Why Is Everybody Being So Nice?

Why Is Everybody Being So Nice?

de Appel, Schipluidenlaan 12, Amsterdam

Pablo Helguera, "This civil war has descended into such chaos that our only chance is to bring a curator to make a biennial about it" (2017). Commissioned by De Appel Curatorial Programme 2016-17 for "Why Is Everybody Being So Nice?"

Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? is a four-day long programme of panel discussions, workshops, screenings and performances that will investigate different case studies about the ethical and behavioural codes of conduct in the art world – where, in the words of Martha Rosler, “Niceness” “speaks to a demand, in neoliberal terms, for the wholesale invention, performance, and perpetual grooming of a transactional self”.

Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? aims to provoke reflection and a critical investigation into the grey areas between ethics and etiquette that are expected of cultural producers, or anyone working within the sector of knowledge-based, post-industrial economies. Cultural producers are subject to a 24/7 workday – constantly shifting between underpaid professional labour and social self-promotion at V.I.P. previews, and are required to adhere to an unspoken set of moral rules and behavioural standards. In an act of instrumentalisation of “political correctness”, the product of the cultural worker is expected to tick all the boxes that satisfy the politics of representation, comply with appropriate gender and racial quotas of an exhibition, and to readily accept an unpaid job under the premise of being exposed to new realms of opportunity in the reputation economy of the art world.

Three case studies of recent occurrences in the contemporary art world will serve as a speculative device, in order to provide horizons to think through and navigate the broader issues of precarious labour within the knowledge economy. The case studies draw on research trips to Athens, Bucharest, Cluj and Budapest that the De Appel Curatorial Programme embarked on at the end of 2016. These encounters revealed the tension between customary practices and anomalies of behavioural protocols imposed by biennales and recurring international exhibitions of differing kinds and scale. The immersion within these unfamiliar and stimulating conditions for a short and intense period of travel provoked inevitable self-reflection and negotiation of our own ethical positions within the politics of the contemporary art world. These shared experiences catalysed our impulse to take the opportunity of the final project as a means to extend, deepen and open up our discussions to a wider group of art professionals. The daily programmes of Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? aim to consider possible modes of resistance and counter strategies within the precarity of ethical and behavioural codes in the art world. What kind of personal agencies, alliances and temporary agreements can we set forth to reclaim our autonomy amongst the heavyweight powers of the art world?

The programme will end in a collective sleepover, The Night of Exhaustion and Exuberance, that will also host Open Avond(s): a series of events initiated by E.I.Panza. Within this collaboration, the practice of collective sleeping will be investigated as a gesture of resistance and appropriation of space and time.

* The title of the programme is inspired by Martha Rosler’s recent essay Why Are People Being So Nice?, published in e-flux journal #77 – November 2016

Programme: Each day will begin with an introduction by De Appel Curatorial Programme. The panels are centred around an open question, which the panellists have been invited to respond to through any format they choose. Doors open half an hour prior to every event.

Tuesday, 11 April, 18:30—22:00: The Art Blacklist Protocols of inclusion and exclusion operate at many different levels in the art world and, more broadly, in the knowledge economy. The politics that regulate access to the cultural system, its centres of knowledge production and spaces of value and wealth distribution are mostly unwritten: they are active in the realm where reputation is a coveted currency and the social pressure to be “nice” becomes a strategy for survival. On this slippery slope, the specific occurrence of “blacklisting”, based upon institutional policies, governmental undertaking or merely personal gossip-based recommendations, is a case study worthy of discussion. Every time a blacklist is leaked, it opens up a hole in the fence that divides what can be said from what cannot, revealing the fine line between personal opinion and formalised abuse of power. Which strategies can be developed to fend for autonomy when working in a social realm in which the practice of censorship, self-censorship and the praise of outspokenness co-exist? In addition, which modes of self-expression and ethically-approved critique can be employed as navigational tools for cultural professionals working within new and unfamiliar contexts?

Case Study: The Bucharest Biennale Blacklist (2014) The case study of the Bucharest Biennale (BB6) blacklist, leaked three years ago, will be a point of departure for the panel: the appointed curator, Nicolaus Schafhausen, received an email from the organisation with a list of artists, spaces, curators and academics that he was advised not to collaborate with for the biennale. What differences and similarities can we draw from a particularly circumscribed event in the art world like the BB6 case and other wider and recent government-related occurrences of blacklisting? Other examples to be touched upon could be the case of South Korean Cultural Minister’s arrest over a blacklist of nearly 10,000 cultural practitioners – who were disadvantaged of cultural subsidies for voicing criticism of impeached President Park Geun-Hye, or the instances of artists who were recently denied entry to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

