CRIC – Festival of critical culture | 13. 12. – 17. 12. 2018
Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …so long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
14. 12. 2017 (Thursday)
19:00 – 19:30 | Festival opening: “In Continuous Transition – Trapped Inside Broken Mirrors”
Special guest: Robert Alagjozovski, Minister of culture
“In Continuous Transition – Trapped Inside Broken Mirrors”
CRIC – festival for critical culture1, aims to promote artistic and cultural practices as societally relevant tools that will contribute to the emancipation and democratization of the sociocultural context. CRIC stands in defense of the right to a critical culture, one that will continuously shift the boundaries of the emancipatory politics in the socio-cultural space. CRIC is a platform through which the possibilities of permeating between the aesthetic and the political, between artistic practices and their influence on the democratization of society at large, between citizen unions and the forms of fighting in media will be explored and studied.
The second edition of CRIC – festival for critical culture, continues to explore the relations and permeations of culture – art – the political – politics, through critical reflection, experiment, and laboratory work that will explore the paradigms of power, the emancipatory crossroads of the political and the aesthetic into a path that communicates with all possible forms of repression of citizenship related to educational, social, cultural, political, media rights and freedoms. “In Continuous Transition –Trapped Inside Broken Mirrors” is the general thematic orientation of this year’s CRIC, while we are partnering up with Kurziv and Kulturtreger from Croatia, SSCA- Ljubljana from Slovenia, and SEECult.org, to open a new thematic line, “The World Around Us – Critical Positions in the Region”, which stands for the development and relevance of critical valorisation of artistic production, showcasing the necessity of educating the authors who critically reflect in the field of contemporary artistic and cultural productions across all mediums.
Reading the social text of the collective and the individual, we found ourselves in front of the confusion that was created by the unframed, inconsistent temporality on which lies the concept of a historical, but also sociocultural transition.
From the forms of the emancipation of workers to the regimes of identification with art, from the principles of democracy to the transition to its perverse concepts, from the theory of intellectual equality to the forms of obligatory consensus built on the dominant apparatus, it seems that we live trapped in our reflection in the broken mirrors of the political that illuminates and designs the artistic. The consensus in every transitional historical, sociocultural context swallows the freedom that can only be born out of dissonance, out of difference.
From here we pose the question: What is transition? What was its purpose? How can we tell whether it was successful or not? Could the transition succeed, and does it ever end? At the end, what kinds of identities does it produce?
While we prepare this year’s edition of the festival, keeping in mind the current political changes in Macedonia, but also wider in Europe, we ask ourselves: what are our expectations from the upcoming sociopolitical changes and how can we view the current changes that are reshaping our society?
Wanting to highlight the forms of resistance to tyranny of the transitional, project-based mode of creating and thinking freedom, identities, the “new”, the contemporary, through this year’s edition of CRIC we attempted to explore the different praxis and knowledge that imply a certain cartography of a common cultural, artistic, and political memory of the hope for freedom, keeping in mind crucial moments like the October revolution, the French bourgeois revolution, all the way up to our socialist- capitalist transitional modes in which were born new traversed populisms, political and artistic procedural bureaucracisms, and centralized “democrato-citizen” authoritarianism.
That which concerns us in our long-term research, but also applicable, praxis of “laboratories of the para-aesthetic”, through which we advocate for the critical relation of the artistic and the political, this time articulated through the theme “In Continuous Transition – Trapped Inside Broken Mirrors”.
Through this theme we will problematize the different faces of revolt in art, which often resembles the strategies that are offered by the quotation, the collage, the montage. Because of this, it is not infrequently that we stand witness to its transience, impermanence, inconsistency, “projectness”. And it is precisely because of this that it loses its value of the concentration with which it can effect change, and gains a “billboard” populist semantic, imposed by the dominant narratives of power. One of the questions we are wondering though in the artistic and political context is the absence of an ontological framework, which can clearly indicate that it stands in opposition to every form of government that does not allow for the articulation of freedom, and opens the question of “the betrayed revolutions”.
We have entered into an unforeseeable transitional syndrome in which there is no space for the concentration of “wrath” and resistance in a way that would have a perspective for fundamental changes connected to freedom, justice, solidarity, and prosperity.
Resistance in the “time of transitions” gains an emblematic, symbolical performativity, which lacks the capacity for meaningful change. And the waves of bitter resistance turn into debate clubs. Here and there, there occur certain solid and ambitious political projects or webs of local and regional importance, but nowhere do we see an articulated vision and strategy that will offer a radical modification of the outcry and discontent of social and cultural retrogradeness. Keeping in mind the constant transition, the rise of the neo-liberal reality, and the socialist past of our country, we ask the question: where are we and what are we striving for? We ask these questions from the point that is in our domain of interest: the intersection of Art and Society, and we want to establish these problems through a few curatorial and artistic positions. We are aware of these different temporalities of existing on a social and political level, we would like to contribute to the socio-political landscape, as well as to sharpen our understanding of the role of Art and Culture in society.
