present and activate the archive (I include myself and Arts Catalyst in this). Those involved in the nitty-gritty of situated daily struggle, the initiators of individual projects contained within the archive and their users, can be relatively obscured by the critical mass of hundreds of archive projects if not properly mediated. Secondly, there is the issue of the process by which projects are selected to be included in the archive; who decides what is and what’s not Arte Útil, and how. In the case of the Arte Útil the selection committee is made up of Bruguera herself alongside the directors and curators of the maintaining institutions. In an attempt to make their selection process as transparent as possible, the Arte Útil team collectively produced 8 criteria when the archive was first established (see the about page of www.arte-util.org), both in order to develop a collective understanding of what constituted Arte Útil and to be able to share that understanding with a public. However, those on the selection committee can of course only ever apply these criteria subjectively. The result being that certain projects are held more or less to account than others, on one or more of the painstakingly composed points, ultimately undermining the attempted objectivity such a list represents. In terms of the administrative nitty-gritty of the selection process, Notes from the Field challenged the existing model somewhat, particularly its pace. The act of materializing the selection process by displaying cards differently at the various stages of (non)approval necessitated a quick turn around on decisions across a relatively large number of new submissions every few weeks.

BtA Arts Catalyst / London

19


20


The Arte Útil team were extremely gracious in accommodating and supporting our endeavour, particularly Gemma Medina and Alessandra Saviotti who initiated a new online procedure for projects to be reviewed, without the board having to meet in person as had been the case to date. However, one issue this methodology raised was a lack of immediately available feedback as to why individual projects were or were not accepted. Previously, projects inclusion had been collectively discussed amongst the committee in person, meaning any decision-making process was verbalized and as such could be shared with those submitting. This new quicker system, meant projects were accepted or rejected without comment. This left us in a challenging situation with our researchers in residence who had given their time, effort and knowledge to propose new projects for the archive. All we could share regarding the outcome of their labor was a simple in or out, without any further reasoning. Following a conversation Gemma and Alessandra did go back over the submissions and worked hard to ensure we had feedback on each, but this was some time after the end of the project. Moreover, I would argue it is key these conversations around inclusion or exclusion in relation to the Arte Útil archive are not only shared with those who submitted a given project, by should be rendered visible though open and public debate. This leads us on to what I see as the larger conceptual / ethical issue about the process of inclusion and exclusion within the Arte Útil ‘movement’. The current methodology is constructed on exactly the same logic as has always been employed within a conventional institutional landscape. A system of hierarchy in which a network of elite international museum directors and artist(s) (albeit politically motivated and activist ones) make the decisions of what is Arte Útil and what’s not. This may seem only logical; as the founders and experts in the field, they must be best placed to make the call, right? And surely an entirely inclusive archive would quickly lose any cohesive position and therefore its radical potential? Here we must be careful as this is a position that has been used to keep power in the hands of those that have it since institutions began. For an initiative with radical political intent such as Arte Útil it is essential the form of any selection process live up to the collective ethical imperative of the projects it represents. If Arte Útil wants to fulfill its ambition to represent (or even be) a movement, it must open out decisions about what that movement is to all those it frames within it. I would argue all the initiators and all the users of the projects included within the archive should be included in the process setting the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion for their community. Exactly how this might be achieved is of course a complex problem with no easy solutions. But the occasion of a para-institution with a focus on such radical forms of practice must be seized to develop new radical institutional processes. BtA Arts Catalyst / London

21


Otherwise, the Arte Útil archive is in danger of repeating the same logics of power its contents are actively fighting against. To further interrogate this fundamental issue we can draw a useful comparison between the Arte Útil meta body and one of the main problems faced by many of the Arte Útil projects, namely the interrelated issues of duration, maintenance and sustainability. In order for a project to pursue sustainability and create a model that is viable over a longer-term (No. 7 of the Arte Útil criteria) it has to put in place reflexive systems that allow it to grow and adapt to our dynamic reality. Importantly, such a system must allow the project to operate and grow beyond / without its initiator(s), encouraging the possibility that its community of users and maintainers might carry it forward independently. Of course, there is no easy way to transition an Arte Útil project away from its initiator whilst ensuring the key political agendas and ethical urgencies remain. Once the initiator is no longer involved there will be inevitable conflicts, redirections, misunderstandings and misuse’s in relation to the projects founding imperatives. However, some of the projects within the archive such as Bumi Pemuda Rahayu (case study No. 542) are already in the process taking this delicate step. In so doing they are revealing that these conflicts, redirections, misunderstandings and misuse’s might create potentially productive failures. Moreover, even if handover leads a project to inhabit entirely different urgencies, forms and focuses than it’s initiator(s) intended, such a step is essential to fully realize the collective imperatives of many such projects. Here, perhaps the Arte Útil body can learn from its contents. A lesson, I would argue, it must take on board if it is to have any relevance over a longer term. Whilst there are undoubtedly an ever-increasing number of practitioners working to rearticulate the role of aesthetics in relation to functionality, accompanied by an ever-growing urgency for such forms of practice, the usefulness of the Arte Útil para-institution and what such an overarching body can deliver has to be continually renegotiated.

22


BtA Arts Catalyst / London

23


#8

Arte Ã&#x161;til Summit / Middlesbrough

THE HIVE ARC

B R OAD CAS T ING


local urgencies

sanitation

toolkit

Brexit

Broadcasting the archive #8 22â&#x20AC;&#x201C;25 July 2016 Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (UK) > As part of the first Arte Ă&#x161;til Summit 2016 Responding to Current Urgencies/Toolkit for an Institution, we led the 8th workshop of the series with the attendants of the conference. <

learning by doing


Summit participants preparing for the 'Positioning' exercise.

4


Art as inspiration for other ways of acting within society Arte Útil as methodology: we took inspiration from different exercises proposed by artists and activists such as Wochenklausur, Ultra-red, 15M movement and Annette Krauss. Later we updated them taking the context of the summit into account revisiting some of them. In particular, we decided to use the body as a form of alternative communication device in the context of the assembly, in order to define some current urgencies.

Exercises Intro: Stand up and breathe 3 times together (either with eyes closed or not) First exercise: Positioning by Ultra-red. Participants should position themselves on a line we previously traced on the floor. The line represents on a range from 0 to 10 how much do you agree with the following statement taken from the body of research around Arte Útil. Participants may motivate their choice. During the whole activity, they are free to change their position, if they like. Statement: “Art(e Útil) is involved in the life of people and it is to be expected that it becomes part of it”. Tania Bruguera in ARTE ACTUAL: Lecturas para un espectador inquieto. Ed. Yayo Aznar y Pablo Martinez. CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, November 2012, Madrid, Spain. • Introduction of some case studies related to space, housing rights, refugee crisis • Sample question: do you think it would be possible to re­ use these projects?

BtA Arte Útil Summit / Middlesbrough

5


Second exercise: Collectively Rocking Chairs by Annette Krauss. Students used a normally individualized practice, namely rocking chairs, and introduced it into a collective setting, bringing a group discussion literally out of balance. What does collaboration mean? • Divide the participants into groups, discuss the urgencies of the area using the questions included in the toolkit to find some urgencies and needs (for each group we need one person from Middlesbrough and/or the neighbourhood, someone from Arte Útil core team) • Groups discuss possible solutions and proposals together • Before the assembly, explain the feedback system taken from the 15M body language and Cards • Conclusion and proposals for future development in October

I agree

I disagree

You’re repeating

6

You’re talking too much

We can’t hear you


BtA Arte Ã&#x161;til Summit / Middlesbrough

7


Communal lunch at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

8


THE ARTE ÚTIL SUMMIT 2016: Responding to Current Urgencies – Toolkit for an Institution This open international summit brings together the leading protagonists and affiliates of the Arte Útil, to reflect upon the genealogy of the movement, its influence to date and to plot its future course, particularly in relation to current social issues and urgencies. This inaugural summit takes place in the shadow of the UK referendum decision to leave the European Union, the Spanish General Election, terrorist attacks in Istanbul and an emerging right-wing discourse that is infiltrating the traditional provinces of the left. Pertinently, the 2016 Summit takes place at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, an institution re-purposing itself according to the criteria and methodologies of useology and directly located in one of the most disenfranchised regions of the UK, noted for the strength of its support of an EU exit. Arte Útil (roughly translated into English as ‘useful art’ or, more accurately, art as a tool or device) is an ongoing body of work that draws on artistic thinking to imagine, create and implement tactics that can change how we act in society. Since its initiation by artist Tania Bruguera in 2011 the movement of Arte Útil has grown through an expanding network of allegiances, partnerships and platforms to provide a serious and real challenge to the orthodoxies of contemporary art. This includes presentations at the Queens Museum New York, The Museum of Arte Útil at the Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Tate Liverpool, Ikon Gallery Birmingham, Nova Gallery Zagreb Museum of Modern Art Warsaw and Arts Catalyst London, alongside an expanding constellation of projects and activities, all documented through the Arte Útil website. Arte Útil forms part of a significant moment that is witnessing a migration of art from its usual sustaining environments (museums, galleries, markets) into the cut and thrust of ordinary life. As this takes place and begins to influence a genuinely radical change in institutional practice, Arte Útil has been met with strong opposition, often with the accusation that its motivations are complicit in a neo-liberal agenda. This summit is called to redress the balance in this debate, to answer these criticisms and affirm the position of its agencies as a subversive challenge to a market-driven orthodoxy and insist on Arte Útil as a broad and diverse network of common authorship that transforms spectatorship and the conception of the artist.

BtA Arte Útil Summit / Middlesbrough

9


MIMA provides an ideal host for this first summit as it moves forward with a new institutional vision to re-purpose the museum according to the emerging concept of the Museum 3.0. This offers a live case study of a museum in transition, in a post-industrial region, facing some of the most acute social and economic challenges – a town built around a steelworks that closed for good last October, the UK’s highest concentration of migrants per head of population, some of the highest indices of deprivation and a traditional working-class community undergoing wholesale political change. The purpose of the Summit is to: • Expand the understanding of Arte Útil through presentations, workshops, lectures, conversations and Q&A sessions • Launch the next phase of Asociación de Arte Útil and website • Address the role the art sector in forming a new political agenda in dramatically changing times • Present the Arte Útil archive as a toolkit for constituencies • Build critical mass around Useology and the Post-Artistic • Create a Toolkit for Institutions, to apply the methodologies • Reflect upon what Arte Útil has done since its first iteration at the Queens Museum New York, as well as looking at the wider constellation of related activities • Analyse the history and lexicography of Arte Útil • Re-present the Asociación de Arte Útil and the archive as a resource that is activatable by constituencies and publics in specific local situation • Work with specific constituencies in Middlesbrough to apply the resources of the Summit to solve urgent issues in the town

10


a museum in transition A tour around the city was organised by MIMA. Alistair Hudson introduces Middleheaven, one of the north-eastâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest regeneration schemes which interests the city. BtA Arte Ă&#x161;til Summit / Middlesbrough

11


Programme Friday 22 July 17:00 Arrivals Introductions, a tour of MIMA and its current exhibitions, which respond to the current urgencies of migration and the closure of the steelworks. Followed by dinner and speech by Stephen Wright live from California. Saturday 23 July Toolkits for a Post-Artistic Society 10:00 – 12:30 Morning session Provocations and dialogues on how artists, institutions and constituencies can affect social change through artistic actions and tactics: Tania Bruguera, artist Annie Fletcher, Van Abbemuseum Kuba Szreder and Sebastian Cichocki, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw Stephanie Smith, Art Gallery of Ontario Núria Güell, artist Gemma Medina and Alessandra Saviotti, Broadcasting the archive 12:30 – 14:00 Communal lunch and presentation of The Coffee House project with New Linthorpe Pottery and members of the Eritrean community 14:00 – 17:00 Afternoon session Workshop: Toolkits for Institutions and Broadcasting the archive with Alessandra Saviotti and Gemma Medina followed by site visits in the Gresham area of Middlesbrough with the charity Investing in People and Cultures concerning housing and migration. 17:00 – 18:00 Break 18:00 Dinner and Reception

12


Sunday 24 July Toolkits for a Post-Democratic Society 10:30 – 12:30 Parliament of Arte Útil – discussion and debate around the role of artists and artistic competencies in taking on civic issues and political leadership: Charles Esche, Van Abbemuseum Tania Bruguera, artivist, INSTAR Kathrin Bohm and Rosalie Schweiker, artivists, EU:UK Michael Simon, Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust, Liverpool John Byrne, Liverpool John Moores University Emily Hesse and James Beighton, New Linthorpe Pottery 13:00 – 14:00 Lunch 14:00 – 17:00 Workshops in the Gresham district of Middlesbrough with new Linthorpe Pottery on rebuilding, activism ground up regeneration. Followed by plenary session. 18:30 Dinner Monday 25 July Meeting of the membership of the Asociación de Arte Útil and Departures Invited contributors include Stephen Wright, Tania Bruguera, Charles Esche, Núria Güell, Stephanie Smith, Kuba Szreder, Sebastian Cichocki, Gemma Medina, Alessandra Saviotti, John Byrne, Annie Fletcher, Investing in People and Cultures, New Linthorpe Pottery, Middlesbrough Borough Council, Assemble, Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust. The Arte Útil Summit is supported by the EU Culture Fund and Arts Council England.

BtA Arte Útil Summit / Middlesbrough

13


Inspired by the Eritrean coffee ceremony and the community’s demonstrated need for objects both functional and spiritual, New Linthorpe Pottery (Emily Hesse and James Beighton) initiated ‘The Coffee House’. Middlesbrough-based asylum seekers and refugees, along with other Teesside residents, made ceremonial vessels associated with the sharing of food and drink. Here James was making coffee after lunch.

14


List of case studies #Gentrification #Housing Rights #Usership #Extraterritorial Reciprocity No. 519 / 2014 - ongoing / Chicago, US and Middlesbrough UK Addams-Dewey Gymnasium Pablo Helguera No. 278 / 2012 - ongoing / Israel Home Improvement Service Wochenklausur No. 219 / 2012 / Spain Intervention #1 Nuria Guell No. 530 / 2015 - ongoing / The Netherlands Convention on the use of space Adelita Husni-Bey No. 532 / 1998 - ongoing / UK Granby Four Streets Regeneration Granby Residents Association, That blooming Green Triangle, Granby Street Market, Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust, Granby Somali Women's Group, Steinbeck Studios, Assemble, A Sense of Place. Terrace 21 Co-op No. 115 / 2010 - ongoing / United Kingdom Homebaked Jeanne van Heeswijk No. 201 / 2004 - ongoing / The NAC Foundation (New Ateliers Charlois) Kamiel Verschuren and Jaap Verheul A.O. No. 243 / 2009 - ongoing / The Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Germany, Romania, Denmark, United States, Finland, Hong Kong, Portugal, United Kingdom, Mexico, France, Italy, Brazil, Georgia, Canada, Armenia Human Hotel Wooloo No. 249 / 1995 / Austria Immigrant Labor Issues WochenKlausur No. 241 / 2012 - ongoing / United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Jordan The Silent University Ahmet Öğüt No. 485 / 2010 - ongoing / Germany 3D 87 Deutschlandbilder Boran Burchhardt, Ana Siler

BtA Arte Útil Summit / Middlesbrough

15


#9

THE HIVE ARC

MIMA / Middlesbrough

B R OAD CAS T ING


urban regeneration

lack of housing Broadcasting the archive #9 25-28 October 2016 Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (UK) > We spent one week in Middlesbrough hosted by Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, where we organised a week of conversations, workshops and site visits in collaboration with Emily Hesse from New Linthorpe. These events considered questions surrounding housing, womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rights, inequality, regeneration, and other topics of local urgency. <

Women as agents of change


4


During the residency, we worked with people who live in the city to explore the relevance of the Arte Útil archive in the context of Middlesbrough. The week began with a reflection on Arte Útil, how the project started and consequently evolved, the criteria and some key projects the museum was trying to re-activate in the city. Wednesday’s sessions examined themes associated with women’s rights, particularly what it is to be a woman in Middlesbrough. On Thursday, the focus shifted to housing, especially to issues related to accommodation for disenfranchised groups in Teesside. The week culminated on Friday with a trip to Liverpool to engage with participants in the Granby Four Streets project, an example of a creative response to issues in a community.

