Oproep 1: Zorgzaam werken in de kunsten
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.
Now, it is more urgent than ever to encourage collaborations, as social solidarity can help us to solve problems collectively. The city of Antwerp per se, is of great significance in the European cultural field, as it is a crossing point of interactions between bodies and objects. This happens, due to the central role that the port of the city plays, with the rest of Europe and other countries. Antwerp is a city with a multicultural stratum but simultaneously it has succeeded in maintaining a local idiomatisme. This advantage makes the city authentic and original. If we think more broadly and far away from here, we notice a common condition: precariousness. This is the new contemporary concept which prevails in the social structure. Land exploitation, labor exploitation, self-alienation, gentrification, the invasion of technology, different approaches in history, all these under the new neo-liberal strategies, which define contemporary life. My proposal for A FAIR NEW IDEA!? aims to unite various representatives of the local art scene, in order to support them in continuing producing culture. Far from museums, galleries and projects spaces, the artists' studios are the hubs of creativity and a new form of presenting projects. The majority of the artists cannot afford to have a studio, and the ones that they have they try to find ways to be sustainable. I was thinking of selecting 4 artists from the emerging scene of Antwerp, in order to activate their studios for four months. They will select an artist of their preference, in order to give him/her the opportunity to exhibit their work, as a gesture of solidarity. Consequently, the 4 artists could be financed for maintaining their studio for 4 months (while the project will run) This means payment of the monthly rent of thes studio, funding theyoung artists with a fee and a budget for production costs for new work, as well as the ability to hire a cultural worker for one , to organise the event, being responsible for the administration and coordination for the project.