The background to The Art of Organising
How do we see to it that the group strengthens, rather than weakens, individual creativity? How does the individual involve others in a thought process without himself losing the thread? Is it possible to combine an effective decision-making process with a democratic one? That artists are interested in these questions is nothing new, but the questions arise anew with each new generation. Now we are there again, together, instead of in splendid isolation.
The Art of Organising began as an attempt to discuss a new movement within the Swedish art world during the past ten years, starting with the economic crises of the 90sa crisis which pulled the economic foundation from an entire job category. Having just woken up, we were forced to accept a much less glamorous role as artists. In this post-hubris condition, a will to work in groups was articulated: a will to create small, more or less clear groupings, in order to together find an artistic role one could live with. A role which made a difference, rather than simply leaving large tracks. Even though this will is strong, there is no single Great Cause in which to engage oneself. Cynicism is rampant, world politics has the feel of a public relations event, and the few flames of involvement are quickly snuffed out by the sheer complexity of the situation. No one thinks that they can change the world. Besides, most people are too busy changing themselves instead. And perhaps it is here, in the small format, in the sense of a self which is no longer unique but instead mutable and connected to everything else, that a true movement can be discerned.
This movement can be partially described with terms such as networking, flat hierarchies, and social competence, all words that quickly became overused in the management rhetoric which dominated the knowledge industries of the new economy. Clusters of ideas proliferated in which free socialism seemed to receive new life, albeit with capitalistic overtones. In the companies started by those who went to nursery school during the 70s, the ideal was an organisation without a leader. The goal was for the workers to own the means of production, e g, their own brains. Everyone could become a millionaire thanks to generous stock options coupled with exponential growth, just like the Internet. The product to be sold was a new world, a "global village" for those with the proper attitude, where market mechanisms would take us to Nirvana within our lifetimes. Now, after the bubble has burst, an alternative global political movement gathers strength. The Internet is still growing, and is a unifying symbol and concrete tool for an entire generation. Built to weather nuclear war. Organised according to networking principles. Like busy little spiders, we support our expanding families in a world which has never before felt so threatening, with new wars everywhere. Networks are temporary, and fall apart if they are not maintained. Society continually proves to be a fragile construction, built with spare parts with different interests. Organising it is an art.
Ideas around The Art of Organising
In the art project The Art of Organising, several artists are invited to comment personally on the art of organising in general. Due to a lack of funds, we were forced to limit these comments to sketches. Some of these ideas already exist, some are fully feasible, and others should probably not be attempted. Together, they describe the art of organising.
Victor Petrovs idea of a new world order is inspired by an ordinary hamburger. Hamburgers are still quite rare in Belarus today. In Organise Civilisation, a blueprint for a better world, he develops his theory with the help of illustrations showing how the top half of the hamburger is amalgamated with the lower half into a cosmic whole.
In the Utopian World Championship, a competition in utopian thinking was arranged by the members of SOC. In the Utopian W.C. 2001: the intensified section, Jon Brunberg, Annika Drougge and Johan Malmström explore the issue of utopias from a personal and interdisciplinary perspective.
A related study has been done by Bongi Jarne MacDermott and Paula Stenström. In Dream of Organising, they have interviewed people about their dreams, and how they organise their actions to achieve their goals. Is it possible to organise your dreams? Can dreams be realised? Are they still dreams if they can?
In The System, by Love and Ottillia Homström, one can find everything one needs in the consumers dream world. The project takes its material from the bevy of "on-line communities" with which marketers want to replace our friends. In this cynical game of market communication, hordes of behavioral scientists are used to find the weak points of canny and cynical advertising consumers. The System is neither a better nor a worse world; it is simply impossible to escape from.
It is just as impossible to escape from The Trial. Denis Romanovski uses his own experience of the legal logic of totalitarian societies to build his web project. The trial can come at any time, and you must be ready to attend. You are always guilty. Dont ask why.
In Questions & Answers, on the other hand, you can find the answer to any question. Anna Kindgren challenges search engines such as Yahoo and Google. Here, she takes the organisational concept for the network to its extreme: by always supplying a question to fit your answer, this service will eventually answer all your questions, although it will take some time.
