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How to Begin Living in the Trees?


#1

Cluster is a network of eight contemporary visual arts organizations located in residential areas on the periphery of European cities (with one member organization in Israel). Each is highly invested in engaging with its particular locality. The network was formed in summer 2011 with the goal of facilitating an exchange of knowledge on how the different member organizations operate and how they relate to their local contexts, to funders, and to the media. Most of the organizations are situated in underserved or impoverished areas with large immigrant populations, and where many languages are spoken. It is the first network of its kind.

The member organizations of Cluster are focused on commissioning and producing contemporary art. Their programs are often experimental, process-driven, and research-based, and the organizations work with both local and international artists. Although the organizations vary in size, they all produce work that is deeply invested in their local contexts. Cluster believes there is a strong need to build a dialogue around this work, not least because the activities of art institutions in peripheral cities are hardly covered in art publications, but also because these spaces play a small but very important role in the constitution of the public sphere—they are physical spaces for unusual forms of assembly, experience, and exchange. The Cluster network is dedicated to exploring such possibilities, especially in the light of nationalist tendencies across Europe.

A symposium on the artistic, social, and political implications of this work will take place June 13–15, 2014. Subsequently, a book discussing the Cluster network and its concerns will be published by Sternberg Press. The member institutions of Cluster are: Casco – Office for Art, Design, and Theory (Utrecht); Centre d’art contemporain de Brétigny (Brétigny); Les Laboratoires D’Aubervilliers (Paris); The Showroom (London); Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm); CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (Mostoles); Israeli Center for Digital Art (Holon); and the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Museum of Contemporary Art (Ljubljana). This discussion took place at the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Museum in Ljubljana on September 28, 2013.

—Cluster

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