Broadcasting the archive #9, Edit-a-thon, MIMA, 2016 BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

5


Programme Tuesday 25 October 10.00am – 1.00pm: Arte Útil movement and criteria 2.00pm – 5.00pm: Using the Arte Útil archive Sound and video documents, interviews, guided tours through some projects, workshops and seminars are the materials and formats employed by Broadcasting the archive to mediate the Arte Útil archive. In this workshop, Broadcasting the archive discusses a selection of files from the Arte Útil archive following the various criteria that define Arte Útil. The session focuses on case studies that address gentrification processes and the use of public space as a ‘common good’.

Wednesday 26 October 10.00am – 1.00pm: Discussion: What is it like to be a woman in Middlesbrough? 2.00pm – 5.00pm: Edit-a-thon at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art: addressing the lack of Wikipedia pages on women in Middlesbrough Middlesbrough has recently been in the spotlight for being ‘the worst place to grow up as a girl’, as indicated by a study conducted by Plan International UK in conjunction with the University of Hull. The report issued by these organisations generated a lot of buzz on social media, where #girlwhogrewupinboro has taken over Twitter and Facebook, and many women who were born in the area have spoken up an argument with it. To respond to this topic, Broadcasting the archive promoted an Edit-a-thon to increase female representation on Wikipedia – tends to be low – focusing on women from Middlesbrough. Inspired by many Wikiprojects dedicated to ensuring coverage of women’s biographies, the Edit-a-thon created new entries dedicated to individuals from the area working in the fields of politics, art, sports and beyond. The Edit-a-thon took as a reference to the Organisers Kit produced by Art+Feminism available online (http://art.plusfeminism.org/edit-a-thons/organize/).

6


Thursday 27 October 10.00am – 1.00pm: Meeting with the North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Trust 2.00pm – 5.00pm: Housing symposium at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art Presentations by Sarah Charalambides, Sergio Vega Borrego, Helen O Malley and Henry Mulhall (Goldsmiths, University of London), Adelita Husni-Bey (artist), Owen Griffiths (artist) and Anna Santomauro (University of Wolverhampton). Gresham, an area in central Middlesbrough, hit the headlines early this year due to the particularities of the living quarters for asylum seekers sent there by Jomast on behalf of G4S and the Home Office. Yet Gresham has often been in the spotlight for its poor accommodation conditions, and housing has always been a key issue in Middlesbrough. Through presentations by artists and researchers, this symposium addresses themes around urban regeneration, politics and human rights that shed light on questions raised by Gresham and similar locations. Friday 28 October 08.00am – 20.00pm: Broadcasting the archive workshop at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art Learning from Granby Four Streets project

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

7


Adelita Husni-Bey, White Paper: The Law, 2015 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ongoing, Meeting at Espacio Antonio Grilo, Madrid (2016).Photo: Pablo Martinez. Courtesy of the artist and Laveronica arte contemporanea

8


Interview with Adelita Husni-Bey about the ‘Convention on the Use of Space’ Could you please explain your project?

The ‘Convention on the Use of Space’ is a legal document, in the sense that it borrows legal language and in the sense that it wants to be a contract between the entities that write it and everybody who signs it. Yet the Convention in itself is not actually a legal document because it is not recognized by any state, therefore it has been referred to in the past as a ‘para-legal’ document, which means that it is trying to create its own sense or form of legality through making a claim that is currently illegal. In its current form, the Convention is basically a collection of articles; this collection of articles speaks to the idea that occupation should be re-legalized, or made legal, or protected, depending on the country where the Convention has been taken to (and re-written in), and that urban space should not be speculated upon; essentially that everybody should have a right to space. The different claims that it makes, the different orientations and directions that it gets taken in, are the result of different legislations that the Convention has to tackle depending on the country the project is taking place in. This is because every single country in Europe, for example, has its own legal codes around housing, although we are all bound by the European Union and some of its protections, there is not one single house code that decides what happens to housing, or who gets a house, or how or why; everything still responds to national legislation. So, in that sense, the Convention needs to be a travelling document that goes to each different European state – for now – in order to rewrite itself according to local legislation. But the founding claim is that occupation should be protected, and that housing, the way it is right now – which is: the more money you have, the better off you are in terms of how much space you have, and what you can afford and where you can afford to live – gets dismantled. The Convention claims for the idea that urban space should be a common, like a kind of communal good. It is not the first document to do that: the Right to the City which was written in Brazil in 2004 tried to do that, and there have been movements before the Convention obviously, who have been working on housing rights for hundreds of years, the Diggers in 16th Century England, are an example of a Protestant radical land right movement. Many indigenous movements have been fighting the idea of an individual right to property for centuries, and significantly, one of the objectives of the IMF and WTO is to instate private property rights in ‘developing’ nations. The Convention is an addition is some ways, a writing exercise, a para-legal document, that sits with/ through/ by/ this history.

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

9


You have collaborated with lawyers, activists, migrants, academics, cultural workers, institutions, and so on. What is the role of the participants?

The project was first developed and presented at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons as the second chapter of the traveling exhibition White Paper (2013-2016). The Convention on the Use of Space was developed and written collaboratively through a series of public drafting meetings held in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Maastricht over a three-month period with committees composed of jurists, squatters, undocumented people and their advocates, academics, activists, and the general public. Each of the five meetings focused on a different aspect of the law, producing different articles and amendments. The meetings dealt with specific topics, such as “The Legal Form”, “Decriminalizing the Subject”, “Right of Use”, “Modes of Re-imagining”, and “Vacant Property as Theft”. The convention is written in the presence of a hired lawyer who remains a collaborator throughout the project. In exhibition format, it is a series of large-scale screen prints tracing the text’s evolution through hand-written notes and edits but it also exists online as a website and pdf. Through a review process and popular ratification in different European countries, the aim is to eventually produce a European Convention on the Use of Space, to be used both as a speculative exercise and legal instrument in the protection of space as part of the commons. More generally what happens after the initial invitation is a long term collaboration with an institution, such as we, or I, go and work with an art institution, such as Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons. Casco helped fundraise and organize the meetings, payments, and invitations to individual people organized for the convention, as well as research that on other spaces that have been thinking along these lines or people to involve that have been organizing around this question for a long time. The Convention tries to work side by side with movements and struggles that have been happening in that specific space, obviously only after having conversations and seeing if there is a mutual need for the conversation to occur. The reason why I try to get financing from art institutions to do it is that by working with an art institution, and not, let’s say, working through a not-for-profit organization, the agenda can shift slightly depending on each new country, and it can remain within the realm of something ‘illegal’, and it means that the agenda can always shift, depending on who takes part. Using the art context to push this project forward means that there can be different stakes, that those stakes can change, and that there, no real blueprint for what this document is and how it operates, other than the protection of occupied space.

10


Adelita Husni-Bey, White Paper: The Law, 2015-ongoing, Meeting at Espacio Antonio Grilo, Madrid (2016).Photo: Pablo Martinez. Courtesy of the artist and Laveronica arte contemporanea

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

11


In each iteration, the Convention is revised and adapted to diverse contexts, countries and regulations. How did you deal with these differences? Can we still find common strategies?

The Convention started in Holland in 2015, it was initially written and debated in English and then translated Dutch, it was then completely translated once again when it was brought to Spain in 2015. The Spanish translation was completely revised and in part entirely rewritten into a new document always through the same process: research, public meetings, a lawyer present, institutional funding and spaces that supported the project, –spaces that can be both institutional and squatted spaces, or spaces that are outside of the institutional formal networks. How is it different in every context? As I was saying, although, those considered European citizens have rights in common, there is no common rights framework for housing, housing protection, or housing benefits across the board. However there is an EU charter for human rights that does include a ‘right to house peace’, although does not include right to housing, so as European citizens we can use this article, article eight of the European Charter of Human Rights, which states, in short, that once we have a house we have the right to be in there peacefully and not be disturbed i.e. police intervention, unlawful eviction, noise and general disturbance etcetera. That has been used in the past as a way to stop evictions, especially those of squats, and I think there are a couple of cases where it has been held up and used in court successfully. In this sense the Convention sometimes leans on pre-existing legislation as leverage. For example, the Dutch version of the Convention actually uses article eight in the European Charter of Human Rights to validate its claims, as a way of saying ‘hey, we already have some of these protections! They’re just not enforced!’. Yet what about those not considered EU citizens, because they are denied status for example, or who are vulnerable in some way because of their identity, or because they have been swept aside by the housing/ economic crisis and the effects of neo-liberalisation? Alongside claims in the grey-area of legality which can be supported through existing legislation, the Convention also asks for things that are completely illegal, mostly made illegal recently, for example by the criminalization of squatting, which happened in the UK in 2012– just pre-olympics– and in 2010 in The Netherlands. Prior to that, occupation in Europe was highly tolerated, there were very few countries that had an actual criminal legislation around occupations, it was a civil matter, and I think it was one of the reasons why the Convention came into being right at that time, to fight the criminalization which had just come into being. Instead of paying a fine, now you risk jail time both in the Netherlands and in the UK. I was interested in producing a document that at least brought attention to the question, a document that could be a sort of writing exercise in legislation and legislation building.

12


hey, we already have some of these protections

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

13


At the very least it could try to produce a different imaginary around what and how law can be written, at best it could be supported into actual law, or used in court. Of course, it is complex to do this through an invented para-legal system, so outside the normative ways in which laws are written, which is obviously through parliament etc. Going back to the common strategy part of the question: the Convention can be a tool for common strategies in some ways because in the future the hope is that it will become a ‘European Convention on the Use of Space’. Once as many countries as possible have been involved in the writing of its different versions, in different languages, according to the different parts of legislation across Europe, the idea is to bring everybody together to write a final cross-language document. I have no idea what it is going to look like. To give you a taste: the Dutch version included a lot of references to Dutch legislation, the Spanish version includes almost none to Spanish legislation although it includes a brief history of the neoliberal overtaking of the Spanish housing market. The Spanish Convention is entirely written in the feminine form, which was a request of one of the groups that we worked with, Somateca, a queer rights collective. There are different collectives that comment, operate and help us and obviously this influence the Convention hugely. One of the last activations happened in London. What are the particular aspects of the Convention there?

The Convention has many different strategies that allow for it to be sort of active in periods where it is not being entirely rewritten as a project. Between the Dutch version and the Spanish version that is currently being finalized we did do a ‘read-in’ in London, at a space called Tenderpixel in Spring 2016. Although I did not bring the project to London in its entirety the ‘read-in’ allowed a group of people who came to the meeting and were interested in the project, to read and take notes in preparation for hopefully doing a UK version of the Convention itself. The ‘read-in’, as it is called, is a strategy to keep attention on the Convention alive to some degree. The readings are also very useful because they produce publics around what the Convention is and how it works. How can the Convention be used?

This is a question that I get a lot. The Convention works on many different levels; on the one hand, it is an experiment in writing. The Convention is used every time we have a meeting to sit down and activate conversations around how to write law, why the law is written, what the law does to the body, how law regulates. Of course, we do not have – and maybe we do not want – the capacity to enforce the Convention, which is a regulatory function of actual law. The State has the police, the military and all these organs to enforce its laws, while a para-legal systems such as this one, does not have a way to do that. Therefore the only ways in which it is useful is through voluntary implementation, and through implication in some ways. 14


Adelita Husni-Bey, White paper: The Law, 2015, 6 screen-printed posters with hand-written notes and corrections, 100 Ă&#x2014; 140 cm; each. Courtesy of the artist and Laveronica arte contemporanea

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

15


The more people implicated in it, either as part of the meetings, or as signees, or as people who support the Convention in one form or another, or use it in court as a supporting document, the more that happens, the more we have a capacity for movement building around what the Convention wants to say, do, and means. I think in terms of how it can be used: as a supportive document as I said, and as a document that becomes a sort of exercise in empowerment in some ways. Hopefully in different ways too, that we have not discovered yet. So far, what are the results or consequences of the project?

So far, not huge consequences. It is something that gets hotly debated during the meetings. But how can you test the functionality of a work of art? I remember in college, wondering about the perceived significance or urgency of something like Brecht’s theatre at the time of its existence and a fellow student responding: well, Brecht did not really know what kind of response he was going to get, specifically or precisely when he was writing ‘The Threepenny Opera’. Then obviously what Brecht wrote, had an immense impact on Western culture. Thus I feel like it is a hard question to answer. The Convention has a utility, it has a function, it has a capacity, and that capacity needs to be constantly activated and kept alive, so I don’t have a great answer to that just yet. What it has done so far is create some really interesting debates around legislation, it has been signed by hundreds of people, it is a poster that hangs in different housing cooperatives and different spaces across Europe. It has not had a humongous legal impact at the moment, although it has entered the imaginary of the many hundreds of people who took part in the meetings across the past few years. But then again, it is probably a ten to fifteen year project and we are in year two, so let’s give it some time. How do you see the future of the project?

It is a hugely taxing project both emotionally and work-wise because I have to spend maybe four months a year working on it, meeting with different activist groups, jurists and lawyers, working in depth on these kind of questions; and how people are specifically affected by these kinds of laws, so it is a huge amount of research. My initial plan was to do one version of the Convention a year and obviously, that seems to be incredibly difficult endeavour for one person. What I am hoping to do now is to write a protocol out and be able to let the project run a little bit more freely, a task that can be taken on by different groups, for example groups of students at a law school. There are also huge questions around the notion of Europe, especially now, but at least it designates a sort of functional border, a limit to the project’s reach. We live in a world of borders, they exist, different laws regulate bodies within them and to write a para-legal document we have to keep this in mind. I guess the idea is to keep writing versions of the Convention and eventually get to the European Convention, and at that point decide on the future implementation of the project: how do we implement it legally? I think that’s a really long process.

16


Adelita Husni-Bey (Italy-1985) lives in New York. She stages workshops and produces publications, radio broadcasts, archives and exhibitions focused on using collectivist and non-competitive pedagogical models within the framework of urban studies. In her 10 years practicing as both an artist and a pedagogue Adelita has worked with activists, architects, jurists, schoolchildren, spoken word poets, students and teachers on unpacking the complexity of collectivity. To make good what can never be made good: what we owe each other. Recent solo exhibitions include: Four Films curated by Lucia Pietroiusti for Serpentine Cinema, 2017; A Wave in the Well, Sursock Museum, Beirut, 2016; Movement Break, Kadist foundation, 2015; Playing Truant, Gasworks, 2012. She has participated in the Italian Pavillion, 57th Venice Biennale curated by Cecilia Alemani, 2017; The Eighth Climate, 11th Gwangju Biennale, 2016; Ennesima, Triennale di Milano, 2015; Undiscovered Worlds, the High Line, 2015; Really Useful Knowledge, Reina Sofia museum, 2014; Utopia for Sale?, MAXXI museum, 2014; She has held workshops and lectures at ESAD Grenoble, 2016, The New School, 2015, Sandberg Institute, 2015, Museo del 900, 2013, Temple University, 2013, Birkbeck University, 2011 amongst other spaces. She is a 2012 Whitney Independent Study Programme fellow and is currently working on a film interrogating secondary trauma with immigration lawyers in the U.S.

