The Curatorial Thing

Under the concept of a ‘thing’, an old Nordic concept for a meeting place, an assembly of the community, or what can be defined as the precursor of the modern term 'parliament' SixtyEight Art Institute annually invites a range of Nordic-based and international speakers to address the various potentials opened by exhibition-making. The talks include reflections on aesthetic and political potentials in art, the exhibition as a social, affective or discursive situation, new pedagogical possibilities in artistic practices, and how this plays out as various dimensions between artistic and curatorial methodologies.

This extended learning and speakers program consists of two strands: one, a summer school of closed day workshops and a full event program for a select number of participants; and two, with an evening program of lectures that are open to the general public.

SixtyEight Art Institute invites some of the most interesting voices from local contexts and beyond. The speakers share research and perspectives in an informal structure of ‘lectures’ followed by moderated peer conversations with the audience. The aim of the conversations is to reflect upon how the 'curatorial' continues to be collaborative, artistic, co-creative, critical, and experimental within the ever-expanding parameters of cultural production. Both in the summer school and in the speaker series, SixtyEight Art Institute hopes to articulate fundamental questions about autonomy, authorship, dissemination, editing, criticality, discourse, and the writing of art history.

The speakers and conversations in the program reflect how education, collaboration or shared information can stimulate the next generation of artists and curators to form new, innovative and progressive curatorial or artistic propositions.

THE CURATORIAL THING: The Curator is the Weather (Fourth Edition)

1 - 9 October 2020

The Curatorial Thing 2020: The Curator is the Weather, asked how the attention of artists and curators to issues such as climate change and new technologies can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of how science and technology can approach the building of a future of mutual relations, taking into account the continual evolution of human nature in and with the natural world.

To this end a programme of workshops for the 14 chosen participants was organised, which included the following:

Hugo Hopping on Climate Pedagogies, with a presentation on Site to Editorial Research by Christopher Sand-Iversen

Artist Catherine Sarah Young on Visualizing Emission: Pandemic Adaptations

Curator Caterina Avateneo on her curatorial research and methodology

Theresa Scavenius, Associate Professor in Climate Research at Aalborg University, on the topic A green transition isn't possible. What do we do now?

Line Ellegaard, Curator and PhD Fellow at the ’Art as Forum’ research centre, University of Copenhagen, on Collective Mapping: Exhibition Histories and Practices of ‘The Curator Is The Weather’

Studio Visit with the Danish artist group SUPERFLEX

Artist Frans Jacobi on his book Aesthetics of Resistance and the upcoming project Are You Ready?

A guided tour of local sustainable projects with community NGO Miljøpunkt Amager (Environment Point Amager)

Exhibition Visit at Den Frie with artist Jens Haaning.

Evening Lecture Programme

In addition, the workshops for the participants were accompanied by evening lectures which were open to the public as well as being live-streamed.
Recordings of the evening lecture series will be made available in due course.

2nd October

Speaker: Jeppe Ugelvig: On the 'forensic' work of Peter Brandt
Jeppe Ugelvig, independent curator and critic.

Speaker: Peter Brandt: Regarding the Victim and Cultural Production. Followed by a conversation between Peter Brandt and Jeppe Ugelvig.
Peter Brandt, Danish artist based in Copenhagen.

6th October

Speaker: Oscar Salguero: Artists Books as Documents for the Discussion of Alternate Climate Realities
Oscar Salguero (US) is a design researcher and independent book curator

Speaker: Ilethia Sharp: The independent curator on human-to-nature parallels
Ilethia Sharp, Independent Curator

Keynote Speaker: Caterina Avataneo: Thinking in Three. A curatorial methodology for the collaborative nature of producing meaning out of differences
Caterina Avataneo, independent curator based in London

7th October

Speaker: Henrik Lübker: Process, transformation and performativity in the new Hans Christian Andersen Museum
Henrik Lübker, Creative Director, Curator, The Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Keynote speaker: Sidsel Nelund: ‘Things in Contemporary Art’ as preamble for how we assemble and how we withdraw
Sidsel Nelund, PhD. Nelund is a theorist and analyst on Artistic Research and Knowledge Production and a collaborator, teacher, mentor and writer in contemporary art.

8th October

Speaker: Jessica Bennett: Exploring immediate curatorial responses to care, solidarity and slowness in crisis
Jessica Bennett, Freelance Curator / Associate Curator, PINK, Manchester.