18:00 Doors Open 18:30 Performance – Fangless by Larisa David 19:15 Coffee Break 19:30 Panel – The Art Blacklist, introduced by De Appel Curatorial Programme with Gergő Horváth, Charlotte Van Buylaere, Apparatus 22 (Dragos Olea), Binna Choi, Jan Verwoert, Moderated by Nat Muller 21:30 Dinner and Drinks       

Wednesday, 12 April, 16:30—22:00: The Parachuting Phenomenon The mobility of artists, curators, and institutions based on specific projects and residencies is commonplace practice in the art world. As the ease of worldwide mobility increases, curatorial and artistic practice have become synonymous with itinerancy, such as travelling for research purposes and generating pop-up projects in unfamiliar territories. The arrival of the outsider in a new context can stimulate unexpected outcomes, challenging the status quo of pre-existing eco-systems of the local art scene and promoting positive exchange of new knowledge and practices. On the other hand, this process is often haunted by the spectre of surface level engagement, coupled with the oversight of the detritus and long-term repercussions the project may leave in its place. Setting up an art exhibition through an international brand-name, for instance, in unfamiliar but profitable contexts, can be seen as symptomatic of the protocols of global neoliberalism, where experience economy meets knowledge exchange and where globalised values have the power to dictate (local) artistic practice. But how do we define the boundaries and the spectrum between an ethically aware practice and a “parachuting” project? What kind of ethical codes and behavioural standards can we agree on to regulate the relationships between the “host” nation and the short lived “pop-up” exhibition, or between the artists-in-residence and the local communities they are asked to engage with?

Case Study: documenta 14, Learning from Athens (2017) documenta 14, Learning from Athens (2017) is held between Kassel, Germany and Athens. documenta was welcomed by an affirmative stencil in the streets of Athens, stating “Dear documenta: I refuse to exoticize myself to increase your cultural capital”. A week before the opening of documenta 14, the Athens Biennial announced its public programme and exhibition, titled “Waiting for the Barbarians”. Along with various case studies, the example of documenta will be a point of departure for discussions around the politics of representation and issues that stem from the remnants that the ultra-mobile, jet set curator leaves behind. The panel will provoke dialogue into the ethics of navigating new territories and ways to counteract the side effects of this unavoidable symptom of the art world.

16.00 Doors Open 16:30 Workshop – Transfer failed with Johannes Büttner and Benedikte Bjerre (RSVP required) more info below ↓ 18:30 Coffee Break 19:00 Panel – The Parachuting Phenomenon, introduced by De Appel Curatorial Programme with Hendrik Folkerts (via Skype), Erin Gleeson, Nat Muller, Haco de Ridder, Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, Moderated by Laurie Cluitmans 21:00 Dinner and Drinks

Thursday, 13 April, 15:00—22:00: How To Politely Say No To Unpaid Cognitive Labour In The Knowledge Economy We all agree that unpaid work sucks. Long before the moment in which “the factory turned into office, (and office turned into home)”, the reproduction of work has been accompanied by the perpetuation of rampant injustice and exploitation – and this is especially prevalent today, in the era of self-employment and immaterial labour in the cultural sector as in many others. Yet, the forms of exploitation (self-)imposed on workers under the pretence of the contemporary economy of presence, the sphere of the 24/7 workday, have altered the classification of labour that we are required to perform, and, accordingly, the form that (the act of/to) strike can take to function within it. In fact, the traditional history of the workers’ struggle of the last century cannot be of much help in the post-Fordist context, when the practice of strike as “not-work” ceased to be effective. What kind of resistance and strategic withdrawal is available in the post-industrial, knowledge-based economy, when the possibility of strike as absence is no longer an option? How can we avoid the trap of counteracting high performance with strategies that become modes of high performance themselves? What is at stake when we refuse to work, and what roles do the notions of pleasure, love and commitment play in our daily acceptance of working? In other words: why do we say yes to the job in the first place? Maybe the more appropriate question to ask ourselves is not how can we politely say no to unpaid labour, but more precisely: How can we politely say no, while secretly performing our radical and exuberant yes?

In an attempt to resist the seductions of self-indulgence the day will be composed of workshops, as a propaedeutic and collective exercise in preparation for Exhaustion and Exuberance on Friday, 14 April.

14:30 Doors Open 15:00 Workshop – Behaviour as Strike: The Practice of “Presencelessness” with Ambra Pittoni & Paul-Flavien Enriquez Sarano (RSVP required) more info below ↓ 18:00 Coffee Break 18:30 Reading Group – Is It Love? with Brian Kuan Wood (RSVP required) more info below ↓ 20:00 Dinner and Drinks 21:00 Performance – Balance by Martina Mächler