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

17


the worst place to grow up as a girl View of the countryside around Teesside Steelworks, 2016 18


Broadcasting the archive#9: Reflexions on participation A multilingual text written by Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti. Published on 'Participation', roots|routes, Year VII, no. 24, January April 2017. Available at https://www.roots-routes.org/

After closing the doors of The Museum of Arte Útil at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, we felt the need to expand the effect and affects that the archive had produced in those who used it during the exhibition. We wanted to keep alive all that energy, inspiration and empowerment, the sense of the call to action, and the momentum. For this reason, we conceived "Broadcasting the archive", as an independent project aiming at fostering and emancipating the use of the Arte Útil archive through a year touring programme of activities and actions. To do so, we invited different institutions and organisations in Europe and the United States of America to shape the program with us. We thought about activating an experimental and organic programme nurtured by collaborations and partnerships, that could extend and implement the potential of the archive and the Arte Útil practice –intended as a movement– as a tool. It became an excuse for us in order to expand the research around artivism and social practices. The primary methodological line was to use selected case studies to raise the discussion and to stimulate connections between practitioners, constituencies and institutions around local urgencies and fundamental issues. Each chapter was different, responding to a particular context, taking into account the organisation and participants. It evolved organically, developing a methodology with a dialogical approach based on collaboration. After finishing the programme, we would like to consider the participation in relation with Broadcasting the archive and Arte Útil. We would be keen to re-think the implications of participation: the idea of co-authorship as theorised by Roland Barthes; the scale of real engagement; and the reasons for involving local communities and practitioners in the space of the extraterritorial reciprocity1. It is fundamental to underline the importance of the circumstances and the ‘local knowledge’ in bolster any project, action or a general socially engaged practice. Artists and Arte Útil practitioners are opening the possibility for collaboration and participation, transforming the idea of ‘space’ in ‘time’ of cooperation and intervention. It is the time of common as Stephen Wright affirms. 1

Stephen Wright, Toward a Lexicon of Usership, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2013. pag 29

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

19


In this text, we will focus on our last activity, Broadcasting the archive #9, at MIMA (October 2016, Middlesbrough, UK). Enacting the definition and origin of the word participation as “partaking”, [(*from pars (genitive partis) “part” (see part (n.)) + -cip-, weak form of stem of capere “to take” (see capable )]2, bringing together our voices as different parts of a whole, individually and in our mother languages.

Broadcasting the archive #9, Discussion on the criteria, MIMA, 2016. Photo by Judy Hume, Teesside University

2

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=participation consultado el 15 Febrero 2017.

20


Alessandra Saviotti: Se con Arte Útil si intende una pratica artistica e curatoriale ibrida, che suggerisca di utilizzare l’arte come uno strumento e che metta in discussione non solo il ruolo dell’arte stessa all’interno della società, ma anche la responsabilità di curatrici e curatori, artiste e artisti, direttrici e direttori di musei e infine pubblico, significa che il nostro agire all’interno di queste categorie deve spostarsi dal piano della rappresentazione a quello dell’attivazione in scala 1:1. Tra il 2015 e il 2016, attraverso ‘Broadcasting the archive’ abbiamo realizzato nove attività diverse – in termini di contenuto e durata – viaggiando tra altrettante città diverse, e abbiamo dovuto fare i conti con i diversi ‘effetti collaterali’ che la nostra pratica implica. In primis, il supporto logistico ed economico limitato poiché operiamo all’interno di un’organizzazione – l’Asociación de Arte Útil – che potremmo definire una pataistituzione3), senza sede fisica e senza un cosiddetto statuto tradizionale. Abbiamo deciso di considerare questa flessibilità, anche geografica, poiché Gemma si trova nei Paesi Bassi e io negli Stati Uniti, come un punto di forza. Infatti, il fatto di rappresentare un’organizzazione nomade ha fatto sì che potessimo letteralmente infiltrarci nei contesti più disparati, allacciando alleanze e rapporti non solo con istituzioni più o meno tradizionali (musei, spazi no profit, scuole, ecc.), ma anche con gruppi di migranti e richiedenti asilo, collettivi di donne e altre pataistituzioni, per nominare alcuni esempi. Questo testo analizza l’esperienza di ‘Broadcasting the archive #9 – Middlesbrough’ in cui sono presenti alcuni elementi che hanno evidenziato l’efficacia del programma che ha visto un buon grado di partecipazione, nonostante la durata della residenza sia stata relativamente breve, solo una settimana. L’approccio con il Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) è avvenuto tramite il direttore, Alistair Hudson, che ricopre anche il ruolo di co-direttore dell’Asociación de Arte Útil insieme all’artista Tania Bruguera, e con il quale abbiamo condiviso un percorso progettuale finalizzato all’implementazione dei criteri4 che definiscono l’idea di Arte Útil all’interno delle istituzioni culturali. I cambiamenti che Hudson sta cercando di apportare all’interno dell’istituzione, tendono essenzialmente al passaggio da museo tradizionale a museo 3.05, come teorizzato da Stephen Wright.

3

La definizione di ‘pataistituzionalismo’ proviene dal neologismo ‘patafisica’, introdotto da Alfred Jarry nel

diciannovesimo secolo. Secondo le parole di Jarry, ‘La patafisica è una scienza che abbiamo inventato, perché

se ne sentiva generalmente il bisogno’. Con pataistituzionalismo si sottolinea quindi il potenziale organizzativo

come prodotto dell’immaginazione. Il primo congresso sul pataistituzionalismo si é svolto a Varsavia il 2 aprile

2016. http://artmuseum.pl/en/wydarzenia/pierwszy-warszawski-zlot-patainstytucjonalny link visitato il 16 Febbraio

2017. 4

I criteri di Arte Útil si possono consultare a questo link http://www.arte-util.org/about/colophon/ Link visitato il 17

febbraio 2017.

5

Per una definizione di Museo 3.0 consultare Stephen Wright, Toward a Lexicon of Usership, Van Abbemuseum,

Eindhoven, 2013. Pag. 39-41. http://www.arte-util.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Toward-a-lexicon-of-user

ship.pdf Link visitato il 16 Febbraio 2017.

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

21


Partendo dalla riorganizzazione spaziale delle gallerie, passando per gli uffici sino alla trasformazione del ristorante in un vero e proprio progetto artistico, il decimo anniversario del museo si celebrerà alla luce della Brexit6 in una delle regioni più povere del Regno Unito. Nonostante il contesto politico non favorevole a questo tipo di visione, il museo funge da propulsore per la diffusione di strategie artistiche legate all’Arte Útil, al di fuori dei suoi spazi e soprattutto indipendentemente dal mercato dell’arte, per entrare in contatto con la vita quotidiana dei cittadini. In preparazione alla residenza, sono stati attivati una serie di contatti con alcuni gruppi costituiti locali, sia legati al mondo dell’arte, che appartenenti alla società civile, in modo da attivare un processo di progettazione partecipata del programma. Dopo aver raccolto dati sulla scolarizzazione, sulla disoccupazione e sull’afflusso migratorio con l’aiuto in particolare di Emily Hesse, un’ artista locale coinvolta nell’attivazione di alcuni progetti in collaborazione con i migranti, ci siamo trovate di fronte una situazione complicata, tanto da domandarci se avesse ancora senso parlare di arte in un contesto in cui anche i servizi di base mancano. Ci siamo chieste quale potesse essere il valore della nostra presenza in quella circostanza e la risposta è arrivata dalla comunità stessa nel momento in cui ha identificato il museo come lo ‘spazio della possibilità’ di cui si è sempre sentita la mancanza non solo in ambito cittadino, ma anche in quello regionale. Essendo le archiviste che mantengono l’archivio di Arte Útil sin dai primi tempi del suo sviluppo, abbiamo una buona conoscenza degli artisti, dei progetti raccolti e delle strategie attivate, ma abbiamo alcune lacune sui contesti geografici e culturali all’interno dei quali questi progetti operano. Per questo motivo la struttura dell’intervento si basa sulla condivisione reciproca del sapere e delle esperienze attraverso un processo dialogico ispirato alla metodologia di Paulo Freire. La nostra ricerca parte con la codifica di una situazione attraverso l’ascolto e questo facilita l’interazione e lo sviluppo di una relazione sincera e di mutua fiducia, tra noi e le parti diverse che via via abbiamo incontrato nel corso del programma. Middlesbrough presenta una serie di questioni urgenti da approfondire, in particolare l’ingente flusso migratorio di richiedenti asilo provenienti soprattutto dall’Africa subsahariana, il basso grado di scolarizzazione specialmente tra le ragazze e la mancanza di alloggi a basso costo. Come pretesto per attivare la discussione, abbiamo utilizzato l’archivio come una sorta di manuale di buone pratiche che potessero essere impiegate nella regione, estendendo l’invito a chi questi progetti li ha concepiti, ovvero gli artisti e le artiste.

6

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2016/jun/23/eu-referendum-live-results-and-analysis Link

visitato il 16 Febbraio 2017.

22


Visit to Granby Four Streets Regeneration and Office of Arte Ã&#x161;til, Liverpool, 2016

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

23


Insieme a Biniam Araia, un attivista dell’associazione Investing in People and Culture7 e ad alcuni rappresentati del governo cittadino, abbiamo incontrato i fondatori di Granby Four Streets CLT8 a Liverpool, un progetto in cui la comunità locale ha attivato una serie di iniziative invitando direttamente il collettivo Assemble inizialmente ad abbellire il quartiere, e successivamente a ristrutturare gli appartamenti abbandonati per poi distribuirli a prezzi equi per evitare lo spopolamento del quartiere e la gentrificazione. In questo caso l’archivio ha funzionato come dispositivo e strumento di connessione tra due comunità diverse, ma con le stesse difficoltà, fornendo un esempio che potesse essere replicato anche a Middlesbrough. Lo stesso abbiamo fatto con Adelita Husni-Bey, invitandola a svelarci le tattiche e le strategie dietro alla Convention on the use of space9 e come un progetto artistico possa diventare un documento para-legale che possa essere potenzialmente utilizzato in caso di contenzioso. L’impianto metodologico che sta dietro ad Arte Útil può essere adattato di volta in volta; il fatto che l’archivio comprenda quasi 260 casi studio che possano fungere da modello, non preclude l’utilizzo di altrettanti modelli che non vi siano inclusi. Per come è concepito, Arte Útil è un movimento inclusivo sebbene ci siano otto criteri che ne definiscono il campo d’azione; ma proprio grazie alla presenza di regole ben precise può mantenere la sua radicalità. Leggendo alcuni articoli che descrivevano come la regione del Teesside Valley sia il luogo peggiore di tutta l’Inghilterra, in cui crescere per le ragazze10, abbiamo invitato un gruppo di donne nate, cresciute o residenti a Middlesbrough a discutere soprattutto l’aspetto legato alla bassa scolarizzazione delle bambine e adolescenti e la quasi totale mancanza su Wikipedia di figure importanti sia storiche che contemporanee provenienti dalla regione. Dopo una discussione sulla condizione delle donne in ambito soprattutto lavorativo, abbiamo deciso di attivare un edit-a-thon11 su Wikipedia in collaborazione con alcune studentesse dell’Università di Teesside, finalizzato a creare profili di donne importanti provenienti dalla regione in ogni campo del sapere. In questo caso, seppure l’edit-a-thon non faccia parte dei casi studio inclusi nell’archivio, la modalità di utilizzo del processo artistico è la stessa definita dai criteri di Arte Útil ed in particolare rispetto alla risposta concreta ad una questione locale.

7

Investing in People and Culture (ICP) è un’associazione di volontari che lavora per il sostegno dei richiedenti asilo

in condizioni psicologiche particolarmente problematiche legate soprattutto alla depressione. https://localgiving.

org/charity/ipc/ Link visitato il 17 febbraio 2017.

8

http://www.arte-util.org/projects/granby-four-streets-regeneration/

9

http://www.arte-util.org/projects/convention-on-the-use-of-space/ Link visitato il 17 febbraio 2017.

Link visitato il 17 febbraio 2017.

10 https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/12/girls-quality-of-life-shows-huge-variation-around-the-country-

report?CMP=fb_gu, link visitato il 17 febbraio 2017.

11

Per l’attivazione dell’edit-a-thon abbiamo preso come modello il manuale sviluppato da Art+Feminism http://www.

artandfeminism.org/, link visitato il 17 febbraio 2017.

24


Broadcasting the archive #9, Conversation with Adelita Husni-Bey, 2016. Photo by Miguel Amado

Per concludere, seppure Arte Útil rappresenti una chiamata all’azione per cambiare realmente una determinata condizione individuale o collettiva, non tralascia l’aspetto teorico legato alla domanda ricorrente: dove si trova l’arte in tutto questo? Utilizzare il processo artistico come strumento, fa sì che l’arte, possa trasformarsi, evolversi e sconfinare ad esempio nell’ambito della lotta per il diritto alla casa, per la costruzione del primo monumento dedicato ad una donna12 in una piccola città del nord dell’Inghilterra o per aiutare un gruppo di richiedenti asilo ad acquisire e a ristrutturare una serie di alloggi abbandonati. Non importa che tutti comprendano come venga utilizzata l’arte, l’importante è avere il tempo di costruire un rapporto di fiducia reciproca tra i vari collaboratori, e cogliere l’attimo preciso per passare all’azione in modo tale che possa avere un impatto reale nella quotidianità.

12 http://www.newsweek.com/statues-manchester-middlesbrough-emmeline-pankhurst-ellen-wilkinson victoria-540379

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

25


Gemma Medina Estupiñán: El archivo de Arte Útil cuenta con casi 260 proyectos y agrupa un conjunto de prácticas y estrategias artísticas que se materializan en el espacio de la vida cotidiana. El Arte Útil renuncia a la representación frente a la escala real, desarrollando el pensamiento artístico para implementar tácticas que permiten cambiar cómo actuamos en la sociedad, subvirtiendo las estructuras normativas, despertando la imaginación colectiva, tal y como lo teorizaba Cornelius Castoriadis, ejerciendo a la vez como un dispositivo de empoderamiento y de llamada a la acción13. El Arte Útil al igual que muchas otras prácticas sociales se basa en procesos colaborativos y de participación de forma intrínseca. Como investigadoras y co-curadoras del archivo, Alessandra y yo sentíamos la responsabilidad y la necesidad de accionarlo, de compartirlo, de darlo a conocer generando la oportunidad y el espacio para su uso e interpretación desde múltiples perspectivas. Se trataba de profundizar en la investigación acerca de estas prácticas y, a la vez, amplificar su capacidad como catalizador del pensamiento crítico reaccionando ante los dilemas contemporáneos y experimentando con su uso en contextos específicos. ¿Puede el arte efectivamente activar procesos de cambio desde acciones concretas? En ese caso, era necesario expandir el archivo más de allá de los límites marcados por la institución artística subrayando el carácter del Arte Útil como una práctica difícil de encasillar en términos tradicionales, que opera en campos diversos, combinando áreas y saberes multidisciplinares y que, a pesar de ello, reclama y merece un lenguaje y un espacio propio de legitimación sin tener que renunciar a su carácter para ser aceptado dentro de los dominios convencionales del Arte. En este contexto, la Asociación de Arte Útil se define como una plataforma de investigación-legitimación y ’Broadcasting the archive‘ es una herramienta metodológica que ha facilitado el uso y la apropiación del archivo como ‘arte-facto’ de acceso libre. La Asociación se ha convertido en una especie de parainstitución o patainstitución14, movilizada a través de la colaboración y el uso del archivo: una organización nómada que con ’Broadcasting the archive‘ nos ha permitido una flexibilidad y un tiempo de reacción imposible para una institución convencional, así como la libertad e independencia para establecer redes de colaboraciones con instituciones y organizaciones de escala y carácter diverso y, a la vez, provocar conexiones con proyectos artísticos y comunidades locales en cada contexto. 13

“…everything that humanity has thought for hundreds of thousands of years and which, in a sense, reflects the very

tendencies of the institution of society, could be shaken, if indeed it can be, only by a precise and detailed demonstration, case by case, of the limits of this thought and of the internal necessities, corresponding to its mode of being”. Castoriadis, Cornelius.1987. The Imaginary Institution of Society. MIT University Press (first ed. L’institution imaginaire de la société, © Éditions du Seuil, Paris, France, 1975). 14

La noción de “patainstitucionalismo” es un neologismo inspirado en el termino pataphysica, una disciplina

imaginaria descrita por Alfred Jarry en el siglo XIX, motivada por la creencia de que la naturaleza virtual o imaginaria de las cosas puede ser vivida y sentida como real y describe un tipo de organizaciones de carácter alternativo y/o independiente surgidas como reacción ante la inercia de las instituciones tradicionales en el área artitica, cientifica, económica y política cuyo potencial organizativo proviene de la imaginación.

