the tender institute (2012)

AN INSTITUTE IN SITU
Elke Van Campenhout
Who’s afraid of the Institute?
In the whirlwind of changing subsidy policies, and political crisis, the Institute has become a
partner to be mistrusted. Paraphrasing Dorothy Parker you could say that the Institute in most
contemporary engaged art practices is ‘not one to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown
with great force.’ What has become clear from all the waves of institutional critique that have
fueled the visual arts production in the last decennia, is the Institute’s extreme flexibility to
reinvent itself, to recuperate and produce the ruling discourses, in a constant craving for the
new. The Institute in this understanding has become synonymous with capital power struggles,
with normative regulation of the arts scene, and with an unsavory attachment to a global
economy that creates and sustains inequality, poor labor conditions and a sanctimonious elitist
attitude towards knowledge and its distribution.
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Curating as Environmentalism (2011)

Curating as environ-mentalism

 

‘to find a frame, a timing or a situation within which suggestions of others can be realized’ tom plischke (1)

 

1. In this text I would like to focus on a particular form of curatorship: a practice that grew out of (and in opposition to) the ‘new’ style of programming of the 1980’s institutions. An attitude in thinking about curating in which the role of the programmer and the role of the artist start to intertwine. I’d like to talk about a curatorship that tries to redefine the boundaries put up by the institutions that were built for the production modes and logic of a generation of autonomous artists, a rethinking of the role of the institution by introducing the notions of vulnerability, risk and imperfection into the programming idiom, and a translation of the ‘relational esthetics’ of the visual arts towards a more ecological phrasing of the time and space shared by the performers, ‘spectactors’, public members and the resisting (art)objects they encounter.

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