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”Throw out the management books and read novels instead!”
Kerstin Brunnberg has a long list of references. She is now Chair of Swedish Art Council, and has a long career behind her as journalist and head of several of the large newspapers, as well as radio and TV.
She is invited to the education Kulturverkstan to talk about art, culture, the role of art in society, and leadership.
Being a leader of cultural institutions and organisations means to work with people, and the best place for learning of people is in novels. Read a lot, is a message.
Reading also helps writing. It’s necessary for any project manager to be able to describe its work in plans and project applications. Proposals written with passion, personal tone and genuin interest do have a larger chance to come through than buzzwords with no content. Might sound evident, but it’s easy to fall into the buzzword trap.
Flexibility, complexity, hard work, and to always stand up for the freedom of expression are leading words for this soft-strong lady.
For any project manager within art and culture, this should be on your bed-side to read: The law of freedom of the press.
Follow Nätverkstan at Vine, where you find a clip from the lecture.
What place should culture have in future Göteborg? Who’s initiative will be taken seriously and where do initiatives go?
The first semester at Kulturverkstan, the International Project Management within Culture, the students have to deal with ”glocal” Göteborg. They get real life projects to work with, which not only put them into project work, but also helps reflecting around the global and local – glocal – city. They deal with context, process and the operational from start.
Nätverkstan, the organization behind Kulturverkstan, is during 2013 using the same model to look at our own work and place in society. And we start with the question: What is the role of a cultural organization in today’s society?
To start off we went on a bus tour around glocal Göteborg. We rented a bus, asked Peter Rundqvist, Cultural Coordinator att Project UNO (Project Development Northeast) and well oriented in the city, to take us on a social, economic, and demographic tour around Göteborg from the rich south to the poorer northeast.
As the city changed around us from the dense city center to farming land, from richer to poorer areas, to hidden pearls in the middle of the million programme housing we discussed city planning, culture, space, possibilities, and demographics.
And it all came down to: Who has access to the city?
Göteborg is the host city of one of the biggest book fairs in Northern Europe. The latest years, the need of finding another positioning has evolved and to meet this need Mediadagarna – The Media Days fires off for the second year in a row.
Nätverkstan and Kulturchock, who work vividly with different ideas and initiatives to meet up the needs of the cultural journals, see this platform as one way of putting the Swedish cultural journals on the map.
We are already convinced of the multi-dimensional spread in content as well as subjects presented in the printed cultural journals and their role in Swedish democracy. What we had not digged deeper into before was the sound of them. What would they sound like if it was sound? We decided to build a sound installation in order to make them ”speak” in a new way.
From an old portable typewriter you hear the sound of typings from laptops as well as manual key buttons in a mxi with lead pencils writing on paper. ”Typings” is a 7`48”tape recording played in a loop.
From the headphones attached to the installation play a variation of sound samples from cultural magazines that work with additional formats as sound. Some do radio, talking magazines or present sound art works along with their releases. For this special occasion we also did a special recording of a young girl reading poetry from the arty, literary, and philosophic edition of OEI.
Text and photo: Helena Persson
”Dear Beatrice Ask, I write to you with a simple wish, Beatrice Ask. I would like that we exchange skin and experiences. Come on. Let’s just do it.”
Swedish writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri writes in his open letter, published in the daily Dagens Nyheter on March 13, and addressed to Sweden’s Minister for Justice, Beatrice Ask, about his experiences of growing up in Sweden with dark hair and a foreign look. The everyday small harassment that we, with blond hair and white skin, never have to deal with.
The letter is a respond to the latest debate around the police efforts to stop paperless immigrants by just stopping people on the métro, on the street or elsewhere to check their passport. Memories goes back to the Second World War or South Africa under Apartheid, but also present conflicts, where checking ordinary people is a daily routine.
The project, REVA, has been widely criticized and the other day the Minister answered questions on the radio program (P1) responding to the critic by saying something like ” The perception of why someone has been asking me can be very personal.”
This would mean that if you are being harassed for your looks, background, sexual preferences, or other things, it is only in your own perception. Swedish inhabitants testifying about racial harassement are just being sensitive, it’s in their own perception.
The whole thing is extremely cynical and shows something of the grand structural challenges we have in front of us. Structures we are all part of withholding. It’s time for some self-examination. Also for you, Beatrice Ask.