26


Es precisamente en ese espacio de relaciones, en el que nos asomamos al tejido social de cada entorno, donde aparecen los elementos fundamentales en los procesos de participación implícitos en la mayoría de los proyectos de Arte Útil, pero que a veces resultan invisibles, especialmente si se afronta un estudio de estas prácticas directamente desde el material documental. Como metodología, ’Broadcasting the archive‘ propone transformar esta carencia en una oportunidad: visitar los proyectos, conocer a las personas que los activan cada día, valorar el conocimiento local, reconocer el barrio y sus urgencias desde la perspectiva de los agentes involucrados. En Octubre de 2016 con ’Broadcasting the archive#9‘ pasamos una semana en residencia en el MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art). Esta fue la última de las ediciones del programa y la que resultó más significativa y útil, logrando un grado considerable de implicación tanto de la institución como de los ciudadanos que participaron en las actividades. Por un lado, esto fue resultado de la evolución del proyecto que de forma orgánica se ha ido alineando con los criterios de Arte Útil15 generando procesos de co-creación. Y por otro lado, en esta ocasión la institución que nos invitaba está totalmente volcada en favorecer la reflexión y el diálogo sobre las urgencias locales abriendo espacios para el encuentro, el desencuentro y la participación. El MIMA está atravesando una transformación integral, ideológica y de programa bajo la dirección de Alistair Hudson quien, en línea con los cuestionamientos de la nueva institucionalidad, está logrando redefinir el rol del Museo de Arte en la sociedad y su papel dentro del contexto local. Hudson, que es co-presidente de la Asociación de Arte Útil junto a Tania Bruguera, ha transmutado el ideal moderno del cubo blanco en un museo 3.016 , un museo útil17 o lo que podríamos definir como una agencia para la acción local, lidiando con las contradicciones y controversias asumidas como parte del proceso. Y lo ha hecho manteniendo la relación con el ámbito internacional, implementando y legitimando el concepto de Arte Útil en su totalidad, abriendo la primera oficina permanente dedicada a usar y difundir el archivo. Con ello, el MIMA recupera el valor de uso del pensamiento artístico y de la institución museística como lema de la organización. Middlesbrough, es quizá el escenario perfecto para esa transformación. Situada al noreste de Inglaterra, fue uno de los motores de la revolución industrial con una potente producción metalúrgica y, posteriormente, petroquímica. La ciudad resulta un paradigma del fracaso del modelo neoliberal, con una población trabajadora que ya estaba marcada por las difíciles condiciones de vida durante la época más boyante de su economía y que ahora, tras décadas de progresivo cierre de las fábricas se debate ante la falta de expectativas de futuro, con una situación de desempleo crónico que alcanza en algunos casos hasta tres generaciones de una misma familia18. 15

http://www.arte-util.org/about/colophon/ consultado el 17 Febrero 2017.

16

http://www.visitmima.com consultado el 10 Febrero 2017.

17

Stephen Wright, Lexico, 39-40.

18

ttps://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/oct/23/britain-not-working-unemployment-middlesbrough consultado

el 16 Febrero 2017.

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

27


A ello se suma el hecho de que recibe el mayor número de refugiados por habitante de todo el país, alcanzando en los barrios más deprimidos un ratio de 1 solicitante de asilo por cada 17 habitantes permanentes19. Este flujo de personas llegadas desde diversas zonas en conflicto del África subsahariana y Oriente Próximo se encuentran en un limbo legal sin posibilidad de trabajar o interactuar con la sociedad que los acoge, están en un permanente estado temporal que a veces se prolonga por varios años, hasta que consiguen el estatus de refugiado y abandonan la ciudad. Muchas de las discusiones del programa se concentraron en torno al concepto de Arte Útil y su relación con el contexto local: la crisis de los refugiados, la escasez de viviendas de calidad, la gentrificación, la utilidad o inutilidad del museo y del artista en la maquinaria que rodea la producción de proyectos sociales. ¿Cómo se podría usar el archivo ante estas problemáticas? ¿Cómo acercar el pensamiento artístico y las prácticas de arte útil a estas comunidades? ¿Cómo lograr un nivel de participación que involucre a los colectivos afectados o a sus agentes?

The Useful museum, MIMA, 2016 19 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/09/middlesbrough-mayor-dave-budd-fairer-dispersion

asylum-seekers consultado el 16 Febrero 2017.

28


Por una parte resulta necesario mantener la radicalidad del concepto de Arte Útil, pero sin dogmatizar este tipo de prácticas, ya que su esencia es inclusiva y flexible, lo que permite transitar un espacio indefinido entre la obra de arte y el activismo, entre la práctica artística y curatorial, entre ser espectador y coproductor, entre alterar el imaginario social, crear nuevas narrativas y aplicar las estrategias artísticas. Pero es necesario subrayar que en la mayoría de los proyectos de Arte Útil: la figura del autor se difumina y, tal y como lo teoriza Barthes20, también en ’Broadcasting the archive#9‘ nuestro papel fue iniciar o facilitar los procesos, renunciando a la condición de autor para establecer una co-creación en la que el proyecto se transformó con la aportación de sus co-autores.

North Ormesby Neighbourhood, Middlesbrough, 2016

20

Roland Barthers, La muerte del autor, 1968.

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

29


Teesside Steelworks, 2016

30


A nivel práctico, el espacio de participación generado con Broadcasting the archive nos permitió visibilizar uno de los factores fundamentales en la participación: la importancia de los intereses de los agentes locales involucrados en cada actividad. Durante los meses de investigación previa a la residencia establecimos un proceso de diálogo con Miguel Amado (curador en MIMA) y Emily Hesse, una artista local que junto a James Beighton desarrolla el proyecto ’New Linthorpe‘21. Ellos fueron co-autores del programa y en estas conversaciones se fueron desgranando propuestas sobre temas y urgencias locales, así como diversas posibilidades de uso del archivo. A nivel teórico, este tiempo de participación nos ayudó a comprender algunas características de la praxis y la complejidad de los procesos en Arte Útil permitiéndonos profundizar en valores fundamentales que están vinculados al contexto. No solo nos interesaba facilitar la activación del dispositivo sino que queríamos asegurar la sostenibilidad de los procesos, estableciendo redes que potenciarán colaboraciones futuras entre los distintos agentes implicados. Con ello seleccionamos una serie de proyectos del archivo que podían abrir líneas de debate o aportar estrategias de acción e invitamos a Adelita Husni-Bey22 a presentar su proyecto “Convención del Uso del espacio” y compartir su experiencia acentuando la posibilidad de transformar las estructuras legales para adaptarlas a las necesidades de la población, creando desde el arte un documento legal aplicable en jurisprudencia. Dos semanas antes de comenzar la residencia, se publicaba un artículo presentando un ranking nacional sobre calidad de vida que afirmaba que Middlesbrough era la peor ciudad para ser mujer en Inglaterra23. Emily Hesse nos contó la ola de reacciones desatada en las redes sociales y la necesidad de cambiar las narrativas negativas asocidas durante décadas a la ciudad. Durante la investigación descubrimos que ya existía una campaña coordinada por la periodista Emma Cheswort24 para erigir la primera estatua femenina en la ciudad. Decidimos entonces conjuntamente responder a esta urgencia organizando una jornada de discusión sobre lo que caracterizaba al hecho de ser mujer en Middlesbrough y activar un Edit-a-thon de Wikipedia añadiendo entradas sobre mujeres destacadas en la historia de la ciudad. Se trataba de ir más allá del archivo, para operar dentro del Arte Útil activando sus criterios 3, 4, 5 y 7 y provocar un cambio en la narrativa y el imaginario colectivo a través de la acción: generar una revisión de la historia de la ciudad basada en el valor de las aportaciones femeninas. Para ello hicimos una llamada abierta a la participación e invitamos a Emma Cheswort y a las estudiantes de informática de la Universidad de Middlesbrough. El resultado fue un día de conversaciones y debate en un grupo que integraba diferentes generaciones de mujeres con perfiles muy diversos, incluyendo representantes del ayuntamiento, de grupos activistas y organizaciones sindicales. 21

http://www.arte-util.org/projects/new-linthorpe-2/ consultado el 16 Febrero 2017.

22

http://www.arte-util.org/projects/convention-on-the-use-of-space/consultado el 15 Febrero 2017.

23 https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/12/girls-quality-of-life-shows-huge-variation-around-the-country-

report?CMP=fb_gu Consultado 16 Febrero 2017.

24

http://www.eighthplinth.com consultado el 16 Febrero 2017.

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

31


Broadcasting the archive #9, Discussion on Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like to be a woman in Middlesbrough?, MIMA, 2016. Photo by Miguel Amado

32


Además de su efectividad en términos de la calidad de la participación, la actividad y la campaña recibieron una atención especial de los medios regionales, incluyendo una entrevista en directo con Emily Hesse en BBC-Tees radio25. Pero lo más significativo es que marcó el comienzo de un grupo de trabajo que pretende continuar con esta actividad en el museo. Finalmente, durante la residencia intentamos conectar el programa desarrollado en el MIMA con el gobierno local junto a proyectos y organizaciones sociales activas que pudiesen beneficiarse del uso del archivo, posibilitando un espacio de extraterritorialidad recíproca26, en el que el arte sale de su territorio para moverse en otras esferas de colaboración, por lo que contamos con la participación de Biniam Araia miembro de la organización Investing in People and Culture (IPC)27 que junto a Hesse fueron los agentes más involucrados en el programa. Ambos viajaron con nosotras a Liverpool junto a parte del equipo del MIMA y de la corporación local. Allí visitamos la recién fundada Oficina permanente de Arte Útil en ’Granby Four Streets‘28 un proyecto que comenzó a tomar forma durante las actividades realizadas en ’Broadcasting the archive‘#429. En Granby conversamos con artistas y miembros de la comunidad sobre la funcionalidad de la Asociación de Arte Útil, las posibilidades de uso del archivo a nivel local y las conexiones artísticas que se podrían generar de forma autónoma. En Granby, tras su colaboración con Assemble, la comunidad ha asimilado con naturalidad la capacidad del arte y el pensamiento artístico como herramientas para el cambio social. Ahora se han apropiado totalmente del archivo y de sus estrategias, experimentando opciones y formas de activar los proyectos, usando el archivo de Arte Útil directamente desde la comunidad. En definitiva, en la práctica de Arte Útil como en ’Broadcasting the archive‘, son los procesos de co-creación los que generan la intervención activa. Al aceptar lo que implica la participación, se genera un espacio flexible de colaboración que está basado en una interacción recíproca, capaz de integrar las voces, saberes e intereses de los agentes involucrados y de asumir la negociación y el diálogo como metodología operando en un “espacio intersubjetivo de colaboración” entre la comunidad y el artista. En el que como apunta Wright, el espacio se transforma en tiempo de cooperación e intervención, activando “el tiempo de los comunes”.

25

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04b1sdl Interview from 1h 40m.

26

Stephen Wright, 29.

27

http://www.i-p-c.org consultado el 16 Febrero 2017.

28

http://www.arte-util.org/projects/granby-four-streets-regeneration/ Consultado el 15 Febrero 2017.

29

http://www.arte-util.org/broadcasting-the-archive-4/ consultado 16 Febrero 2017.

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

33


List of case studies #Housing Right #Education #Gentrification No. 241 / 2012 - ongoing / United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Jordan The Silent University Ahmet Öğüt No. 086 / 2008 - ongoing / The Netherlands Freehouse Jeanne van Heeswijk No. 018 / 1994 - ongoing / United States Project Row Houses Rick Lowe, James Bettison, Bert Long, Jesse Lott, Floyd Newsum, Bert Samples, George Smith No. 140 / 1993 - ongoing / Austria Medical Care for Homeless People WochenKlausur No. 433 / 2010 - ongoing / United States Conflict Kitchen Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski No. 243 / 2009 - ongoing / The Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Germany, Romania, Denmark, United States, Finland, Hong Kong, Portugal, United Kingdom, Mexico, France, Italy, Brazil, Georgia, Canada, Armenia Human Hotel Wooloo Female as Agents of Change in society, Housing Rights, Education No. 236 / 2012 / Italy Intervention #2 Núria Güell No. 530 / 2015 - ongoing / The Netherlands, Spain Convention on the use of space Adelita Husni-Bey No. 115 / 2010 - ongoing / United Kingdom Homebaked Jeanne van Heeswijk No. 086 / 2008 - ongoing / The Netherlands Freehouse Jeanne van Heeswijk No. 531 / 2012 - ongoing / Palestinian territories Bait al Karama Beatrice Catanzaro, Fatima Kadumy, Cristiana Bottigella No. 532 / 1998 - ongoing / UK Granby Four Streets Regeneration Granby Residents Association, That blooming Green Triangle, Granby Street Market, Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust, Granby Somali Women's Group, Steinbeck Studios, Assemble, A Sense of Place. Terrace 21 Co-op

34


No. 275 / 1870 / United States Cooperative Housekeeping Melusina Fay Peirce No. 479 / 2011 - ongoing / United States The Milk Truck Jill Miller No. 197 / 1999 - ongoing / The Netherlands Women on waves Rebecca Gomperts No. 244 / 1998 - ongoing / United States New Day New Standard (now the “Domestic Worker App”) REV No. 485 / 2010 - ongoing / Germany 3D 87 Deutschlandbilder Boran Burchhardt, Ana Siler No. 014 / 2009 / The Netherlands The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour Marjetica Potrč and Wilde Westen

BtA MIMA / Middlesbrough

35


#10

UNIDEE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Cittadellarte / Biella

THE HIVE ARC

B R OAD CAS T ING


unlearning

horizontal pedagogies

Broadcasting the archive #10 03-07 December 2018 UNIDEE - Cittadellarte, Fondazione Michelangelo Pistoletto - Biella (IT) > We were invited to deliver a 1-week workshop at UNIDEE, a higher education institution that offers both informal and formal education in the field of art and social commitment. While there, we organized an intensive course where we analysed some case studies in relation to the Arte Ă&#x161;til criteria, we discussed some terms from 'Toward a lexicon of usership' by Stephen Wright, and we experimented with different methodologies related to the idea of 'learning by doing' through physical exercises in the classroom. <

agricultural heritage


Programme Monday 03 December morning Guided tour to Cittadellarte, Pistoletto and Arte Povera collections and temporary exhibitions. Introduction to the Theorem of Trinamics, the symbol of the Third Paradise and the concept of Demopraxy. afternoon Presentations who is who, introduction to Arte Útil and it’s criteria: Arte Útil roughly translates in English as ‘useful art’, but its meaning goes further suggesting art as a tool or device to provoke social change. The definition of Arte Útil has been arrived via a set of criteria that was formulated in 2013 for Tania Bruguera’s ‘The Museum of Arte Útil’ at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL). In this session we will analyse the 8 criteria that have been followed by researchers to compose the Arte Útil archive. Exercise about the coefficient of art: In his famous lecture ’The Creative Act’, Marcel Duchamp defined the art coefficient as a subjective mechanism that produces art à l’état brut, so to say in a sort of raw state. He affirms that artists go from intention to realization through a series of subjective reactions: the result is a discrepancy between the intention and the realization of the work of art; a difference which the artist cannot totally control. In other words the ‘art coefficient’ is like an arithmetical relation between the unexpressed but intended and the unintentionally expressed. The spectator is the other subject that complete the work of art: s/he brings its inner value to the external world. In the context of Arte Útil, Stephen Wright in his book ’Toward a lexicon of Usership’ points out a series of questions linked to the idea of usership: ‘could it be that art is no longer (or perhaps never was) a minority practice, but rather something practiced by a majority, appearing with varying coefficients in different contexts? What coefficient of art have we here? Or there? What is the coefficient of art of such and such a gesture, object or practice?’ What is the coefficient of art in our practice?

