Future Institutions by Artists

Image: fragment of cover of The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem, 1971.

July 9, 2012

We are writing to invite you to audition for a part in a film about art, society, and artist-run culture set in the future. The film, directed by sociologist Pelin Tan and artist Anton Vidokle, is being made on the occasion of an international congress of artist-run spaces being organized in Vancouver this Fall, titled Institutions by Artists. The auditions will take place in Berlin on July 21 at noon at Oranienstrasse 37 (Im Hinterhaus, 1. Etage) 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg. The nearest U-bahn is Kottbusser Tor. All are welcome. Contact: berlin(at)

We feel that during the past decade or more, conversations about the artist-run or alternative sphere have predictably remained within a narrow dialectic between discussion of state support vs. the art market. What is particularly discouraging is the lack of imagination within this discussion: a certain inability to invent and pursue new scenarios, new models of organization. While the rise of alternative spaces was intimately connected to the counterculture and anti-war movements of the 1960s, it seems that forty years later this has become a thoroughly institutionalized sphere in which artists are gradually ceding the initiative and creativity that animates such spaces to curators and other art professionals. We would like to try to approach this conversation a bit differently with you, by setting it in the future. For example:

It’s 2084. Money has been abolished and people exchange information products as tokens of exchange. States have become ungovernable and borders have been redrawn by powerful individuals. Art has fully colonized life and every aspect of daily existence has become aesthetic. What used to be museums have now become data centers. Being is perpetual self-design. No one has a profession. There is no more work. A group of people may meet in a city that was once called Berlin, and there they will discuss the possibilities for independent cultural production…

We would love to hear how you imagine the future. If you would like to audition, please feel free to dress as you feel would be appropriate in the Summer of 2084. You may be asked to read a passage from a science fiction novel, or you are welcome to improvise and/or deliver a prepared personal statement on how you imagine art, culture, and society in the year 2084.

We look forward to working with you.

Pelin Tan & Anton Vidokle


Pelin Tan is a sociologist/art historian based in Istanbul. She is co-editor of Muhtelif Contemporary Art Magazine and a book about public space and contemporary art (Istanbul: Bilgi Press, 2008). Advisory editor ArtMargin contemporary art magazine MIT and NOON – Journal of Contemporary Art and Visual Culture of Gwangju Biennial Foundation. Advisor curator of DEPO, Istanbul. Currently, Asst.Prof. at New Media Dept. KHAS Istanbul, and The Japan Foundation fellow at Osaka Urban Research Plaza researcher on artist-run spaces and non-institutional structures.

Anton Vidokle is an artist and founder of e-flux. His work has been exhibited in shows such as Documenta 13, Venice Biennale, Lyon Biennial, Dakar Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Liverpool Biennial and at Tate Modern, London; among many others. In 2006, Vidokle set up an independent project in Berlin called Unitednationsplaza—a twelve-month experimental school involving more than a hundred artists, writers, philosophers, and diverse audiences.

This project is commissioned by the Or Gallery with the support of the BC Arts Council’s Innovations program.

The Or Gallery is an artist-run centre committed to exhibiting work by local, national, and international artists whose art practice is of a critical, conceptual and/or interdisciplinary nature. Since its inception in 1983 the gallery has acted as a space for research, proposition making, conceptual experimentation and documentation. The Or Gallery is based in Vancouver, Canada. Its Berlin satellite space was established in December of 2010.

Institutions by Artists is a three day, international event that evaluates and activates the performance and promise of contemporary artist-run centres and initiatives. The convention will be held in Vancouver, Canada between the 12–14 of October 2012, and is organized by the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC), Fillip, and the Artist Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA).

Future Institutions by Artists
July 9, 2012

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