Friday, 14 April, 18:30—Saturday, 15 April, 9:00: Exhaustion And Exuberance followed by The Night Of Exhaustion And Exuberance “The contemporary economy of art relies more on presence than on traditional ideas of labour power tied to the production of objects”: it hinges on the incessant pressure to perform, where quantifiable measures of productivity have been replaced by presence as the basic logic of attention economy. We are required to be omnipresent, ever ready and in a constant state of “busyness” – permanent availability without any promise of compensation. Presence legitimises cultural institutions’ access to scarce funding, meeting KPIs, while cultural workers boost someone else’s profit under the over-professionalised pretense and false ideology of high performance. Following the propaedeutic exercises of How To Politely Say No To Unpaid Labour in the Knowledge Economy, the panel Exhaustion and Exuberance will meditate upon ways of working together to develop survival tactics in the contemporary economy of presence. The panel will try to find new terms and paradigms, shifting the conversation from the logic of work and strike into the field of love and care. The panel takes its title from Exhaustion and Exuberance, an essay by Jan Verwoert published in 2008 where he suggests the idea of care as a way to subvert the pressure of a high-performance society – to “shatter the illusion of limitless potency” of the individual by acknowledging the debt of inspiration that we owe to other artists, friends, lovers, and histories. Almost 10 years after the text was first published, the panel invites the witnesses and initiators of new experiences in the realm of exhaustion and exuberance to come to terms with the issues raised in 2008, proposing an occasion to think together through the still pertinent and burning issues it proposes: When do we commit to perform of our own free will? How can we tell the difference and embrace latency? If, living under the pressure to perform, we begin to see that a state of exhaustion is a horizon of collective experience, could we then understand this experience as the point of departure for the formation of a particular form of solidarity?

Case Study: OFF Biennale, Budapest (2015) In 2015, the OFF-Biennale Budapest was announced as “a new platform to explore the ways in which art can contribute to the development of civil society”. The biennale was established by a group of professionals in the city and beyond, and founded on collaborations between locals and professional artists, curators, cultural NGOs, galleries, cooperatives and art venues.  The grassroots initiative, free of state funding, mostly relied on pro-bono contributions, private endowments and international funds, and was therefore unencumbered by governmental or corporate constraints. In the context of the increasing impingement of Hungary’s right-wing government on the operation of cultural institutions, the OFF-Biennale experimented with a means to remain autonomous, to deflect the debilitating power and reliance on the state, remaining independent from corporate agendas. The first OFF-Biennale was a prime example of the urgency for new modes of resistance through art production. It aimed to implement a structural model that is based on the commonality of interest, trust, and solidarity. Today, a few months prior to the second edition of the biennale, the project resurfaces the question of what kinds of sustainable methods can we employ to shatter solidified routines, and evade authoritarian powers’ monopolistic take on culture. Is it possible to escape the feedback loop of the contemporary art world’s neoliberal reliance on the desirability of presence? At what cost are we willing to engage ourselves and our work to achieve autonomy?

18:00 Doors Open 18:30 Lecture-performance – Air Talking by Ambra Pittoni & Paul-Flavien Enriquez Sarano (with workshop participants) 19:15 Coffee Break 19:30 Panel – Exhaustion and Exuberance, introduced by De Appel Curatorial Programme with Tijana Stepanovic, Vera Mey, Yolande van der Heide, Brian Kuan Wood, Moderated by Jan Verwoert 21:00 Dinner and Drinks

22:00 onwards: The Night of Exhaustion and Exuberance (RSVP required) 23:00 Performance - Self-Help Hypnosis Session for the Sociopolitical Artist by Laura Wiedijk 23:30 Open Avond(S) #1 01:00 Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? – Screening programme 01:30 Young Girl Reading Group 141 by Dorota Gawęda & Eglė Kulbokaitė,
 Nina Power From The One To The Many and Silvia Federici Feminism and the Politics Of The Common In An Era Of Primitive Accumulation 02:30 Open Avond(S) #2 03:00 Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? – Screening programme 04:30 Open Avond(S) #3 05:10 Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? – Screening programme 06:20 Performance – Trans-actional Self by Anastasia Shin 07:00 Open Avond(S) #4 07:30 Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? – Screening programme 8:00 Breakfast

Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? is curated by the participants of the Curatorial Programme 2016-17: Mira Asriningtyas, Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti, Mateo Chacon-Pino, Kati Ilves, Shona Mei Findlay, Fadwa Naamna.

Intern: Hannah Cheney Graphic Design: Fazed Grunion

The participants of the Curatorial Programme 2016-17 would like to thank: All of the generous contributors to Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? In addition to Charles Esche, Go Eun Im and Igor Sevcuk (Goleb), Sven Lütticken, Claire van der Mee, Martha Rosler, Henk Slager, Butcher’s Tears and the staff of De Appel for helping this programme come together.

The ideas, discussions and outcomes of Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? will be gathered in an online publication. This extensive editorial project will feature contributions by writers, artists, curators, and activists and will be officially launched on 18 June 2017, at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. The launch of the publication will be anticipated by the broadcast of the panel discussions on Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee – Online Radio Dedicated to the Arts.