Christmas carols are on the schedule this afternoon and on stage of the outdoor assembly hall in the township Kogorocho in Nairobi, the young musicians are in deep concentration practicing for a show later on this week. And a small taste of the concert is given in an open session for whomever who would like to listen. Kids fill up the rows, together with a few others and us guests.
”Making music can make a difference” says Elisabeth Njoroge, Head of the Art of Music Foundation, the Foundation behind the project. Getting the chance to play an instrument, learning music, can actually change peoples lives, she says, and tells us examples of children from the slums who get a chance to play and how that has opened new possibilities and hope for a future.
Ghetto Classics, the project was named by the children, started in 2009 and has become an important contribution in the township. The foundation also runs the National Youth Orchestra in Kenya with the same ambition and conviction:
Music can make a difference in the lives of young Kenyans.
Nätverkstan, together with Ole Lützow-Holm, Assistant Professor at Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg, are in Kenya to work together with GoDown Arts Centre on the education Creative Entrepreneurship. Read more of Nätverkstan’s cooperation in Kenya here.
Etiketter:Bangalore, Creative Industries, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Cultural Policy, Democracy, Development, Digitization, Distribution, Economy, Globalization, Literature, New economy, Transformation
Inspired by the Nordic colors (the Göteborg Book Fair has a Nordic theme this year) the space is now filled with around hundred cultural journals filled with articles on society, art, poetry, literature, feminism, language, food, film, philosophy and more.
The doors have opened to the fair which is already packed with literatureinterested people from all over Europe and elsewhere.
GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi started in 2009 workshops in art and entrepreneurship for the art community in Kenya and East Africa. The workshops has now evolved to build a Capacity-building Program for Creative Entrepreneurs and Artists in East Africa that is long-term and this Summer a pilot will start, a 10 weeks Summer-course in art and entrepreneurship.
Nätverkstan has been a part in this cooperation since the start, holding workshops, arranged study visit, facilitators workshops, and discussing content and educational planning. Last week (26–28th of March) a facilitators workshop took place in Nairobi, held by GoDown Art Centre, Sian Prime at Goldsmiths University and Nätverkstan.
With such a commitment and talent as found in the arts community and among institutions in Nairobi, this Summer-course is not far from coming true.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, International exchange, Resources, Social entrepreneur
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) used to be an organization seeing art and culture as a tool within international development. It was so important that a Department for Culture and Media was created with its own responsible officer.
Now winds are blowing differently.
The department is closed down since several years and to find art and culture, you have to look under the department responsible for questions such as freedom of speech, democracy, equality, environment and climate.
Between 2007 and 2011, the Sida budget for culture declined from 180 million SEK to 40 million SEK, Swedish Televion’s Kulturnyheterna (Culture News) reported on the 18th of January. With a fourth of the originial budget, many international cultural projects have lost their funding, among them now Selam, an established world music festival and organizer of education, development, inspiration, exchanges for artists in Sweden and East Africa.
Where art and culture used to be seen as a tool for grassroot development and democracy building, Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, is instead talking of efficiency, results agenda, more distinctiveness. Sida is saying that the changes are due to orders from the government. The Minister says, in the tv interview, that this is a complete misunderstanding.
The fact is that the decline in money to culture projects at Sida coincides with the Conservative government in power since 2007.
It also coincides with the years when the Ministry of Culture published the report from the work of Kulturutredningen (Committe of Inquiry of Culture Policy) in February 2009, an inquiry proposing that culture should mainstream all policy. Sida’s decline in culture projects is exactly on the contrary of this.
It’s also during the years when Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications decided to release a plan for supporting Swedish development of cultural and creative industries. Small money has been invested, it’s true, but it’s at the same time the first time Ministry of Enterprise is discussing culture. Where this discussion goes, we will see.
Gunilla Carlsson seems to have missed all this.
The verdict fell heavily yesterday on the two Swedish journalists, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, in prison in Addis Adeba, Ethiopia.
They were charged and convicted by Lideta Federal High Court for being terrorists, the most severe of the charges they were accused for. It’s no doubt that the conviction was political, and so the trial.
