Glossary of Common Knowledge
Other Institutionality
The sixth seminar on the Glossary of Common Knowledge, focusses on Other-institutionality". It is held on 17 and 18 January 2017 in the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana. Many institutional structures inherited from both the bourgeois and the socialist national states survive today either as ruins of the past, ready for touristic consumption or as precarious organizations sieged by spurious powers. Social and political movements of many different kinds are now reclaiming the institutional space from a new political imagination. A few contemporary institutions all over the world are rehearsing forms of negotiation with these instituent practices.
Interview with Oliver Ressler
Oliver Ressler, November Paynter
Borders have become tools for managing, governing and calibrating the movement of people and of course of goods and other things as well. Borders can be imagined as a kind of membrane that lets certain movement through and blocks others. Their fictive nature, rather like the fictive nature of nations, does not make them less real in their effects. Borders are a central element in configuring the capitalist world, through the creation of zones with different modes of labour, different kinds of exploitation and different forms of consumption.
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Opinion | L'Internationale Online
Tearing Down Bridges – Turkey's Withdrawal from Creative Europe
In September 2016, the Turkish government unilaterally withdrew from the European Union Creative Europe programme – the programme that funds artistic production and exchange – without articulating why. This act in the light of the recent changes in Turkey may be small, yet it marks a further deepening of the bleak situation in the country. The harsh application of the state of emergency makes it increasingly impossible to have constructive cultural dialogue both inside Turkey and between Turkey and the rest of the world.
Project | MACBA
Hard Gelatin - Hidden Stories from the 80s
Focusing on the period 1977–1992, the exhibition Hard Gelatin reflects on a series of historical events of a socio-political nature. It features the work of groups, cultural activists and artists who went against the grain by embodying attitudes that, ten years earlier, had been symbols of refutation, irony and political dissent. The project aims to recover the experiences and memories of that period, from today's perspective and based on possible accounts.
Opinion | pantxo ramas
Institutions as Ecologies
To deal with the institution as an ecology means not analysing the institution as a closed system of equivalences and equilibriums anymore, but rather as a series of dynamics that constitute themselves in the open urban space. To use a powerful expression written on the walls of the former asylum of Trieste, the institutional practice "enters outside" in the city.
Opinion | Amy Franceschini, Futurefarmers
Recordings for the Birds: Finding our way from Antwerp to Istanbul through Jules Verne
Amy Franceschini of Futurefarmers is writing her blog during Seed Journey, a seafaring voyage connected to a public art project in the former port of Bjørvika in Oslo, Norway. Seed Journey moves people, ideas and seeds through time and space. Recordings for the Birds is a collection of stories gathered during Seed Journey which serves as a means of documentation – one that mirrors the slowness of our wind-powered vessel and the long march of domestication of plants through trial and error.
Bookshelves
Ecologising Museums
The e-publication Ecologising Museums explores how museums and cultural institutions can face the issue not only head-on, but from all angles. To what degree are the core activities of collecting, preserving and presenting in fact attitudes that embody an unsustainable view of the world and the relationship between man and nature?
Solidarity in Arts and Culture. Some cases from the Non-Aligned Movement
Bojana Piškur
Words like solidarity, fraternity, equality, peace, and fight against imperialism, colonialism, and apartheid resonated at the Non-Aligned Movement's summits, at UNESCO seminars on culture, at political rallies around the world, in museums. It seemed as though art and politics were united in their quest to create utopian models adapted to social and political changes. It is no coincidence that experimental museology and concepts such as the integrated museum, the social museum, the living museum, and the museum of the workers were widely discussed in the so-called Global South.
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Ecosophy and Slow Anthropology. A Conversation with Barbara Glowczewski
Barbara Glowczewski, Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Sarah Werkmeister
Past and current struggles of Indigenous people all around the world are inspiring to ponder narratives that oppose current dehumanisation and the real threat pending on the planet. The acceleration of history, in which ongoing events become archived before being finished, is a real issue to be thought about in a slowed-down, more thought through process, both within art and within cultural institutions. A slow museum should be especially attentive to collaborating with concerned populations and artists, Indigenous or not, who create new worlds in response to traumas of the past and the present.
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Publication
What's the Use?
Is art only art insofar as it refuses to be useful? Or can art practices serve a wider purpose in the world? The reader "What's the Use? Constellations of Art, History, and Knowledge" starts from the premise that art is an integral part of the social, economic, and political process. Art is best understood through its dialogue with the social sphere, rather than as a 'thing in itself'. By mapping a diverse terrain of examples and ideas, this book explores the complex interplay between art, use, history, and knowledge. The contributing writers and artists demonstrate how in past and contemporary practice these relationships are set up and played out. Editors: Nick Aikens, Thomas Lange, Jorinde Seijdel, Steven ten Thije.
Necroaesthetics: Denaturalising the Collection
Anna-Sophie Springer, Etienne Turpin
Upon entering the beloved halls of a natural history museum, a strangely naturalised sensibility seems to neutralise the scenography. Among the necroaesthetic presentation of various arrays of taxidermy specimens – from rare turtles to soaring avifauna, from skeletal cetaceans to combative Arctic bears – one rarely feels any anxiety about their origins or the violence that rendered these once live beings into museological curiosities.