Entrance: Free of charge / Dinner will be available for purchase Language of events: English

Please register your interest in attending the programme by emailing cpdeappel@gmail.com All workshops and the participation to The Night of Exhaustion and Exuberance require RSVP through the email above, as capacity is limited.

For press related enquiries please contact Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti or Kati Ilves at cpdeappel [​at​] gmail.com.

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Transfer-failed A workshop with Johannes Büttner & Benedikte Bjerre Wednesday, 12 April, 16.30 to 18.30 Location: De Appel (thinks), Office, Archive, Curatorial Programme, Presentations

Within the framework of The Parachuting Phenomenon, Johannes Büttner (and Benedikte Bjerre) will conduct a workshop on the transmission of value systems within the world of contemporary art production, navigating between franchised moral codes and professional disarray. The workshop will begin with a presentation on cultural case studies in which an attempt of the transferral of value systems fails. Transfer-failed will enable participants to analyse the grounds of failure and the fatal consequences that the breakdown in communication entails. The second part of the workshop will explore the given space through experimental means to provoke dialogue around two artworks that take opposing contemporary positions.  

The workshop is limited to 30 participants and requires RSVP through cpdeappel [​at​] gmail.com.

Behaviour As Strike: The practice of "Presencelessness" A workshop with Ambra Pittoni and Paul-Flavien Enriquez-Sarano Thursday, 13 April, 15.00 to 18.00 Location: De Appel (thinks), office, Archive, Curatorial Programme, presentations

The workshop Behaviour As Strike: The practice of "Presencelessness" is conceived as a propaedeutic (but non-compulsory) exercise leading to the lecture-performance Air Talking, taking place on Friday, 14 April.

The workshop Behaviour As Strike: The practice of "Presencelessness" will focus on presence as core material, along with the notion of the production of a body through behaviour and simulation. Through a series of exercises and meditations, the workshop will investigate presence and absence as performative and political matters, and reflect on ideas such as:

What kind of body do I need to produce in order to strike? How many bodies do we use? How can I produce a different body? What form can presence take? Is it an action or rather a substance? How do we perform absence while being present?

The last part of the workshop will be devoted to exploring and learning the set of gestures of Air Talking, the discipline of the simulation of presence in the circumstance of mundane discussion. Air Talking is an observation of integrated simulation on a social level. The performance is conceived as an Air Talking workshop, a course or an amphitheatre lecture of the Third Kind. Air Talking is based on a number of postures and gestures, which, through body language, should provoke consciousness of collective behaviour and the economy linked to it.

We are looking for 5 to 6 participants to join the Air Talking lecture-performance on Friday, 14 April. Therefore the last 45 minutes of the workshop will be devoted to structuring the performance. Please specify your interest in taking part of the performance when you register for the workshop. The workshop is open to anyone interested in participating, no prior performance experience is needed.

Participants will not be required to perform difficult physical exercise, however we suggest wearing comfortable clothing.

The workshop is limited to 30 participants and requires RSVP through cpdeappel@gmail.com.

Is It Love? A reading group with Brian Kuan Wood Thursday, 13 April, 18.30 to 20.00 Location: De Appel (thinks), office, Archive, Curatorial Programme, presentations

Brian Kuan Wood will conduct a reading group and deep analysis of his text Is It Love?, originally published in 2014. The text illustrates a contemporary world in which conventional structures and arbiters of value have begun to dissolve and are in turn replaced by symbolic alternatives such as friendship and love – “love being one of the major currencies of replacement, into the economization of “empathy”.

The reading group will address issues raised by the text such as emotional labour, political activism and endurance, and their relevance today. The reading group is developed within the framework of Exhaustion and Exuberance, and proposes different terminologies and horizons to navigate our dependence on the incessant pressure to perform in the knowledge economy, reflecting upon the boundaries between work, pathological commitment and pleasure.

Is It Love? by Brian Kuan Wood was first published in E-Flux Journal #53 - March 2014

The workshop is limited to 15 participants and requires RSVP through cpdeappel [​at​] gmail.com.

