[artinfo] Fwd: Artleaks platform starts to operate - please spread a word

+ b2 at c3.hu
Thu Sep 1 16:37:56 CEST 2011

-------- Original Message --------

Date: 	Thu, 1 Sep 2011 13:03:39 +0200
From: 	dmitry vilensky <dmvilen at gmail.com> (by way of Janos Sugar)


*Artleaks* is collective platform initiated by an international group of 
artists, curators, art historians and intellectuals in response to the 
abuse of their professional integrity and the open infraction of their 
labor rights. In the art world, such abuses usually disappear, but some 
events bring them into sharp focus and therefore deserve public 
scrutiny.  Only by drawing attention to concrete abuses can we 
underscore the precarious condition of cultural workers and the 
necessity for sustained protest against the appropriation of politically 
engaged art, culture and theory by institutions embedded in a tight mesh 
of capital and power.
In our case, we began collaborating as a working group who wanted to 
publicly bring to light Pavilion UniCredit's consistent mistreatment of 
artists, workers and even visitors to their center in Bucharest, 
Romania.  This center is devoted to contemporary art and culture and 
financed by one of the most prominent banks in Europe - UniCredit. Yet, 
we saw its mission to provide a space for critical thinking and dialogue 
compromised - through the management's repressive maneuvers against 
those of us who problematized their politics and criticized their 
dubious engagement with their main sponsor. Having witnessed and 
experienced first-hand the exploitations perpetrated by the management, 
we decided it was our collective duty to openly speak against them, as 
well as warn those artists, curators and workers collaborating with this 
Further, we regard this case to be more than a singular instance of 
abuse;  but seek to enable other members of the community to raise 
similar issues - related to corporate sponsors' co-opting of cultural 
activity and mis-use of social credibility thus gained.  We consider it 
unacceptable on the part of these so-called benefactors to refuse decent 
conditions for cultural workers through oppressive measures - the same 
workers whose labor makes their subsistence possible.
In response to blacklisting and continued abuse conjoined with unbridled 
exploitation, it is our civic and political duty to bring to light the 
mechanisms of corruption and inspire others to do so as well. Instead of 
letting singular protests succumb to anonymity, gossip or institutional 
hush-hush, we must extract from situations of inequality, general 
conditions that affect the social and political mission of workers and 
establishments for art and culture.
Implicit in this collective protest is a radical form of institutional 
critique - emphasizing the urgent need to make visible and counteract 
all forms of repression, abuse, mistreatment and arrogance that have 
been normalized through the practices of many cultural managers.  While 
each case of abuse may be different, the increasing amount of power 
vested in art institutions controlled by corporate players, calls out 
for a collective struggle for equal rights and fair treatment of 
cultural workers.
We  must expose common-currency practices of slander, intimidation and 
blackmail as they are. We seek to enable like-minded people to stand 
together against instances of mistreatment related to cultural labor, 
repression channeled through dishonest management or blatant censorship. 
We want to create a strong network of art systems' whistleblowers - 
through which we support and protect each other in critical moments as 
much as possible. Through the power of facts, first-hand testimonies and 
visual information we seek to deconstruct the politics of who, what and 
how is invited into the exhibition space, and most importantly the 
circumstances under which one is ousted and then blacklisted.
We believe in the power of sustained artleaking  to turn the tables on 
corruption and exploitation, to force art and culture institutions to 
publicly account for their politics and their actions. To mafia tactics 
and authoritarian tendencies, we answer with openness, angriness and 
solidarity. The tools that we continue to build together are geared 
towards empowering - to work with dignity and articulate our positions 
without obstruction and to exchange information and ideas beyond 
national borders.

We initiate and provide the community with online tools which are open 
for use by anyone ready to share this or that case. Each case will be 
archived, building a comprehensive index of repression. We believe 
retroactive artleaking is just as important as early-warning leaking in 
the present. Thus, we welcome cultural workers to publish reports on the 
situation inside of the institution in any form. Both anonymous and 
signed reports are welcome. We only ask to submit each case with 
collective evidence, such as first-hand reports and documentation such 
as e-mail correspondence, internal regulations and documents, video 
recordings and so on. We welcome the submission of evidence in the 
original language and we will do our best to make it available to 
international audiences in English. Our moderators will guarantee the 
objectivity of each case in a wiki style of communication with each 

It is time to break the silence.

For more information please visit: *http://art-leaks.org/*
or on facebook

Email contact: *artsleaks at gmail.com* <mailto:artsleaks at gmail.com>

dmitry vilensky
Chto Delat?

Oranienbaumskaya 20 - 15
197110 St. Petersburg

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