♦ [EN] Myrto Katsimicha: “Curating in context – A conversation with Paz Ponce”. Onassis Air / Pali-Room Series: Governance, 18.10.2021
CURATING IN CONTEXT – A CONVERSATION WITH PAZ PONCE
PROGRAMTHE SCHOOL OF INFINITE REHEARSALS 2021-22
Welcome to the Onassis AiR Conversations. My name is Myrto Katsimicha. I am a curator and cultural worker based in Athens and your host in this series of recorded encounters with the participants of Onassis AiR. Founded on the principles of learning and doing with others, Onassis AiR is an international research residency program in Athens initiated by the Onassis Foundation in 2019. They say that what happens in one place stays in that place. I cannot find a better way to describe all the things that have been happening inside the Onassis AiR house since I first entered as a participant of the Critical Practices Program in Fall 2019. The truth is, it is not easy to transmit an open-ended process of relationing, which is very personal and relevant to a specific place and moment in time. How can I then give you a glimpse into that process? Everything starts with a conversation. Throughout this series, I’ll be speaking with the Onassis AiR participants to shed light on their artistic practices and needs, as well as to reflect on ways of being and working together.
In this conversation, I’ll be speaking with Paz Ponce. Paz is an independent Spanish curator, researcher and writer based in Berlin. Over the past decade, she has been developing process-oriented formats, such as archival and research exhibition projects, art-in-residency programs, learning platforms and professional networks, investigating the collective context in which art is produced and mediated. Paz is a participant of The School of Infinite Rehearsals Movement V with a collective research focus on modes of governance through the lens of self-organization. Today, we will discuss about collective practice as a medium for instituting otherwise. Paz, welcome to Pali-Room!
Hello Myrto! Thank you for having me here today.
Thank you for being a part of this conversation. I would like to start our discussion today by discussing two terms that you often use in your practice. In order to describe your curatorial practice, you prefer using the term ‘dramaturg on participation’. The word dramaturg comes from the performing arts and I’m thinking that in comparison to the term curator, which involves the notion of preservation through care, it seems to me that it touches upon another temporality, which is more ephemeral. Why do you use this term and what does this term hold for you?
As a person with a background in art history, it took me a very long time in order to be able to say that I have a curatorial practice. For me, curating is a practice. I come from associating my work to hybrid spaces where learning happened in community environments. Therefore, I have been coming more to this world from coordination and cultural management and at some point I started having a more curatorial input into the way these residencies happened and where the emphasis was put. I have been coordinating a residency called “AFFECT“(*1) that was a program for collaborative artistic practices in Berlin organized by a space that existed formerly in Neukolln, a southern district of Berlin which is very working class. We had a project space there called “Agora Collective“(*2) and in the frame of this community we organized this program that became somehow a curriculum of practices based in Berlin. We followed artists and other cultural workers who were working with relations as their medium, a bit old school way of understanding socially-engaged practices and the term of relational art (*3) from Bourriaud. Our residency was following the work of some artists and my job was to understand how their individual research could become a context for others to experiment together on one topic that was necessarily linked to the city of Berlin and to the context where we were operating. This experience led me to understand my curatorial work more as a type of dramaturgy because I am working with context, I am working with durational and situated practices, and I am looking at it from the perspective of how the work works and how it is received from the reception point of view. If we’re going to think a bit about the longer genealogy of cultural thinkers that have been thinking about the temporal dimension of curating or timing, for example in Germany, I am very influenced by the work of Beatrice von Bismarck. There is this seminal publication from Sternberg Press on timing (*4), on the curatorial dimension of exhibiting as a time format. Also, in Berlin we are very influenced by some eastern notions that come more from the former ex-Yugoslavic republics that are very connected to theater. There is a publication called FRAKCIJA (*5) Journal for Performing Arts. They have several editions on curating performing arts that comes from Zagreb and all of this network has a space in Berlin and they are part of daily discussions. Also, the example is not Berliner, it comes from Stockholm, from Tensta Konsthall by Maria Lind (*6) and this idea that sees the museum as a site for production and the gallery as well as a site for production and understanding the people who attend