Apparatus 22 is a transdisciplinary art collective founded in January 2011 by current members Erika Olea, Maria Farcas and Dragos Olea together with Ioana Nemes (1979 - 2011) in Bucharest, Romania. Since 2015 they are working between Bucharest and Brussels. They see themselves as a collective of dreamers, researchers, poetic activists and (failed) futurologists interested in exploring the intricate relationships between economy, politics, gender studies, social movements, religion and fashion in order to understand contemporary society. A recent topic of research and reflection in their practice is SUPRAINFINIT universe: a world-making attempt to use hope as a critical means to navigate present and future. Their work was presented in exhibitions and festivals at La Biennale di Venezia 2013, MUMOK, Vienna (AT), Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles (BE), Ujazdowski Castle – Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (PL), Contemporary Art Museum (MNAC), Bucharest (RO), KunstMuseum Linz (AT), MAK, Vienna (AT), Steirischer Herbst, Graz (AT), Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (DE), Salonul de Proiecte, Bucharest (RO),  TRAFO Gallery, Budapest (HU), Futura, Prague (CZ), Osage Foundation (Hong Kong), Progetto Diogene, Turin (IT). Besides the collective, the members are involved in a few other collaborative configurations: Dragos is working on a set of projects with the KILOBASE BUCHAREST moniker for a nomadic gallery he started with Ioana Nemes; from 2016 onward the project is being continued as a collaboration with curator Sandra Demetrescu; Erika and Dragos are running add: an NGO based in Bucharest that is working since 2002 as a support organisation for various young artists and cultural initiatives while also running a niche art library titled add knowledge. Benedikte Bjerre (born '87 in Copenhagen, Meisterschüler prof. Fischli, HfBK Städelschule '15, BFA Sociology, University of Copenhagen '09) is a sculptor. Her work is concerned with the contemporary conditions of (art) production, distribution and consumption. She is the co-founder of the Danish outdoor art space Billedhuggerhaven Skovsnogen 2017, as well as the curator of Soft Costs, Kunstverein Wiesen 2016, and also one of the artists behind the film festival Cinema-Teatro Apollo, Bellaria 2013. At the moment she is a participant at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions (selected): Point of sale (Vermillionsands, Copenhagen 2017); PRIMARY STRUCTURES – 1966 bis zur Gegenwart (MMK2 - Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt '17); LAST MINUTE BUSINESS - fast procedures in small amounts of time (Adult, Copenhagen 2017); Trickortreater (solo) (Lullin+Ferrari, Zürich 2016); En slags penge (Piscine, Aarhus kunsthal, Aarhus '16); Whatman (The Shelter for Contemporary Art CCA, Tel-Aviv 2016); Pitfalls (solo) (Salon Kennedy, Frankfurt 2016); Take me I am yours (Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen 2016); Stock'n'flow (Bold Tendencies, London 2016); Afgang (Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen 2016); Sharpe Practice (solo) (Traube, Ortisei 2016); Transfer (Kunsthalle Rathausgalerie, München 2015); Lemon Leafes/Zitronenblätter (Villa Aurora, Pacific Palisades 2015). Johannes Büttner's (based in Amsterdam, born '85, MFA Universität der Künste Berlin '12) artworks are focused on the precarious circumstances of our age. Sketching futuristic as well as post-apocalyptic scenarios, underlined by a limbo between reality and fiction, past and current visions of the future are the main focus of his work. He is a co-founder of Berlin based cultural "Hate Magazin". In 2015 he organised and curated the "Kongress der Möglichkeiten" at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, and in 2017 the exhibition "belong anywhere" in Berlin. At the moment he is a participant at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. Latest exhibitions and performances include: Coming (Channel Sunday, Hamburg 2016), Gabber Nation (Kunsthuis Syb, Beesterzweig 2016), Séance I: Survival (Acud macht Neu, Berlin 2016), Do things people love (live) (Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin 2016); Gabber Nation 2.0 (Intersection Art Rotterdam), Faustgroß (Theater, ADK Ludwigsburg 2017) Binna Choi is since May 2008 the director of Casco – The Grand Domestic Revolution (Oct 2009 – 2014, with Maiko Tanaka and Yolande van der Heide) and the artistic research program Composing the Commons (2013-2015/6).  She is part of the faculty of the Dutch Art Institute / Masters of Fine Arts Program in Arnhem and Arts Collaboratory: a trans-local network of socially engaged art organizations across the world. She also worked as a curator for the 11th edition of Gwangju Biennale. Laurie Cluitmans (1984) is an independent curator and writer who holds a BA in Communication Studies as well as a BA and MA in Art History from the University of Amsterdam. In 2011 Cluitmans, together with Arnisa Zeqo, was awarded the Young Curators Grant of De Hallen Haarlem, for which they curated the group exhibition 'He Disappeared into Complete Silence: Rereading a Single Artwork by Louise Bourgeois’. She curated a.o. the following exhibitions: ‘Tribute to an Avenue’ (2013-2014), an exhibition of video art on the Coolsingel commissioned by Sculpture International Rotterdam; solo exhibition by Liesbeth Labeur ‘Nachthutje in de Komkommerhof’ (2014-2015) at De Vleeshal Middelburg; ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’ (2015), a group exhibition (i.c.w. Rieke Vos) in public space