Our first issue of the ArtLeaks Gazette was aimed at bringing critical awareness of the challenges and obstacles of the contemporary art system. While we considered this a necessary initial step in enacting meaningful transformations of this system, we now feel the need to move beyond exposure and breaking the silence into ways of engagement, or what does it mean to be agents of change in the art world today?
The question of engagement is not singular to the art world, as activists and peers continue to grapple with it in the wake of the post-Occupy challenges. Just as activits have re-claimed and organized squares, parks and streets for a life-changing experience, so cultural workers have occupied cultural spaces, have disrupted the business cycles of galleries and auction houses, and have organized alternative schools and conscious-raising workshops. Nonetheless, we all share the frustration that all this is ephemeral, temporary, that as we participate in something magical together, it inevitably comes to an end. While we have been successful at transforming small spaces for short periods of time, there is still much work to do in the way of a long-lasting and depth-reaching transformation of culture and society.
The main question that the second issue of the ArtLeaks Gazette addresses is: What are the conditions and possibilities of alternative art worlds? And because we ask about that which is yet to come, how can we engage and use our imagination, avoiding, at the same time, the traps of utopian thinking? In many ways, these questions are precisely related to the challenge of special and temporal limitations, of the continuity of building more engaged institutions, sustainable socio-political practices, something which we can come back to and extend. It seeks to bring together a host of proposals for practices, platforms, organizations and ask how we can push further beyond their being too local and temporary. One step towards this is recognizing the international character of the resistance, calling for a different way of making a critical art, of running institutions and of doing politics as people translate their aspirations and practices into a new cycle of struggles.
Therefore, we want to ask what process-based, long term paths can be followed to bypass the traditional curated exhibition / festival or gallery representation to allow for more challenging explorations? How do we navigate artistic practice within the rigid established structures in order to allow for positive change and growth? Today’s art world is far from being friendly to cultural workers. Using our own methods, many have identified successful tactics for navigating the existing system – although this system is becoming more and more unable to provide real support for creative production. How can art workers attain fair compensation without continuing to feed this broken system? How can they exercise their voices and power to develop other sustainable platforms and support the creative field? What experimental approaches to art education have been developed and are currently practiced? What new ways of unionizing precarious labor exist and could they be adapted to cultural workers?
We seek contributions that investigate models for communing within the context of art and education; examples of free schools and cooperatives based on skills sharing; analyses of economic relations inside the art academy that lead to precarity and ways to strike against the system of debt and expendable labor; strategies for undoing the highly competitive, individualist, market-driven values that the art system often produces and ways of making room for collective processes; approaches for supporting art practices that remain disconnected from the art market and maintain an explicit critical position; ways of establishing new paradigms for redevelopment that do not displace artists, workers, local residents or industries but build a sustainable community of working people.
Our second issue of the gazette will begin to map these active agents and connect peers that have begun constructing in these directions and already established platforms – in other words we want to step back and look closely at what people are already doing/ have achieved and ways in which to fortify demands and critical structures. Our needs, passions, values and ideologies maybe diverse, however we consider it important to flesh out areas or overlap and dissonance, to map existing resistant communities, other economies and ways of organizing. This issue aims to bring into focus these various systems rather than create a composite, fixed structure, which we hope can lead to a different art world with the potential for collective evolution.
We welcome contributions in a variety of narrative forms, from articles, commentaries, and glossary entries, to posters, drawings and films. The deadline for entries is the 31st of March 2013. Contributions should be delivered in English or as an exemption in any language after negotiations with the editorial council. The editorial council of Artleaks takes responsibility of communicating with all authors during the editorial process.
Please contact us with any questions, comments and submit materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will publish all contributions delivered to us in a separate section. However, we take full responsibility in composing an issue of the gazette in the way we feel it should be done.
The on-line gazette will be published in English under the Creative Commons attribution noncommercial-share alike and its materials will be offered for translation in any languages to any interested parts.
ArtLeaks // It is time to break the silence!