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Progressive Art Institutions in the Age of Dissolving Welfare States | 14 comments
[new] institution//progressive (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#14)
by geraldraunig on Tue Feb 17th, 2004 at 12:01:59 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME
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a few thoughts responding to some of the comments: i like the notion "progressive" for its multiple retro-sound. it is not only geerts idea of "true 70s", sometimes there is an echo of communist times, for some a reminiscence on social democratic welfare politics and for some it strikes the chord of (the wrong tracks of) enlightenment. when we (in the context of our institute with the monstrous name "European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies") use the word "progressive", we mainly refer to bert brecht's sentence: "Wirklicher Fortschritt ist nicht Fortgeschrittensein, sondern Fortschreiten." so it is not about being progressive, but about progressing. this becoming progressive happens between the two poles of movement (micropolitical actions etc.) and institutions (political organisation etc.). the abstract negation of one of these two poles would lead directly into myths of freedom (which i also suspect behind notions like "open cultures" or "free networks", especially if in connection to the art field) or reformist reductions. it is kind of naive to ask people living and working in the austrian cultural field whether ars electronica is progressive or not. in the above sense, it is not, of course. maybe the notion of "institution" is a bit misleading, in particular when used in the colloquial style here. maybe it is better to shift to brian's proposal "micro-institution". and maybe also brian's guess, public netbase t0 in vienna, is one austrian example for these. others are the ones we will highlight during our conference (sorry, links only in german, as usually we will publish the papers in our multilingual webjournal within the coming months). this is not really a "specific scene", but a plain of different forms and strategies of institutions, all of them losely connected to political art practices: Kokerei Zollverein in Essen, germany; Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg, germany; LCCA in Riga, latvia; Rooseum art centre in malmoe, sweden; NIFCA in helsinki, finland; or, trebor mentioned it already, MACBA in Barcelona, Spain. you do not need to tend to self-punishment to be interested in the strategies of the actors in these (micro-)institutions. though i think foucault's governmentality is not very fruitful if thinking on strategies of resistance, i really liked brian's sentence: "Let's not leave governmentality to the governing classes -- it can be exercised reflexively, as collective self-government." collective self-government for me also means: creating new forms of organisation and institutions, and sometimes reappropriating the old. these should be open spaces, and they also - as monika put it in her reply to felix - have to negotiate and define "temporary and dynamic - political goals that can and should be criticised, antagonised and transformed". BUT: as you can see by the scepticism of the concept (and beyond the distinction of "resistance-power" and "experimentation"), there is no clear dividing line and no innocence and purity - but this concerns everything, also so called "free networks" and the actors within.

Progressive Art Institutions in the Age of Dissolving Welfare States | 14 comments


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