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Live coverage April 5: Opening program of The School of Redistribution, Athens


Funnily enough the most “capitalist” question comes from Marxist Angela Dimitrakaki? If we focus on the sources of money and the ethical question of where they come from shouldnt we actually apply that to our pensions that also may come from bad money? Should we not get a pension?


Audience is asking about art investment and money laundering – the discussion will never end if we let it, money makes the world go round!

Mohammad Salemy closes it by saying that the important thing is productive contradictions!!

We will have a break now to get some tea and sugar in our veins and we ll come


Victoria Ivanova in 10 minutes speaking about her collaboration with Alexandra Pirici whose work Parthenon Marbles was earlier performed at both the Acropolis and later on at State of Concept


Parthenon Marbles tells the story of the controversial repatriation of the marbles from the British Museum, London to the Acropolis Museum. The story is used as a metaphor to open up a wider discussion about capital, accumulation, circulation and redistribution in todays art economies.


Victoria Ivanova used to work in the Human Rights, and her interests include Systems Analysis and Financialisation within art economies.

Speaking of art that tries to make a political claim. Victoria asks why is that contemporary critical art struggles to make autonomous or instrumental direction in terms of these economies, and how it is that we do not in this field feel confident?


Museums have been arguing that they - as museums have unique rights which argue against the movement, or rehoming of objects.

Victoria argues that this is an Imperial logic and that the marbles have a fixed capital. Victoria uses the “Derivative” to aline the marbles metaphor with contractual finance.


SEP (Association of Cultural Workers) is a new initiative founded by PAT (the Temporary Academy of Arts). Play on acronyms aside, SEP is a body that wants to advocate for a new movement of advocacy and support between and for art workers in Athens. The precious conditions of the art context in Athens leads also to accepting and giving these conditions for granted (such as non being paid when working for the arts, etc.).
What SEP is trying to do is to produce a new vocabulary, or a jargon, as a first step towards a change in the mind-set of art workers in Athens.


Speaker Olav Velthius asks audience to go to , code 46625 to judge the severity of different philanthropists’ human rights violations.

Closes with the hope that smaller-scale philanthropy could displace dirty money large scale philanthropy.

Personally, I am left with the questions of how? At what labor costs? What bureaucratic structures are necessary?


How can we work by non being purists (in terms of the complicated relations with the sources of private funding we often need to accept, particularly when there is no public infrastructure for arts and culture?), particularly when we don’t have the luxury for that purity? (Read: we simply can’t afford it?).
They also pose the questions: if we want to produce change what type of vocabulary do we need to use to achieve that change and make claims for more just relations and working conditions?


Now Emily Pethick’s talk just started. She is introducing us to a few projects that she has been involved in via her work for the Showroom in London, which she directs.
The Showroom, as a small independent initiaitive has tried in many ways to diversify its funding, but she is also relating that to the kind of program they do, deeply trying to ground itself in the neighborhood in which it is located.


She introduces Common Practice in London.

And a paper they developed, titled size matters (all of it is available for download from Common Practice’s website).
Questions posed are how to evaluate, value the work of small organizations which of course are not competitive in terms of audience numbers with other, larger, and much more main stream institutions. (and anyway, how do you count audiences when Tate counts in even all visitors that access the museum only to use the toilets…?).
But when you produce work in a more speculative way, when you take risks for experimenting, presenting and commisioning the work to artists before they are recognized or legitimized by being circulated in larger organizations or biennales, well in those moments aspects that count, parameters for value need to be framed and addressed differently. Could we try to look at (social) impact instead? And how?


Another network Emily introduces is “How to Work Together”, a strategic alliance between the Showroom, the Studio Voltaire and Chisenhale Gallery, created for a joint application to the arts funding in England for the sharing of resources. They also created a think tank for the sharing of knowledge and invited Andrea Philips to reflect with them on how a collaboration can happen between institutions that fundamentally are in competition in terms of their (economic) resources. What can be shared in essence? How can a shared infrastructure really be built? But also, what do these organizations need to share (artistically, ideologically, politically) in order for such a collaboration to happen?


Maria Lind’s talk is titled “What does an artwork do?” and brings back a discussion that has largely focused on art’s infrastructure back to the power and meaning of artworks.
She starts by narrating the story of T. 451, a performance by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster & Ari Benjamin Meyers. The work took as a starting point Farehneight 491: a future in which books are banned, books are dangerous, books are burned and destroyed.

For her, this artwork was one of the strongest experiences of art of the last decade. She introduced this artwork as the beginning of her talk to make a point: one that calls for a renewed attention on artworks themselves, but also on their quality: there is still quite a lot of art that is powerful but also a lot of art that is not necessarily good. Now, how do we define quality?
On this note, we’d actually like to point you to an interesting text she wrote for PARSE Journal, About Urgency and Quality in Contemporary Art:


A paramount question Maria Lind is ultimately posing is that it is important to think about what it is that we are actually doing, what is it that we are contributing as art workers, as producers, as arts organizations? What are we contributing that makes the, at times, problematic relations between input (funding) and output (art) worth engaging with?


We are having a tiny break due to extreme fatigue from the brain cells we had to use for all these fantastic presentations.- bare with us


The open discussion panel and q&a is going to start with Mohammad Salemy as moderator, Maria Lind, Emily Pethick and Victoria Ivanova.


It’s impossible to truly focus on all questions, so we select a few for you:

_Salemy takes as a starting point Ivanova’s theoretical frame to question how the work of small precarious and fragile institutions and infrastructures can relate to the cloud-based planetary artworld (this is an attempt at summarizing Salemy’s question which is instead MUCH longer). In essence: what is the role of vernacular practices (read: local practices) vis-à-vis the international art world?

_SEP asks who is cosmopolitan/global today anyway? What to do when you can’t afford to actually be cosmopolitan and are trapped in locality? And should we really consider it a trap? And does cosmpolitinanism in the art world end up representing only a very specific social class?

_Lind makes us aware: Do we realize that the way in which we can talk about things now may not be possible in a few years when we will be much busier in fighting far-right nationalism?

_Ivanova: will de-globalization, regionalism and localism that is still cloud based be the future? And are we already witnessing this process maybe?


Recurrent question again: How do we create agency within the reality of the conditions in which we are living?


A last maybe more optimistic point by Maria Lind is asserting the importance of things (artworks, or institutions like The Showroom…) that are grounded and are engaged but insist on an intellectually stimulating sophistication.

And now people the conference it taking a half an hour break (back at 20:00) for drinks and breathing (the room was extremely packed and we were almost sitting on each other) before the closing lecture by Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle: “The origins of e-flux: how we got our first spaceship”.


Emily Pethick brings up in Q&A the observation that small(er) organizations are creating new approaches to connecting art and community, for example in Tensta.

What I am wondering throughout the discussions today is whether the only solution is to go small and go local? (Given the troubled ethics of large institutions, where the money comes from, etc.)

There’s this movement towards re-creating community through de-globalizing and focusing on the local, but I wonder whether there isn’t a way to have a conscious cosmopolitanism?

Can we capitalize (in the sense of cultural and non-financial capital) on the fact that we have these more connected and more international networks…Can we capitalize on the fact that major institutions bring in such immense audiences, many of whom wouldn’t normally gravitate to the arts?

Isn’t it still worth it to challenge the establishment rather than excusing ourselves from their systems and thus making ourselves unaccountable for their actions?