1. nl / en
    bak
    bringing
    awareness kindly
                1. Future Vocabularies
                2. Instituting Otherwise
                To Seminar
                10.03.–21.05.2017
                exhibition conceptualized by Henk Slager
                BAK, Utrecht (NL)
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                1. To Seminaran exhibition evolving over time through a series of performative and discursive public meetings—inquires into the practices of learning about, with, and through art today. It asks how we can move beyond the present-day ramifications of the so-called educational turn in contemporary art and toward a collective pursuit of learning with a real relation to social praxis. 

                  The project unfolds as a contemporary reading of philosopher Roland Barthes’ essay “To the Seminar” (1974). Engaging with the notion of the seminar—as a concept and as an intimate and complex practice—as something pivotal for learning today, To Seminar transforms the noun into a verb in an attempt to activate its “unpredictable rhythm,” proposing it as a tool for intervention into the settled practices of education today; in art and beyond. For what was once celebrated as the “educational turn” today turns far too often into either routine initiation into a knowledge economy or cognitive capitalism, or into the placatory emptying of the meanings of “knowledge production,” “community,” and “method.” If, like Barthes’ time of writing, ours is a present immersed in “a certain apocalypse in culture,” the true task of learning is not to normalize this present’s morbid symptoms as has become customary, but rather to collectively think through and act out alternative imaginaries. With artists, theorists, and other cultural practitioners, To Seminar reengages the three conceptual spaces that intersect when a seminaring takes place—institution/transference/text—and seeks to recompose them into a balanced comradeship for renegotiating the conditions of the contemporary.

                  A series of public gatherings—performances, talks, screenings, etc.—takes place in the course of this exhibition-as-seminar (registration is not required):

                  Seminar 10.03.2017, 17–19 hrs: Sleeper
                  Tiong Ang in collaboration with Sebastián González de Gortari, Ola Hassanain, Jan Yongdeok Lim, Winston Nanlohy, Andrés Novo, Kristina Országhová, Alejandro Ramírez, Heekyung Ryu, and Robert Wittendorp, on the occasion of the opening of To Seminar

                  Seminar 21.03.2017, 19–22 hrs: Institution
                  İnci Eviner, Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide), and Jan Verwoert, moderated by Marijke Hoogenboom

                  Seminar 23.03.2017, 19–22 hrs: Co-Action Device. I rather laugh
                  İnci Eviner in collaboration with Sırma Öztaş, Adnan Devran, Iris Ergül, Buse Aktaş, Şafak Çatalbaş, and Ecem Sarıçayır

                  Seminar 30.03.2017, 19–22 hrs: Text
                  Job Koelewijn, Falke Pisano, and Mick Wilson, moderated by Vivian Sky Rehberg

                  Seminar 06.04.2017, 19–22 hrs: Transference
                  Tiong Ang, René Francisco, and Marquard Smith, moderated by Margo Slomp

                  Seminar 13.04.2017, 17–19 hrs: Art Works on Commission, Free
                  René Francisco

                  Seminar 18.04.2017, 19–21 hrs: Education is what enables every person to judge for themselves what secures or endangers their freedom
                  Jeremiah Day

                  Seminar 20.04.2017, 19–21 hrs: Reflection on Knowability
                  Irit Rogoff, followed by a discussion moderated by Kitty Zijlmans

                  Seminar 18.05.2017, 15–17 hrs: Campus
                  Sarah Pierce in collaboration with the students of DAI, Arnhem

                  To Seminar has been conceptualized by Henk Slager. Seminars are realized with contributions by numerous graduate art programs in the Netherlands and beyond. A publication will be published by Metropolis M Books in summer 2017. To Seminar has been made possible through the collaboration between BAK and MaHKU (HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht).
              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