Björn Bjarre has chosen to answer one organisational question with his The Artists with Children Club (TACC). How does one combine the roles of artist and parent? Those who have tried it say that it is difficult. TACC is an organization idea that will try to open up a social space of recreation, theory and time swapping by creating a community/network of artists with children. If you don´t have a satisfactory social network: Join the club!
Art itself is difficult enough to organise. Carina Gunnars has a broad experience of organising avant-garde art projects, through among others the artist network Swe:de. In TAO according to Carina, she has collected her thoughts on how to succeed in this enterprise.
Katastro.fi also organises several creators in a network. The question of how this is possible is still not fully answered, but in the Art of Organising I, II, and III, Lassi Tasajärvi, Laura Turkki and Juha Huskonen supply us with a graphic analysis of the question as well as their reflections over the situation as a whole.
Åsa and Christoffer Andersson Broms are developing a tool which will make it easier to research networks. By installing the program Communication Controller on your computer, you can get a graphic overview of your email relationships.
Udo Nolls project idea describes a structure through sound instead of visually. FM walks creates, collects, and organises sound, in order to create a soundscape which is continually updated over the Internet by a myriad of users.
Rachel Baker offers us Irational.orgs 1:1 (one all) toolkit. Everything one needs for networking, in practice and theory, on the net and in the real world. Adapted for independent art, media, and social activism.
Karin Hansson taken a look at the Temporary Art School from a historical perspective, coming to the conclusion that the concept is gaining in popularity. Also, she gives a simple recipe which can be adapted to different motives and situations.
Participants in The Art of Organising
The participants in "The Art of Organising" come for the most part from northern Europe; their common denominator is that they have all worked in different forms of artistic collaborative projects, such as Konstakuten, Navinki Festival, Association for Temporary Art, Swe.de, Katastro.fi, Irational.org and Soc.all attempts to question traditional organisations and find new ways to express themselves through new organisations.
Laura Turkki (b 1975, Finland), Lassi Tasajärvi(b 1974, Finland), and Juha Huuskonen (b 1967, Finland) are three of the members of the Finnish art and design collective Katastro.fi (www.katastro.fi), which has been noted for their web-based projects as well as live events in Helsinki. Katastro.fi was founded in 1998 as a forum for new creation, and its nucleus consists of many designers and programmers who work in the commercial new media branch durig the daytime. They also coordinate the open organisation katastro.fi network.
Jon Brunberg (b 1964, Sweden) works primarily with video, and has taken an active part in the formation of CRAC, a media workshop for artists in Stockholm. He is also a member of SOC(www.soc.nu), where Annika Drougge (b 1963, Sweden) and Johan Malmström (b 1963, Sweden) are also members. SOC Stockholm was founded in 1999 and is a collective, with seven artists. SOCs ambition is to be a space for artistic and social experiments, and a forum for questions around societal issues. SOC is also an exhibition space.
Udo Noll (b 1966, Germany) works on the border between art and technology, usually together with others. Such as in the project Otherlands (aporee.org/equator/), a collaborative interface on the Internet. Humbot (www.humbot.org) is another experimental interface, taking the explorer and mapmaker Alexander von Humboldt's book "Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent (1799 - 1804) as its topos. His latest work is Parole (parole.aporee.org/about.html), which he built together with Gruppo a12, a collective of Italian architects. Parole is an online system which organises information about architecture and art in an associative manner.
Bongi Jarne MacDermott (b 1972, Sweden), and Paula Stenström (b 1972, Sweden), are active in the newly started cultural society Lumor, which is responsible among other things for the show "Im in a room in Sweden," at Teater Scenario (1999), as well as the play "Svälj" ("Swallow") at Glashuset, Stockholm (2000). Bongi and Paula are founding members of the Stockholm Surveillance Camera Players (scp.smufsa.nu).
Anna Kindgren (b 1957, Sweden) and Carina Gunnars (b 1956, Sweden) were two of the twelve members of the artists group Swe.de, Swedish Department at Y 1 (www.swede.riksutstallningar.se/) Swe.de was active 1997-2000 when they arranged exhibitions and activities at Galleri Y 1, where they managed to attract both celebrities of the art world as well as young Swedish artists.
