Call for applications – Summer Academy & Symposium: De-Colonizing Art Institutions, Zurich, Switzerland

Application Deadline: 19 May 2017

Summer Academy: De-Colonizing Art Institutions
13–24 June 2017
Zurich University of the Arts
Zürich, Switzerland

Symposium De-Colonizing Art Institutions
20–21 June 2017
Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart
Basel, Switzerland

The globally active art world nowadays cultivates an exchange that transcends the boundaries between cultures and continents through so-called global museums or globally operating art biennials and festivals, at least for a certain audience able to travel around the globe. Yet, this should not blind us to the fact that in the end a certain perspective of the Western history of art and culture claims primacy over global contemporary art and especially its market. Museums and art institutions all over the world therefore tend to have a uniform appearance. In format and content alike, they cater to and follow « Western » examples.

The question thus arises of how art institutions and museums could work differently by not taking a supposed, globally prevalent “guiding” culture as their orientation but instead continuing to search for new formats. How can an art institution be conceived? What might a de-colonized institution challenge?

Art institutions, fairs and museums in « Western » countries are likewise being called upon to reconsider their ways of addressing their public, and not solely because in the face of the diverse migration movements, cultural processes are in a constant state of change, as G. Spivak pointedly observed. Culture as such is something that exists in a constant movement, in the merging different formats, contents, messages and heritages.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: “What people call transculture is culture as it happens. Culture alive is its own counter-example. Transculturation is not something special and different. It is a moment in a taxonomy of the normality of what is called culture. To assign oneself the special task of cultural translation or plotting cultural translation has therefore to be put within a political context.”
Concept: Dorothee Richter and Ronald Kolb, in cooperation with Sören Grammel

The first week focuses on reading and discussing pivotal theory on decolonial and post-colonial studies and thinking about their impact in art practice and exhibtions. The second week focuses on the inputs of the guest curators and artists and on conceptualizing own projects.

Participants involvement in the symposium
The symposium is part of the summer academy. Participants of the summer academy will research and prepare for the Q&A formats of the symposium.

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