these spaces more as users. So it is a way of thinking the other end of curatorial practice, not so propositive and top-down, but understanding exactly for whom is this invitation, who is there and how the participants are informing the experience and give some signals for the person who is delivering the content to go into one direction or another one. So there are spaces that are more muted and more malleable, which is very characteristic for project spaces in Berlin and in other areas. They are more process-based spaces. The time dimension becomes very important when we depart a bit from the object as a privileged form to arrive at knowledge. Tino Sehgal, of course, is a very fundamental figure in Berlin, and he was also attached to “AGORA Collective”, in a way. We had him very present in some of our residency editions. And then of course, through my Latin American engagement, Francis Alys, Santiago Sierra, are another example to understand this: how to transverse the boundaries of participant-led processes. I come from a practice that has to do way more with participatory art and from these two dramaturgical notions, through these expansions of borders and spaces that are very porous and have to do with everyday liveness, because my experience has being attached to communities that have sustained themselves through models like studio houses, co-working spaces, or situations where working, learning, art, play and nourishment are happening alongside one another. These spaces where imagination happens on a daily basis emphasize the notion of temporality.
Since you also referred a lot to the context, the second term that I wanted to discuss with you is the term contextual artistic practices, which you often refer to as the focus of your work. Personally, I cannot think of art without the context within which it is being produced. So, I understand this term as a way to reinforce the dynamic relation between theory and practice and I am wondering what does this term mean for you? How do you understand it?
I would like to read you a quote that I use in my book called “The Third Shore: A Collective biography” (*7). This was a commission I had from an artistic laboratory in Havana (Cuba) that is kind of a model that is being studied for sustainable and cooperative approaches to art production that has successfully survived for 10 years. When we are talking about temporalities in a context that has other levels of precarity like Havana this space is quite a milestone. When I wrote this biography, I came across this quote by Nikos Papastergiadis *(8) which I think summarizes very well this idea of the context that I’m speaking about. I quote: “In Greek, there is only a small typographic difference between the word that names the place where an event takes place, ‘topos’, and the one that names the way in which it occurs, ‘tropos’. To collaborate with other people, to receive and work with them means taking into consideration the commitment that exists between ‘topos’ and ‘tropos’. Collaboration is a way of receiving the others, which involves the recognition of where they come from and the projection of a new line marking the horizon toward which the practice as a whole will be directed.” This commitment between “topos” and “tropos”, between the place where an event takes place and the way in which it occurs is what I basically like to do with my practice. I think this is a type of dramaturgy, because everybody takes into account the point of inscription of that proposal and its interdependence with many parts that have to do with the ecology of arts labor that we are speaking about. For me, it is funny when some people define themselves as independent curators and I am thinking of changing my definition to call myself an interdependent curator. It is very important to understand that the context is shaping your ambitions as a person who proposes things, because I think that a curatorial practice is a creative practice and has many areas of proposition, but of course they are informed and deformed as well and shaped by the context. So on the one hand, for example, I do research this history of cooperative approaches to art production and I like to go to different art scenes and understand the political circumstances in which some collective forms of self-organization arise and another way to work with the context is very related to what we would call site-specific practices that have to do with public spaces. I think this is partially part of the contemporary dialogue that is happening through so many movements that are rethinking monuments, for example, or what is the validity of cultural heritage and which structures do we want to let go and which architecture we want to preserve and how do we rewrite history. I think there is a tremendously big awareness of the negotiation of what public means. So, part of my practice, that is a bit outside of the curatorial practice, has to do more with my engagement in a theater collective —Club Real (9). It has to do with working with context, working with communities and understanding cities and social nucleus as an open curriculum to dig into. But this also comes from this very old notion of relational art. The world of aesthetics derives from the way we relate to one another.