The potential amount of suffering, poverty, and injustice should lead to changes tenfold stronger in intensity than the one in 1917, especially having in mind the changes and improvements of the media nowadays. Still, the bitterness does not point to an already articulated utopia that will take us out of the trap of the masses. Being radical has gotten to the level of a project-based attitude, perhaps a philosophical habitus, but has lost the meaning of a political strategy. The urge for criticism is left to be seen on the billboard, of the well known languages of mass populism, as space where we showcase the changes in the world.
By proposing the theme “In Continuous Transition – Trapped Inside Broken Mirrors”, we would like to step back and use the opportunity to re-imagine our society and the critical responsibility of the artist and cultural worker in it. While doing so, we would like to have in mind the global picture, the one of growing populism and regressive politics, fake news and questionable media reporting, as well as the growing inequality in the neo-liberal reality, that directly challenge the democratic values and principles.
This edition of CRIC, in the spirit of the already open questions, we would as well focus on one segment that directly tackles the art production; namely, criticism and critical reflection. Without criticism a real step forward, a real change, is impossible. The key discussion about the role of criticism today will thus be opened, through the partnership platform for criticism, “The world around us – Critical positions in the region”, with an emphasis on the fragmentation of the processes, which are conditioning its transformation.
Iskra Geshoska and Elena Veljanovska
Kontrapunkt and CRIC – festival of critical culture is supported by Foundation Open Society Macedonia, Goethe-Institut Skopje, Foundation Kultura nova from Croatia, Farmahem and Ministry of Culture of R. of Macedonia. Logistics partners: Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje and okno.mk. Permanent strategic partners of Kontrapunkt and CRIC are: MaMa from Zagreb and kuda.org from Novi Sad.
(insert slideshow/ gallery)
Chto delat | 19:30 – 20:30
Presentation of the work by the collective
Chto Delat (What is to be done?) is a collective founded in 2003. It is established by artists, critics, philosophers, and writers from St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Nizhny Novgorod, and is driven to merge political theory, art, and activism.
The name of the group is associated with the first socialist worker’s self-organization in Russia, which Lenin actualized in his own publication: “What is to be done?” (1902). The collective, as a community organizer for a variety of cultural activities intent on politicizing “knowledge production”, has been publishing an English- Russian newspaper since 2003, focused on the urgent issues of Russian cultural politics, in correlation with international events.
Chto Delat demands equality for all people, creatively fighting against all forms of patriarchy, homophobia, and gender inequality by showing extensive artistic activity, namely video and theater plays, radio programs, murals, projects, seminars and public campaigns. Their main focus is on the rejection of all forms of oppression, the artificial alienation of people, and exploitation. Therefore, they stand for an equal distribution of the wealth produced by human labor and all natural resources that are directed towards the welfare of everyone.
The works of the collective are characterized by the use of alienating effects, surreal scenery, typicality, but most of all, case based analysis of concrete social and political struggles. All of these activities are coordinated by a core group including Tsaplya Olga Egorova (artist), Artiom Magun (philosopher), Nikolay Oleynikov (artist), Natalia Pershina / Glucklya (artist), Alexey Penzin (philosopher), Alexander Skidan (poet and critic), Oxana Timofeeva (philosopher), Dmitry Vilensky (artist) and Nina Gasteva (choreographer).
On the Possibility of Light, KOW BERLIN (solo show) (2017), The Excluded. In a moment of danger, Sao Paulo Biennale (2014), Art, Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, (2014) Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making 1789–2013,Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, (2013); FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, (2013); 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, (2012); Chto Delat in Baden- Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, (2011); Chto Delat Perestroika: Twenty Years After: 2011–1991, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, (2011).
The works of the collective are part of the collections at:
The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Museum Reina Sophia, Madrid; Le Centre Pompidou, Paris; MUDAM, Luxemburg; Tretyakov Art Gallery, Moscow; KIASMA, Museum for Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade and many others.
Witchcraft and Solidarity, Oxana Timofeeva
Witchcraft and Solidarity by Oxana Timofeeva | 20:30 – 21:15
‘In certain respects, a revolution is a miracle’, said Lenin. As Roland Boer comments, the key notion of Lenin’s equation of revolution and miracle is the tension between orga- nization and spontaneity, between the so called party avant-garde and the spontaneity of the people, or masses, understood as a substance that historically becomes subject. Organization and spontaneity are the two terms of a dialectical opposition, and what appears miraculous is their synthesis. Focusing specifically on the non-human aspects of revolutionary effort, I will consider these two terms in a very specific shape – witchcraft and solidarity.
Oxana Timofeeva is an Assistant Professor at the European University in St. Petersburg, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of Russian Academy of Science (Moscow), a member of the artistic collective “Chto Delat?” (“What is to be done?”), a deputy editor of the journal “Stasis”, and the author of books History of Animals (Jan van Eyck, 2012; Moscow, 2017; Bloomsbury, 2018), and Introduction to the Erotic Philosophy of Georges Bataille (Moscow, 2009).