Johan Persson and Martin Schibbiye are not terrorists. They went to the Ogaden-province to document and inquire about the multinational oil companies work in the area and the consequences of this. It’s a completely closed area, and word is that people live in the most severe circumstances and in complete absence of human rights as well as international law.
The verdict is a clear statement to journalists to keep out, and of course a large threat to freedom of speech and the journalists task as critical observers and reporters. We have seen many examples of this, just recently artist Ai Weiwei’s as well as many other political writers and journalists imprisonment in China. On December 15 Nätverkstan arranged Imprisoned Day in Lagerhuset, an arrangement together with the PEN club, to put the light on imprisoned writers.
Read other posts on Ai Weiwei here, and Imprisoned Writers’ Day here. Also related reflections from an article in New York Times in April this year by Salman Rushdie here. Read todays daily Göteborgs-Posten (in Swedish).
For a long time Region Västra Götaland has been a model region in Sweden with its offensive cultural policy. But what’s happening now?
Cultural critic and Chair of Nätverkstan board, David Karlsson, puts the light on the regional cultural policy in an article posted in the daily Göteborgs-Posten last week.
On Thursday November 17, the Cultural Affairs Comittee of the Region took two important decisions; a new Cultural Policy Strategy, and a detailed budget for 2012. As the Cultural Policy Strategy is a visionary and analyzing document, probably the most powerful cultural policy document in the country, the budget is depressing reading. It shows nothing of the visionary, or interest for the art and culture outside the traditional art form limitations.
The whole question falls back on the leadership of the region. Does anyone know where Region Västra Götaland is heading?
Download the article (in Swedish) here: vgr_debatt.pdf.
For the last couple of months the Kulturverkstan students have been working with projects in the city of Göteborg. The themes for these projects have been culture, city development, participation and democracy. Our students have been working with external partners. These partners have presented real live cases and ideas for project development to the students. In a common dialogue they have together developed these projects. As in all projects it has been an act of balance between the needs of the partners, the creativity of our students and the citizens of Gothenburg. Here follows a short summary for our English-speaking partners.
Eriksbo Fritidspark is an activity centre run by the community’s recreation organisation by day and in the evenings the different activities are the responsibility of the volunteer driven Eriksbo Parkförening. Available to the public are activities such as help with homework, a pottery class and yoga. One can also find a petting zoo with bunnies, goats and chickens as well as a much-visited green nature area. The board however wants to do more. They want Parken to become the official meeting place of the multicultural, beautiful community that is Eriksbo. Over the years new inhabitants have moved in and a worrying lack of local participation has grown. In order to assist the board in their development process a project group from Kulturverkstan was tasked with acquiring a ”vision document”. What kind of activities do the citizens of Eriksbo want to have at Parken?
Through interviews, public meetings, workshops and surveys we have collected thoughts and opinions about which needs exist in the community and what people wish of their spare time in Eriksbo.
In conclusion, we have been in contact with over 100 citizens of Eriksbo. In addition to solid suggestions there has been talk of the needs in different areas and potential improvements. During our inquiry we have learned that the work being done already at Parken is much appreciated, and with more resources the Parken can be even better.
Group members: Josefina Samuelsson, Anna Sandin, Hanna Jansson, Caroline Andersson, Fillip Williams
External partner: Parkföreningen Eriksbo och Hyresgästföreningen
Pleasure Parking – An innovative step towards the car parks of the future
A project assignment conducted by the project group Pleasure Parking at Kulturverkstan’s International Cultural Management Programme
During the autumn of 2011 we, the members of the project group Pleasure Parking, have conducted an assignment at the request of Göteborgs Stads Parkerings AB (the municipal parking company) and Kulturverkstan. Our main goal within the assignment was to deliver a raw material of opinions of the general public, concerning the company’s indoor car parks and its atmospheres. What does it take to improve one’s feeling of well-being and ease in these car parks?
We chose to arrange a public event in one of the company’s indoor car parks, with the aim to there and then collect the participants opinions through an inquiry and a ”wall of opinions”. We also placed a number of minor inquiries in three of the company’s central car parks, and we created a web site in connection to the parking company’s homepage along with an e-mail address to which opinions could be sent. Some other internal goals of Pleasure Parking was to create a forum for discussions on car parks as a part of the public space and its connection to environmental-related issues, and also to make sure that the dialogue and cooperation of the parking company with the general public, would continue after the completion of our assignment.