What is self-organization for you? The way I see it is that self-organization always comes out of a lack of infrastructure and it comes out of a sort of a necessity in order to survive. I am wondering how do you define self-organization and on the other hand, be living and working in a place like Berlin, where supposedly there is a lot of support towards the arts, why self-organize?
Yes, I do totally agree that self-organization is an answer to a context that we relate to. It is a relationship of insufficiency. We measure that something is not enough because it is related to a question of survival and preservation of certain movements or certain spaces. It is very local, even though the conversation and the problematics are translocal. Self-organization performs itself as a local way of trying to impact the context where you live. I think that is transversed by a sense of solidarity, a sense of belonging and contributing to the sustainability of the sector with all its diversity. Historically speaking, the history of self-organization has to do with the question of commoning. What do we have in common? What do we have in common has to do with accessibility and I think that now there is a shift and there is a second maturity level in self-organization. It is to relate to one another, not through what we have in common. What we can have in common is that we identify that some resources are not enough and we have common claims and we have a common understanding of what the soil needs in order to be cultivated. If we understand culture as a cultivation in a broader sense. But I think that on another maturity level that we are now, it is no longer about what we have in common, but how can we put at work our differences? I think that this is the result of feminism and black activism, the civilian movements that are radically changing the way that we conceive ethics and how we come together and the intersectionality of a sector that mostly comes from the world of visual arts. We are understanding other ways to be together and to grant positions for other bodies in this conversation. It has to do with infrastructure. It has to do with the way we relate to the notion of what has cultural value and it has to do with this idea of commoning and now we are moving towards commonalities through differences.
Since you have been involved with various collectives in the past, I would like to know what was your interest in participating in the School?
Part of this practice-based research that I conduct for many years is understanding how hybridity, in the way that you configure your space, your program, your call for practices, happens. For me, it is very important to go to different places and understand what are the skills on the place, what are these questions of insufficiency that are missing in a context and what are the different answers and replies, in which ways different collectives communicate, their styles etc. It is like a certain iconography, if we are going to talk in art history terms. I do believe that unionism and self-organization is the medium of our times. Self-organization, which is a form of collective governance that -in a beautiful parallelism with the name of this program- is this constant exercise of rehearsing societies that we want to become. Because it is also about rehearsing democracy in a way that we would like it to work. Democracy as well is more a process of becoming rather than a structure that is working. It is a horizon towards which we are moving. Many societies that define themselves as democratic are not representing everybody because we are creating new lexicons that are conveying the needs and the presence of other bodies. For me, it is very important to be within this speculative frames that are putting many people together, more or less with the same interests, in our case self-organization, but how this mandate that we give to ourselves is rehearsed in different contexts change. I like to extract a system of positing questions that is informing our structure rather than looking for answers. I think that self-organization or spaces that decide to follow this scheme of decision-making and worlding together need a certain muscle or structure of ways to pose questions all the time, questioning together. I am also very happy that we don’t have to produce anything else than our choreography of interrogations that have to do with ethics, that have to do with political emergencies, with governments, with the disappearance of spaces and a mutation of artistic format into other forms of mediating culture. I do believe that institutions have lost legitimacy and they do not have an imagination of their own. They parasite and appropriate a lot in good and symbiotic and more or less productive ways the imagination that is coming from self-organized collaborative spaces.
Do you think that in a way we are doing the work that institutions should be doing?
Yes, probably we are and we shall remain very aware of potential instrumentalization and forms of appropriation, but we need to hack these structures and understand how we can both parasite each other. I do believe that with this way of understanding curating as a socio-cultural activity you want to revert something back to the local. You want to have an impact. Therefore, it is a difficult conversation that has to do with responsibility and with having material resources for change and a certain dream that these processes are going to have a longer life and eventually they are going to make their way through these cracks that we are creating when we flirt with institutions. There is this promiscuity that is part of an events-making culture, a performative culture, but I think that many of us have an aspiration that eventually these institutions are going to become less ossified and will try to understand some other level of acting that is closer to the aims of the independent arts scene.
