1. nl / en
    bak
    institute for
    the contemporary
                1. Future Vocabularies
                2. Instituting Otherwise
                Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                30.01.–29.05.2016
                group exhibition and public program
                BAK, Utrecht (NL)
                    Beeld/image: Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Geometry of Fear, 2012. Film still, met dank aan/courtesy of Stefanos Tsivopoulos en/and Kalfayan Galleries Athens & Thessaloniki. /1
                  1. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)—part exhibition; part site for gathering, learning, and exchange—brings together perspectives from the geopolitical pressure points of various forms of statelessness. From Rojava to Palestine to Greece to the refugees in limbo in the Netherlands, the “unstated”—out of sync with the state: unable or unwilling to comply with its extant forms and demands—bear witness to their condition as one of both violent struggle and cautious possibility.

                    Unstated is inaugurated by the
                    New World Summit, an artistic and political organization founded by artist Jonas Staal, convened for its sixth iteration under the title Stateless Democracy. An accompanying installation at BAK provides insights into the preceding summit in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan), 2015, including a maquette of the Parliament for the political model of democracy without state, currently in construction.

                    In parallel, Common Assembly by DAAR—a cross-section modeled on yet another parliament, this time from Palestine—provides a forum for works of art and discourse to unfold over the course of the project. If originally built, mistakenly or not, partially on Israeli territory and thus prevented from ever coming to life, it is temporarily reclaimed at BAK. Here, numerous conversations are convened at the junction of the artistic, educational, and political, from Reading Anarchism, reading groups convening around an anarchist library by Nicoline van Harskamp; to Here We Are Academy, in which the undeportable refugees of the We Are Here collective, together with Campus in Camps, set up a learning curriculum for artists and students around the question of representation; and to a series of sit-ins for rethinking the art institution in face of the challenges of the present, titled Instituting for the Contemporary. Between these gatherings, the works by Abdullah Abdul and Masun Hamo, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Aernout Mik, Société Réaliste, Hito Steyerl, and Stefanos Tsivopoulos continue the idea of assembly, including in their inquiry questions about the state of art itself. Articulating their arguments one by one, the paradoxes of the present crises meet an appeal to engage the multiple meanings in unstated, so as to offer a space through art for things to be stated in turn; a space where the right to voice one’s concern is coupled with an adjacent right for it to be heard.

                    With: 
                    Abdullah Abdul & Masun Hamo (Rojava); Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Beirut); Campus in Camps (Palestine); Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR) (Palestine); Nicoline van Harskamp (Amsterdam); Aernout Mik (Amsterdam); New World Academy; New World Summit; Société Réaliste (Budapest/Paris); Hito Steyerl (Berlin); Stefanos Tsivopoulos (Athens); and We Are Here (Amsterdam). The project title refers to both the book Unstated: Writers on Scottish Independence (Ed. Scott Hames, Word Power Books: 2012), and the interview with Dilar Dirik conducted by Jonas Staal titled Living Without Approval, published in the New World Academy Reader #5: Stateless Democracy (Eds. Renée In der Maur and Jonas Staal, in dialogue with Dilar Dirik, BAK: 2015). Unstated is conceptualized by BAK’s Maria Hlavajova and Lucy Lopez, in dialogue with Marion von Osten.

                    New World Summit: Stateless Democracy 
                    Utrecht University, Academiegebouw (Aula)
                    29.–31.01.2016

                    Reading Anarchism
                    Nicoline van Harskamp with invited readers
                    17.02., 24.02., and 16.03.2016, 17.00–19.00 hrs

                    Here We Are Academy: Learning from the Forum
                    We Are Here with Campus in Camps
                    05.–09.04.2016, 12.00–18.00 hrs

                    Instituting for the Contemporary
                    Public editorial meetings
                    11.04., 18.04., 25.04.2016

                    Universal Anthem
                    Performance by Société Réaliste
                    Centraal Museum, Utrecht
                    01.05.2016

                    Following the evening of lectures Strijd: Art, Activism and the University on 18 May 2016, a makeshift iteration of the Strijd ∞ DIY exhibition is installed within BAK’s current exhibition Unstated (Or, Living Without Approval).