When we delivered the result of the inquiries to the parking company, the gathering of data was however not completely finished. The reason is that the minor inquiries in the car parks will continue and that the web page and the possibility to e-mail, will remain open to the public. We managed to evoke a forum for discussions and debates during the public event on issues of democracy and the environment, and we hope that these topics were also discussed among the public who took part of the media reports of the project.
One of the conclusions that we can make is that indoor car parks can be used for more purposes than that of parking only, for example art exhibitions and music performances. We succeeded in creating an attractive event with a high rate of participants, and a democratic forum in which the opinions of the public was gathered. We did find a gap between the number of participants and the number of delivered inquiries, and we made the conclusion that we, in Pleasure Parking, could have been more active towards the participants in order to encourage them to make their voices heard.
A bonus result was however that at least one of the decorations which we placed in the car park for the event will be made permanent, and that connections have been made between different cultural workers and the parking company for further cooperation in the future.
Group members: Johanna Franck, Caroline Pehrson, Martin Reinikainen , Anna Svensson, Tobias Westerberg
External partner: Göteborgs Stads Parkeringsbolag.
Space for young culture
A community centre for young people is planned to open in the centre of Gothenburg. The public administration for culture claimed in a document at the 31st January 20111 that a dialogue process would be an appropriate way to form the content of this centre. This initial process was to be called Space for young culture. Six students at Kulturverkstan was called in to the project in September to ensure a dialogue process of high quality standard. By a critical scrutinizing analysis of collected information and by identifying strengths and flaws, they were to offer improvements and solutions to improve the process.
Group members: Johanna Byström, Johan Lind, Lisa Säthil, Tobias Brandin, Elin Tollbom, Julia Adielsson
External partner: Kulturförvaltningen Göteborg, Rum för ung kultur
Project Vega has aimed to variegate and strengthen the voice of the elderly in the public debate, in a positive and artistic way see them as unique personalities and satisfy a need of being able to be a part of the cultural life in the city. The project created conditions for interactions between local artists and residents at the nursing home Vegahusen, one of Tre Stiftelser’s three nursinghomes in Gothenburg. In the creative process of the artworks, ten elderlys experiences and thoughts has been taken care of and shaped by ten artists with different forms of expressions. The project resulted in two exhibitions named ”A priest, a Dane and a ballerina” and a catalogue including information about the participators and the process of the artworks.
Group members: Erika Alsén, Anne-Li And, Lars Dyrendom, Klara Fulgentiusson Ejeby, Anna Hansen, Robin Palmqvist
External partner: Tre stiftelser Äldreboende
Being the main host of Gothenburg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Röda Sten Art Centre asked us to arrange a one day activity within the Biennial. We all found the theme Pandemonium – Art in a time of creativity fever, to be highly interesting. The Biennial statement expresses a wish to be a “launch pad for new ideas and new world orders”. Sadly, we couldn’t find any means to harvest these thoughts, nor did we find any other points of interaction with the visitors. In this we found the aim for our project.
Our objectives were to catalyze the visitor’s reflection and enhance their participation, to enable simple ways for leaving a print and a forum for discussion in conjunction with visiting the Biennial.
Framtidslabb, Swedish for Future Laboratory, housed four stations ranging from our abstract Reflektorium to the more hands-on Tomorrow’s Headlines workshop.
From surveys and our conversations with participants we found that our goal was met. Our conclusion is that this sort of pedagogical activity offers the Biennial visitor a more enriching experience.
Group members: Göran Dahlström, Bella Ghajavand, Héctor García Jorquera, Jenny Haraldsson
External partner: Konsthallen Röda sten, Göteborg International Biennal for contemporary art.
Accomodation of Blattsploitation
The project’s primary aim has been to create conditions for a sustainable non-profit business that can accommodate the association ”Alla har en Historia att Berätta”, its ideas and visions. We have chosen to do this through a pilot study. In the beginning part of the pilot study we tried to gather and create a consensus on the ideas, the knowledge and experience within the association. We have also added ideas and suggestions that we believe favours the association’s sustainability and long-term work ahead. This was done in close collaboration with the association. One of these proposals, to develop the association’s website, came up early in the process. There was a lot of interest in this proposal from the members of the association and therefore we decided to begin this work in parallel with the work on the pilot study.
