Giorgiana Zachia presents her practice on cultural intimacy writing about the specific work with contemporary art in the frame of a national cultural institute.
Cultural intimacy in art at the national cultural institute – the case of the Romanian Cultural Institute of Stockholm
Stefan Constantinescu, Archive of Pain, video installation, 2000
In my text about cultural intimacy, I discussed the concept’s relevance for the work of national cultural institutes: the analytical separation between what a nation, a community or a couple displays externally and what they share internally; the intimate dimension of what makes people feel they belong together; the occurrence or risk of embarrassment and shame and the very dealing with things that may cause these feelings. These aspects are important parts of what makes up culture, in both its anthropological and artistic sense, and cultural intimacy involves conceptual tools that help us become aware and reflexive about it.
Giorgiana Zachia writes about the role given to contemporary art at national cultural institutes in the perspective of cultural intimacy.
Pride and prejudice of the national cultural institute: cultural diplomacy/cultural intimacy
Videograms of a Revolution, Harun Farocki
A national cultural institute, in a traditional perspective, is a lot about pride, and quite a lot about prejudice. Pride in the sense that the basic idea with the institutes is to exhibit the nation’s best and most authentic cultural products – distinguished writers, finest art, best design etc. Prejudice in the form of expectations among the public in the countries where they are active, meaning that a visit to a particular national cultural institute is likely to produce an impression that this or that nation indeed has some unique and essential qualities. This traditional perspective of the cultural institutes is still valid but it has been accompanied by a more flexible praxis in relation to changes in our contemporary world. There is not so much self-reflexivity going on though, with regards to the role of the institutes and to the idea of national culture in the first place.
Benjamin Fallon defines the need for public structures (and times) for art. Public funding, the History of present economics, public structures, the market, art councils, welfare state, sovereignty, the balance between public and private, the relationship between art and commodity…
John Maynard Keynes
Public funding for the arts in Europe emerged at a specific historical juncture. After the horrors of WWII the public mood was towards pulling together and rebuilding. John Maynard Keynes, the economist behind the ideas underpinning this reconstruction and establishment of the welfare state, died in 1946, but his influence did not. He endorsed a mixed economy of public and private interests to be bolstered by the state during times of depression and to be stepping back during more stable periods. Keynes was an avid supporter of the arts throughout his life and latterly married a Russian émigré ballet dancer. His endorsement extended to championing of the formation of the Arts Council, which he chaired until his premature death. Initially his support for the arts was directed towards the more ‘refined’ areas of ballet and opera but as his influence spread so did the remit of the Arts Council, which began to fund the work of artists whose practices were more experimental in nature and would not easily find support through commercial mechanisms. This was, of course, not an entirely neutral process, inherently linked to the ongoing Cold War, and was, like the Welfare State, a means for capitalism to demonstrate that it could care for people alongside perpetuating a narrow idea of freedom.
5 Questions with… Konsthall323
Konsthall323 is an art centre in a car. It started in a Mazda323 and, after a period of renovation, opened again now in a Volkswagen Golf Variant. Five questions regarding institutionalization, the white cube, coffee and gasoline.
1: Konsthall 323 deals in several layers with the idea of institution. Konsthall323 is an art centre in a car. The exhibition space is necessarily non-static; the number of visitors visiting the art centre at the same time is always limited. The position of the artist is also a particular one. From the ideas behind Konsthall323, what defines an art centre? How is it in the case of Konsthall323?
Frida Krohn & Ylva Trapp: When we started Konsthall323 we had no big, white, empty room waiting to be filled by us. We had a light-blue old Mazda 323. So we decided to use the car as our Art Centre, and we realised we had a number of new advantages for this art-space; flexibility, intimacy, the ability to transport equipment and a great architecture for photos. But above all, we created the possibility for us to take charge, to define what was important in our context, we made ourselves the directors. This might be the most important definition for us; that we make all the decisions.
Relatos del amateurismo y la autoconciencia
Claudio M Iglesias observa la evolución de las ferias de arte y su proceso de institucionalización, analizando particularmente los pasos de ArteBA, la feria de arte de Buenos Aires.
Algún día vamos a darle las gracias a Milton Friedman. Puede que el día tarde en llegar, pero llegará. Por supuesto que no vamos a darles las gracias por los resultados concretos de cada una de sus políticas y recomendaciones, sino por la mirada global sobre el mercado como una fuerza capaz de auto-organizarse, y por la idea (común con su época) de que la capacidad de organización está en las cosas mismas. Mientras otros hacen un gran esfuerzo para elevar costosas metáforas de la organización política, basadas en fantasmas como el del “antagonismo,” Friedman nos dice que las organizaciones necesitan menos que un empujoncito para existir. Que casi no debemos tocarlas. No en mucho tiempo, será leído junto a ese libro tan popular de Eugen Herrigel, Zen en el arte del tiro con arco, donde se dice que el arquero debe aprender a desaprender: debe lograr que la flecha se dispare sola.