4


Tuesday 04 December morning Introduction to key terms related to Arte Útil from ‘Toward a lexicon of Usership’ by Stephen Wright: in this session we will read and discuss some key terms that will help us to find a common ground in retooling the existing conceptual lexicon around usership. We will familiarize with terms such as 1:1 scale, Extraterritorial reciprocity, Hacking, Loopholes, Double Ontology which could be used as tags to categorize the case studies. afternoon What does collaboration mean? Exercise about ‘Do and Don’t’ of Arte Útil: we will approach the topic of collaboration through a series of easy physical exercises. Participants working in groups should speculate about the best practices around Arte Útil and/or socially engaged art and present their scenarios. We will conclude the session talking about the side effects and we will read some part of Marina Garces ‘Honesty with the real’ and Medina, Saviotti ‘Broadcasting the archive in Barcelona: Analysing the Side effects of Arte Útil projects’.

BtA UNIDEE – Cittadellarte / Biella

5


6


Wednesday 05 December morning Case studies: how to select them? This session is focussed on a collective selection process for case studies to be potentially included in the Arte Útil archive. We will have a look at the latest submissions and have a Skype conversation with Kathrin Böhn, initiator of ‘Company Drinks’ an art project in the shape of a drink company. Two of the projects related to food developed by Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella are ‘Let Eat Be’ and ‘Terre Abbandonate’: can they be potentially included in the Arte Útil archive? What is the urgency of the initiators and how did the community help their realization? What does it imply for the users to be part of them? We will visit the market in Biella related to the projects and hopefully, we can have a chat with the producers. afternoon Discussion with Armona Pistoletto, initiator of ‘Let Eat Be' and 'Terre Abbandonate' Exercise: what's your urgency? Is art the answer? Participants will work in groups to define a possible urgency to tackle and speculate about a possible Arte Útil project to implement. Can the urgency of a particular territory be identified as a personal urgency? Thursday December 6th morning Taking ownership, Inverting roles, Hacking ‘Broadcasting the archive #10': we will start the morning with a Q&A session about the past 3 days. Then we would like to reverse the roles and ask the participants to take ownership of the module and propose a group activity to do. It could be everything: a yoga class, a walk outside the room, a reading, a Karaoke session.. But what is the purpose of it? Who are your users? What are your expectations? How is it a tool for change? Is there any pedagogical value? afternoon 1h of follow up discussion and go back to the case studies selection.

BtA UNIDEE – Cittadellarte / Biella

7


Friday December 7th morning Presentation about the use of the archive, the toolkit, the certificate of Usership, the Office of Arte Útil and the Asociación de Arte Útil. Working in groups to prepare a toolkit for ‘Broadcasting the archive #10’: which key questions would you like to add? Which keywords can we use as tags? Which exercises do we want to include in the toolkit? Which texts? afternoon Evaluation of the week: what would you like to bring with you after the end of the module? Assignments for the future.

REFERENCES The mentors will prepare a reader for participants with key texts and films, some of which will be discussed during the week. The reader will include pieces by authors, artists, curators and intellectuals, such as: Articles/Texts: • Stephen Wright, 'Toward a Lexicon of Usership', free at www.arte-util.org • WochenKlausur, 'Let's talk about another Concept' oncurating.org 'After the turn: art education beyond the museum', Issue 24/December 2014 • Marina Garces, 'Honesty with the real', Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol.4, 2012; http://www.arte-util.org/projects Books (For further readings): • AA.VV., 'What's the Use? Constellation of Art, History and Knowledge: A Critical Reader'. Amsterdam: Valiz, 2016 • Paulo Freire, 'The Pedagogy of the oppressed'. New York and London: Continuum, 2015 • Annette Krauss, Binna Choi, Yolande van der Heide, Liz Allan (Editors), Unlearning Exercises: Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning, Utrecht, Valiz / Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons: 2018 • Learning from 'Granby Four Streets project' 8


BtA UNIDEE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Cittadellarte / Biella

9


Can we leave the museum and use the archive to teach Arte Ă&#x161;til?

10


Art as an instrument for social change in the most recent UNIDEE module by Luca Deias, Cittadellarte Journal, 11/12/2018

Last week, Cittadellarte hosted “Broadcasting the archive #10”, University of Ideas’ module curated by Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti. In the course of the initiative, six international artists in residency analysed a few case studies from the archive of Asociación de Arte Útil (a database of about 300 projects in which art has generated a responsible social change) and the projects developed by Cittadellarte on the theme of food. New instruments and possibilities to change the world through art: UNIDEE’s most recent module, held from 3rd to 7th December, aimed at reactivating and mediating the archive of Arte Útil – freely accessible at www.arte-util.org – within and without the museum context. The project, curated by Asociación de Arte Útil, gathers almost 300 international case studies in which art has been able to trigger and promote a responsible social transformation. The organization, presented and activated by its members through workshops, exhibitions and seminars all over the world, wants to become a source of inspiration not only for subjects specialized in contemporary art, but also for a general public of non-experts. The title chosen for the module carried out in the spaces of Fondazione Pistoletto, ‘Broadcasting the archive #10’, is therefore self-explanatory: the workshop, specifically designed for UNIDEE (as mentioned in the outline of the module), investigated a few case studies in reference to the criteria of Arte Útil and experimented with various methodologies linked to the idea of ‘learning by doing’, through exercising in the physical space. Arte Útil1 (‘useful art’) considers in fact art as an instrument or a device to use when searching for sustainable solutions for social change. ‘Broadcasting the archive #10’ was curated by Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti, and saw the participation of six young residents, aged from 22 to 27: two Italian, one Russian, one Egyptian (living in Toronto), one Portuguese and one Mexican (these last two living in France), they were Maria Giovanna Sodero and Eleonora Mattozzi (both through a partnership with Rome’s Academy of Fine Arts), Lidia Zhudro, Farah Michel, Maria Norte Fonseca and Esthela Meza (both through a partnership with École supérieure d’art et design – ESAD, Grenoble). The two mentors talked to us about the peculiarities of the module: “We centred the week on the idea of using art as an instrument for social change, – said Alessandra Saviotti – we referred to Arte Útil to define art as a device, not meant as something useful and usable, but as something able to trigger a change.

1

The notion of what constitutes Art Útil was developed through a series of criteria formulated by Tania Bruguera in

collaboration with curators and researchers from the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), the Queens Museum (New York) and Grizedale Arts (Coniston, United Kingdom).

BtA UNIDEE – Cittadellarte / Biella

11


In order to activate this process, it is necessary to learn through practice, not only theory: our role as mentors was therefore not only propositional, but effective in the terms of a specific pedagogical process; a methodology conveyed through horizontal teaching.” Gemma Medina Estupiñán carried on telling us about the creation of the archive: “Alessandra and I started elaborating a collection of case studies from the 19th century onwards featuring ‘useful’ art. This online archive was born on the occasion of the exhibition ‘The Museum of Useful Art’, from an idea of Tania Bruguera and held at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 2013-2014. After the exhibition, we realized that the archive could become an inspiration for an external public not directly involved in art or museums. We therefore thought about it and wondered: can we leave the museum and use the archive to teach Arte Útil’s practice?” The answer was “yes”: the archive has been active and developing since 2015. The selection of the projects to include in the archive is made through a continuous open call, open to anybody, who can submit them through the association’s website. The projects are shortlisted according to Arte Útil’s criteria, while the final decision to integrate them is by always different groups. “Being Asociación de Arte Útil an informal organization without a definite status – explain the curators – the selection of projects is carried out collectively by our network. During our days in Biella, for example, we looked into the projects already developed by Cittadellarte on the theme of food, like ’Let Eat Bi‘, ’Let Eat Grow‘ and ’Terre AbbanDonate‘. We then discussed with the module’s students how these initiatives can become part of the archive”. The formative experience on the theme of food was enhanced by the participation as speakers of Armona Pistoletto (president of ’Let Eat Bi‘) and the artist Kathrin Böhm (co-head of the project ’Company Drinks‘), who illustrated the peculiarities of their organizations. Alessandra Saviotti continued highlighting the way Fondazione Pistoletto artistically contaminated the residents: “Dealing with an institution already operating on these practices is easier, since we have a common ground. Besides, we had already collaborated with Cittadellarte from remote: when we initially applied for funds for the archive, Visible was one of our partners. I am myself now part of that project as international curatorial advisor for the 2019 Visible Award, so, for me, it feels like home. Gemma had also already been in close contact with Fondazione Pistoletto, since she had participated in one of the modules curated by Aria Spinelli. This experience – concludes Alessandra – revealed itself rich of stimuli. We noticed that the participants were extremely interested, most likely because we applied a more horizontal pedagogical practice, which had a positive bearing.2”

2

On the fourth day of the module, the mentors suggested the residents should make the programme for the day.

12


List of case studies #1:1 Scale #Sustainability #Alternative Economies No. 577 / 2014 - ongoing / United Kingdom Company Drinks Kathrin BĂśhm, Myvillages

BtA UNIDEE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Cittadellarte / Biella

13


14


BtA UNIDEE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Cittadellarte / Biella

15


Educational Tool Kit – Booklet designed by Jessica Fairclough in collaboration with Quad Collective, Gemma Medina Estupiñàn, Alessandra Saviotti for Broadcasting the archive. Presented in the frame of Office of Useful Art: 2015 Localist Worker, Liverpool, 19 - 30 October 2015. Broadcasting the archive is an independent project curated by Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti to emancipate the usership around the Arte Útil archive.

The project is supported by


Local

Value


Inclusion / Exclusion


Inform


Purpose

Nomadic


Institution


Negotiation


Exchange

Usership / Ownership


Language


Meaning


BROADCASTING THE ARCHIVE #6 BARCELONA


Programme Sat 25th June 2016 10.00 Tour of Raval organized and led by Avalancha 13.00 Lunch Break 15.00 Visit BioBuil(t) 15.30 MACBA - discussion with Avalancha, Broadcasting the archive, The Umbrella Network, Valentina Maini (video) and possible presentation of local projects and students. 17.30 short visit of the exhibition "Punk"

Sun 26th June 2016 11.00 - 14.00 MACBA - Skype call with Nuria GĂźell, open conversation with Ruben Santiago, discussion about gentrification & use of the public space as a common good and criteria, open office. 14.00 short visit of the exhibition "Punk"

2


Hello! This is your personal booklet that accompanies you through this weekend. Use it to note down thoughts, drawings or ideas. At the end of the weekend you might want to share some of your entries. We collected some key words dealing with the topics of this weekend to facilitate discussions or questions. ¡Hola! Este cuaderno te acompañará durante el fin de semana. Puedes usarlo para anotar tus propias reflexiones, ideas, dibujos, referencias, etc. Si quieres, el domingo podrás compartir algunas de estas anotaciones con el resto del grupo. Aquí tienes algunos de los términos que mencionaremos durante el fin de semana para facilitar la discusión y el debate.

El Raval – El Raval gentrification – Gentrificación use and misuse of public space – Uso y abuso del espacio público social practices – Practicas sociales instrumentalization – Instrumentalización community action – Acción comunitaria build it yourself – Constrúyelo tu mismo failure – Fracaso institutional repurpose – Alterar la función Institucional Arte Útil – Arte Útil ...

3


4


5


6


7


Booklet

designed

by

Avalancha

and

The

Umbrella

Network in collaboration with Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti for Broadcasting the archive. Presented in the frame of Broadcasting the Archive #6, Macba, Barcelona, 25 - 26 Juni 2016. Broadcasting the archive is an independent project curated by Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti to emancipate the usership around the Arte Útil archive (www.arte-util.org) in collaboration with different institutions and organizations to spread the understanding about Arte Útil through connecting with local practitioners and its context. Cuaderno

diseñado

por

Avalancha

y

The

Umbrella

Network en colaboración con Gemma Medina Estupiñán y Alessandra Saviotti para Broadcasting the Archive#6, Macba, Barcelona, 25 - 26 Juni 2016. Broadcasting the archive (Transmitiendo el archivo) es un proyecto independiente curado por Gemma Medina Estupiñán y Alessandra Saviotti para emancipar el uso del archivo de Arte Util (www.arte-util.org)


Broadcasting the Archive #8 THE ARTE ÚTIL SUMMIT 2016 Responding to Current Urgencies – Toolkit for an Institution Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK 22 – 25 July 2016


Programme Friday 22 July 17:00 Arrivals and Introduction followed by dinner and after dinner speech by Stephen Wright live from California Saturday 23 July Toolkits for a Post-Artistic Society 10:00 - 12:30 Morning session: Tania Bruguera, artist – Annie Fletcher, Van Abbemuseum – Kuba Szreder and Sebastian Cichocki, MoMA Warsaw – Stephanie Smith, Art Gallery of Ontario – Núria Güell, artist – Gemma Medina & Alessandra Saviotti, Broadcasting the Archive 12:30 – 14:00: Communal lunch & presentation of The Coffee House project with New Linthorpe Pottery and members of the Eritrean community 14:00 – 17:00 Afternoon session: Workshop Toolkits for Institutions and Broadcasting the Archive followed by site visits in the Middlesbrough area 17:00 – 18:00 Break 18: 00 Dinner and Reception

2


Sunday 24 July Toolkits for a Post-Democratic Society 10:30–12:30 Morning session: Parliament of Arte Útil – the role of artists and artistic competencies in taking on civic issues and political leadership: Charles Esche, Van Abbemuseum – Tania Bruguera, artivist, INSTAR – Kathrin Bohm and Rosalie Schweiker, artivists, EU:UK – Michael Simon, Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust, Liverpool – John Byrne, Liverpool John Moores University – Emily Hesse and James Beighton, New Linthorpe Pottery 13:00 – 14:00 Lunch 14:00 – 17:00 Afternoon session: Workshops in the Gresham district with new Linthorpe Pottery, followed by plenary session 18:30 Dinner Monday 25 July Meeting of the membership of the Asociación de Arte Útil and Departures

3


This is your personal booklet that accompanies you through this weekend. Use it to note down thoughts, drawings or ideas. During the weekend you might want to share some of your entries. We collected some key questions dealing with some topics of this Summit to facilitate our workshop. •

Do you believe art might be a tool for achieving social change?

What are the main urgencies in your neighbourhood? What needs to be done?

Could/Would you re-activate some of the projects from Arte Útil archive?

Do you consider yourself an activator, initiator or user?

In what way does Arte Útil is different from all other kinds of art?

Workshop: think about a possible idea and how to implement it in your context. Remember: keep it simple, keep it real, keep it sustainable!