The issues that have been a leader for us in the pilot study concerning the association’s structure and development was:
The association’s purpose is to highlight the suburbs of Gothenburg and those who live there, to allow people to visualize themselves on their own terms. They want a larger amount of voices to be heard and more perspectives to be made visible through the stories in the media form of Digital Storytelling (DST). The association’s focus is twofold. DST will be the association’s core activity. DST is a short film, usually 5-15 minutes with a voice and images combined with music or other sounds that create a story. They also have a vision about the association being a knowledge centre for DST. The second part of the association is to serve as a platform for other thoughts and ideas that fit within the framework of its statutes. Here they have thoughts about casting companies, films, TV-Shows about food from mixed cultures and so on.
Group members: Annika Jonsson, Johan Elldér, Martina Jeansson, Olle Andersson, Pia Engman
External partner: Föreningen Alla har en Historia att Berätta
Photos from the project Pleasure Parking.
Yesterday, on November 15, Nätverkstan commemorated The Day of the Imprisoned Writer – this annual, international day intended to recognize and support writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information.
In Lagerhuset, Göteborg, the editor in chief for the magazine Filter, Mattias Göransson, explained the situation for the two imprisoned Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson. After that we listened to a discussion between the Palestinian/Syrian poet Ghayath Almadhoun and the freelance journalist Mikael Löfgren on the topic literature and politics in Syria. The evening ended with a poetry reading of Almadhouns recently published poems translated into Swedish (Asylansökan, Ersatz förlag, 2010).
Ghayath Almadhoun, describes himself as he ”doesn’t exist”. Being of Palestinian and Gaza heritage but born in Syria, which he later left, he doesn’t have any certificate or paper acknowledging his national status. No papers and no passport. This of course is a dilemma from the Migration Office in Sweden, where he is applying for asylum, who wants to see his birthcertificate to be able to decide on his heritage and by that also if he is allowed to apply for asylum or not. ”I am not learning Swedish until they accept me”, he says with a smile. ”I accept this country, and this country has to accept me.”
The Yugoslav Museum of History in Belgrade, also known as Museum 25th of May, is now hosting the 52nd October Salon It’s Time We Get To Know Each Other.
The curators, Israeli artist Galit Eilat and Slovenian curator Alenka Gregoric, use as a starting point Milgram’s simulation experiment on obedience towards authorities and want to catalyse a discussion on obedience, social responsibility, conformism and dis-obedience. The artists chosen all refer to the topic of what we, human beings, are willing to do when we think we are not responsible.
25th of May is former Yugoslav dictator Tito’s birthday and the Museum was planned to be his Memorial Centre where he would collect all the things he collected in his life; records, paper, art work. He is buried just behind the Museum. One art piece by Nemanja Cvijanovic’s Paying my Electricity Bill is a heated replica of the grave of Tito and refers to parts of history that cannot be erased.
The independent cultural scene that I meet is spurring and generous. Interesting organizations like the cultural house and European Center for Culture and Debate Grad down by the river Sava, and Rex placed in an old synagogue, both aim to debate contemporary topics relevant in Serbian and European society. While Rex is a laboratory for research of new fields of culture, Grad provides design and art space, run projects, and have a small stage for debates and performances.
Rex also runs the Free Zone Film Festival, an international filmfestival running this week. In his film A letter to dad, Serbian film-maker Srdan Keca searches for answers of why his father choose to die. He writes a letter to his dead father as he looks back to try understand what happened. In his interviews with his uncle, the father’s old friend, his mother; going through photos and films from the past; a story of a life interrupted by war unfolds. It relates back to the exhibition. How could it happen?
Other initiatives is the Monday Club, arranged by the Swedish Embassy and Museum of Science and Technology within the project Creative Society. Each Monday during the fall a Swedish and Serbian manager, professor, leader meet to share experience and knowledge from running an organization, setting up an initiative, or research on stage at six o’clock. This form of seminar has become quite popular among artists, cultural entrepreneurs and managers, as well as among university professors.
Wherever you turn on this independent cultural scene in Belgrade, in these few snapshots, you meet people educated at the MA Cultural Policy and Management at University of Arts in Belgrade. Many witness how important the training programme has been to build a strong independent scene in Serbia. During the conference on Management of culture and media in the knowledge society challenges in cultural management and the role of internationalization are addressed. It would also be interesting to discuss the role of these educations in strengthening an independent cultural scene in society.
