1. nl / en
    bak
    institute for
    the contemporary
                1. Future Vocabularies
                2. Instituting Otherwise
                BAK Summer School: Art in a Time of Interregnum
                17.07.–21.07.2017
                Call for Participation – an intensive collaborative learning week that brings together artists, curators, art theorists, and academics
                BAK, Utrecht (NL)
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                1. Applications are now being accepted for the BAK Summer School: Art in a Time of Interregnum, a collaborative and intensive learning week at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst from 17–21 July 2017, organized in partnership with Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design (MaHKU) and Utrecht Summer School.

                  An advanced, interdisciplinary course designed for artists, curators, art theorists, academics, MA/MFA level or higher students, and professionals in the fields of art and social change, this summer school begins from the understanding that ours is a time of interregnum—a time of crisis and ongoing transition. Much in the sense of political thinker Antonio Gramsci’s understanding of crisis, these times are rife with a “great variety of morbid symptoms” as ruling structures prove, in their grasping at “coercive force,” to no longer be sustainable; “the old is dying and the new cannot be born.” As social, geopolitical, economic, and technological structures rapidly change, along with the unraveling legacies of western modernity, and with ongoing recompositions of class, global migration, and the endurability of the planet, so transform ideas, practices, and meanings of resistance, coming together, identity, activist and artistic practice, and collectivity and closeness—as well as the notions of artistic production, the (art) institution, and the public. How, then, does art relate to a contemporary as such? How to think art under such circumstances, and how to think about the contemporary with and through art in order to build space for envisioning ways of being together otherwise?

                  The BAK Summer School: Art in a Time of Interregnum brings together artists, curators, art theorists, and academics to collectively think through, learn about, and imagine critical, politically-informed artistic practices that work to grasp and influence our dramatically changing times. Concepts of the precariat, the challenges of contemporary fascisms, contemporary constructions of “we,” the posthuman, the Anthropocene, etc. will be discussed with a thematic inquiry into forms of artistic expression relevant to contemporary destabilizations.

                  In order to address these questions, the Summer School draws upon BAK research conducted within two interrelated projects, FORMER WEST (2008–2016) and Future Vocabularies (2013–ongoing). The former develops a critical understanding of the legacies of 1989’s radical resistance to power in order to reevaluate the global present and speculate about global futures. The latter attempts to act out concrete propositions that explore shifts in the existing conceptual vocabularies within artistic, intellectual, and activist practices. Artists, curators, activists, and theorists will convene workshops, presentations, study groups, screenings, and lectures.

                  The summer school takes place from 17–21 July 2017 at BAK in Utrecht, Netherlands. Applications can be submitted via the Utrecht Summer School website by 1 June 2017. The fee for the course and materials, to be paid upon acceptance, is €450. Accommodation by the Utrecht Summer School is an additional €200, for which you can sign up during your application process. Fees exclude meals and travel.

              1. Future Vocabularies
              Instituting Otherwise
              2016
                1. Within Future Vocabularies, a long-term, multifaceted research, education, exhibition, and publication project, the leading concept to shape BAK’s program in the course 2016 is that of instituting otherwise. The series is prompted by the desire to engage publically with the ideal of institutional innovation that would sync the operations of the infrastructure in general—and of the art infrastructure in particular—with the rapidly developing world that is enveloped in a series of concurrent crises (political, social, environmental, military, cultural, aesthetic, or other). BAK research, discursive projects, exhibitions, publications, and education will thus engage with an inquiry into the following subjects of social, political, and cultural relevance: the alternatives to the state; the organizations of learning; and the questions of language that co-define and shape the infrastructures of collectivity and solidarity, and thus of new ways of reclaiming the notion of the “public.”

                  At BAK, three exhibitions take place in this context over the course of 2016, as well as a series of discursive sessions under the title Institute for the Contemporary, leading to a publication of the BAK Critical Reader under the same title. In parallel, BAK’s key educational platform for art and politics, Learning Place, unfolds throughout the year as a continuation of BAK’s structural collaboration with MAHKU (MA program, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht) and MAR (Master of Artistic Research program, Royal College of Art/KABK, The Hague).

                  The collaborative practices, both within the city of Utrecht and transnationally, are at the core of BAK’s institutional work; within this ethos, BAK takes initiative to co-realize two significant transnational projects. New World Summit #6—the sixth iteration of a public gathering initiated by the artistic and political organization by Dutch artist Jonas Staal—takes place in Utrecht in January 2016 as a result of a collaborative effort of the Utrecht-driven institutional consortium consisting of BAK, Utrecht University, and Centraal Museum. Secondly, BAK continues its collaboration with the refugees’ organization We Are Here and organizes an international gathering of refugees at the “Drielandenpunt” as an artistic project (re)negotiating the border at the times of unprecedented European—as well as global—refugee crisis.

                  Further, in the publishing line of BAK Critical Readers in Artists’ Practice BAK will release a publication on one of the most influential artists and cultural producers since the 1980s, Marion von Osten, titled Once We Were Artists, charting the qualitative changes in the artistic practices in relation to social change in the course of the last four decades.
              1. Research
              2. Itineraries
              Future Vocabularies
              2014–2017
              long-term research and propositional trajectory rethinking art's conceptual lexicon
                1. Future Vocabularies is a long-term, multifaceted research, education, exhibition, and publication project through which the program of BAK unfolds over the course of 2014–2016. Future Vocabularies both stems from and is developed in parallel to (the concluding phase of) BAK’s flagship research project FORMER WEST (2008–2015).

                  The project takes as its point of departure the transitional period in which we all find ourselves: an intricate moment of parting from the modern under the pressures of new contemporary realities. Referred to at present as a time of multiple crises—political, social, environmental, military, aesthetic, and other—it can in fact be understood as an interval in between two historical epochs; an interregnum (Antonio Gramsci), so to speak, when one era has ended but before a new one is born. It is our own time when the contours of the future seem extant, palpable even, but are yet unsettled and escape any meaningful synthesis. How can art, then, with its faculty of imagining and ability to connect to other terrains of thinking and acting—the terrains of politics, ecology, economics, aesthetics, and other—provide us with the tools to grasp that which is forthcoming? How might we imagine, and thus potentially shape, the world to come?

                  Future Vocabularies
                   is inaugurated with a year-long exploration driven by an opening vocabulary entry on survival. In order to draw a line of continuity from BAK’s past and ongoing projects, this foundational sequence of the series is developed in dialogue with artists, scholars, and activists from our variety of long-standing collaborations, in order to postulate propositional research trajectories into how to think—with and through art—about some of the most urgent issues that define our contemporaneity: the livelihoods of refugees, the endurability of the planet, and the future of (institutional) infrastructures. From 2015 onwards, the project evolves as a succession of four additional semesters, brought to life in dialogue with research fellows—artists, scholars, and activists—who accompany BAK in codeveloping the semestral agendas. Future conceptual lexicon marked for exploration include artistic, intellectual, and activist itineraries around the notions of “the posthuman” and “degrowth.”

                  The current and upcoming BAK Research Fellows are: Aernout MikJonas StaalRosi Braidotti, Simon Sheikh and Boris Buden.

                  1. past

                      1. Future Vocabularies
                      Instituting Otherwise
                      2016
                      1. Future Vocabularies
                      Human-Inhuman-Posthuman
                      2015
                      1. Future Vocabularies
                      Future Collections
                      2014–2016
                      1. Future Vocabularies
                      Survival
                      2014
              1. Research
              Itineraries