October 11, 2018 - Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons - “Elephants in the Room,” Assembly for commoning art institutions
October 11, 2018

Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons

“Elephants in the Room” First Annual Casco Art Institute Assembly GIF. Design: David Benewith / colophon.info, 2018.

“Elephants in the Room,” Assembly for commoning art institutions
November 2–3, 2018, 10am

Book launch: November 2–3, Unlearning Exercises: Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning

Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons
Lange Nieuwstraat 7
3512 PA Utrecht
The Netherlands

casco.art
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“Within the context of the commons, how does art institutional change relate to unlearning, particularly with regards to the redistribution of power?” 

The inaugural two-day annual Assembly taking place on November 2 and 3, 2018 at Casco Art Institute: Working the Commons, entitled “Elephants in the Room,” which focuses on commoning art institutions and on art organizations as sites for unlearning.

Accompanied by the launch of the book Unlearning Exercises: Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning, co-published by Casco Art Institute, Utrecht and Valiz, Amsterdam, 2018.

Co-organized with Annette Krauss, Ying Que, and the Arts Collaboratory working groups.

With contributions from Another Roadmap for Arts Education: Sofía Olascoaga & Lineo Segoete; Arts Collaboratory working groups (Cráter Invertido: Aline Hernández; KUNCI Cultural Studies Center: Ferdiansyah Thajib; Más Arte Más Acción: Ana Garzón Sabogal; Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA): Kabelo Malatsie; & DOEN Foundation: Yu-Lan van Alphen & Gertrude Flentge); Centre for Plausible Economies: Kathrin Böhm & Kuba Szreder; Ayesha GhanchiFrame Contemporary Art Finland: Jussi Koitela; Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU): Faisol Iskandar; Nancy Jouwe; Lambent Foundation: Michelle Coffey; Kate Rich; & Hodan Warsame.
 
Unlearning Art Economy session contributors: Asociación de Arte Útil and Platform BK: Joram Kraaijeveld. With MA programme Fine Art HKU Utrecht, and more!

From small artist-run initiatives through to medium-scale art institutions and museums, contemporary art institutions have been the subject of much public discussion across the world in recent years. Some of the entangled concerns that have triggered these discussions and prompted the question “What does art do and for whom, and under what conditions?” include colonial legacy, gender inequality, precarious labor, extractivism, and privatization.

Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons has been an engaged actor in these ongoing discussions, leading the way by taking its own institutional practice as an example of collective examination and trial-and-error in unlearning institutional habits, while staying in conversation and studying with other organizations. During this time, Casco has found the commons to be a central value, guiding us as we revise our modus operandi and orienting us as we continue to walk into “working for the commons.”

Casco Art Institute launches its annual Assembly as an adaptable model in working together beyond one institutional roof or networked body. Opening itself up to examination while attending to other (art) institutional practices, the annual Assembly at Casco Art Institute provides a regular moment for institutional reflection, collective agenda setting, and commoning experimentation—namely, for “commoning art institutions.”

The team and co-organizers cordially invite you to be a part of this occasion.

The inaugural 2018 edition of the Assembly, entitled “Elephants in the Room,” focuses on processes of unlearning and on art organizations as sites for unlearning. The Assembly will focus on the question: “Within the context of the commons, how does art institutional change relate to unlearning, particularly with regards to redistribution of power?” 

The Assembly will draw from the project and study line “Site for Unlearning (Art Organization)” by artist Annette Krauss and the extended Casco team, who have been working on the project since 2014. The project now concludes with the book Unlearning Exercises: Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning. 

The intention of “Site for Unlearning (Art Organization)” has been to question the accumulative, proprietary notions of learning within art institutional settings, and to propose collective exercises of imagination to those involved, to confront and change learned and taken-for-granted institutional habits. The project began with “learning to unlearn” the psychosomatic experiences of busyness as an emblem of an (art) institutional habit. The research collective then analyzed how this habit is formed and structured, studying its rootedness within the productivity oriented political-economic system we live in. Whereas this habit usually remains invisible or hidden in plain sight, naturalized to such an extent that it feels impossible to get rid of, the Casco team and Krauss attempted different exercises to confront that “impossibility,” while learning, unlearning, and studying the underlying colonial, patriarchal, and capitalist structures of the habit within the institution.

Reflecting some of the outcomes from “Site for Unlearning (Art Organization),” the inaugural Assembly program consists of six sessions of “unlearning”—Maintenance, Modern-colonial Institutions, Unlearning Movement, Art Economy, Funding Paradigms, and Future—and each session follows on to the next. They comprise short presentations and workshops by artists and other cultural practitioners, critical thinkers, organizers, educators, policy makers, and associated collectives and organizations. The Assembly will be punctuated by performative readings or “book situations,” which draw on some of the exercises and conversations that are introduced in the book Unlearning Exercises: Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning. After embarking on unlearning on the first day, the second day of the Assembly dives into the diverse economy of art, then zooms into unlearning the current funding paradigm and its effect, eventually articulating a collective agenda among the Assembly participants while experimenting with commoning resources or a collective pot.

Instead of an Assembly attendance fee or an Assembly membership fee, we ask each participant to contribute to the formation of a collective pot. Read more about this and register for Assembly here. Please note that due to the limited number of seats and collaborative nature of the Assembly, registration is required.
 
For more information on the first annual Assembly and the detailed program for November 2 & 3, please visit casco.art

The Assembly will be livestreamed for those who cannot attend in person, stay tuned through our website.

The Casco Art Institute program is supported by Mondriaan Fund, the City Council of Utrecht, DOEN Foundation via Arts Collaboratory and Foundation for Arts Initiatives. Annette Krauss’s involvement in the project is supported by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in the framework of her postdoctoral grant, financed by Austrian Science Fund (FWF): 495

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