Speaking of dreams, I remember something that you told me before, that the process of dreaming an institution (*10) is more important than that of becoming one. I really liked what you shared with me and I am wondering during these seven weeks that you spent together as a group, what kind of structures did you dream about together as a group?
I don’t know if it is more important, but it is more interesting. We have been dreaming about the end of capitalism. That is the biggest dream and the biggest nightmare that we have. I don’t know if it is possible, because as Lacan said, “we are born in language and we cannot escape its structures”. It is the same with capitalism. Everything is capitalistic, but not everything needs to be neoliberal, annihilating, homogenizing and non-empathic. There is a very interesting article called “Politics of Sleep” (*11). It is an essay, a text for the right to rest by Julia Morandeira and Work Collective, and you can find this text also in a book that is called “Party Studies”, that was recently published. There, they speak a lot about how we haven’t always slept in the same way and the notion of rhythm and idiorhythm, about how we can get out of this kind of zombie politics of slumber where we all sleep at the same time, work at the same time etc. Everything has to do with the substances that we take, the coffee, etc. The medicalization of society also follows the rhythms of sleep.There is this very big choreography that sometimes we try to break and create other moments and spaces to do other activities, like experience learning tired and gathering in public spaces in a moment that you are not supposed to gather or sleep in the public space in a moment and in an area of the urban setting that is not designed for that. How can we claim a urbanism, a public space and a private space that can follow different rhythms that are not just subjugated to this hardcore work logic?
In a way you claimed the Onassis AiR space to do that and to break this sleep pattern. Would you like to talk a bit about that?
It is something that they talk about in this book “Party Studies”. There is this notion that we need to experience contexts of disobedience and we need to create some disturbances. Without being disrespectful with the hosting frame it is interesting to take the same resource you have given us and try to inhabit it in a different manner. And then there is always a context of joy and celebration into being together, gathered at night, in how you turn a working space into a space of dissidence in a way. This is more or less the framework of the ideas that I conveyed to my colleagues at that night.
You slept here.
We slept here. We read this text together and we had also scheduled a series of walks through the city to understand what is the mood of certain public spaces when they are empty of people. Or are they empty? Why do we say that they are empty if there are still people sleeping and all of these notions that go more into a sensorial social direction? But we fell asleep. So, I think that it was kind of the byproduct of this subtitle for the right to rest. There is something very liberating and creative into this surrender to a process of disintegration, in falling apart and as a whole to reassemble our parts together. It creates these other bounds of trust. We spoke a lot about incubatories, like different dreaming practices. I have been working a lot with the topic of dreams in my practice (*12) as a storyteller and curator. I’m focusing on those ellipses, on those parts of our lives that normally we don’t bring to the light and failure is one of the mistakes, also dreams. For me, dreams are part of a daily conversation. I dream a lot and I always work on things, but many people don’t communicate so much dreams. Dreams can be fantasies for the future. They can be very subconscious things. They can be night images. So, to come closer to this idea of things that are forming and informing our lives, but we don’t often have an intimate space to share them. It is a cultural concept. We are not so into them right now, but other societies deliberate war conflicts and political decisions when women are pregnant or on their period and they put them to dream together. That is an incubatory. Also, for example, in Islam, there is this very beautiful practice that if you really need to take a decision, you go to a graveyard and you sleep on the grave of someone you admire to get some inspiration. So also, it has to do with the realm of the dead and who was there before. I like these thresholds where we try to work with what is not there or what is not seen or what is not rendered visible. The realm of the night allows for these other logics that escape the daily self-management imposed to us by work.
I very much like this idea of sleep as a collective time that you can create together with others a shared imaginary and think about something else together.
