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Learning from Lumbung Public Forum on Documenta 15
organised by Jubilee, hosted by SOTA, erg, and The Kitchen
The Indonesian collective ruangrupa is the curator of this Documenta edition. They give a very central place to collective artistic practices with special attention to participation, conversation, exchange and action, rather than internationally recognized individual artists who produce rather tradable objects. These practices, which come largely from the often underrepresented 'Global South', are characterized by a high degree of cooperation and trust - as a 'lumbung'.
Lumbung is an Indonesian concept. It refers to the surplus stock collected in a rice barn, intended for common use. ruangrupa did not use the concept as a metaphor, but tried to put lumbung into practice. In doing so, Documenta 15 questions the entire aesthetic and commercial apparatus of the Western art world, and thus the art paradigm with which 'we' in the West – often against our will – work. Our tastes and values, inherited from European modernity, are exposed to more worldly concerns in Kassel. Does that mean the end of art as we have known it? Not necessarily, but it certainly opens up opportunities for discussion and critical friction.
For the past 10 years, Jubilee has applied some principles of lumbung in her own way of working: collecting the resources of all artist members collectively has made it possible to overcome critical moments in the production process. Our limited forms of collaborative and participatory exchange confirm that no collective is ever truly "independent".
A joint visit to Documenta 15 was made to understand and collectively reflect on the resource distribution system that ruangrupa has set up, its limitations and emancipatory features. The presence of collective art practices in the highly visible context of Documenta, in addition to questions of collaborative work and self-organization, touches the heart of the economy of the contemporary art system. The existing global system of the art world is confronted with profound questions about the institutional consensus that currently guides the modern art world.
We are convinced that the questions posed in Kassel are important for the entire arts landscape, and not just for the visual arts, let alone for a specific organization. That is why want to organize a public reflection together with State of the Arts (SOTA) and école de recherche graphique (erg).
SOTA operates as an open and horizontal platform that speaks with a multitude of voices. It expressly requires that cultural policy explicitly recognize and support that the processes, visions and values of art often deviate from existing business and market models. See: https://state-of-the-arts.net/mission/
erg is the place of artistic, plastic and graphic practices that enter theoretical and formal risk zones. A place and pedagogies to define and redefine collectively. It is a place where you can learn from what is not working. A place of research therefore. See: https://wiki.erg.be/m/
For Jubilee, the focus of this public reflection is on the search for new forms of organizing, based on inclusive forms of ownership and a redistribution of value, that can form the fertile ground for the art landscape of tomorrow. In the current political-economic context and in the context of the new arts decree, questions about the distribution of resources and (self-)organization are only becoming more relevant for more and more artists. We see the Brussels art landscape as stakeholders and carriers of this conversation.
Logos Jubilee erg SOTA The Kitchen (TBC)
Programme 23 January, The Kitchen
18.30h What do we need for lumbung and nongkrong? opening reflections Iswanto Hartono (tbc) Reza Afisina (tbc) Lara Khaldi (tbc)
Programme 24 January, erg
10h What can we learn from Documenta 15? introduction Katrien Reist
10.15h screening In Between Blue Waves and Green Corridors (75') https://vimeo.com/413982670
11.30h dialogue, q&a on the film Hans Van Houwelingen Mihnea Mircan 2 students
12.15h What are the realities of practicing lumbung in the arts? trialogue Reinaart Vanhoe Mariëlle Verdijk Katrien Reist
14h How can institutions host artists in different ways? panel Melat Gebeyaw Nigussie (Beursschouwburg) Ellen Debin (Beursschouwburg) Katrien Reist
15h How could private and public partners adapt their roles? presentation Emily Rosamond Mi You
15.45h coffee break set up live stream
