The Transformation of Art

Text by David Goldenberg

We have plotted, on a map of Eurasia, a route for a mobile exhibition that travels out from Europe to Turkey and Azerbaijan. This trajectory links together people and geographical locations participating in the project. The lines and points on our map also function as dynamic geometric diagrams revealing the thinking process and, in turn, provide coordinates for decentering power. This basic narrative links up with further clusters of concepts for visualizing our thought experiment, participating cultures, the unresolved crisis highlighted by materialist practices, inquiry into representations of Globalization, spatialization and circulation of goods and art, the image of the Global container ship industry to embody ideas of spatialization, the use of containers as pavilions.

Recent research proposes the biennial form as the clearest image of a Eurocentric tradition of art, an image of a World picture and image of Neo Liberalism. Yet, methodologies (i.e. institutional critique)  to understand such bodies have eroded, leaving these bodies invisible, so that we are faced with the necessity to locate a language and thinking to understand these forms, but also the language that allows us to go on to reimagine or replace that form. At the same time it is clear that the existing language and forms of art function not just as the limits to our thinking, but as barriers for further developments!

Central to this process of breaking out of the impasse faced by Western thinking (where art and thinking are equivalent) is a collaboration with participating cultures, involved in formulating new concepts for their culture – which are neither linked to the past nor to Western Modernism, but to as yet unknown concepts – in order to reimagine the biennial form, decentralize power, and then further on down the line reformulate the aims and objectives for Contemporary Art itself. The mental projection offered by the image of Participating cultures constitutes our tool for breaking through the Eurocentric tradition to reimagine a new art. This is what we understand by the transformation of art, or to be more technical, by inhabiting the space of Post Autonomy.

Participating cultures come together in a program of online debates and activities producing mind maps, text works, diagrams, assembled into a shared language tracing a route out of chaos, disorientation, non language and non thinking, back into thinking and language, and then practical steps and suggestions for populating our new space. The routes, the networks with participants, the continuous production of mind maps are intended to show an evolving thinking process and destabilizing practice.

The key fundamental issue behind the whole project, which can be found in the background of many similar sounding projects – and the reason they have failed and remain tokenistic gestures, the reason thinking remains trapped in a loop – is that it is not sufficient to locate and frame a question and problem, the issue is “in what context does it make sense to pose that question?”