Speaker: Tereza Záchová: Atomic Life
Tereza Záchová, independent curator / co-curator at Gallery 35M2 in Prague.

Keynote Speaker: Rasmus Nielsen: “It is not the end of the world”
Rasmus Nielsen is an artist and founding member of SUPERFLEX. SUPERFLEX is an expanding collective of humans and non humans working with an expanding idea of art.

The Curatorial Thing 2020: The Curator is the Weather was organised by Hugo Hopping and Christopher Sand-Iversen for SixtyEight Art Institute.

Sidsel Nelund at The Curatorial Thing 2018, Det Samfundsvidenskabelige Fakultetsbibliotek (the Social Sciences Faculty Library of Copenhagen University).

The Curatorial Thing 2019

Communities of Practice in Precarious Times

Public Talks: Haapoja&Gustafsson, Gene Ray, Ximena Moreno, Nina Möntmann, and Bergen/Copenhagen Papers

22 - 29 August 2019

We invited artists, art writers, curators, and critical theorists to collectively reflect upon the challenges and rewards of working together through communities of practice and curatorial collectivity, in a time that is increasingly marred by social, political, economic and ecological precariousness.

Through the thematic framework, Communities of Practice in Precarious Times, the program aimed to reflect on how curatorial methodologies can foster collaborative, co-creative, critical and experimental approaches that can help us rethink the ways we learn and work together. This could include thinking from and learning through other perspectives: by looking to emotions, bodily responses and across species, as well as by focusing on local and particular forms of knowledge that might not otherwise be recognized as ‘cultural production’.

Taking the precariousness of our times as a starting point, the workshops, talks and conversations revolved around specific questions related to the plurality of knowledges and collaborative and communal practices in the field of contemporary art, asking us to view our current moment in its full import, not only as a moment of danger but also as a resource for implementing real change.

The 2019 edition of The Curatorial Thing was organized by Line Ellegaard and Paola Paleari for SixtyEight Art institute.

Thursday 22 August:
18.00 - 20.00: 
Writer and Artist duo Haapoja&Gustafsson – Museum of Nonhumanity

Moderator: Mary L. Coyne, Chicago-based curator and writer

Monday 26 August:
18.00 - 20.00: 
Critical Theorist Gene Ray – Athena’s owl takes flight at the end of the Holocene

Moderator: Katarina Stenbeck, Copenhagen-based curator

Wednesday 28 August:
17.00 - 18.00 
Curator Ximena Moreno – ‘Proyecto Eclipse’

In conversation with Christopher Sand-Iversen, Director, SixtyEight Art Institute

Break 18.00-18.30

18.30 - 20.00: 
Curator Nina Möntmann – The Curatorial and Its Mediation

Moderator: Line Ellegaard, Curator at Large, SixtyEight Art Institute

Thursday 29 August:

15.00 - 17.00: 
Launch of Bergen/Copenhagen Papers No. 2 – A new journal on art & politics

Round table discussion with artist and editor of Bergen/Copenhagen Papers, Frans Jacobi, co-founder and editor of Really Simple Syndication Press, Hugo Hopping, and artist Tore Hallas.

The Curatorial Thing 2018

Art Production in the New Creative Economy

Public Talks: Frans Jacobi, Bassam El Baroni, Sidsel Nelund, Pedro Gómez-Egaña, Irit Rogoff

28 - 31 August 2018

We invited artists, art writers, curators, cultural producers, and theorists to collectively reflect upon how to create a future for independent artistic and curatorial research and knowledge production.

The aim of the program was to reflect on how artistic and curatorial methodologies continue to be collaborative, co-creative, critical, and experimental within the ever-expanding parameters of cultural production. How can artistic development persuasively balance the importance of artists’ practices, artworks, and critical ideas in times when these often take second place to mediation, value creation, and social capital?

The talks and conversations revolved around fundamental questions about production in the field of contemporary art, such as the production of knowledge, of space, of histories, and of artistic and curatorial discourses. If exhibition-making and other means of making art public are increasingly perceived, used, and disseminated as a kind of social capital – a resource in the creative economy – how do artists, writers, and curators create or maintain independent and critical discourses in an expanding cultural sphere, which increasingly seeks to promote and develop spectacle, performativity, or entertainment?

Tuesday 28 August:

19.00 - 21.00:
Artist Pedro Gómez-EgañaEconomies of Attention and Sites of Exception.
Moderator: Christopher Sand-Iversen, Director, SixtyEight Art Institute.

