making / conditions
8 January-1 April 2018
block 18/I curated by Nicolas Galeazzi
”Can artistic practices still play a critical role in a society where the difference between art and economy have become blurred and where artists and cultural workers have become a necessary part of capitalist production.”
What is the position of the arts in a completely economized society? What kind of answers do we find towards the increasing entrepreneurial demands? How to keep a discourse about values apart from finances? How to create conditions and institutions that allow us to continue asking these questions with view to a greater societal picture?
This block combines institutional critique with a fundamental unravling of Performance in its various interpretations in economy, administration, performing art, and sociology. To put performance as a term into the centre between art and economy, is pointing at the fundamental misunderstandings and simultaneous interdependence between these two fields.
Performance stands for productivity and efficiency as much as for doing, being present, representation, and the transformative power of speech. In between the different interpretations one question appeares very clearly: What are we doing? Beyond the Leninist version of this proverb (What is to be done?), this question not only points to a future productivity (What are we creating?) or a struggle against/for the institution (Under what conditions are we doing and making?). It points to the creation of the framework in which this question can be posed with regard to the basic values of life (How do we live?). In this way all the different understandings of performance aim at transformation or even change.
In the last decades economy became more and more the overarching concept that incorporates all aspects of life and channels all living efforts. The Arts contributed to this development in multiple ways and acted – consciously or not – as a role model in the process of this economization in many ways.
For a big majority of the population the economization and finanzialisation of their life means to loose access to common resources and with that the control over the self-creation of their living conditions. At the same time the neoliberal doctrine turned the full responsibility for these conditions onto the individual and diminishes solidarity and democratic processes.
Being critical and self-critical of this development, the arts must take the performative power inherent in its role model serious and needs to devise new instruments for concrete change and new institutional formats to respond to this development in order to keep the creation of societally viable living and working conditions in their hands.
Searching for the relationship between the artistic research practice and the creation of its own legal, economic, administrative condition, we try to detect common working patterns that enable us to create our own conditions. Using the concept of Pattern Language developed by Christopher Alexander in late 1970’s we try to come up with practical building blocks to think a radical artistic research practice within, and in response to, the contemporary economic and political constraints.