4


5


6


7


Booklet designed by Christine van Meegen in collaboration with Gemma Medina Estupiñán & Alessandra Saviotti and mima for Broadcasting the archive. Presented in the frame of Arte Útil

Summit 2016, mima,

Middlesbrough, 22-25 July 2016. Broadcasting the archive is an independent project curated by Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti to emancipate the usership around the Arte Útil

archive, in

collaboration with different institutions and organizations to spread the understanding about Arte Útil through connecting with local practitioners and its context.


Broadcasting the Archive #8 THE ARTE ÚTIL SUMMIT 2016 Middlesbrough

MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art Center Square

Emerald Street

Middlesbrough Surrounding Teesside Steelworks

Newport Settlement Community Hub Newport Primary School Waverley Street

National Trust – Ormesby Hall Ladgate Lane


Broadcasting the Archive #9 Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK 24 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 29 October 2016


This is your personal booklet that accompanies you through this week. Use it to note down thoughts, drawings, ideas or Tags. During the workshops, you might want to share some of your entries. We collected some key questions to facilitate our workshops.

Do you believe art might be a tool for achieving social change?

What are the main urgencies in your neighbourhood? What needs to be done?

Could/Would you re-activate some of the projects from Arte Útil archive?

Do you consider yourself an activator, initiator or user?

In what way does Arte Útil is different from all other kinds of art?

2


Tagging the archive: Can we define some keywords to navigate through the archive? We have selected some words from the lexicon that we could use as tags for the case studies:

1:1 Scale

Coefficient of Art

Loopholes

3


4


5


6


7


Booklet designed by Christine van Meegen in collaboration with Gemma Medina Estupiñán & Alessandra Saviotti and mima for Broadcasting the archive. Presented in the frame of Broadcasting the archive #9 2016, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), Middlesbrough, 24-29 October 2016. Broadcasting the archive is an independent project curated by Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti to emancipate the usership around the Arte Útil archive, in collaboration with different institutions and organisations to spread the understanding about Arte Útil through connecting with local practitioners and its context.


Arte Útil is an art movement that draws on artistic thinking to imagine, create and implement tactics that change how we act in society.

The archive of Arte Útil presents over two hundred case studies that shows how these initiatives are not isolated incidents, but part of a larger historical trajectory that is now shaping our contemporary world. The notion of what constitutes Arte Útil has been arrived at via a set of criteria.

Arte Útil projects should: 1) Propose new uses for art within society 2) Use artistic thinking to challenge the field within which it operates 3) Respond to current urgencies 4) Operate on a 1:1 scale 5) Replace authors with initiators and spectators with users 6) Have practical, beneficial outcomes for its users 7) Pursue sustainability 8) Re-establish aesthetics as a system of transformation

www.arte-util.org

Broadcasting the Archive #9

but it goes further suggesting art as a tool or device.

24-29 October 2016

Arte Útil roughly translates into English as “useful art”;


Postscript Asociaciรณn de Arte รštil a nomadic and multiform platform for usership

B R OAD CAS T ING

THE HIVE ARC


Asociación de Arte Útil a nomadic and multiform platform for usership John Byrne, Liverpool John Moores University - School of Art and Design Gemma Medina Estupiñán, Asociación de Arte Útil Alessandra Saviotti, Asociación de Arte Útil This paper was written in May 2017.


The Asociación de Arte Útil operates as a constellation of independent nomadic initiatives using its website as a platform and a toolkit for users. Since 2014 the Asociación has focused on the dissemination of multiple projects and information related to Arte Útil, and it functioned as a space for research and exchange for its users. As Stephen Wright pointed out, Arte Útil could be the most appropriate artistic response for our network society. Starting from the analysis of the toolkit for institutions and users as different modalities to effect real societal change while operating beyond representation, this text will illustrate how the Asociación offers an ideal cultural and artistic ground to activate users in order to stand, speak and act. Since 2013 Arte Útil has been circulating inside many institutions in Europe and United States thanks to its initiator, Tania Bruguera, and to its associates. Due to its porosity and the presence of its users in different locations, the Asociación has been developing its programme both inside and outside the institutional framework - precisely like a ‘patainstitution’, the Asociación is committed to pushing the boundaries of artistic research, presentation and education. As such, The Asociación de Arte Útil is continuing to generate its own tools in order to grow and maintain a live and active archive through different approaches: based on cooperation; playing the role of a platform of legitimation and visibility; fostering analysis; opening up a flexible space and opportunities for research and, above all, using a sort of ‘holistic approach‘ to build new forms of (and approaches to) constituent usership. In collaboration with art institutions and universities (such as The Van Abbemuseum and Liverpool John Moores University) the Asociación is currently co-producing an alternative curriculum as a model for institutional growth and sustainability: as a way to increase the knowledge around practices of usership and Arte Útil whilst, at the same time, encouraging the generation, application and activation of new strategies-projects that could be added to the archive. Over the next months the Asociación will begin to develop and to put into test its alternative constituent pedagogies as a model, through a class at the San Francisco Art Institute, an Arte Útil school at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, an art lab and a summer school at the John Moore University in Liverpool. This article is composed by a polyphony of short texts analysing different approaches and uses of the Asociación as a ‘patainstitutional’ organization aiming at generating knowledge and disseminating it.


Repurposing Education Through Constituent Use Text by John Byrne The Uses of Art Lab at Liverpool John Moores University ‘s School of Art and Design is a small research hub that aims to develop and test forms of ground-up, constituent led 1:1 Scale Arte Útil projects, interventions, and activisms as learning resources within the University framework. The Use of Art Lab has also grown out of, and continues to contribute toward, the developing and extending meshwork that currently constitutes the Association of Arte Útil (AAU). As such the overall objective of the Uses of Art Lab (UoAL) is to develop Arte Útil projects and thinking amongst staff and students at Liverpool John Moores University‘s School of Art and Design through active forms of thinking and doing that are developed as forms of constituent led co-design and collaboration with local, regional, national and international communities. To begin making this happen, the UoAL is currently developing a range of small-scale projects with local and regional constituencies across a range of community projects, health and well-being initiatives and Museum/Gallery based research projects. The Florrie, that offers a range of participatory activities and facilities to its local constituents (www.theflorrie.org). For example, makers and doers from Liverpool School of Art and Design (both Staff and Students) are beginning to plan projects and workshops which will see collaborations between existing community arts initiatives, such as the Florrie (a Grade II listed Victorian community arts and heritage venue, located in the Toxteth area of south Liverpool, which is an area of high density unemployment and long-term poverty: www.theflorrie.org) and The Spider Project (a ‘creative arts and well-being recovery community project’ based in Birkenhead – again an area of high unemployment and long-term poverty on the Mersey estuary directly opposite the city of Liverpool: www.spiderproject.org.uk). However, the aim of the both the UoAL and the AAU in collaborating with these initiatives is not simply to teach or skill share (as staff and students will be running workshops with constituents ranging from 3D Modelling, documentary film making and creative writing) but to openly learn, as an Art School, a University and an online/offline community of activists, about how to change and adapt in a rapidly shifting political and economic landscape. For example, both the Florrie and The Spider Project offer a range of participatory activities, programmes and skill sharing workshops that are open to anybody, but which can also lead to qualification. As such, both initiatives have themselves resulted as a means to address the long-term social impact of Liverpool’s postwar economic decline. Like many port cities across the world, Liverpool’s dock’s provided most employment in the city until their terminal decline and stagnation in the 1970s. Since the collapse of the traditional docking industry, and the shift to mechanized containerization, Liverpool has only seen a highly concentrated economic recovery, largely in its city center, which is based around service industry, tourism, leisure activity and shopping. Within this climate, what initiatives like the Florrie and The Spider Project would gain from working with the UoAL is open access to a University’s human and equipment resources and, in return, Liverpool John Moores University would gain the opportunity to rethink the application of its own resources and skill-sets through developing a series of meaningful and collaborative initiatives – in a sense, both communities and University would open themselves up to a form of reciprocal skills hacking. In addition to this, the AAU would provide The Florrie, The Spider Project and The UoAL/Liverpool John Moores University with access to a growing network of world-wide and ground-up educational activisms which provide both a resource, and also a community, to grow constituently within. Through sharing workshops and discussion groups based around the AAU archive - and by identifying and activating those projects from the archive that carry within them

John Byrne – Repurposing Education Through Constituent Use

7


the most potential for useful repurposing within the specific contexts and conditions of Liverpool and Merseyside – the aim will be to collaboratively develop the AAU archive through its use and activation as a constituent learning tool. In turn, it is also hoped that the development of such projects – as well as the practical, critical and activist context that will grow around them – will affect the operating systems of both University, Art and Design School, and local communities alike. For example, one of Liverpool John Moores University’s current ‘Mission Statements’ is to become a Civic University – so by enabling staff and students to work with the AAU as a means to develop collaborative and constituent projects and initiatives with artists, activists and thinkers from local communities, it is hoped that staff and students will begin to re-think what they do, what their current roles and self-perceptions are, and how existing logics of art education could be challenged and changed. In turn, it is hoped that the changes this may affect and enact within the University – through day to day project planning and longer term curriculum and course/programme/ research development – will help the University, as an institution, to re-think its current role and possibilities within the construction of a constituent civic realm. But why a University? What possible use would it be to think of developing Arte Útil practice through the mechanisms of yet another form of established, sedimented and hierarchical institutional structure? And how would it be possible to conceive of such a practice as offering anything beyond an academicized facsimile of Arte Útil aims and objectives – as offering something other or beyond the usual forms of one-way-broadcast (this time from Educational Provider to Local Community as opposed to the Museological equivalent of Cultural Provider to disengaged audience)? And what are the dangers implicit in such an action, when both Educational and Cultural institutions alike seem equally engaged in the economic imperative to monetize and instrumentalize their relationships to ‘diverse’ constituencies. The answer, on one level, is simple. To offer the possibility of an alternative: To provide models of practice that could disrupt the smooth flows of neoliberal semiocapital – that currently emanate so seamlessly and incessantly from centre to peripherythrough the co-production and co-design of peripheral initiatives that demand real change of the centre, and which are prepared to do so by acting within and across the intersections of active local community and institutionalized state power. Of course, the questions of both scale and relevance immediately become apparent here – how can one even begin to take on the overwhelming might of neoliberal capital through a collaborative combination of AAU thinking, University Art and Design Schools and small community based initiatives? And how would this even be possible when the neoliberal machine is so well versed in the logic of deregulatory equivalence – forcing such initiatives and collaborations into a legal and economic framework of corporatized impotence (in the UK, for example, having to register any form of oppositional initiative as a recognised Charity or Social Enterprise in order to gain any recognizable status) which immediately forces such ground-up opposition into the recognizable systems and legalized frameworks of centralized control (in effect becoming voluntary ‘micro-fascisms’ to paraphrase Guattari and Deleuze)? Perhaps the most obvious way to look beyond the current horizons of neoliberal logic is to examine the alternatives that we have to hand, to the Zapatista movement for example, or to the possibility and potential that the Occupy Movement, Syriza, Podemos, or the short lived Arab Spring held within them. Whilst this is, of course, an essential undertaking, I would argue that another (and perhaps more neglected) means of rethinking opposition would be to look more closely at the historical conditions of power today – and to re-think and repurpose the means, mechanisms, tactics and plays of institutionalized power that have provided neoliberalism with its very means

8


of and control. After all, neoliberal globalization is not an a priori entity that somehow grew the conditions for its own putrefying existence – it is, itself a self-regulating, genetically re-organizing and continually restructuring network of small, medium and large scale organizations that have ruthlessly, and often illegally, miss-used commonly available tools as a means to construct a veneer of total power and control. Neoliberal logic functions in the same ways, and via the same means, that are available as oppositional tools for resistance. Power is not simply the smooth surface of inaccessible alterity – unfortunately it is the successful abuse and misuse of commonly available tools, tools that could be shared for good and by the many, as a means to cause coagulations of wealth and power for the few. And these commonly available tools have complex histories of struggle and contestation. For example, if we return to the University, and take the current neoliberalization and financialization of Higher Education - and with it knowledge, as exemplified by the University system in the UK - we see a growing indebtedness of an increasingly large student population who are increasingly unable to find work on graduation. Whilst this fosters the understandable (and maybe accurate) reaction amongst students that their ‘Degrees are impractical and useless’ - if useful is here measured solely in terms of direct and unproblematic access to an already squeezed and continually precarized workplace – this reaction is also accompanied by the paradoxical realization that most employees now demand a Degree as a bare minimum for considering any job application. As individuals and families plunge themselves deeper into debt, whilst students from poorer backgrounds increasingly opt out of the burden of educational debt (and therefore education) altogether, many cities and towns in the UK increasingly rely on student populations for their income in a post-industrialized climate of service industry and servitude. One only has to witness the cheek by jowl construction of safe and gated student accommodation in cities like Liverpool that are built next to, and often within, depopulated residential communities that are now made up of the long-term unemployed or largely unskilled service workers. Within this increasingly bleak landscape it might seem rather whimsical, if not futile, to look for the growing AAU network, and its potential collaboration with Universities, for help. Until, that is, we remind ourselves that the European University system as we know it or knew it to be - and in particular the ‘red brick’ University system that developed in the UK during the Industrial Revolution - did not emerge fully formed as a neoliberal by-product of the post ’89 collapse of the Eastern Block. Instead, it evolved during the nineteenth century as a response to the bourgeois ascension of industrialized capital and its concomitant population explosion. More specifically, and again in the case of the UK, the University system as we now know it was a legacy of Mechanics Institutes that were formed in the early 19th Century. These Mechanics Institutes, often built as a direct result of industrial wealth and philanthropy, were a direct response to a growing population of largely uneducated and illiterate workers who were migrating from the country to cities. Like so many of today’s global migrants, those fleeing the country for the city in the 18th and 19th centuries were arriving penniless, and looking for work, in the newly industrialized urban centres of Europe and the USA. As the UK underwent its historical shift from an agrarian to industrialized economy, and from craft based industries built on guild apprenticeship to wage based machine labour, Mechanics Institutes provided free educational classes to an expanding population in the new sciences of industry. The first Mechanics Institute in the UK opened in Edinburgh in 1821, then Glasgow, Liverpool and London followed in 1823, and Manchester in 1824 (all of which subsequently became Universities). This number grew to over 700 Mechanics Institutes in the UK alone by the mid-1850s, with similar numbers opening across Australia, Canada and the United States.

