Spaces and Institutions
“My personal story is a simple and, alas, a widespread example of the regime repressions, described by the new expression “If you were not in prison, then you are not a Belarusian”. I was sentenced to 15 days for participation in an unauthorized event (Article 23.34). … My imprisonment led to an acquaintance with women of different ages, characters, spheres of activity and interests, forms and manifestations of their civil position.”
UNDER THE PAVEMENT: THE MARSH – OR HOW CAN WE RE-ASSEMBLE OUR PERCEPTIONS OF THE PAST AND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE FUTURE?
Researchers Moniek Driesse and Sjamme van de Voort are using the example of the Kleinpolderplein, or ‘Little Marsh Square’ – a highway intersection in Rotterdam – to reflect upon the importance of spatiality in knowledge production, ways of trespassing the modernist planning regimes, and possibilities to invent new urban imaginaries.
Belarusian artist Uladzimir Hramovich talks about his experience in obtaining the official status of a cultural worker – a forced reaction to the Belarusian law on “not employed in the economy”. The artist describes the process of collecting documents for the commission, the committee meeting at the Ministry of Culture and shares his reflections upon the state of Belarusian contemporary art as well as his civic position.
Using her project Sauna for the Unemployed as an example, Swedish artist Frida Klingberg talks about her experience in working with self-organized initiatives, comparing and contrasting it to the traditional art world hierarchy, which praises individualism.
Independent researcher Elisabeth Kovtiak presents the results of the workshop of the STATUS project, Designing the Parallel Society, which was led by two Swedish artists John Huntington and Lars Noväng in Minsk. As a response to the problematic aspects of the Ministry of Culture and the KGB, and a wider problem within Belarusian official discourse, the workshop team invented the Ministry of Uncertainty – a space to train one’s ability to become an active member of society and to enjoy it.
November 23, 2019 in Minsk will host the Congress-performance of cultural workers initiated by the members and participants of the project “STATUS: The role of artists in changing society” (Belarus and Sweden). During the one-day event, there will be discussions and conversations, workshops and performances, as well as presentations of the artworks related to the issues of working conditions and legal status of artists in Belarus and Sweden, defending rights, equality, gender and age. Congress invites professionals from the field of culture and arts, as well as anyone interested in the stated topics.
In early 2019, as a response to a request made by the Belarusian Union of Designers, the Belarusian Ministry of Culture officially proclaimed ‘exhibition activities’ (or, in other words, exhibition-making) neither an intellectual, nor an artistic practice, provoking public outrage and mockery. Using this episode as a case study, researcher Anton Barysenka reflects upon the current status of an artworker in Belarus, and comments on the structural decay and tensions within current Belarusian culture politics.
In the frame of the research project Heritagization – a term that refers to the process of manifestation of cultural heritage – researchers Alina Dzeravianka, Chiara Valli, and Elina Vidarsson have collected a number of research cases of grassroot artistic and activist initiatives from Belarus and Sweden, which question the authorized forms of the production of heritage.