Pedro Gómez-Egaña’s talk will reflect on our general crisis of attention. He will also discuss how certain artistic approaches attempt to resist the intensities and saturations that we are exposed to in everyday life, including ‘scrolling’ or ‘supermarket’ modes of viewing in visual arts. Part of Gómez-Egaña's artistic practice investigates ‘economies of attention’ in relation to temporality, and how these relate to technological progress. His work often refers to historical and literary examples of industrialization, be it early engineering or mythical machines, and juxtaposes them with current notions of acceleration and media saturation. The role technology plays in sensorial manipulation, and political instrumentalization of time is crucial to his research.

Pedro Gómez-Egaña (Born in Colombia). Artist, Researcher, Professor of Sculpture and Installation at the Faculty of Art and Design of the University of Bergen, Norway. Gómez-Egaña has developed a variety of research projects at different institutions and with partners such as Istanbul Biennale, Goldsmiths College in London, Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo, The Laban Centre in London, Bergen National Academy of Arts, and Universidad Nacional de Colombia. His recent work has been staged at various platforms such as Performa13 in New York, Brussels Biennial, Kochi-Muziris Biennial, Marrakech Biennial, South Bank Centre in London, Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo, Hordaland Kunstsenter, L’appartement 22 Rabat, Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Galeria Vermelho-Sao Paulo, Kunsthall Mulhouse in France, Colomboscope in Sri Lanka.

Location: Faculty Library of Social Science (Det Samfundsvidenskabelige Bibliotek), Gothersgade 140, DK-1123 Copenhagen K

Wednesday 29 August:

19.00 - 21.00:
Theorist Sidsel Nelund - Thesmophoria: On the Economization of Art, Research and Politics.
Moderator: Line Ellegaard, Curator, SixtyEight Art Institute.

The past decades have seen a series of attempts in Europe and the Middle East to use art spaces to create political spheres and engage citizens through artistic and research-based responses to matters of collective concern. Think of topics such as the Anthropocene, Europe after 1989, economy and migration, together with the use of terms such as forum, assembly, hearing and summit in the titles of large scale and oftentimes recurrent exhibitions. But what implied histories do such attempts carry with them? And how can we actively choose which histories to base further attempts on?

Sidsel Nelund is Head of the Institute of Art, Writing and Research at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Visual Arts. She holds a PhD from the University of Copenhagen with the dissertation Acts of Research: Knowledge Production in Contemporary Arts between Knowledge Economy and Critical Practice (2015). In her academic and performative writings, she is interested in collective knowledge production, the notion of the forum and the role of the researcher in art. Lately, she has been absorbed in the topic of sleep.

Thursday 30 August:

19.00 - 21.00:
Artist Frans JacobiMoving Around a Circumstance.
Moderator: Hugo Hopping, Artist/board member, SixtyEight Art Institute.

“But if I move around a circumstance which cannot get away from me, then my pace can be irregular; I can linger or hurry according to my own subjective needs, can take a step backwards or leap ahead, and so forth.” (Schiller)

Inspired by an excerpt from a correspondence between Schiller and Goethe, Frans Jacobi will present fragments of the two research projects Aesthetics of Resistance and Synsmaskinen. In an attempt to create situations and structures that enable a ‘lingering contemplation’ of specific issues, the two projects investigate, respectively, the performative politics of contemporary activism and the hyper-complex realities of contemporary crises. Visiting the concept of ‘active time’ in order to understand how activism performs certain political figurations, and the method ‘semantic field’ used to generate short stories, the talk will address art's ability to reflect upon urgent political issues.

The evening will also be a presentation of the book 2061 Inmoral Lidos, produced by Synsmaskinen in collaboration with the performance group Discoteca Flaming Star. 2061 Inmoral Lidos is a collection of short stories, presenting the opaque surface of a bent universe - part fiction, part wild research.

Frans Jacobi, born 1960, Danish visual artist. Frans Jacobi was educated 1982-88 at the Academy of Fine Arts's Sculpture School in Copenhagen, where he also taught between 1994-2006. In 2012, he was awarded a PhD from the Royal Institute of Art in Malmö / Lund University with the dissertation and exhibition Aesthetics of Resistance. The same year he became a Professor at the Art and Design College in Bergen.