16.15h What are the limits of practicing lumbung in the arts? dialogue Rodrigo Ghattas-Pérez
17h Which safe spaces do we need? dialogue with Subversive Film Joachim Ben Yakoub Mohanad Yaqubi Reem Shilleh
18h snack break
18.30h Which changes does Documenta 15 prefigure? closing reflections Iswanto Hartono (tbc) Reza Afisina (tbc) Lara Khaldi (tbc)
20h Exit - Drinks & Pizza
Common Views (David Behar Perahia and Dan Farberoff) is a collective that applies a commoning, social-ecological perspective to arts engagement. They do so in the quest for what they’ve come to term Environmental Reconciliation. Their methodology engenders co-learning and calls for an alternative approach to curation, one that is centered on engagement, mediation, and process. Common Views was invited to the documenta 15 as part of the Commoning Curatorial & Artistic Education CAMP Notes on Education Summer School. He presented his project Common Views – Sourcing Water, which focuses on the unequal distribution of water. See: https://commonviews.art/common-views-at-documenta-fifteen/ See: https://www.on-curating.org/issue-54-reader/commoning-environmental-reconciliation-in-the-work-of-common-views.html#.Y44gMbLMI-Q)
Beursschouwburg (Melat Gebeyaw Nigussie and Ellen De Bin) Before becoming artistic director of Beursschouwburg Melat worked as a project coordinator and curator for Next Generation, Please!, a series of participatory projects introducing young talents to established artists. She also was co-founder of the ‘Belgian Renaissance’, a collective that "provides a platform for intellectuals, writers, artists, athletes and entrepreneurs from the African/black diaspora community to stimulate and inspire the youth." Ellen De Bin is administrator of the multidisciplinary arts centre. She is responsible for the financial and daily management of the organisation. Before Beursschouwburg Ellen took on similar responsibilities with Batard Festival and later with Meg Stuart / Damaged Goods.
Rodrigo Ghattas-Pérez is an artist, organizer, activist and restivist based in Oslo, Norway. In his artistic work he deals with the conundrums between cooperation, economy, law, and democracy. This is manifested through self-organizational practices as well as dialogical exchanges, educational practice, artist publications, and other forms of performative exchange. At present, he is co-organizer of the projects / platforms Verdensrommet and The Union (Norway), and is currently developing a program for international artistic exchange for public housing in Peru as well as A.S.S. (Activist Support System). See: https://www.rodrigoghattas.art/about/
Iswanto Hartono - ruangrupa - Gudskul Iswanto Hartono is an Indonesian artist with a background in architecture. He has been exhibiting his works since the late nineties, showing works with a strong social and political content. Iswanto’s works betray his interest in history/memory, globalization, and geopolitical powers, post-colonial, in race/identity. Iswanto joined ruangrupa in 2008. In 2015 ruangrupa joined forces with the collectives Serrum and Grafis Huru Hara to conceive Gudskul, an educational platform with a pedagogical model that focuses on collective learning and building a grassroots ekosistem to create an infrastructure for Indonesia's contemporary art scene. When deciding to work together as an Ecosystem, ruangrupa with Serrum and Grafis Huru Hara ventured to create a common pool system in which all resources were collected and divided proportionally, according to each collective’s needs.
Hans van Houwelingen lives and works in Amsterdam and Berlin. His work is manifested in the form of exhibitions, interventions, projects in public space, films, lectures and publications, in which he investigates and reflects on the relations between art, culture and politics. Hans presented his film In between Blue Waves and Green Corridors in the central hall / discussion space at the Fridericianum. See: http://hansvanhouwelingen.com/projects/blauwe-golven/
Lara Khaldi is an independent curator and critic from Jerusalem, Palestine, living temporarily in Amsterdam. She was part of the curatorial team of documenta 15. Until recently she was the head of the Media Studies Programme at Alquds Bard College, Jerusalem and a tutor in the Disarming Design MA program, at Sandberg Institute, 2020-2022. Khaldi is appointed as the new director of the contemporary art space de Appel in Amsterdam, starting from January 2023.