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Let Us Now Praise Famous Seeds
Michael Taussig
Imagine a fantastic voyage from Norway to Istanbul in an old wooden sailing boat built for Arctic voyaging. This boat is carrying an ingeniously crafted mini-boat, like a chalice, containing a mere handful of old wheat and rye seeds found in a museum in Saint Petersburg in Russia and in the roof beams of a sauna in northern Norway. These seeds are like jewels.
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Imagining a Culture Beyond Oil at the Paris Climate Talks
Mel Evans and Kevin Smith of Liberate Tate
Museums have a specific role to play in opening up dialogue around our active response to the prospect of climate change, which would be to try and prevent the worst impacts from unfolding. Museum directors hold the key to significant decisions around buildings, curating, learning programmes – and funding. Right now, too many large cultural institutions around the world allow oil sponsors to brand their entranceways, their catalogues and their events. For the oil companies this provides a valuable social licence to operate, a guise of social acceptability masking the harmful impacts of the fossil fuel industry.
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Theorising More-Than Human Collectives for Climate Change Action in Museums
Fiona R. Cameron
Museum scholars, professionals and artists can progress real-world and scholarly change by undertaking what I call a series of "ecologising experimentations" that have the potential to re-work the possible relations between things and people via new types of museum practices and ways to conceptualise artworks.
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Beyond COP21: Collaborating with Indigenous People to Understand Climate Change and the Arctic
Candis Callison
Understanding what climate change means – and this is not particular to the Arctic, but perhaps most poignant there – turns on narratives of what exactly is in crisis. Alternative visions of future histories depend as much on evidence and predictions as they do on epistemologies, meaningful collaboration, articulations of what matters and why, and notions of what constitutes change and crisis.
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Late Subatlantic. Science Poetry in Times of Global Warming
Ursula Biemann
Art has a role to play in making these processes perceptible in a way that scientific data cannot. Art can send imaginative narratives across the abstract register of the scientific voice. How weather, ice and microorganisms mediate the world is turned into something visible and audible, and hopefully comprehensible.
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Climate Risks, Art, and Red Cross Action. Towards a Humanitarian Role for Museums?
Pablo Suarez
What can museums and artists do to help address the humanitarian consequences of climate change? The best answers, of course, can only emerge from the art community itself. At the practical level there can be new or revised disaster management plans and the obvious task of reducing the carbon footprint of art-related endeavours. At a deeper level, museums, artists and other stakeholders in the world of culture could help humanity by creating exhibits, installations, and other initiatives aimed at helping us all see the climate issue with new eyes.
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Bookshelves
Decolonising Archives
The e-publication Decolonising Archives aims to show how archives bear testimony to what was, even more so than collections. Archives present documents that allow one to understand what happened and in which order. Today Internet technology, combined with rapid moves made on the geopolitical chessboard, make archives a contested site of affirmation, recognition and denial.
Glossary of Common Knowledge | MG+MSUM
Palimpsest | Commons
For the referential field Commons of the Glossary of Common Knowledge taking place at MG+MSUM the narrator pantxo ramas proposed a term "palimpsest": "In Trieste writing on the walls become a practice for claiming an appropriation of public space, a political voice that is composed through a palimpsest of walls, and floors, and letter boxes, throughout the city. [...] Palimpsest is the explosion in the public space and another practice of commonality, one typical of the interns of total institution. In the inscription, accumulation and overlapping of words on a wall, a conversation emerges between the one interned now, the one that was here before, and the one that will be here again after you; this silent conversation allows the inmate to become a living agent in and against the endless and identical objectivation of confinement, imposed by the institution."
Archives of the Commons: Knowledge Commons, Information and Memory
Carlos Prieto del Campo
The "archives of the commons" is based on the notion of the archive as an engine for political activation in the present. It also seeks to establish devices that do not annul or objectify the grassroots systems that gave rise to these exercises in the conservation of memory, which give the archive its value and the inventive potential of a new institutionality.
Archivos del común o los commons del conocimiento, la información y la memoria
Carlos Prieto del Campo
La línea de investigación/intervención de archivos del común piensan el archivo como motor de activación política en el presente, al mismo tiempo que pretende definir dispositivos que no cancelen ni cosifiquen las dinámicas desde abajo de las que proceden esos ejercicios de conservación de la memoria en la actualidad, que dotan al mismo de todo su valor y potencial inventivo de nueva institucionalidad.
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Decolonial Sensibilities: Indigenous Research and Engaging with Archives in Contemporary Colonial Canada
Crystal Fraser, Zoe Todd
Recently the idea of reconciliation has been brought to the forefront of the Canadian socio-political terrain. Indigenous peoples battled the federal government for access to files and documents in possession of the Government of Canada pertaining to the centuries-old history of the school system, illustrating some of the nuances and complexities inherent in the question of 'decolonising the archives'. In this short piece, we first question who controls these archives?
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H[gun shot]ow c[gun shot]an I f[gun shot]orget?
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
What would it sound like if we could hear this vast database of police gunfire rather than have it ring out only in the desensitised and terrorised communities in which it is a regular occurrence. Instead of demanding our privacy be granted and rejecting this technology, we should instead be demanding more listening, more archiving in order to reverse-engineer it's selective ears.
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