[artinfo] (fwd) The Mousetrap, conference on contemporary curatorial practice

Janos Sugar sj at c3.hu
Mon Sep 19 02:50:49 CEST 2005

>From: "Aneta Szylak" <aneta.szylak at wp.pl>
>The Mousetrap
>An international conference on dealing with 
>institutions in contemporary curatorial practice
>Dedicated to the memory of Rube Goldberg
>  WYSPA Institute of Art in Gdansk
>October 15-16, 2005
>  Organized by Wyspa Progress Foundation in 
>Gdansk and Bro Kopernikus in Berlin
>  Participants: Barnabas Bencsik, Nicolas 
>Bourriaud, Sebastian Cichocki, Hedwig Fijen, 
>Maria Hussakowska, Maria Lind, Dorota 
>Monkiewicz, Sune Nordgren, Nicolas Schafhausen, 
>Barbara Steiner, Jaroslaw Suchan, Andrzej 
>Szczerski, Thomas Wulffen
>  Conference curators: Aneta Szylak, Andrzej Szczerski
>  "Institution" became a keyword in the debates 
>on art and art theory. At the same time, artists 
>started to confront the institution critically. 
>In their eye, "institution" was perceived as the 
>embodiment of art-world power but also as a 
>world-on-its-own, waiting to be deconstructed. 
>In contrast to anti-institutional movements in 
>the 1960s, the contemporary reflection was 
>pronounced in new post-conceptual language. 
>Besides, artists no longer wanted to abandon the 
>institutions, but rather reflect on how to enter 
>into a dialogue with them. The principal task 
>was to negotiate and not to avoid.
>  The term "Mousetrap" in this context is being 
>used in conjunction with Rube Goldberg's machine 
>project, which influenced the imagination of 
>many, starting from artists and ending with 
>computer game creators. The very idea of big and 
>funny machinery that accomplishes a little 
>appears to be a good metaphor for the ambiguity 
>with which the art institution is being seen 
>today.  The entrapment of the artists or the 
>curator, and sometimes even the artwork, in the 
>context of a complicated and structured 
>institutional engine is more than a shared 
>conviction. It is a commonplace. But there is a 
>treat inside the trap that makes it also 
>alluring and attractive. The question we are 
>asking through the conference is the position of 
>the curator working within the institutional 
>structure and outside it. How can one overcome 
>the obstacles of institutionalization? Are there 
>any subversive strategies that allow the 
>independent curator to collaborate with such a 
>structure? What about an independent becoming a 
>part or even the head of an institution? How can 
>the artists circumnavigate the boundaries of an 
>institutional framework? And what about new 
>concepts and examples of institutions, 
>anti-institutions or quasi-institutions?
>  There is a good portion of new and innovative 
>projects or older institutions getting a 
>refreshed image in the reaction to the 
>collapsing institutional dcor. Regardless of 
>that, the availability of funding for 
>spectacular institutional projects puts art 
>professionals into the game between fulfilling 
>public expectations and realizing 
>individualistic ideas. Focusing on this cultural 
>phenomenon, "The Mousetrap" brings together 
>curators working within and outside these 
>structures, as well as art theorists and 
>historians. Many of them share their expertise 
>between the fields of theory and practice. The 
>intention of the conference is to give an 
>insight into today's reflections and practices 
>in encounters with institutions.
>  Located intentionally at Wyspa Institute of Art 
>in Gdansk - an experimental and 
>quasi-institutional environment for contemporary 
>visual culture - the conference appears in 
>Poland in the context of an ongoing local debate 
>about the contemporary art museum in Warsaw and 
>the regional collections of contemporary art, 
>which are to be the nuclei of future local 
>museums. Within the plethora of conferences, 
>this particular one is intended to be the 
>theoretical and practical point of reference for 
>the debate, bringing a more international voice, 
>and to mine the conventional ideas and 
>strategies in this field.
>  [i] Rube Goldberg was the American cartoonist 
>"who drew intricate diagrams of very complicated 
>and impractical contraptions that accomplished 
>little or nothing (1883-1970)" See Reuben Lucius 
>Goldber at www.answers.com

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