with works by emerging artists; solo exhibition by Saskia Noor van Imhoff ‘#+21.00’ at De Appel arts centre, Amsterdam. In 2011 Cluitmans was part of the research team of the Autonomy Project culminating in a summer school, symposium and series of master classes at the Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven. Until September 2016 she was artistic director at Galerie Fons Welters. Cluitmans has written for MetropolisM, Fundament, Frieze, De Groene Amsterdammer and individual artists. Recently she was awarded the Prize for Young Art Critics 2016 for her essay ‘The possibility of a garden’, on the gardens of Derek Jarman and Ian Hamilton Finlay. This essay is part of Cluitmans’ current curatorial research ‘Radicants, Radicals, Epiphytes and Parasites’. The exhibition ‘All Heal (Valerian)’ (i.c.w. Jort van der Laan) at art space Rongwrong is the second public disclosure of this research, followed by a series of public gatherings with special guests. Following the exhibition and public moments, the research will continue during a residency at CCS Bard. Larisa David (b. 1988) explores the tension between collective and individual identities, being concerned with possible alternative strategies to highlight fluid and multiple identities and peripheral histories. Her latest projects have employed the presence or absence of dialogue as a tool to delve into discourses, exceptionalism and the notion of citizenship using existing content – official documents, textbooks, dedicated books, tourists guides, newspapers – that she transposes in new contexts to reveal other perspectives to normative constructions. She lives in Rotterdam and Bucharest. Hendrik Folkerts is Curator at documenta 14 (Kassel/Athens, 2017). Prior to this, he was Curator of Performance, Film, and Discursive Programs at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (2010-2015) and Coordinator of the Curatorial Programme at De Appel in Amsterdam (2009-2011). He studied art history at the University of Amsterdam, specialising in contemporary art and theory, feminist art histories, and performance. His texts have been published in journals and magazines such as South as a State of Mind, Artforum International, Mousse Magazine, The Exhibitionist, Metropolis M, Art & the Public Sphere as well as in catalogues and artist books. Folkerts was co-editor of The Shadowfiles #3: Curatorial Education (Amsterdam: de Appel arts centre, 2013), Facing Forward: Art & Theory from a Future Perspective (Amsterdam: AUP, 2014) and Stedelijk Studies: The Place of Performance (Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 2015).   Erin Gleeson is curator and writer, and the co-founding artistic director of SA SA BASSAC, a non-profit exhibition space, reading room and resource centre in Phnom Penh. Her recent projects include the gathering FIELDS: On Attachments and Unknowns, Phnom Penh; the archive initiative Exhibition Histories: Cambodia, 1945-2016, Asian Cultural Institute Library Park, Gwangju; and the exhibition series Satellite Program 8, Jeu de Paume, Paris and CAPC, Bordeaux. Erin is currently an Alphawood Scholar, MA Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (2015-2017). Gergő Horváth (b. 1993) is an artist, curator and cultural manager. He studied music and visual arts with an emphasis on makeshift politics and DIY social structures. He was the curator of BUCHAREST BIENNALE 6, was exhibited in ‘Affluence of the working class from differentiation to collectivism’ and curated ‘100 Hungarian minutes’. He was an invited lecturer at the Fine Art University Budapest and University of Bucharest. His activities have appeared in publications such as NZZ, EyeContact NZ, re:sculpt, Lettre Internationale, TheChronicle, Reforma, Zeppelin, The Institute, Frieze etc. Most recently he was the co-director of Bucharest Biennale 7. Lives and works in Bucharest. Xenia Kalpaktsoglou is a curator and writer. In 2005, together with Poka-Yio (Polydoros Karyofyllis) and Augustine Zenakos, she founded the Athens Biennale, a non-profit independent organisation, which she co-directed until July 2016 when she stepped down. During this time, she co-curated 2 editions, AB1-Destroy Athens, 2007 and AB3-MONODROME, 2011). Her curatorial practice has evolved to focus on two primary functions: that of an initiator of artistic platforms and networks, and that of a facilitator of artists’ projects while her process is heavily rooted in collaborations. Currently she is involved in the set-up of LUC (Laboratory for the Urban Commons), an Athens-based research laboratory constituted of local and international researchers, activists, and cultural producers which aims to operate as a platform across different solidarity economies, grassroots movements, knowledge and cultural communities. Yolande van der Heide is publishing and education coordinator at Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht, where she started as an intern in 2008. She is managing editor of several books published with Casco including White Paper (2016) and Grand Domestic Revolution Handbook (2014), and the forthcoming publications Practice International, Site for Unlearning (Art Organisation), and 365 Days of Domestic Work. She is also coordinator of the Community in Print (2013–2014) and How to Live Together (2012–2013) editions of Publishing Class and Southern Wave (2016–2017), courses designed by Casco within the MA program at the Dutch Art Institute, Arnhem. Most recently she is thesis advisor in the Fine Arts department at the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam.