Mihnea Mircan is a curator and writer. He was the artistic director of Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerpen, between 2011-2015 and he curated numerous exhibitions at prestigious art institutions, such as Le Pavillon – Palais de Tokyo, Stroom Den Haag, MUSEION, Bolzano, Fondation Ricard Paris. Mihnea Mircan is an author and editor of books and exhibition catalogues, among which is the monographic survey of Miklos Onucsan; He is a regular contributor to international art publications, such as Afterall, Mousse and Manifesta Journal.
Mi You is the head of the Art and Economics working group at the University of Kassel and part of the documenta Institute. You contributed to the development of Eco-Social & Art Impact Bond (ESAIB) for INLAND, a collective active on the potential of agricultural economies and part of Documenta 15. Their 'cheesecoins' are circulated within Documenta through exchange networks with local producers. INLAND is part of the lumbung Currency working group, a practice intended to continue and remain effective beyond the 100 days of documenta 15. INLAND: https://documenta-fifteen.de/en/lumbung-members-artists/inland/ Mi You: https://www.uni-kassel.de/fb05/en/1000000/divisions-and-institutes/soziologie/fachgebiete/art-and-economies/prof-dr-mi-you
Katrien Reist – van Gelder is a Brussels-based, curator, researcher, art activist, producer, art-worker, policy advisor and transition coach to both individual artists and art organisations. She is currently co-coordinating the platform State of the Arts (SOTA), and interim coordinator of RAB-BKO, the bilingual umbrella organisation of Brussels arts institutions. Her practice is driven by a deep interest in the systemic relations between art production and the financial – and organisational structures that enable it. Katrien co-founded Jubilee in 2013 and is currently a board member of the platform.
Emily Rosamond is a visual artist. She is currently holding the position of senior lecturer at Visual Cultures in Goldsmiths University London. In 2021 she joined the editorial team of the journal Finance and Society. Her own research often explores unexpected connections between theories of financialisation, literary character, contemporary art, performance, and algorithmic governmentality. She is currently working on a monograph, Reputation Warfare (forthcoming from Zone Books), which explores how reputation changes under financialised digital capitalism. See: https://www.gold.ac.uk/visual-cultures/staff/rosamond-emily/
Subversive Films (Mohanad Yaqubi and Reem Shilleh) is a cinema research and production collective that aims to shed new light on historical works related to Palestine and the region, gain support for film conservation and investigate archival practices. Founded in 2011, Subversive Film moves between Ramallah and Brussels, and is part of Documenta 15. See: https://documenta-fifteen.de/en/lumbung-members-artists/subversive-film/
reinaart vanhoe and Marielle Verdijk
Joachim Ben Yakoub is a writer, researcher and lecturer operating on the border of different art schools and institutions. He is affiliated to the MENARG and S:PAM research group of Ghent University, where he is conducting research on the aesthetics of revolt somewhere in between Tunisia and Belgium. He is guest professor at LUCA school of Arts Brussels and lecturer at Sint-Lucas School of Arts Antwerp, where he is also promotor of the collective action research The Archives of the Tout-Monde. See: https://thefunambulist.net/network/joachim-ben-yakoub
Tags Commoning Empowerment Closing the Gap Front and back office Practice and rhetoric Instituting Surplus Transparency Impact bond Finance
Brainstorm questions & subtitles
What is artistic freedom?
What can we learn from Documenta 15, and how could it translate in our own practices? What are the realities of practicing lumbung in the arts?
How can lumbung help dissolving boundaries between art and society? How can lumbung help dissolving boundaries between art and social practices?
How should/could governments adapt their role?
How could private and public partners adapt their roles?
How can lumbung help institutions lower their tresholds? How can lumbung help negotiating the gatekeeper function of institutions?
What would be the characteristics of the safe spaces that we need?
How can institutions host artists in different ways?
What are the setups needed to allow artistic practices into the institution?
What are the (cultural) conditions/requirements for lumbung and nongkrong?
What changes do we need to consolidate the transformations prefigured by Documenta 15?