Download the intervention from Nätverkstan here:belgrade_conference2011.pdf.
Trans Europe Halles – meetings that matters
During four days, 27 – 30th October, around 100 people from different Independent Cultural Centres throughout Europe have met in Bordeaux for the 72nd Trans Europe Halles meeting. This network (founded in 1983) gather more than fifty multidisciplinary and socially engaged member centres. Most centres are located in buildings from industrial heritage and have taken important action in challenging the established cultural policy.
This meeting was held at TNT – Manufacture de Chaussures in Bordeaux, France. The theme of the meeting was Neighbourhood / Voisinage. The meeting was organised together with TEH Friend organisation ARTfactories/Autre(s) pARTs and supported by TEH:s three-year network project Engine Room Europe.
TNT opened in 1997 in a former shoe factory, and supports artistic research in the performing arts. Originally devoted to the theatre, it opened to other disciplines such as dance, music, visual arts, poetry, etc. These relations can last from a month to two years, through residencies or long-term projects. TNT tries to develop new ways of working, in its programming as in its functioning, in the choice of the artists, as in the working modalities, in the relations with the public as in the economy of the projects.
The organisation ARTfactories/Autre(s)pARTs is a common platform for reflection, research and action, transmission and solidarity for the development of art centres that organise their practices and experiments around the relationship between arts, territories and populations. ARTfactories/Autre(s)pARTs is based in Toulouse, France.
Kulturverkstan is not a member of TEH but took part of the meeting as a guest. Networking is always a good way to reflect upon what’s possible, get inspired, review your own work and talk with people with common interests. This network is also interesting to us as we always look for interesting internships for our students.
The meeting was a mix of formal and informal meetings, information and interaction, meeting with artist, brain-gym and artistic work. Among other things we took part in two different workshops:
The workshop ”Cross-Boarder Exchange” set out to explore the relationship between people with common ideas, but different national contexts. In this workshop we discuss challenges and possibilities of these exchanges, starting with two examples from Kulturfabrik in Luxembourg and La Grainerie in Toulouse, France. They both shared their experiences from recent cross-boarder projects and the discussion that followed centred around issues such as regional identity, European funding and the benefits of proper evaluations. The over all outcome was the positive encouragement from the participants with experience in cross-boarder exchange. That even though communication can prove to be very challenging and a lot of the budget needs to be spent on travelling it is still a very rewarding experience that your organisation will benefit from in a number of ways. The workshop leader was Dušica Parezanović from the centre REX, in Belgrade,Serbia.
Another workshop introduced ”Holacracy, a new way of Governance”. The term ”Holacracy” refers to a practice of structuring, governing and running an organisation. One of the interesting aspects of this model was the concept of doing what’s ”workable”. To not spend to much time on finding what’s perfect before you try it out. Inspiration comes from software development and open source where you launch a Beta-version and get immediate feedback to make it better.
Travelling to a European meeting often give you the opportunity to also meet colleagues from your own country. We spent some time with the Swedish members Röda sten, Konstepidemin, Kulturmejeriet, Subtopia, Culturen and Not Quite. Carl-Oscar Sjögren, artistic director for the performing arts company Drift, took part of the TEH meeting to launch, and gain inspiration on, his new project; to open an international art centre in an old abandoned mine. The mine is called Ställberg and is situated in the Swedish forests of Västmanland in a mine district that was closed down some 30 years ago. Since the TEH network constitutes mainly of cultural centres in buildings that was once used for industrial purposes, Carl-Oscar had the chance to meet with a lot of people that had pioneered the same roads he is now about to discover.
In Autumn 2012 the TEH meeting will be held in Gothenburg, hosted by Röda sten and Konstepidemin. Nätverkstan/Kulturverkstan will most certainly take part in some way!
Parallel to the TEH meeting the second edition of EVENTO in Bordeaux offered a series of interesting exhibitions and art projects. EVENTO2011 has invited Michelangelo Pistoletto and his foundation Cittadellarte as artistic director and brings many local and international artists together under the theme ”Art for an Urban Re-Evolution”. The aim is to encourage us to reinvent the city and how we live together.