There is this very beautiful part in this text “Politics of Sleep” when they say that “for as much damage as the social fabric is, sleeping is always this moment where you surrender yourself to the hands of others”. Because you know that in this dream of this 24-7 society that is always in movement, somebody is taking care of some other aspects that are needed in order for you to have your rest. I think this is what we rehearsed by times on this night. For example, I was the first one falling asleep, but then I had this timer and I cleaned the space before the cleaner came. It is a different tempo, but you are aware of what is happening in the space. It is just that I slept in another moment and then I woke up at five or six a.m. and in this way of taking turns and understanding what are the tasks that need to be done in a space. It is a space for disobedience, but we don’t want to make people’s labor more uncomfortable. So, that was another interesting part of the night.
Going back to the research, I would like to ask you what was your initial research, the one that you had to submit for the open call and where do you see that standing now in terms of the collective research that you created as a group?
A question that comes to define institutions is that they always have memories of their own processes. If you are a curator or an artist invited to do the work in an institution, to interact with the institution’s history in itself is, for example, one of the elements you could be working on. It has to do with exhibition cultures. It has to do with many things. So I was wondering in which way the independent art scene or the self-organized movements that compose the fabric of a city, that is very important, how can we sustain a memory process that belongs to ourselves when we have these fundamentally different liquid temporalities. There are these stories of mutation and hybridization. We begin as this type of project space and then you merge with something else. There is this constant shapeshifting that sometimes comes from the inside as a decision of the collective and some others times it is informed by the circumstances, again in the context as a coauthor. So on this level, I have been trying to find methodologies. I am Interested in methodologies to archive stories around art scenes, but in my devenir as a curator, I have done the typical Western things. As a very analytical mind that is coming from art history and has a certain understanding of typical archival methods, I have made exhibition systems. For example, I began comparing independent art scenes as a type of grammar (*13) and then I played with language and I expressed this in the formation of sentences. I had also received a commission to analyze all the representative movements, like your union, but in Berlin, and I had to express it somehow, and I made an exhibition with plants (*14) to understand that this is an ecosystem and to pose some questions, always trying to find some metaphors that speak for the whole. But I became trapped in my own categorization mechanisms and I would like to find another way that is a bit more decolonial and less driven by a categorization fever, a method to speak about what is happening now that is less about mapping, a cartography, but more of an affective cartography. In relation to this format what I found here that is very interesting were some project spaces that are developing oral archives because they have this sensation that things are moving very fast. Gentrification is already brutal in many neighborhoods.
Would you like to give an example of one of spaces that you visited and the processes that you just described?
I think these are two different things. On the topic of the collective biography I am trying to find a methodology to do this work. We decided as a group that we will enact research collectively and we kind of came to these three questions that we are all interested in when it comes to different ways of organizing and we made a distinction between what is the choice for self-organization or collective governance. These are not the same. You can be self-organized without having collective governance and you can be self-organized and experiment with self-governance. This is what we have been following, based on these three questions, “what type of form does your organization have”, “how do you make decisions”, “how do you deal with conflict”. Because these inform a lot the core of self-organized units given that there is an enormous plasticity into different forms of trying to find answers to contingent problems. Many of these are set to be temporary spaces, like a space that turns into a social kitchen, while there is a scarcity of food, for example, for distribution problems of people that are in more need. Not all of these spaces have a vocation for endurance or permanence. This is what we have been thinking as a group and then I think that the ways our questions made their way into every discussion that was, of course, more individual. It is within this framework that I proposed in this residency these six days of speculation, because part of our activity, dealing with self-organization and trying to picture different models of working and living together has a lot to do with dreaming and finding forms for things that are not yet there. I like to propose exercises where we take it a bit more abstract, even though I work always with the context, but sometimes it is necessary to think from another perspective and look from the eye you have behind. And then I would always listen to these collectives and ask them a question that has to do with vision: “what do you think it is missing” or “what would you dream of having” or just trying to bring them a bit more to this sense in which we are also envisioning things that are not there, like a collection of desires in a way, that I have gathered from the different spaces that we met, like Communitism or FAC-Feminist Center for Research or Luc-Laboratory of Urban Commons. Because the structure of presentation of a group is normally always the same: this is us; this is what is happening; this is how we work; this is how will we react; this is everything that is not working. Sometimes it is not so easy to be positive and get into an atmosphere where you can also name potential solutions, because naming and creating these new lexicons of desire is already part of the path of arriving and achieving something.