ACT (Association for Contemporary Art) is an association for the dissemination of contemporary art in Minsk, which was started in 1998 and which today has 48 members. Denis Romanovski, (b 1970, Belarus) is one of the active artists, together with among others Viktor Petrov (b 1957, Belarus). ACT is important for spreading information about art from Belarus as well as giving space for international art in Minsk, with projects such as the Navinki Performance Festival (navinki2000.x-i.net), International Media Festival Transit01, and NAMM, Net Art Meetings in Minsk (namm.smufsa.nu).
Irational.org (www.irational.org) uses the Internet as its main platform, but they also have exhibitions in more traditional locales. Irational.org was founded in 1997 and is well known in Internet circles. Right now, the group has five members: Minerva Cuevas, (b 1975, Mexico); Daniel Garcia Andujar (b 1966, Spain); Rachel Baker (b 1969, England); Heath Bunting (b 1965, England); and Marcus.
Bjørn Bjarre (b 1966, Norway) is an artist (www.bjarre.org) who has also worked as a curator for several projects at F-15 in Moss(www.gallerif15.no/jwiitmtisdsa), as well as being a journalist and editor for UKS-Forum for Contemporary Art. UKS (Unge Kunstneres Samfund, the Society for Young Artists) (www.uks.no) was founded in 1921, and is an institution in Norway. Historically, it has worked for the rights of artists in Norway, and lately, it has fought for the recognition of new artistic expressions.
Ottilia Holmström (b 1970, Sweden), took while studying at Konstfack the initiative for the collaborative/network project "a5-nordic art cooperation" (www.a5.nu), a international exchange project between art students. Now she maintains Konstakuten (www.konstakuten.com), an arena for young art where larger exhibitions are complemented by smaller projects and discussions. Konstakuten is an artist-driven gallery which was started in 1995 by Per Hüttner, Arni Gudmundsson, Tomas Elovsson, and Lasse Hammarström. Over the years, they have completed several exhibitions; one of the largest was The Bible of Networking (1998). They have also worked to create a broad international network for artists and artistic organisations, and in 1999, they organised the "First European Seminar for Artist Run Spaces," FESARS. In the Art of Organising, Ottilia collaborates with the artist Love Nordberg (b 1975, Sweden).
Åsa Andersson (b 1967, Sweden) and Karin Hansson (b 1967, Sweden) started The Association for Temporary Art (www.art.a.se), a virtual meeting place for contemporary art, in 1995. The first [a:t] project was an art exhibition on the net in 1996. The project involved 20 Swedish and Danish artists, and just as many companies and institutions in the field of information technology. Their latest exhibition on the site was Bäst Före (Best before), an art exhibition about the information age. Aside from the artistic production, a:t also supplies a technical platform, Smufsa (www.smufsa.nu), which is an experimental server for contemporary art.
The Art of Organising: a conference and an exhibition
30/10-4/11 the participants in The Art of Organising gather at Gallery Enkehuset (www.enkehuset.nu), a non-profit exhibition space and meeting place for the Stockholm art scene. For two days we will make presentations of our works for each other; on the third day we open for a wider audience with a public exhibition around the theme of Organising.
The main aim with this event is to come together, discuss our work, and socialise. The second is to create a wider awareness for the organisations and people represented in the Art of Organising.
Hopefully we will also improve our Art of Organising.
Tuesday 30/10evening and Wednesday morning: Arrival of participants to Stockholm.
Wednesday 31/10: 10.00 17.00 Conferences at Gallery Enkehuset 19.00 Dinner at SOC
Thursday 1/11: 10.00 17.00 Conferences Gallery Enkehuset 19.00 21.00 Installing the exhibition
Friday 2/11: 10.00 16.00. Installing the exhibition 16.00-22.00 Opening and party.
Saturday 3/11 4/11 Exhibition is open to the public, people return home.
Organisation of The Art of Organising
The project is organised by the Association for Temporary Art firstname.lastname@example.org thanks to The Arts Grants Committee of Sweden (KonstnŠrsnŠmnden). The Swedish Institute has helped us with travelling costs, and the Gallery Enkehuset has given us a free space. The Interactive Institute and the House of Culture have been kind hosts for our web server, and CRAC has been the perfect working space.