Press release from Arctic Art ForumOctober 10 – December 30, 2020
IV Arctic Art Forum organized by Arctic Art Institute in partnership with the Creative Association of Curators TOK will take place online during October 10 – December 30, 2020. Arctic Art Forum is an annual multidisciplinary event organized by the Arctic Art Institute in the city of Arkhangelsk, Russia, since 2016. Focusing on the complex historical and contemporary contexts of the Global North and the Arctic, the Forum is a territory for horizontal, people-to-people collaborations between art and culture workers in Euro-Arctic Russia and beyond, based on principle of mutual interest to each other’s vision and position.
In 2020, the theme of Arctic Art Forum is Ecosystems of the Invisible. The decolonial discourse projected on the forgotten stories and integrated into the process of building new narratives of the North and other underrepresented territories is the point of departure for the Forum’s discussions. Such themes as existing hierarchies in knowledge production, cultural sustainability, public memory, and amnesia will be discussed. The events of the Forum bring together individual and collective unlearning processes and attempts to establish a dialogue at the “contact zones” (Mary Louise Pratt), as well as possible and/or imagined communities, offline and online. The Forum will comprise contemporary art exhibitions, including an online show Homecoming presenting rare works by artists of the Euro-Arctic region from the collection of the Arkhangelsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts, screenings, workshops, a symposium, and a series of discussions and presentations.
The key event of the Forum this year will be the symposium Interdependency as a Condition that will take place on October 16-18, 2020. The Symposium will expand the discursive framework of the Forum through joint attempts to decolonize knowledge about the North and discuss regional problems of the Arctic as an ecologically and economically vulnerable region. The symposium speakers will include Russian and international curators, artists, philosophers and researchers, who in their practices study and investigate the interdependency between government policy, economic processes, technological development, cultural production, and environmental change, as well as address the problem of unequal access to participation in decisions that determine our common future. The symposium panels will unfold around different forms of (inter)dependency as a necessity for further coexistence in the new conditions of global crisis provoked by the consequences of the pandemic, and as an integral part of curatorial optics. The symposium is conceptualized and curated by the Creative Association of Curators TOK (Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits). The Symposiums speakers are Maria Veits and Anna Bitkina, Kristina Dryagina, Ekaterina Sharova, Julian Reid, Taru Elfving, Madina Tlostanova, Aslak Aamot Kjærulff / Diakron, Susan Schuppli, Gene Ray, Terike Haapoja, Rania Lee Khalil, Anna Solovyeva and Sergey Medvedev.
Special attention will be given to the meetings between Russian and Alaskan artists Nicholas Galanin, Anna Hoover, Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Marek Ranis, Ustina Yakovleva, Daria Orlova, Ulyana Podkorytova, whose practice will be presented to the Russian audience for the first time in cooperation with the Anchorage Museum (Alaska). In addition, three new films on sustainable architecture in the Arctic featuring Steinsvik Arkitekter, 70 Grader Nord, and Asplan Viak will premiere in November, produced in collaboration with the North Norwegian Design and Architecture Center. The Forum will also host a seminar Cultural Paths (curated by Javier Rodriguez), a part of the multidisciplinary project focusing on the recognition and valorisation of local practices, embedded knowledge and skills across Northern Finland, Sweden, Norway, Russia and Iceland. There will also be a presentation of a new book on contemporary art and culture of the North, “North 2.0” (in Russian), which sums up artistic processes in Euro-Arctic Russia during 2015-2019.
Simultaneously with the start of the IV Forum, the Arctic Art Institute will launch an online platform enabling access to the archive of the three previous Forums. The platform will also serve as an interactive map of contemporary art and the artistic community of Euro-Arctic Russia, created by the Forum curators Kristina Dryagina and Ekaterina Sharova. Documentation of exhibitions and performances, scientific articles and art criticism, video works, series of photographs and drawings, a chronicle of art residences and information about contemporary culture and crafts of Euro-Arctic Russia will be available to a wide audience in Russian and English for the first time. The materials of the Forum’s Symposium, including abstracts and videos of participants’ presentations, will also be available on the online platform.
Arctic Art Institute is an international research and project institution started by independent artists, curators and sociologists in Murmansk in 2014. It organizes interdisciplinary art projects in public space and inside the institutions in Russia and Europe, establishes meeting places for progressive art, culture and education professionals from Euro-Arctic Russia and their colleagues in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the USA. Professionals of the AAI have been active in the border region between Norway, Russia and Finland, creating a cultural dialogue in the challenging, militarized context and have developed research and archival projects of contemporary culture, crafts and underground movements in the Arctic. The Institute explores such themes as sustainable development, cultural diplomacy, knowledge exchange and peaceful coexistence in the North.
Arctic Art Forum is a territory for an interdisciplinary dialogue between art and culture workers in Euro-Arctic Russia, where people-to-people collaboration, international dialogue and openness are key. The previous three editions of the Forum (2016-2018) were devoted to experimental autobiography and re-creating the cultural history of Euro-Arctic Russia through reviving visual and textual microhistories. The Forum has been created by young artists, and the local authorities were invited to take part in the dialogue. Another essential effort was to bring attention to the idea of Slow Culture as an alternative to the current economic priorities of the regional authorities.
Creative Association of Curators TOK is a nomadic curatorial platform and art organization founded by Petersburg curators Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits in 2010. Based on the principles of social responsibility, sustainability, care and collectivity, TOK projects arise at the intersection of contemporary art and social research and are aimed at studying Russian contemporary sociopolitical processes against the background of global changes. By examining problematic contexts and interacting with various communities, TOK curators test new formats and expand the boundaries of curatorial practice, often creating their projects outside the “white cube”.
Interdependence as a Condition is the second curatorial symposium organized by the curators of TOK in collaboration with institutions of contemporary art. In 2019, within the framework of the 1st Curatorial Forum, organized by the St. Petersburg NCCA, TOK initiated and curated the symposium “Transcending Realities, Overcoming Borders and Creating Structures”, which became an important platform for the exchange of knowledge in the field of Russian and international curatorial practice.
IV Arctic Art Forum is supported by the Presidential Grants Foundation, Nordic Cultural Foundation, Norwegian Barents Secretariat, and the Ministry of Culture of the Arkhangelsk region.
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