Paz, we are about to close our discussion and I’m curious to know what is next for you.
I am in the process of developing a new project space in Berlin. This space is sustained by a collective that we formed a year ago. It is a cultural association, called neue häute (*15), which is a game of words. It sounds like “new todays”, but it means new skins. It is this idea that we have related to curating the now, curating in the moment of unfolding and curatorship not so much as a statement, but as this idea of redistributing power. We are all curators. We are facilitators. Some of us have academic or non-academic experience. We come from different forms of pedagogies and we wanted to create a space that is a laboratory that accompanies artistic research processes. We don’t want to be a presentation venue. We want to counter a model that we have realized is unsustainable, that is touring. We have all been exhausted by touring as part of the performing arts world, as part of our curatorial ways of being and traveling and working with others. Part of it is research, but another part is the necessity to always rely on a funding that always values more what is outside than what is inside. We are a combination of professionals coming from different practices that we want to live in Berlin and we don’t want to miss out what our friends are doing and we don’t want to invent a community. We want to be part of one. So we want to open a space where people are showing what they are doing, while they are doing it before they leave or when they come from a residency, that is a port and a storytelling device where you share these isolated moments of research while it is happening. And now what is coming next is to really create the pathway of how we are going to work as a collective, how we are going to take decisions, how we are going to share this space with others and how we are going to curate it by sharing it and creating different ways of using this space. In this sense, this residency is key because I come very fresh from studying many different ways that collectives constitute themselves. Sometimes, this is not the beginning of a process. I like that all of us that we formed the collective we had to attend to the practicalities in order to develop trust, responsibilities and now we come to the dreaming part.
I hope that we will find a way to establish these new kinds of tempos and structures to accommodate our own rhythms. I want to thank you very much for sharing and reflecting with me. It was a pleasure talking with you.
Sure. Thanks for thinking together, Myrto.
Thank you for listening. If you want to listen to more conversations, please subscribe to our channel. You can find more about the Onassis AiR residency program and each participant at http://www.onassis.org. This series is produced by Onassis AiR. Thanks to Nikos Kollias, the sound designer of the series, and to Nikos Lymperis for providing the original music intro theme.
(1) AFFECT was a Program for Collaborative Artistic Practices in Berlin, initiated by Agora Collective e.V. in 2014. The AFFECT residency was open to international artists and cultural practitioners willing to engage within collaborative and community-based practices, experimenting with models of working and living together in Berlin.
Learn more: https://pazponce.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/new-dates-call-for-applications-affect-summer-2018-copia.pdf
(2) The Agora Collective –Berlin-based Center for Collaborative Practices– was originally founded in 2011 by a multidisciplinary team as an independent project space in Mittelweg, 50 Berlin. Since then, Agora expanded its mission to be a place to conceive and experiment with models of working together; providing stable spaces for artists to engage within collaborative and community-based practices.
The Agora Collective is no longer active.
Learn more: https://pazponce.com/2018/09/01/agora-collective-e-v/
(3) Relational aesthetics – The term relational aesthetics was coined in the 1990s by curator Nicolas Bourriaud to describe the tendency to make art based on, or inspired by, human relations and their social context.
Bouriaud, Nicolas. “Relational aesthetics”. Dijon: Les Presses du réel (1998).