John Byrne – Repurposing Education Through Constituent Use

9


Whilst these Mechanics Institutes were undoubtedly instigated by philanthropic industrialists as a means to both educate and improve a new workforce - and, at the same time, appeasing the new ethical concerns of a wealthy bourgeoisie for charitable solutions to the plight of the poor and destitute ‘urban masses’ of the new cities - the Mechanics Institutes themselves also played an undoubted role in the development of the Labour Movement, the continued growth of the cooperative moment, and also acted as a locus for the birth of the Trade Union Movement. At one and the same time the Mechanics Institutes became a bourgeois resource for improving the quality of a new industrialized labour force and a hotbed for the effective political radicalization of that same labour force. As such I would argue that the legacy of the Mechanics Institute carries within it the potential for dialectically rethinking the role and function of education and activism today. For example, in the hands of the UK based organization Grizedale Arts, the Mechanics Institute has provided both a model for re-thinking our current situation and a direct link to a previous historical point through which that re-thinking originally became possible. For over a decade, Grizedale Arts have worked on numerous projects around the world that have challenged artists and audiences alike to think themselves differently and, above all, to make themselves useful. More recently, these projects have played themselves out via the remarkable work that Grizedale Arts have undertaken in collaboration with their ‘local village’ of Coniston and, more specifically, with the Coniston Institute. Once a working Mechanics Institute, funded in part by John Ruskin, the Coniston Institute has come to play a key role in developing the templates that Grizedale Arts offer for practical change. As Ruskin argued for a new form of holistic and rounded education, with art and making at its epicentre - an idea that Ruskin later developed in his book ‘Unto this Last’1 and which, some years later, was cited by Ghandi as a key influence in his own project of grass roots democracy and non violent change through education - so Grizedale Arts began to argue for The New Mechanics Institute, and its contemporary and mobile derivative ‘The Office of Useful Art’, to be active sites for social exchange and re-imagination through use, making and application. Since the first proto-Office of Useful Art iteration by Grizedale Arts – as a mobile ‘Mechanics Institute’ at Sao Paulo Biennial in 2010 - there have been numerous iterations including one at Tate Liverpool, in collaboration with Liverpool John Moores University, during the ‘Art Turning Left’ show 2012/2013 (which influenced the development of Tate’s recent ‘Exchange’ projects at Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool), Birmingham’s Ikon gallery in 2013, Liverpool John Moores University (in association with L’internationale, MIMA, The Visible Award and Tate Liverpool) in 2015, Granby 4 Streets in Toxteth 2016 and a the newly opened Office of Useful Art at SALT in Istanbul 2017. In 2012, and during the run up to Tania Bruguera’s ‘Museum of Arte Útil’ show at Van Abbemuseum, Grizedale Arts hosted debates which led to the development and refinement of the Association of Arte Útil’s eight criteria for what might constitute Arte Útil. Subsequently, Deputy Director of Grizedale Arts Alistair Hudson has gone on to develop AAU ideas around Usership, Constituency and Museum 3.0 at MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK) before recently accepting the challenge of taking those ideas mainstream as Director of Whitworth and Manchester Museum and Galleries.

1

‘Unto This Last’, I translated it later into Gujarati entitling it ‘Sarvodaya’ (the welfare of all). I believe that I discovered some of my deepest convictions reflected in this

great book of Ruskin and that is why it so captured me and made me transform my life. — Mahatma Gandhi

https://gandhifoundation.org/2009/12/21/gandhi-and-ruskin/

10


For my own part, I have had both the opportunity and the privilege over the last decade to work closely with Grizedale Arts, Van Abbemuseum, the L’Internationale Consortium of Museums and Galleries and the AAU whilst many of the now recognizable projects and positions around use and usership were beginning to develop. During this period my own thought, as well as my own approach to work and the job of art, has undergone a radical overhaul. Whilst helping to facilitate The Office of Useful Art at Liverpool Tate, operating an Office of Useful Art at Liverpool John Moores University, collaborating on an Office of Useful Art in the Granby 4 Streets area of Toxteth, helping to develop a range of on going Arte Útil initiatives at the Florrie in Toxteth, Liverpool and, more recently, becoming Director of the Useful Art Lab at Liverpool John Moores University, I have become convinced that, however problematic it may seem, the Association of Arte Útil provides a modest (though simultaneously credible and ambitious) platform for building a constituent network of hope, opposition and alternative/activist change. As we will see in the other two contributions to this paper, the AAU is growing as a both a lobby for change whilst, simultaneously, representing the institutional potentialities of a continuously changing lobby. Its scale is at once small – granular even – in terms of the projects and positions its members and affiliates propose and enact whilst, at the same time as this, it scales-up as a network (or meshwork) into a growing, recognizable and credible platform for re-thinking what we do, how we do it and why though our everyday uses of art. As the AAU begins to think about uploading open-source educational programmes and constituent discussions on repurposing and reapplying its 1:1 scale activities across its network,- where 1:1 scale refers to projects and initiatives that are ongoing activities in the world which do not, therefore, depend upon the production of art objects, performances, exhibitions or displays - it also begins to resemble a network of New Mechanics Institutes that, as Tania Bruguera argued at the 2016 AAU Summit at MIMA, can begin to provide a credible platform for talking to the existing institutions of power. And, at this point, it is worth noting again that this process of networking and scaling up is precisely how our current institutional frameworks of power and control - amongst them the civic roles played by University’s, Museums and Galleries alike - came into being almost two centuries ago. It is also worth remembering, as I have argued, that the tools available to the AAU for implementing change - through micro and macro networks of radical oppositionality and ground up-alternatives for living otherwise - are still precisely those that our current neoliberal hegemony has inherited and corrupted as a means to regulate, fractalize and exploit. The difference lies not in the tools we pick up and use, but in how we use the tools we pick up, for and with whom we use those tools, to what effect and why. As such I hope that the Uses of Art Lab at Liverpool John Moores University can play a small but useful role in effecting this change and recalibration of use and can, in turn, help to build a truly useful and constituent University of the Future through the growing networks of usership that is the Association of Arte Útil.

John Byrne – Repurposing Education Through Constituent Use

11


12


Acting as the Infiltrator Text by Alessandra Saviotti The Asociación de Arte Útil (AAU) was founded as part of an art project initiated by Tania Bruguera in 2013 in collaboration with Queens Museum and the Immigrant Movement International in Corona, Queens (USA), Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (NL) and Grizedale Arts in Coniston (UK). After a series of meetings and workshops involving many artists, policy makers, curators, activists and citizens, eventually Bruguera and her collaborators named Arte Útil as a new movement, which has its theoretical roots in the XX century. At the core of the movement is an archive2 conceived as a free database of almost 300 case studies featuring artistic practices that - thanks to their double ontological status3 which is the condition that renders those projects recognizable for whatever they are, for example a restaurant, while being the artistic proposition of the same thing - produce beneficial outcomes for their users and go beyond the realm of art despite using art strategies. Since its first project, the so called ’Museum of Arte Util‘4, the AAU was shaped as a self-organized and nomadic environment operating beyond the museum context while using the same language and structures. Due to the fact that most of the people involved from the beginning of the program work in the arts, its activities have always been organized in collaboration with art institutions and as well a plethora of independent spaces, not for profit organizations, and informal groups of citizens, who were keen to use the resources that the AAU provides. Usership became the key-word among the initiators of the AAU, a concept, which still provokes hostile reactions in the so called ‘expert culture’5, represented by a group of people responsible for the design of some sort of tools or spaces to be experienced by users, who inevitably transform them for their everyday activities. Repurposing the art institution and trying to define the usevalue of it, is an ambitious attempt which should start with the radical reorganization of the relationships between artists, museums, galleries and their spectators. If every Arte Útil project should operate on a 1:1 scale6, which means not being the representation of what they are to be legitimized in the art context, so the AAU must do as well. The organization intends to create a model for its users to be replicated, but which is the model the AAU follows? And to what degree the organization needs to be legitimized in order to operate and be effective? Between 2015 and 2016, together with Gemma Medina Estupiñán, we developed ’Broadcasting the archive‘, an independent programme aiming at emancipating usership around the Arte Útil archive through a series of talks, workshops and city tours across Europe and the United States. Our aim was threefold: we were keen to learn from some projects we included in the archive, we wanted to expand our research and add more case studies into the archive, following its criteria of entry such as:

2

The Arte Util archive can be found at http://arte-util.org/projects accessed September 17

3

Double ontology is a concept introduced by Stephen Wright on ‘Toward a Lexicon of Usership’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2014. pp.22

http://museumarteutil.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Toward-a-lexicon-of-usership.pdf

4

http://museumarteutil.net/ , accessed September 17

5

Expert Culture is a concept introduced by Stephen Wright on ‘Toward a Lexicon of Usership’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2014. pp.26-27

http://museumarteutil.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Toward-a-lexicon-of-usership.pdf , accessed September 17

6

1:1 scale is a concept introduced by Stephen Wright on ‘Toward a Lexicon of Usership’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2014. pp.3-5

http://museumarteutil.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Toward-a-lexicon-of-usership.pdf , accessed September 17

Alessandra Saviotti – Acting as the Infiltrator

13


1) Propose new uses for art within society; 2) Use artistic thinking to challenge the field within which it operates; 3) Respond to current urgencies; 4) Operate on a 1:1 scale; 5) Replace authors with initiators and spectators with users; 6) Have practical, beneficial outcomes for its users; 7) Pursue sustainability; 8) Re-establish aesthetics as a system of transformation; We wanted to mediate how the archive could be used as a real tool providing information to people organizing themselves in their own community. Even though Arte Útil seemed to become a sort of shared agenda across other institutions, especially in Europe7, ’Broadcasting the archive‘ was one of the first projects which used directly the legacy of the ’Museum of Arte Útil‘. Far from using a top-down approach, we decided to operate as ’infiltrators‘ in other contexts using the flexible and porous identity of the AAU, playing with the idea of being an institution, when in fact it is not. After a year of programming we realized that ’Broadcasting the archive‘ could potentially become a sort of ’pedagogical model‘ far from the academia, which uses art as a vehicle or tool to fill the gap between contemporary art and a non-trained contemporary art audience. Even if the AAU strives for operating as much as possible outside the art context, it still acts almost exclusively within it. Despite the attempts of Tania Bruguera to step back from her authorial position, I would argue that there is still a sort of resistance in the art world to give up the idea of authorship. The initiator of the movement is still needed to legitimize what we have been doing so far. Rather than fighting and rejecting this aspect, the AAU is in constant collaboration with Bruguera, and tries to rethink its relationship with the art institutions and to shape itself accordingly. For her solo exhibition organized by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco (USA‚ ’Tania Bruguera: Talking to Power/Hablandole al Poder‘ the artist proposed to update her pedagogical project ’Catedra de arte de conducta‘8 in collaboration with the curators Lucía Sanromán and Susie Kantor. They worked closely with the AAU to adapt the previous project to the current cultural and political situation in the United States. In a country where education is not easily affordable to the majority of the students, Bruguera proposed to activate a free ’Escuela de Arte Útil‘ (School of Useful Art) in collaboration with California College of the Arts, San Francisco Art Institute, University of California – Berkeley, San Francisco State University and the YBCA Fellows programme. Conceived as a real class taught every week by Bruguera herself and invited guest lecturers, the course was free, and the students who enrolled through their university got credit. The fact that the class was free and open to anyone is already quite a challenge in a context where the majority of people are forced into debt for basic needs such as education9. The ’Escuela de Arte Útil‘ was developed following different steps. In order to create a common ground between institutions, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the AAU became the fulcrum of a series of activities tailored in preparation for the Escuela.

7

‘The Museum of Arte Util’ was the first exhibition organized as part of ‘The Uses of Art – The Legacy of 1848 and 1989’ a programme developed by L’Internationale, a

confederation of six European modern and contemporary art institutions and partners. http://www.internationaleonline.org/confederation, accessed September 17

8

http://www.taniabruguera.com/arteconductaintro.html , accessed September 17

9

For more information about the Students’ Debt in United States go to https://debtcollective.org/ accessed September 17

14


Through a collaborative class at San Francisco Art Institute called ’Evolving the Archive‘10 a group of students helped the AAU to select and add new case studies submitted to an open call addressed to the Bay Area art community. From January to May 2017 the students helped us to research the San Francisco art community, they produced a toolkit with key questions, a bibliography, a timeline and a map of Arte Útil case studies, to be used during the Escuela. The conclusion of the class was a temporary office of Arte Útil called ’The Evolving Office‘ where they transformed the Diego Rivera Gallery into an office space that was available and open to everyone for a week11. The archive with its new case studies included as the result of the above-mentioned open call, was used as the main resource to develop the curriculum for the Escuela. The 8 weeks curriculum was designed around different topics such as institutional self-criticism, active hyperrealism, reforming capital, a-legalism, sustainability and usership, and the class took place in the gallery space. Every week (4 hours, 3 days per week) we invited a national or international guest teacher and a member of a local project included in the archive, who spent a considerable amount of time with the class. I can argue that the Escuela itself challenged the field within which it operated. Firstly, it took place in a sort of neutral space, in this case represented by the exhibition space, in order to be fair with all the schools involved. Secondly, it provided an exceptional curriculum, which comprehended at least 2 guests every week such as Bruguera herself, Debt Collective, Daniel Godinez-Nivón, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Alistair Hudson, Rick Lowe, Damon Rich & Jae Shin, Bonnie Ora Sherk, The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and WochenKlausur. Students were organized in groups, every week they worked on a couple of assignments in order to familiarize with the practice and eventually present a prototype to be implemented beyond the class. During the course of the two months, I have been personally challenged by the level of the conversations taking place in class. Despite the fact that we conceived the curriculum as an open and flexible space, devoted to listening, ’unlearning‘ and sharing our experiences instead of just lecturing the students, we were criticized for not being inclusive enough, for example by omitting other useful art examples outside of the Western canon. It is true that the majority of the case studies we presented were focused mainly on a Western perspective, rather than a global one. However, we conceived the curriculum in order to respond to some of the current urgencies of a particular area – the Bay Area - inviting contributors dealing with the urgencies present in USA. I also believe that the Escuela was precisely conceived as a flexible space to be used by and with different constituencies, and to be activated in various environments, not just the educational one. The Escuela was an excuse for us to learn, to research and to strive for being as much inclusive, while exposing our methodologies to public scrutiny. The project is developed as an additional tool in the AAU’s repository, offering itself to people to work with. In the same time we played a double role - first users of the project and its initiators. This being said, I keep asking myself whether the AAU can still be considered as a self-sustained environment despite its constant collaboration within other art institutions. As curator, archivist and coordinator of the Asociación, I would say that the Asociación can potentially operate outside the art context and so it did already. For example, in 2015 an Office of Useful Art was established in collaboration with the residents of the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust in Liverpool (UK). 10

‘Evolving the archive: Arte Útil in the Bay Area’ was a collaborative class conceived as a joint venture between YBCA, the Asociación de Arte Útil, and SFAI. It is

conceived as a contribution to the exhibition ‘Tania Bruguera: Talking to Power / Hablandole al Poder’, which is organized by YBCA. It was co-taught by Fiona

Hovenden, Lucía Sanromán and Alessandra Saviotti.

11

http://www.sfai.edu/events-calendar/detail/opening-reception-evolving-office , accessed September 17

Alessandra Saviotti – Acting as the Infiltrator

15


The office gave to the residents access to the AAU toolkit, providing the possibility to collectively re-think the role of art in their community. The office fostered the flourishing of a series of other collaborations already mentioned by John Byrne in the previous text, which are still ongoing. The office provided free tools, such as the archive licensed under the Creative Commons and direct access to the initiators of the projects as well as to different constituencies. We tried not to control obsessively the development of the activities, but we were still present to make sure that the theoretical framework was clearly understood. However, I am still struggling to see the future of AAU as an alternative institutional model even if I clearly see its potentiality. Sometimes it is frustrating not being eligible for funding because the AAU does not have a legal framework. Precisely because it was hard to foresee the future of the AAU before the development of these constellation of transnational activities, the project grew up thanks to the personal commitment of different individuals sharing the same ideas around usership. Thinking about how to use the AAU as a potential alternative institutional model, started to become a real prospect quite soon. I would argue that little by little, we all started understanding the potentialities of using successfully a non-structured model precisely because of its openness and quite uncontrollable development. So far, the AAU has been using everyone‘s institutional links, which are very different from individual to individual, to experiment and research inside and outside institutions themselves. On the other side, the lack of legal framework means that the AAU does not provide any structured funding system, and it needs to evolve and find a financial strategy for every different project. At the time of writing this text, the AAU needs to rely either on other institutions who share our vision, or individual grants in order to keep our program running. Lately, we have been exploring some options around the establishment of a membership scheme, where institutions willing to collaborate and use the AAU‘s resources, may finance the AAU itself. That being said, the absence of a legal status allows the members to literally ’infiltrate‘ different fields, contexts and places, providing a flexibility that it would not be possible if the AAU would have a recognizable structure. During the Symposium ‘Does Art Have Users?’ organized in collaboration with SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco (28-30 September 2017), both Jeanne van Heeswijk and Tania Bruguera elaborated with different words and in relation to different projects of their, the same notion, which perfectly summarizes what does it mean working with an Arte Útil mindset. Van Heeswijk explained her practice as a sort of ‚training for the not yet’ especially in relation to her latest work ‘Philadelphia Assembled’ (2016-2017), which poses the pivotal question of: how can we collectively shape our future while city‘s urban fabric is radically changing? Bruguera instead refers to the idea of ‘rehearsing the future’12 in relation to the necessity for artists, not to react to certain events, but rather to prevent those events, creating artworks that might suggest a different idea of how our future could be. Using very different approaches they both express their need as artists to trespass the boundaries between art, politics, sociology, philosophy and so on, to provoke a real change in the context in which they operate. To conclude borrowing these two above mentioned concepts, I would argue that the AAU is a group of ’believers‘ ready for the ’not yet’, who - through a constellation of projects across disciplines – rehearse the future. Thus, in order to implement our mission we act a-legally, we read between the lines, we infiltrate wherever we can. 12

The same idea of ‘rehearsing the future’ is formulated by Thomas Binder in his essay included the book published under the same title Halse J., Brandt E. , Clark

B., and Binder T. (2010) (eds.), Rehearsing the Future, The Danish Design School Press, Copenhagen. In the essay Binder considers performativity of co-creations in the context of design practices as an example of understanding usership as a condition situated between duty and rebellion. He argues that the process represents the tension between creating new conditions for socially engaged art in relation with labour.