Martina Mächler (b. 1991, Schübelbach/CH) completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at Zurich University of Arts (ZHdK) in 2017. She lives and works in Zürich. She feels uncertain about where to draw the line between work and leisure, even though one still seems to use the words paired as opposed to and excluding each other. The private sphere has been part of our work culture outside the creative sector for a while now (home of flexible working hours, increased individual responsibility, etc.). Her wage labour and her private life enter her artistic work, as seen in her performance-based series Balance (started in 2013), in which she presents her financial data in annual and extraordinary reports. By reproducing a business meeting, the form of the lecture-performance offers a base to address financial realities and possibilities as an artist, otherwise often tabooed. Mächler’s work is characterised by a conceptual and language-based practice, realised in various media such as performance, video, screen-printing, lithography and installations. In artist books created in collaboration with artists and publishers, she deals with everyday life and apparently incidental scenes. Be that experiencing a city through the eyes of a tourist or listening in on fellow commuters’ conversations. Selection of group exhibitions: Plattform17 - A Winter School, Kunsthaus Glarus (2017); Intervention - young artists on campus, University of St.Gallen (HSG) (2016); Shopping - Arthur Junior, Wil(SG); They Printed It, Kunsthalle Zürich (2015)

Vera Mey is an independent curator and PhD candidate at SOAS, University of London currently researching Southeast Asian art between 1955 - 1980. She is currently on the curatorial team of SUNSHOWER: Contemporary art from Southeast Asia 1980 - Now due to open in July 2017 at the Mori Art Museum and National Art Centre Tokyo in Japan. She was part of the founding team of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, a contemporary art research centre of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) as Curator, Residencies. Since it’s inauguration in January 2014, the Residencies Programme has brought together artists, curators and writers in a research driven residency with particular emphasis on artists from Singapore and Southeast Asia alongside artists from the rest of the world. She was Assistant Director of AUT University’s ST PAUL St Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand from 2011 to 2014. Her last project there was co curated with Erin Gleeson from Sa Sa Bassac, Phnom Penh called FIELDS: an itinerant inquiry across the Kingdom of Cambodia (2013).  For 2013 she was curator in residence at Arts Initiative Tokyo, Japan as well as convener of the AUT University Master of Arts Management Curatorial Strategy program.  She is co-founder of the scholarly journal SOUTHEAST OF NOW: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Asian Art and for 2015-16 joined Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, a research initiative of the Getty Foundation.

Nat Muller is an independent curator and critic. Her main interests include: the intersections of aesthetics, media and politics; food and contemporary art in and from the Middle East. She is a regular contributor to art magazines, has edited a variety of publications and written numerous catalogue and monographic essays. With Alessandro Ludovico she edited the Mag.net Reader2: Between Paper and Pixel (2007), and Mag.net Reader3: Processual Publishing, Actual Gestures (2009), based on a series of debates organised at Documenta XII. She has curated video and film screenings for projects and festivals internationally, including for Rotterdam's International Film Festival (NL), Norwegian Short Film Festival (NO), International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (DE), and Video D.U.M.B.O (USA). Nat is editorial correspondent at Ibraaz and in 2012 was a speaker on censorship in the arts on BBC World's award-winning program The Doha Debates. Recent exhibition projects include Spectral Imprints for the Abraaj Group Art Prize in Dubai (2012); Adel Abidin’s solo exhibition I love to love… at Forum Box in Helsinki (2013); Customs Made: Quotidian Practices & Everyday Rituals at Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah (2014); This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam & American University of Beirut Gallery (2014/15). In 2015 she was Associate Curator for the Delfina Foundation’s Politics of Food Program (London) and in 2016 she was appointed guest curator for the A.M. Qattan 2016 Young Artist of the Year Award for Palestinian artists. Nat has been a nominator for the Prix Pictet Award, the V&A Jameel Art Prize, the Visible Award and the Paul Huf Photography award, amongst others.

Ambra Pittoni and Paul-Flavien Enriquez-Sarano have been working together since 2009, and are based in Paris and Torino. Their works involve performance as a broader frame for research, production processes, and narration. Thus, both their artistic practices and outputs are proteiform and mutative, hence difficult to categorize, as they often employ heterogeneous knowledges and media. Nevertheless, underground scenarios, peculiar themes and aesthetics, can be uncovered: the question of fiction as reality, of circumstance as matter, the propensity to invent new disciplines proposed as shared practices and collective experiences. Most of their projects span long periods, even years. They exhibited and performed their works at Museo del Novecento (Milano), Museo MAGA (Gallarate), CCA Zamek Ujazdowski (Warsaw), Exile gallery (Berlin), Ashkal Alwan (Beirut), PAV (Torino), among other art centres, galleries, independent and non-profit art spaces.

Anastasia Shin (b.1987) Graduated from Goldsmiths BA Art Practice in 2011 and completed her Yoga Alliance TTC in 2009. Both practices inform the format of the work she produces, ‘reflecting the conditions we exist within’ and the changing language used to describe it. Recent work focuses on sociological discourses surrounding the ‘Wellness’ industry with specific reference to devices of ‘data measurement’. She was one of seventeen facilitators of the 12-month postgraduate course ‘School of the Damned’ - Year of the Ram in 2015 and is now attending the Piet Zwart Institute MFA course.