In relation to the notion of micro-utopias and the every day context read more in “Micro-utopias: anthropological perspectives on art, relationality, and creativity.” By Ruy Blanes, Alex Flynn, Maïté Maskens, Jonas Tinius. Published on Cadernos de Arte e Antropologia. Vol. 5, No 1 (2016).
(4) Timing – Von Bismarck, Beatrice; Frank, Rike; Meyer-Krahmer, Benjamin; Schafaff, Jorn; Weski, Thomas (eds.). “Timing – On the Temporal Dimension of Exhibiting”, Berlin: Sternberg Press (2014).
(5) FRAKCIJA – “The concept of the curator has become more and more influential in the performing arts in recent years. But while it has been heavily discussed and theorized within the visual arts, the function of the programmer, producer, curator in the performing arts remains strangely un-debated. Even though programming in dance, theatre and performance has undergone fundamental changes over the last decades there are barely any texts that reflect on its specific role in art production and reception.”
Malzacher, Florian; Tupajić, Tea; Zanki, Petra (eds). “Curating Performing Arts”. In Frakcija “Performing Arts Journal”, No. 55, 2010.
(6) Maria Lind – Lind, Maria (ed.). “Performing the Curatorial: Within and Beyond Art”. Berlin: Sternberg Press (2012).
(7) The third shore. Collective biography. Laboratorio artístico de San Agustín.
Author: Paz Ponce
Foreword by Michelangelo Pistoletto, introduction by Aurélie Sampeur.
Published in Spanish & English.
Presented as part of the events of the 13 Havanna Biennial, Cuba 2019.
Translation Olimpia Sigarroa Santamarina, revision by Michael Frank.
Designed by Elizabeth Rodríguez Barroto and José Alejandro Pérez Benítez.
Cover design by Giselle Moreno Calvo.
312 pages | Artist edition of 500 copies.
Printed by Gráficas Selvi (Valencia, Spain)
EAN : 9782956778202 ; ISBN : 978-2-9567782-0-2
Learn more: https://pazponce.com/2019/04/15/in-cuba-our-project-for-13-havana-biennial-10-11-05-19-centro-de-arte-contemporaneo-wifredo-lam-san-agustin/
Read “The Third Shore” in English
(8) Nikos Papastergiadis: “In Greek, there is only a small typographic difference between the word that names the place where an event takes place, ‘topos’, and the one that names the way in which it occurs, ‘tropos’. To collaborate with other people, to receive and work with them means taking into consideration the commitment that exists between ‘topos’ and ‘tropos’. Collaboration is a way of receiving the others, which involves the recognition of where they come from and the projection of a new line marking the horizon toward which the practice as a whole will be directed.”
Papastergiadis, Nikos. “Approaches from a Distance to Cultural Production in the Contemporary Situation”. TEOR/éTica, 2005, p.12.
(9) The artist group Club Real was founded in 2000 and is devising and realizing participatory site-specific projects: Installations, one-to-one encounters, political role play scenarios and participatory urban development projects invite visitors to help shape alternative concepts of reality.
For the project Folkstheater/Teatr Ludowy, for example, the group developed practices for collective art production in Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice from 2015 to 2017. This process has been documented in the book “Partizipation Stadt Theater” (Theater der Zeit, 2018).
Since 2018, Club Real has been working on the participatory political experiment Organisms Democracy in Berlin, Vienna and Gelsenkirchen. Equal political rights for all living beings —this is the radical demand of the project, which is implemented in real terms within the framework of the individual Organisms Democracy project. In 2019, Club Real was invited to the Impulse Theatre Festival with “Jenseits der Natur-Volksherrschaft im Garten_Wien”. Also since 2019, there has been an Organisms Democracy in Berlin, which is currently going through its third legislative period, and in Gelsenkirchen Club Real was able to start another long-term work with 800,000 Years of Photosynthesis-Organisms Democracy Gelsenkirchen.