Palace Square 100 Years After. Four Seasons of Zombie by Chto Delat (2017) |
15. 12. 2017 (Friday)
The World Around Us – Critical Positions in The Region | 20:00 – 21:30
Discussion with local and regional curators
Participants: Miljenka Buljevic, Anotnija Letinic, Luka Ostojic, Lujo Parezhanin, Vesna Milosavljevic, Lara Plavcak, Miha Kelemina and Nebojsha Vilic
Moderator: Vladimir Jankovski
(Insert photos (gallery/slideshow)
This edition of CRIC, in the spirit of addressing the issues that open the already set theme, will specifically advocate for a segment that directly affects artistic production – a segment
about criticism and critical reflection. Without criticism there can be no real step forward аnd no real change. The key issue that will be opened with the regional partnership platform “The world around us – critical positions in the region”tackles the question: ‘what is critical today’, with an emphasis on the critique of artistic practices and their fragmentation within the processes that condition its transformation. On the one hand is the radical and rapid transformation of the media field, easily visible in the last 40 years, catalyzed by the processes of development of new technologies. Its transformation is rather conditioned by the very processes that occur in the field of artistic production, characterized by an interdisciplinary approach, a search for new forms, languages, approaches and platforms. Where we can find criticism today, who it’s addressing, what its role is, and how it finds its new forms and languages – are some of the issues we often come back to and we try to keep open in the field of a wider public discussion. The platform “The world around us – critical positions in the region” is organized in partnership with kulturpunkt.hr and Kurziv (Croatia), SEECult (Serbia) and SCCA-Ljubljana (Slovenia).
16.12.2017 (Saturday | Сабота)
The Butterfly Effect: From the Promise of The Institutional Critique to The Potentiality of Activist Art by Suzana Milevska | 20:00 – 21:30
Keynote Lecture followed by a moderated discussion
I borrow the renowned poetic, but also scientifically based metaphor, from chaos theory: “the butterfly effect” (small causes can have larger effects) in order to prompt a discussion about the importance of the given time to analyse, understand, and anticipate the relation between the initial conditions and consequently the irrational effects of e.g. calls for resistance, petitions, or boycotts as speech acts. The difficulty, but also the importance of trying to determine the initial conditions and the paradoxical effects that signature – giving/signing one’s own name under a certain statement could have, as well as the potentiality of other similar art projects (which call for participation, collaboration, reverse recuperation, redistribution, or divestment) to be catalysts for social change, will be some of the topics offered as incentives for yet a more general discussion regarding the relation between critical and activist art.
There is a long tradition of dichotomic distinctions and even competitions between sound and image, voice and writing, speculation and performativity (or agency), both in philosophy and art. Time and different institutional conditions of fulfilment determine whether the performative acts will be “felicitous” (successful), illocutionary, or perlocutionary (J. L. Austin), or will simply end futile, and/or only in the realm of poetics and the speculative. They may even result with an opposite, ill-fated, and even disastrous effect exactly because of mixed linguistic and visual messages, and regardless how weak, well intended, or naïve the initial flapping of the “butterfly’s wings”. However, the question regarding the responsibility of the artists, who once confirmed by signing their belonging, support and/or solidarity with one political option/side, remains pertinent to their future artistic practice. The question of how each initial action affects the future development of an artistic practice and other conundrums emerging in the context of the long-lasting transition in societies marked by ongoing conflicts and socio-political changes, is motivated by a lot of contradictions in the artistic practices and careers of artists who outlive the short-span of any revolutionary period.
Dr. Suzana Milevska is a theorist and curator of visual art and culture from Macedonia. Currently she works at the Polytechnic University of Milan as Principal Investigator of the Horizon 2020 project TRACES. Her theoretical and curatorial interests include the postcolonial critique of hegemonic power regimes of representation, feminist art and gender theory, participatory and collaborative art practices. She holds a PhD in visual culture from Goldsmiths College London. In 2004 Milevska was awarded the Fulbright Senior Research Scholarship at the Library of Congress for her research “The Representation of Women Immigrants from the Balkans in the Early American Photography”.
In 2010 Milevska published the book Gender Difference in the Balkans (Saarbrucken: VDM Verlag, 2010) and edited The Renaming Machine: The Book (Ljubljana: P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E., 2010) In 2011 she was a researcher for the project Call the Witness – Roma Pavilion at the 54 International Art Exhibition –Venice Biennale-Collateral Event and curated the exhibitions Call the Witness, BAK, Utrecht, and the Roma Protocol at the Austrian Parliament. In 2012 Milevska was awarded the ALICE Award for Political Curating and the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory. From 2010- 2012 she was a professor of art history and theory of art at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Skopje and in 2013 she taught visual culture and gender at the Gender Studies Institute in Skopje. From 2013-2015 she was the Professor for Central and South European Art Histories at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.
Events fotogalerie>>> CRIC 02 – Kontrapunkt (kontrapunkt-mk.org) <<<