Tijana Stepanovic (HU/NL) is a Curator and Cultural Manager based in Den Haag and Budapest. She was a Curator and Head of International Projects at the first OFF-Biennale Budapest (2014-2016). She was previously the head of Ludwig Museum Budapest’s International Department, ACAX (2008-13), Artistic Director of acb Gallery (2014), and the founder and president of VIVO Foundation (2001-). She holds her degrees in Psychology, Aesthetics and Literature.

Jan Verwoert is a writer and critic who focuses on contemporary art and cultural theory. He is a visiting professor at University of the Arts, Berlin and a contributing editor of frieze. His writing has appeared in various journals, anthologies, and monographs. He was a professor at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Oslo, taught at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, and was a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Art, London. Verwoert is the editor of No New Kind of Duck: Would I know How to Say What I Do? (2016) and author of Cookie! (2014), Animal Spirits: Fables in the Parlance of Our Times (together with Michael Stevenson, 2013), Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want (2010), and Bas Jan Ader: In Search of the Miraculous (2006). Verwoert lives and works in Berlin, Oslo, and Rotterdam.

Laura Wiedijk (Wageningen, 1985) is an artist based in Amsterdam. Her work includes installations with video, print, and sound that hold together and tear apart the real and the unreal. Wiedijk graduated from Gerrit Rietveld Academy and has participated in residency programmes such as WIELS, Brussels and FABRIKculture, Hégenheim. Exhibitions include: Dark Moon: The Good Life, Doing Good, New Conditions, Amsterdam, 2017, Grinning Machines and a Closemouthed Growl, Kunsthuis Syb, Beetsterzwaag, 2015 (in collaboration with Toon Fibbe), Balancing Work, Family and Food to Create a Healthier Life, Domestic Art Initiative, Brussels, 2014.

Brian Kuan Wood was built in 1978 at a facility in Seattle out of parts manufactured in China and the United States of America. His capacity for thought allows him to autonomously generate text on love, weather, history's plasticity, artists, and numbers, and to organize text generated by others—since 2008 in e-flux journal and more recently in Tamawuj.org, the online publishing platform of Sharjah Biennial 13. He transfers consciousness to the School of Visual Arts Masters in Curatorial Practice Program and demonstrates text-to-speech functions at other facilities.

Haco de Ridder is employed as Senior Project Officer International Relations at the Mondriaan Fund in The Netherlands. He is responsible for the organisation of the annual Orientation Trips, and for introducing International art professionals to Contemporary Art in the Netherlands. Trips have led to China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Colombia, and Chile amongst others. He previously worked as a freelancer with different National and International commissioners in the fields of the visual arts. Amongst others: Tom Postma Design, Art Basel, Prince Claus Fund, Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst, CBK-Zuid-Oost. He also worked as secretary for the writer Gregor von Rezzori in Italy. He studied Hotel Management (1980-1984) and Art Management at the Amsterdam Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (1988-1992).

Charlotte Van Buylaere is curator at Netwerk Aalst in Belgium and researcher at De Appel in Amsterdam. She served as assistant curator of the Bucharest Biennale 7 and is a contributing editor for H>art Magazine. Her curatorial practice explores the intersections of popular culture, feminist politics and hybrid art practices, and is often executed in different formats such as reading groups, open classes, public discussions and video/film screenings.

She co-curated the exhibitions Romanian Vistas: The BB7 Travel Agency at Onomatopee in Eindhoven, Netherlands (2016), Spatial Sublation at WIELS, Belgium (2016) and Dysraphic City at Node Center for Curatorial Studies in Berlin (2013). Van Buylaere is the former junior curator at S.M.A.K. Museum for Contemporary Art, and has collectively run the project space These Things Take Time in Ghent (2012 – 2016).

Young Girl Reading Group (YGRG) was initiated by Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė in 2013 in Berlin. For two years since its conception, the project followed the format of a nomadic event happening weekly on Sundays at 7pm in various locations, actual and virtual alike. Currently, YGRG occurs on rarer selected occasions, when we read together pronouncing the words out loud, emphasising the relationship of the body of text and the collective body. An audition for audacity, where reading becomes a rhizomatic network of voices, suggestions, references. Realising the connectedness to other sources, resources, leaks and leads, we are no longer side-lined or downplayed. Most other plants were rooted, but we grew up to be intelligent, obsessional, highly manipulative, deceitful, scheming and thoroughly determined young girls. Advocating for new forms of corruption. With just the right amount of cuteness glistening across the face.

The participation of Johannes Büttner in the programme is kindly supported by the Goethe Institut

Why Is Everybody Being So Nice...T-Shirt

collection (unintended), 2017

See also