We visited some of the interesting spots:
ONCE UPON A FUTURE (STEALTH.unlimited + arc en rêve centre d’architecture Bordeaux) is a fictional account of a possible utopia for Bordeaux in 2030, inspired by citizen’s initiatives. This fictional narrative takes the form of a large mural created by a number of graphic designers and graphic novel artists. We have learnt from history different consequences of imposed utopias, in this work the artist are trying to use the concept of utopia in a ”more pragmatic and less theoretical, more immanent and less transcendent: a hybrid of utopia, somewhere between desire and reality”. Walking along the mural, taking part of all these different ideas and desires my reflection is that the notion of utopia or future at least tells us a lot about the present.
”This is how we came to eat sugar”
Musée d’Aquitaine (Aquitaine is the south-western region of France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain)
This museum with it contents Pistoletto uses as a portrait of the past that help us to prefigure the future: Slavery, immigration and other things that we have built our societies and economical growth upon. Six international artists – William Kentridge, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Marzia Migliora, Michael Blum, Shilpa Gupta and Wael Shawky – create a link between the museum collections and elements of refexion on contemporary society.
Our last stop was at a space-specific art project where an artist has worked together with people living there creating a garden, a stage and a café. Everyone in the neighbourhood has been invited to use it for their ideas.
By: Karin Dalborg & Malin Schiller, Kulturverkstan
1. TNT, and 2-3. Once upon a future
If you enjoy star-spotting, Göteborg is the place to be in at the moment. The exhibition hall at Svenska Mässan is filled to its rims with well-known authors, writers, journalists, publishing houses, book-stores and others involved the art of words.
The Nordic Book Fair just started, this year with the theme Three countries – one language, that is the german speaking literature is in focus.
Nätverkstan is there with an exhibition place for the over hundred small cultural journals that we work with. This is probably the most important event for these journals. Tonight at a glamorous party at Storan, the Cultural Journal of the Year will be nominated.
The theories of philosopher Jacques Rancière and his politics of aesthetics got a very practical meaning the other day when listening to literature researcher and dramaturge Jan Holmgaard.
He was invited to give a talk at the closing of a mentorprogram run by DIK Association and took his standing-point in Rancière. Very simplified described as two spheres in constant struggle with each other; the current understanding of reality, and the resistance towards this understanding. The gap in between these two is where creativity and modern art finds its role in trying to distort current understanding. A vital society should be one that allows for this gap of disagreement to exist.
Translated to practical work in an organization or, such as in this case, a mentorprogram, it poses some crucial questions. Does a mentorship program institutionalize hierarchy? And is that good or bad? Can anything be done to brake this hierarchy? How would you radicalize the idea of a program for mentorship? What are the blind spots we don’t see, that influence on our understanding of reality and are used as the basis for decisions?
A struggle for consenus, a mutual agreement among a group of people, is undemocratic and just confirms the current. Instead, the democratic line is to allow for dissensus and disagreement, Holmgaard points out. A difficult task, and so beautifully addressed by Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård in his summertalk in Swedish radio in August just a few weeks after the horrifying attack by Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo.
We are all pieces in the puzzle of existing understanding and structure in society. This was a good reminder of how important art is to keep us vital.
Rain has been pouring down about once every hour today. Heavy rains. The weather forecast has been followed with extreme care at Nätverkstan, glued by the radio most of the day and running outside to try to follow the clouds’ movement.
But half an hour before screening the first of three shows of art- and experimental films on outdoor screening, the clouds disappeared and the sky was blue. Around sixty people had gathered in the restaurant at Lagerhuset, sitting outside to have a drink and see art film. And as the sun set out the coastline in the West and it finally got darker, curator Åsa Falewicz presented her project Where Dreams Cross and her film put together by a set of nine films produced by different artists.
Screening windows for art- and experimental film are changing. The white cube is not any longer the only place where experimental moving images can – or will – be shown. Where Dreams Cross wants to explore new exhibit places for art film and video with the aim to reach a wider audience.
Nätverkstan Borderland has started in line with these ideas. We want to explore more screening possibilities for art- and experimental film, and are starting both open outdoor film screening together with an online window. And today was the nerv-racking start of a series of three shows. Tonight Åsa Falewicz with Where Dreams Cross gave it all a flying start!
