May 12, 2001


12 May - 12 August 2001 


For Immediate Release
The new activities of Malmös Center for Contemporary Art

12 May-12 August 2001

What defines a community and how are artists today discussing political action, solidarity and living together?

The exhibition Vi (Us), Intentional Communities brings together work by 20 contemporary artists, historical documentation from the late 1960s and early 1970s and presentations by active groups in the Copenhagen-Malmö region

The term community is open to many interpretations. It can imply a kind of exclusivity that easily slips into xenophobia or distrust of others outside the group. At the same time, community is one of only a handful of useful concepts that we can use to describe the collective in this period after socialism. The notion of an intentional community might also seem contradictory, but it is in regular use today by different groups who seek to develop a way of life based on certain agreed principles. The rich period of experimentation around and after 1968 is a particular source of inspiration for this exhibition and has become a rich catalyst for a number of younger and more established artists who are examining the longer-term legacy of 1968 and its perceived failure through their own eyes. Intentional community also questions the arbitrariness of our own local or national community and the ways we identify ourselves.

The exhibition includes a small amount of historical material from communes and seventies communities including the commune Friedrichshof in Austria. However, the main emphases are on contemporary work modelling different ways of living as well as projects actively creating intentional communities today. The works explores various real and imaginary communities, proposing new collectives, creating private social worlds and documenting existing groups. The atmosphere of the show jumps between the optimism and hope of building a new world and the terror of imposing a single vision on the whole of humanity. The exhibition section includes film, photographs and sculptural installations by Pawel Althamer, Elisabeth Arkipoff, Johanna Billing, Phil Collins, Annika Eriksson, Jakob Kolding, Mike Nelson, Philippe Parreno, Arturas Raila, Sean Snyder, Andrea Zittel/Joachim Hamou, Jasmila Zbanich amongst others. Projects by Make it Happen and protoacademy working with different communities in the city of Malmö will be initiated during the exhibition since Vi also is a way of looking at the possibility for our own local communities in this region. A programme of discussions with people from different communities, artists groups, planning agencies and activist organisations in the region will therefore accompany the exhibition, the first seminar will be on May 19, the second on June 2(with protoacademy and Malmö Art Academy).

Intentional communities serves also to introduce the new activities of the Rooseum over the next five years. The programme will be the first co-ordinated integration of projects, exhibitions, studios, archive and micro-cinema that will comprise the new Rooseum structure. The exhibition is therefore an invitation to our audience to identify themselves as a community and become involved in the process of re-imagining the Rooseum, defining it as a place rooted in the region while reaching out to the world. More theorically, it will instigate an over-all policy by practically testing Vito Acconci’s pivotal statement from 1980:’A gallery could be thought of as a community meeting-place, a place where a community could be formed and called to order’.


What’s the point of institutions like the Rooseum?

It’s tempting to say ‘to offer hope, faith and charity in complicated times’ but it’s too glib. Some time ago it seemed that art institutions might find themselves constrained by the modifier ‘art’ and its popular meanings. Now, the term ‘art’ might be starting to describe that space in society for experimentation, questioning and discovery that religion, science and philosophy have occupied sporadically in former times. It has become an active space rather than one of passive observation. Therefore the institutions to foster it have to be part community centre, part laboratory and part academy, with less need for the established showroom function. They must also be political in a direct way, thinking through the consequences of our extreme free market policies. Secondary questions are whether individual institutions will have the courage to find their own balance in this mix or follow the old centre-periphery model and whether funders can be persuaded to drop the touristic justification for art institutions in favour of increasing creative thinking and intelligence(s) in society. These are the things we will try to deal with over the next five years.

The first step is to reorientate the direction of the organisation through shifting the identity of the architecture of the old electricity works. The three levels will be separated in terms of function with studios and a project room upstairs, a main hall for large scale exhibitions and productions on the ground floor and an archive and microcinema downstairs. The 2001 programme will be provisional in as much as we will be learning practically how to use the building and develop an audience in the city and region. Now and in the future we want to keep flexible and dynamic, so the programme here is only part of our activities for the year. In total, there will be around 20 projects of different sorts, from talks and one night performances to studio residencies and major international exhibitions.

For information: phone 46(0)40 12 17 16 or or check the website under construction at

Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York