16


Emancipating the local user Text by Gemma Medina Estupiñán With the project Broadcasting the archive13, we activated a process of interaction with artists and communities that usually develop their activity outside the spotlight and the influence of the art world. Many of these episodes challenged and problematized the dynamics of the art institutions and galleries involved pointing out the distance with the local context and the perpetuation of a modern institutional framework. However, this project broke through the contemporary art system, creating some space and time for analysis, criticism, visibility and research around Arte Útil and other non-orthodox practices. Through this network of activities and collaborations, that keeps growing organically, the AAU has been expanding, fostering new uses and partnerships, the flow of which infiltrates other institutions, even without involvement of the AAU. However, those projects operated mainly on a shortterm basis, not being able to modify the position of institutions in their respective local contexts. Although the overall intention of the AAU is to generate an accessible compendium of different forms of art practice that seek to have a direct and lasting social, political and economical impact14, each activity would require a long-term engagement of institutions and agents involved to engender a process of genuine transformation. Particularly demanding is facilitation of connections between artistic institutions and communities located beyond the professional art world. Agents of Change started independently in 2015 as an aftereffect of the ’Museum of Arte Útil‘ in conversations with the AAU speculating about the future of the Arte Útil archive concerning the social context of Eindhoven. As curator and archivist of the AAU I joined The Umbrella Network15, a group of social designers that were working already on projects in different neighbourhoods and we formulated a project in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum. Agents of Change is focused on highlighting creative strategies building a network of artists, social designers and community initiatives in Eindhoven through interactive tours, workshops and various activities that served as blueprint to connect practitioners and link them with the institution (Van Abbemuseum), furthermore to create, literally, a social map of the city that could reveal its current urgencies. The starting point was Arte Útil and some of the questions enunciated by John Ruskin16 and Victor Papanek17 to reflect about the multiple connexions between art, design and life, the social responsibility of artists and designers, combining different forms of artistic thinking, collective action and extraterritorial reciprocity, –a term that refers to the exchange that happens when artists and designers leave their conventional territory in the art world and design for another, vacating and making it available to be used by other activities and social practices–18. We were intrigued by how and to what degree these practices are affecting and transforming Eindhoven so we decided to initiate a programme of action research. During the first stage, in 2015-2016, we aimed to add new cases studies, further developing the archive by including local examples, while questioning the position of Museum as a public institution and the traditional role of which is to confer value and constitute the identity of a place. 13 See http://broadcastingthearchive.tumblr.com, accessed September 17. 14

John Byrne, “Social autonomy and the Use Value of Art”, Afterall. Autum/winter 2016, pp.60-69.

15 See http://theumbrella.nl/the-umbrella-network/, accessed September 17 16

John Ruskin, “Lecture IV, The relation of Art to Use”, Lectures on Art, Delivered before the University of Oxford, 1870.

17

Victor Papanek. Design for the real world: Human Ecology and Social change. St. Albans: Granada Publishing, 1974 (*1st edition, Thames & Hudson, 1972).

18

Extraterritorial reciprocity is a concept introduced by Stephen Wright on ‘Toward a Lexicon of Usership’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2014. p.29,

http://museumarteutil.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Toward-a-lexicon-of-usership.pdf, accessed September 17

Gemma Medina Estupiñán – Emancipating the local user

17


We wanted to convey outsiders voices into the art institution, reconsidering the role of the museum in a city like Eindhoven that is marked by the legacy of Philips, branded as a “Brainport: Europe’s leading innovative top technology region” and is defined by the glossy facade of technology and product design19. In methodological terms, we asked ourselves whether we are able to transform dynamics of co-creation, co-design and strategies of Arte Útil into useful tools for people invited to partake in the study? Are we able to infiltrate to reverse the established hierarchical dynamics of an art institution and its relation with the public? Do we dare to activate a Museum 3.0, understood as a model of institution based on usership instead of spectatorship, where the cultural content and its value is generated and shared out equally between the museum and the community that use it?20 Can involved communities shift from spectators21 to constituents, moving from a conventional contemplative approach to the art, as merely passive observers and recipients of a given discourse, towards a proactive position as co-authors, co-producers and users of that discourse at the hand of an enduring collaboration with the art institution? How to avoid the instrumentalisation of the groups involved, especially at this moment when the museums largely operate as factories enforced to produce cultural content, in a constant machinery that absorbs and gobbles everything down as part of their public program but doesn’t provide any kind of remuneration neither any recognition to the users-producers of that content? Are we able to generate a relationship based on use inviting different groups to approach and re-purpose the museum fostering a relationality based on the ‘opportunity’ of use that generates distinctive modes of engagement?22 Can we really operate independently? How to evaluate the process? To answer these questions we went into action. Eindhoven was founded in 1920 incorporating the five neighbour agrarian‘s towns as a response to the explosive growth of the Philips’ industry in the region and the lack of housing for its workers. These are still the five districts that conform the map of the city incorporating the city centre. We curated guided tours through these different areas of Eindhoven (Woensel-West, WoenselNoord, Stratum, Tongelre, Strijp and finally Gestel) with small groups of 8-9 participants composed predominantly for artists, designers and students from the Design Academy, curators, staff from the museum, city officials and people interested in social organizations. The structure of the population in Eindhoven is strongly affected by specific chapters in the history of the economical development of the city and serial waves of industrial growth, labour shortage and recruitment of ‘guest workers’ mainly from Turkey, Morocco, Italy and Spain in the 60s and early 70s23. Other important aspect that defines the character of the city is its role as a centre of cooperation between research institutes and high-tech industry that began with Philips and the Natlab (Physics Laboratory)24 and continues today through the Eindhoven University of Technology and some large cooperative networks.

19 See http://www.ddw.nl, https://www.dutchtechnologyweek.com/en and http://www.gloweindhoven.nl/nl/info/over-glow, accessed September 17 20

Ibid. 7, p.40.

21

Ibid. pp.60-62.

22

Ibid. pp.66-68.

23

“History of immigration in The Netherlands”, UCL:

website http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dutchstudies/an/SP_LINKS_UCL_POPUP/SPs_english/multicultureel_gev_ENG/pages/geschiedenis_imm.html and Lucassen, Jan.,

Newcomers: immigrants and their descendants in the Netherlands 1550-1995. Amsterdam, 1997., accessed September 17.

24

Vries, de, M. J., & Boersma, F. K. 80 years of research at the Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium (1914- 1994): the role of the Nat.Lab. at Philips. Amsterdam: Pallas

Publications, 2005.

18


It entails a flowing population of international students, engineers and high tech professionals that together with the migration from the former colonies, the second and third generation, and the families of former factory workers, have defined a population of 33% non-Dutch ascendance25 that generates unalike levels of interaction between these groups, the municipality and the museum, leaving a numerous part of the populace afar from the spotlight of design and high-tech culture immersed in the city. With Agents of Change, we explored some of those neighbourhoods that were built by Philips and DAF in the 30’s for their former factory workers like Strijp or Stratum and the newest neighbourhood, Woensel-Noord, which is more connected with industrial development since the 70´s and the recently arrival of high-tech professionals. In each trip, we visited four initiatives in the same district, meeting initiators and volunteers who introduced us to their activities and grassroots organisations. Citizens initiated most of these projects autonomously, but some of them operate in cooperation with diverse institutional or private stakeholders like social housing companies or the municipality itself. Although each area has a particular character and issues, these groups of active “Agents” were largely formed by middle aged and elderly white Dutch citizens that tried to bind places together, generating common activities as nexus of communication confronting loneliness, disconnection and the problems that affect each neighbourhood. Our tours included, among many others: communities of gardeners and urban farmers generally focused on bonding people together, neighbourhood’s restaurants oriented to professional training facing the problem of long term unemployment, housing associations, safe playgrounds providing kids with free meals in one of the depressed areas of the city, independent spaces of alternative education, occupied buildings that offer low rent ateliers striving with the current wave of gentrification, grassroots organisations based on second hand and gift economy, an auto-generated museum of music instruments that is pressured to uphold its location in the city-centre against the future plans of renovation of the area or a neighbourhood-run pop-up restaurant focused on performing uncomfortable dinners in Strijp as the result of a collaboration program between artists and the inhabitants of the former workers quarter26. Later we prompted them to use the museum differently, conveying their knowledge and expertise through a series of co-designed workshops, convened around specific issues like “temporary use of the space” or “alternative economies”, to participate in which we invited representatives of the museum and the City Council in order to discuss the challenges that those groups face on a daily basis. Personally, I struggled, and I still do, with the risk of instrumentalisation of these groups, by the institution and politicians, questioning if they receive a truly rewarding experience in exchange for their participation. During these conversations, we created a space for transversal dialogue within the gallery without knowing exactly how it would play out. Some discussions highlighted tensions and frustrations against the structural dynamics of power playing in the city, opening up a space for debate, in which a criticism emerged, targeted at both the institution and project itself, emphasising aspects like the institutional use of the language or the international character of this project, considered by local people as a form of snubbing. However, after all the workshops were evaluated positively, providing use value for the participants, who took advantage of the cultural capital of the museum. In fact, from the very onset of this project, we welcomed proposals to activate and take advantage of the resources in institutional disposal. In total, seventy-three initiatives were included in the map, twenty locations were involved in the tours, nine projects joined the co-design workshops and three initiatives proposed and developed activities for the general public of the museum. 25

Following the municipal record of inhabitants dated in January 1st 2017. Web: https://eindhoven.incijfers.nl/jive/?report=fact_2_01 Accesed on November 2017.

26

Krielen, R., Medina, G., et al. Agents of Change 2015-2016. Eindhoven: The Umbrella, 2017. Pp.108-116.

Website https://issuu.com/bronvandoen/docs/agents_of_change_2016__web_ accessed September 17.

Gemma Medina Estupiñán – Emancipating the local user

19


The porosity of Arte Útil has demonstrated to be a tool to bridge contemporary art with many different audiences. Although in the case of the AAU, it seems necessary to condense the analysis around artistic practices to maintain the radicalism of the proposal; Agents of change faced challenges intrinsic in investigating a city that seems disaffected with the art. Moreover, the use of the archive, in terms of structure and the multiple examples gathered, provided us with different ways to analyse, archive, giving spotlight and voice to Arte Útil and other practices. During the last two years the project has grown, with the support of the AAU and L‘Internationale, becoming an autonomous program that operates, applying the tactics of the Asociación, as a nexus-platform for local practitioners operating within and sometimes without the museum. Although it is impossible to evaluate quantitatively the repercussion of the project, Agents of Change has initiated a process of negotiation with the art institution. For the communities and individuals involved, it means shifting their perception and relation with the museum, reconsidering a modernist paradigm, which conventionally confers specific functions to art and museum. As Duncan Cameron27 pointed out in her text on new museologies, a museum is defined by a dichotomy of being a Temple or a Forum, as the gallery seems to be trapped in its ontology and functionality, extracting objects from their original context, isolating them in order to produce knowledge, in the same stroke getting isolated from the local producers. To unpick this conundrum, we experimented with a relation between museum and its constituents, breaking these preconceptions, disassembling the idea of ‘disinterested spectatorship’ that refers to a passive, contemplative approach to the art suggesting that it shouldn’t exist any personal or subjective interest in the spectator. Emmanuel Kant, among others, introduced this notion at the end of the eighteenth century to ensure art’s universality and protect the objective dimension of art as knowledge; hence isolating definitively art and use28. The activities of Agents of Change have generated a horizontal space of dialogue inside the galleries where external and internal agents, members of the communities and curators, shared knowledge, interest and resources, moving beyond modernist paradigm of art. Currently, we are closing the second stage of the project as users of The Werksalon29 – an experimental space devoted to work with constituencies. We have invited these groups to reckon the practices from Arte Útil archive, challenging them to describe and imagine their own practices in the framework regulating Arte Útil case studies, to exchange practical knowledge, learn and share methodologies that could be transferred and applied elsewhere. Luckily the Museum is committed to cultivate the Werksalon as a long-term program, as we are depending on the institution, its resources and capacity to engage with the communities involved and ensure sustainability of the process. Both, AAU and Agents of Change confront similar dilemmas: even if we are fostering an emancipated user, we need an institution to embrace and legitimatize the process.

27

Cameron, D. F. “The Museum, a Temple or the Forum”. Curator: The Museum Journal, 14 (1971): pp.11-24.

28

Ibid.7, pp.20-21.

29 See https://vanabbemuseum.nl/en/programme/programme/werksalon/, accessed September 17

20


For the museum, it implies a slow process of restructuring. It requires moulding protocols and procedures within the organisation, expanding their operations to the public space, forming multidisciplinary teams and define alternative programs to involve different groups usually not connected with each other and at distance to the art world. It entails a troubling task: co-curating with the constituencies, or perhaps to become a constituency itself. It involves renouncing or reducing the control around the production of content in a process of co-creation, sharing visibility and giving room and recognition to other voices coming from outside of a discipline or an institution. Ultimately, it requires an alternative institution that gets closer to the local community, responding to their identity and dilemmas. The artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, during her intervention in the conference “What does a useful museum look like?” at “Does Art Have Users?” Symposium, posed the same question: Is the museum ready for the real usership? It is a crucial question addressed by the AAU, the Escuela, a project like Agents of Change and by many artists and practitioners of Arte Útil who have initiated longstanding projects of collaboration with different museums. It is still a fundamental question that we cannot answer, yet.

Gemma Medina Estupiñán – Emancipating the local user

21


Broadcasting the archive - The Publication

2015-2018 Produced in November 2019 at Cork Printmakers, Ireland Edited by Gemma Medina Estupiñán and Alessandra Saviotti Designed by Christine van Meegen - Studio C.A.R.E. Printed by Emma O’Hara with Miguel Amado, Cork Printmakers Photos courtesy by: Christine van Meegen, Alessandra Saviotti, Gemma Medina Estupiñán, Brea McAnally, Annalisa Zegna, Clara Tosetti, Canal|05, Arts Catalyst, John Byrne, Michael Simon

Supported by

ISBN 978-1-5272-5406-0


Profile for Alessandra Saviotti

Broadcasting the archive - The Publication  

'Broadcasting the archive - The publication' is a book that documents the series of workshops, city tours, activities, and conversations as...

Broadcasting the archive - The Publication  

'Broadcasting the archive - The publication' is a book that documents the series of workshops, city tours, activities, and conversations as...

Advertisement