                  1. artists and projects

                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        New World Summit, Rojava
                        Jonas Staal
                        The New World Summit installation at BAK includes: New World Summit—Rojava, Part IOctober 2015, Derîk, Cezîre Canton, RojavaDocumentation of the first part of the New World Summit in Rojava that brought together representatives of the Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava with representatives of other stateless and autonomist organizations from all over the world. This assembly was organized as part of an international delegation to Rojava, in celebration of the beginning of the …
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Here We Are Academy
                        We Are Here & Campus in Camps
                         Here We Are Academy is an experimental education program conceived with and led by We Are Here—the first large scale organization of refugees in limbo in the Netherlands, and realized on the occasion of the Unstated project in collaboration with Campus in Camps—a program for learning based within four Palestinian refugee camps on the West Bank. Whilst the We Are Here Academy is an educational initiative offering university-level courses for undocumented individuals, inviting experts or …
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Reading Anarchism
                        Nicoline van Harskamp
                        In February 2016, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst hosts three Reading Anarchism events, as part of the exhibition Unstated (Or, Living Without Approval). The installation at BAK contains all anarchist writings currently archived online at theanarchistlibrary.org, printed as uniform volumes. For the duration of the exhibition, visitors may browse this library and print and bind copies of books they’d like to read.  Nicoline van Harskamp has invited a total of 6 guests to pick a single book …
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Untitled (Women from Rojava)
                        Abdullah Abdul & Masun Hamo
                        Abdullah Abdul & Masun Hamo’s print depicts two variations of their sculptural work Women from Rojava, part of an ongoing installation in cultural center Tev-Çand, Amude, Cezîre Canton in the autonomous region of Rojava. As with Abdul & Hamo’s other sculptural works, the series uses stones recovered from the destroyed sites of Mesopotamia, in this case placed anew within a cultural center in Rojava.
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Untitled
                        Aernout Mik
                        Aernout Mik’s work Untitled is composed of footage of a performance in the context of FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects, realized by BAK and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, in 2013. Throughout the duration of the week-long project, around 100 professional and amateur actors were in attendance, building a silent presence and familiarity with the public. At the end of a lecture by Piotr Piotrowski titled Global Agoraphilia, their unannounced performance gradually manifests as …
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Universal Anthem
                        Société Réaliste
                        Société Réaliste’s Universal Anthem is a score written for 12 instruments, based on the mathematical medium of the national anthems of the 193 member states of the United Nations. Working with Frédéric Mauclère, Société Réaliste developed a computer program which is able to count median musical transcriptions. It was then used to create the “averaged” UN anthem, which was adapted to an orchestra with the help of composers Cora Miron and Horváth Balázs. Within Unstated the work is presented as …
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley
                        Lawrence Abu Hamdan
                        Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley depicts the Druze community, a Levantine religious minority within the Ismaili branch of Islam. Recordings of the Druze Soldiers working as interpreters in the Israeli Military Court system in the West Bank and Gaza are contrasted with recordings from the “Shouting Valley,” Golan Heights, where the Druze population gather on both sides of the Israeli/Syrian Border and shout across the jurisdictions to family and friends on the other side, thus …
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Common Assembly
                        Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR)
                        Common Assembly is a cross-section of an abandoned and never used Palestinian Parliament in Jerusalem, scaled to fit the ground floor space at BAK. Its construction, which began in 1996 during the Oslo Accord, was halted in 2003 after the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, marked the failure of the political process. Discovering that the building was, intentionally or not, built on Israel’s unilaterally declared border within Jerusalem, DAAR developed the film and installation Common …
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Duty Free Art
                        Hito Steyerl
                        Duty Free Art consists of the documentation of a prerecorded lecture of Steyerl’s, in which the proliferation of free-trade zones and Freeport art storage are connected with the international art market and the Syrian Assad regime. Using WikiLeaks documents, the artist shows the Louvre, the British Museum, and architect Rem Koolhaas as implicated in the planning towards a new art institution in Syria, and considers the complexities in the relationship between the national museum and the nation …
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Geometry of Fear
                        Stefanos Tsivopoulos
                        Tsivopoulos’ Geometry of Fear documents the interior of the Greek Parliament in 2012. At this time, on the verge of an economic collapse, two successive national elections on 10 May and 17 June left Greece without government for 37 days. For the first time, no sessions were held in the Greek Parliament, its plenary hall left empty. Geometry of Fear registers the hall for political representation in this lengthy moment of stillness, its silence an implication of the transnational turmoil …
                        1. Research
                        2. Itineraries
                        3. Future Vocabularies
                        4. Instituting Otherwise
                        5. Unstated (or, Living Without Approval)
                        Instituting for the Contemporary
                        On 11, 18, and 25  April 2016, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, hosts three public editorial meetings in the context of the exhibition Unstated (or, Living Without Approval) held towards a new BAK critical reader provisionally titled Instituting for the Contemporary, edited by BAK’s editor of publications Tom Clark, artistic director Maria Hlavajova, and research curator Lucy Lopez. The reader aims to think through the notion of “instituting” as a proposal adequate …
                  2. Note: works on the ground floor will play in sequence, timings can be found here and at BAK.

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                  1. The activities of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst have been made possible by financial support from the City Council of Utrecht and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands. The project Future Vocabularies is realized with support from the DOEN Foundation, Amsterdam. The exhibition Unstated (or, Living Without Approval) is supported by the kfHein Fund, Utrecht. The related New World Summit: Stateless Democracy is supported by The Art of Impact, Amsterdam, Democracy & Media Foundation, Amsterdam, and the CBK Rotterdam (Centre for Visual Arts Rotterdam).
                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