The project is a cooperation between Nätverkstan Medialab (Medieverkstäderna), School of Film Directing at University of Gothenburg, Pustervik and Where Dreams Cross. Medieverkstäderna has cultural strategic funding from Region Västra Götaland.
In Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland political parties with less tolerance towards immigrants are growing in popularity.
In an article in today’s daily Dagens Nyheter (April 9 2011) you can see that sympathies for Fremskrittspartiet (Norway), Dansk Folkeparti (Denmark), Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden), and Sannfinländarna (Finland) are growing in popularity.
In Sweden, Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats) got seats in Parliament in the last election 2010 (and in Finland Sannfinländarna are expected to get into Parliament in upcoming election on April 17). Ever since, Swedish politicians have had different strategies and theories of how to handle the situation and not give these nationalists any power. With mixed success.
In an article in Eskilstuna-Kuriren on March 28, you can read that it is shown by research and practice that if the other political parties meet nationalistic parties’ hostility towards immigrants with other arguments, they loose and the nationalistic parties gain votes. It is said to be built on the assumption that immigrant hostility is stronger among voters than among our political representatives and when an argument is met with another argument, the questions become more housetrained. These thoughts are now being backed by a working report by Quality of Government Institute at University of Gothenburg, which is pointing in the same direction (download paper below).
A better strategy to meet the nationalistic arguments would, then, be to do the opposite. Instead of trying to burst an argument or point-of-view with a better argument, just meet it with silence.
At the conference Kulturens roll i samhällsutvecklingen (The role of culture for social progress) last Friday (April 8, 2011) representatives from the 49 municipalities in Region Västra Götaland were invited together with civil servants and some cultural organizations to discuss just that: The role of culture in local and regional development. Proud political representatives showed examples of cultural projects and its effects for their local community. Everyone was movingly in agreement of the role of culture. And the need for arms-lengths distance between politicians and artistic content.
But in the region we still have in memory the discussion on the first meeting in the Regional Parliament held on November 2, 2010, where Sweden Democrats argued to take away a whole chapter of text in Kulturplanerna 2011–2012, the Cultural Plans of coming two years, concerning the importance of intercultural dialogue and how the region should work with issues like ethnicity, human rights and crossover cooperation with the aim of building understanding and knowledge instead of prejudices. This should, the Sweden Democrats argued, be erased from the document.
Their suggestion was voted down, but interestingly two persons from one of the largest parties, and one of the parties at the moment in Swedish Government, Moderaterna (Conservatives), voted together with the Sweden Democrats.
This is the everyday practice of political work. And shows how thoughts from the Swedish nationalstic party, with a background in neo-nazism, is slowly sneeking into the political arena and decisions.
Read former post on Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Time to guarantee artistic freedom.
Download the working report from Quality of Government Institute, University of Gothenburg, wwwqogpolguse_working_papers_2011_5_dahlstrom_sundell.pdf.
The Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, now detained in Chinese prison, has continuously been a needle in the eye for the Chinese government.
In his exhibition at Tate Modern last fall, Sunflower seeds, the floor in the Turbine Hall was covered with hand-fired and hand-painted porcelain sunflowers, made by inhabitants of Jingdezhen, once the ”porcelain capital” of China.
The day Nätverkstan arrived to see the exhibition, the museum had decided to close the ability to walk on and touch the seeds. The intention from start was that you should walk among these millions of sunflower seeds, to feel them, touch, reflect. The exhibition was overwhelming, even from the side just overlooking the Turbine Hall filled with seeds.
With the exhibition Ai Weiwei wanted to transform the traditional handicraft to contemporary language. Using sunflower seeds has a political meaning and he says in the film (below) that: ”Sunflowers supported the whole revolution, spiritually and in material ways”. In almost all official paintings of Mao Zedong, says Ai Weiwei, he is surrounded by sunflower seeds, symbolizing all every-day Chinese people supporting the regime.
Ai Weiwei’s work is important, in China and elsewhere. Basic freedom of rights should be guaranteed and he, together with other political activists and critical thinkers, should be freed at this instance.
In a Europe where nationalism and intolerance for differences are growing, it should be on every politician’s agenda to assure the possibilities for artists to work freely and as artists.
Read more on the detention of Ai Weiwei in the Guardian here.
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