Call 1: Working with care in the arts field
Our project will centre on the idea of ‘artistic quality’ as descriptive rather than prescriptive. We seek a series of conversations between artist run organsiations around how notions of artistic quality can be remade in dialogue with an environment: to combine responsive, experimental programming with a real openness to diverse participation.
Q-O2 is an artist-run workspace. We each have our own practices as artists and musicians and when we make organisational decisions, we do so with the experiences and strategies we learn from working in the field ourselves. We see our role as organisers experimentally: creating the conditions for unexpected things to happen and trying as much as possible to read and respond to what occurs. We see tremendous value and openness in this position, but we also acknowledge its potential pitfalls: the risks of reproducing the same blindspots and networks that we have as individuals. How to retain a responsive, caring, and experimental practice of organisation, while still remaining open and accessible to diverse public and participants? We posit that a program becomes more diverse by widening the scope of what it considers valuable. We want to use the framework of A Fair New Idea?! to set up a formal situation in which artist organisers from different cities can come to Brussels to discuss experiences and strategies of working with local organisations. The conversations will centre on the idea of 'artistic quality’ as a value in constant negotiation. They will take the form of intensive meetings with locals and guests, site visits, and open workshops. We imagine a series of 4 conversations, each matching 1 international visitor 2-4 local organisations. These meetings will aim to develop a set of critical questions and best practices for how to organise responsively and experimentally. "Artist organisers" has been a thematic for Q-O2 for several years. We plan to build from this base by inviting international residents with whom we have already developed connections. In reaching out to local organisations we plan to seek advice from organisations such as kunstenpunkt and PAM about how to go beyond our own immediate network, each time using the visiting guests as a challenge to ourselves to find compatible local partners beyond those we habitually work with.
For us care means reciprocity and reciprocity means being open and responsive to what might arise. The project is a formal setup to encourage unexpected outcomes. We want to let the conversations drive the output, but we also acknowledge the need to make these conversations' gains visible. We are looking first for a set of critical questions and best practices and then for how to publish them quickly and ephemerally: eg. as a podcast or series of print pamphlets.
We are best reachable by email (info[at]q-o2.be) and are always open to site visits at Koolmijnenkaai 30-34, as soon as its again safe to do so.
In seeking funding and local advice, we want to strive for a broad reach of local partners, and a budget to ensure that the time each of the participants gives to the conversation is properly valued. What we most seek in terms of structural support is to utilise a broad knowledge of local networks. We seek support in locating and reaching out to organisations we don't yet know and in ensuring the stakes and conditions of meeting are shared by all.
How can we connect into a conversation of solidarity and participation and be together with our demons? Starting with ourselves and our immediate communities, aiming to reach out beyond through the means of digital exchange. As an artist from West Asia living and working in Western Europe, I want to explore gathering and conversation formats in the context of dynamic transformations.