Active members are currently: Marianne Ramsay-Sonneck, Paz Ponce, Georg Reinhardt, Mathias Lenz, David Lindemann.
Learn more: http://clubreal.de
About “Organisms Democracy”
(10) dreaming an institution – As an outcome of their collective research at Onassis AiR, Movement V participants of The School of Infinite Rehearsals 2020-21, contributed a text in Arts of the Working Class, a multi-lingual street newspaper covering the relations between art, labor, poverty, wealth and society.
Cassola, Nuno; Lubitz, Joseph; Muhammad, Harry Isra; Özdoyuran, Aslı; Pita, Margarita; Ponce, Paz. “Six Speculations: Tales from Kitchens, Tatamis and Houses with No Walls”. In Arts of the Working Class, Issue 19: Anticristos, November-December 2021, p. 46-51.
Link to the issue: https://artsoftheworkingclass.org/edition/anticristos
(11) Politics of sleep – Morandeira, Julia.”Politics of Sleep – A Text for the Right to Rest”. In Party Studies, Vol. 1. Víctor Aguado, Ramón del Buey, Brandon Labelle, p.123-133.
(12) Dreams in my practice – THE DREAMERS is a collaborative platform of projects focusing on dreams as a relational tool which connects people and places. Archived as a collection of oral stories, every project is curated for a specific context, and activated through different participatory strategies. Some of the main topics of this platform address the realm of every day life & public space, departing from dreams as a form of dialogue which cultivates empathic listening, creative imagination and the practice of loosing oneself through the densities of stories, streets and imaginaries meeting in cities.
THE DREAMERS is a project platform curated by Paz Ponce & Eran Eizenhamer.
Learn more: https://thedreamersplatform.wordpress.com
(13) “The Grammar of the Independent Art Scene (Glocal perspectives on Independent cultural production)” is a comparative research study, an exhibition project with a publication and mostly a dialogue initiated between Asia Contemporary Art Platform “NON” Berlin and Berlinerpool Arts Network, with invited independent art spaces, artist residencies, art collectives and art archives from Korea and Berlin.
Chapter #1: ART SPACES BERLIN/SEOUL
Project production and coordination: Asia Contemporary Art Platform “NON” Berlin and Berlinerpool e.V
Curatorial concept: Paz Ponce
Exhibition design of Chapter #1: Art Spaces Berlin/Seoul: Ido Shin
Project partners: Nonprofit Art Spaces Network, Korea.
NON Gallery, Berlin 2014
Learn more: https://pazponce.com/2014/08/28/the-grammar-of-the-independent-art-scene-glocal-perspectives-on-independent-cultural-production/
(14) Pflegeanweisungen (Care instructions) – The art of living together
Paz Ponce and Andrzej Raszyk (Berlinerpool) in cooperation with Marianne Ramsay-Sonneck and Georg Reinhardt (Club Real), Galerie Wedding, 2014-15.
A botanical exhibition on the coevolution processes between a growing community of representative cultural organisms in Berlin, the conditions of the soil where contemporary art is produced and presented, and (eco) systems of care.
Learn more: https://pazponce.com/2015/02/08/pflegeanweisungen-the-art-of-living-together/
(15) neue häute e.V. is a Berlin collective of artists and curators.
Under the motto “sharing of infrastructure-sharing as infrastructure” the collective is developing a cooperative interdisciplinary place aiming to support independent production locally, from alternative models of consumption, to self-organization, care & feminist politics and interdisciplinary collaborations focused on process-based practices and practice-based research.
Core team: Silke Bake, Sheena McGrandles, Paz Ponce
Associate founding members: Kitti Acosta-Zsiga, Diego Agulló, Silke Bake, Shelley Etkin, Sheena McGrandles, Paz Ponce, Gabriel Vallecillo, Jo Vávra, Akiko Watanabe
Learn more: https://neuehaeute.org