Location: Faculty Library of Social Science (Det Samfundsvidenskabelige Bibliotek), Gothersgade 140, DK-1123 Copenhagen K

Friday 31 August:

15.00 - 16.00:
Curator Bassam El Baroni - The Post-Agonistic Institution.
Moderator: Iben Bach Elmstrøm, Curator/former Director, SixtyEight.

This evening is dedicated to questioning how art and art productions like exhibitions, critical art talks and events have been adopted into the general liberal democratic project. The developments between art and democracy have opened up two general strands: participation, a mirroring or mimesis of democracy; and implication, a critique of democracy. In this light, Bassam El Baroni will revisit the idea of ‘agonism’ as theorized by Chantal Mouffe, unpack it and think through it. He will talk about what kind of institutional imagination such a theory proposes and its limitations as a methodology taken up by the field of art in view of today’s political landscape. The talk will suggest that espousing democratization as a project within the expanded field of art and its institutions requires the acceptance of political antagonism as a starting point and a laboring towards a ‘radical intersubjectivity’ as an end-point rather than agonism per se.

Bassam El Baroni is Assistant Professor in Curating and Mediating art at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University. He was founding director of the Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF) a now closed non-profit art center in Alexandria, Egypt from 2005 – 2012 and co-curator of the 8th edition of Manifesta – the European Biennial of Contemporary Art – in Murcia, Spain, 2010. He co-curated the Lofoten International Art Festival, Norway, 2013 and curated the 36th edition of Eva International - Ireland’s Biennial, Limerick, 2014. Other notable projects include curating ‘What Hope Looks like after Hope (On Constructive Alienation)’ at HOME WORKS 7, Beirut, 2015 and ‘Nemocentric’ at Charim Galerie, Vienna, 2016.

16.30 - 18.00:
Theorist and curator Irit Rogoff - Who do We Face?
Moderator: Hugo Hopping, Artist/board member, SixtyEight Art Institute.

Irit Rogoff’s talk will take as a point of departure her recent and ongoing theorizing around the construction of a ‘we’ in political and philosophical terms, as well as in relation to the momentary convergences and communities that ‘audiences’ in an art context might constitute. In a discussion of future climates of institutional activities and critical practices, and initially positing these thoughts from within Brexit Britain, Rogoff introduces two models of ‘we’ – one philosophical, one political – and questions the tension between these two, the way they might operate in fusion as well as in relation to the area of art today. In the debate about new challenges in independent artistic and curatorial practices, Rogoff’s reflections on collectivity, mutuality and collaborations provide sustained thought on the relations between art, communities and practices of solidarity in relation to political urgencies.

Irit Rogoff is a writer, teacher, curator and organizer. She is Professor of Visual Culture at Goldsmiths, University of London, a department she founded in 2002. Her current work focus on new practices of knowledge production and their impact on modes of research, under the title The Way We Work Now. As part of the collective freethought, Rogoff was one of the artistic directors of the Bergen Assembly, Bergen, 2016.

Organised by curator Line Ellegaard and curator Iben Bach Elmstrøm for SixtyEight Art Insitute, 2018.

This year SixtyEight Art Institute has invited artist Simon Starling, curator/sociologist Maria Berrios, artist Kristoffer Ørum, curator Iben Bach Elmstrøm, artist Jacopo Miliani and curator Jussi Koitela to give workshops, tours and studio visits.

The Curatorial Thing 2017, Public Lectures

28 - 31 August 2017

Monday 28 August
18.00 – 19.00:
LECTURE Simon Sheikh. Changing the Currency.

19.00 - 20.00:
CONVERSATION Simon Sheikh, Carla Herrera-Prats, and Lisa Nyberg.

Tuesday 29 August

18.00 – 19.00:
LECTURE Jacob Lund. Artistic Re-Appropriation and Reconfiguration of the Medium’s Milieu.

19.00 - 20.00:
CONVERSATION Jacob Lund, Judith Schwarzbart and Hugo Hopping.

Wednesday 30 August

18.00 – 19.00:
LECTURE. Judith Schwarzbart. Curatorial reflexivity. The exhibition as a social, affective and discursive situation.

19.30 - 21:00
TALK on SOMA Carla Herrera-Prats.
The Mexican Embassy in Copenhagen

Thursday 31 August

18.00 – 19.00:
LECTURE. Sarat Maharaj. Mulling the Art of Pedagogy.

19.00 - 20.00:
CONVERSATION. Sarat Maharaj, Jacob Jacobsen and Maj Hasager.

The Curatorial Thing is funded by Nordic Culture Point