call for documentation-public art projects

határidődeadline: 2008. február 29.

Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw calls for video/photo
documentation of artistic projects referring to post-communist public
Selection of the documentation will be presented in Zacheta gallery space
in relation to the public art project organized between March and December
2008 in Warsaw

Please send inquiries or submissions to:

Joanna Sokolowska
Zacheta National Gallery of Art
Pl. Malachowskiego 3
00-916 Warsaw

Description of the project:

The dominant mode of production in cities is undergoing a fundamental
change. From places of manufacturing and commerce, cities are becoming
places whose focus is services and leisure, and creativity thus becomes a
major element in the production of wealth. This transformation goes hand
in hand with a destabilisation of hierarchies (those through which we make
categorise and make sense of knowledge, society, art, etc.) and a
loosening up of social spaces, but at the same time makes them vulnerable
to new types of appropriation and control. In the post-communist cities,
this transformation is particularly striking. For these cities have
rapidly moved away from a socialist modernity, which is often cast as a
mistaken or unfulfilled modernity, towards new social formations for which
adequate models, whether political or academic, have yet to be found. We
seem to be stuck between a past we can neither be rid of nor understand
(much though some would want to cleanse it) and a West we can never be
(much though some would want to embrace it).
The multifaceted post-communist urban structure is characterised by
simultaneous mutual interaction of many processes of apparently
contradictory logic: of shutting and opening. The politics of symbolic
memory, the representation of power, a narrow definition of national and
religious values function at the same time as the opening of the city to
the flows of capital and economy based on knowledge and culture. The
processes of opening and liberalization are accompanied by the emergence
of new regimes of surveillance, borders, exclusions (e.g. particular types
of migration, trade and leisure are actively encouraged, while others are
made illegal).

What everyday strategies do the inhabitants of a city like Warsaw develop
to deal with the new configuration of possibilities and prohibitions, of
liberation and control? What are their expectations or memories; and what
are they unwilling or unable to see?

The challenge of this project is to ask ’ÄúWhat, under such circumstances,
can artists tell us about Warsaw or how can they impact in the public
space of this city?’Äù For artists are not innocent in the processes
underway. Even as they attempt to critique and explore, their successes
make them spokespeople for the new economy: creation is capital. But
perhaps it is only art that is supple enough to uncover the paradoxes and
undiscovereds of the way in which the everyday life of Warsaw is now
changing. It would be nice to think that art is not fatally compromised,
but that it is possible for art to exploit the uncertainty of its position
in the processes of production, to turn attention away from a production
of status towards an intervention and experimentation with space, perhaps
an epistemology of space, that could enable the production of the
specificity of spaces themselves, exploring and extending perhaps the
theoretical challenge set out by Henri Lefˆ®vbre in his book The Production
of Space.

The above text is a proposition or challenge to which we will invite a
range of artists from Poland and other Eastern European countries, to make
interventions in the space of Warsaw. These interventions will then be
documented in the Maly Salon space of Zacheta gallery, less in the form of
an exhibition than in the form of a multi-lateral documentation of a work
in progress: what can art tell us about contemporary Warsaw? How much of
what it is undergoing is a unique local story, and how much simply a
particular example of wider global or regional processes? The
documentation of artworks will be accompanied by archival information
about interventions in the public space of different post-communist cities
and academic texts dealing with this topic published in a blog.

Joanna Sokolowska and Benjamin Cope