April 20, 2010

5th Summer Seminars for Art Curators: Aesthetic Communities and Contextual Translation of Communal Art

Call for Participation

There is always a loss in any work of interpretation, and this does not necessarily refer to the loss of the original meaning (the original historical context or the authenticity of an art work) as such but to the loss of the original conditions of reception. In regard to the Soviet art of Stalinism and beyond, art critic Viktor Tsupitsyn argues in The Museological Unconscious that these works were produced with the collective aspect of reception embedded in the very production and he describes this phenomenon as a “collective museological unconscious.” With the loss of the communal aspects of seeing which came with the demise of communism, these monuments of the times past are inherently deterritorialized and displaced when viewed in the context of Western representational structures, which condition an atomized, isolated and individuated viewer.

The question then is, how is it possible to recapture or rather representationally translate communal reception when the embedded specificity of communist community has itself undergone such a radical transformation? What is the role of the curator in the perceptual politics that perpetuates through and around a work of art? Can a work of art intended for a collective optical unconscious in the original context of its production create new forms of undetermined and situational communities when exposed, represented and reinterpreted anew? What happens to the work when both its intended message and its addressee are lost? What becomes of a specific community in which the work is situated? What is the role of the one – the critic, curator, historian and writer, who exposes, reinterprets and repositions the communal work?

Would like to pose the double question of communal art’s function within communities in which these works are physically located as well as the aesthetic communities that come into being temporarily around a work of art.

The program is comprised of two parts. The first part entitled “Aesthetic Communities and Contextual Translation of Communal Art” will take place in Yerevan, in August 15-17th, while the second part “The Communal Function of a Monument” will be held in Ijevan, in August 18-20, a city located in Northern Armenia and close to the Georgian and Azerbaijani borders.

For the first part in Yerevan we would like to invite proposals that deal with various theoretical frameworks, historical experiences and examples of aesthetic communities and contextual aspects of reception in terms of the production of aesthetic experience.

The second part takes the artistic forum called “International Symposium for Sculpture” organized in Ijevan in 1985-1991 by art critic Saro Sarukhanian in the context of perestroika politics and dissipation of pressure of the centralised bureaucratic and ideological apparatus of the communist party as a starting point to pose questions related to curatorial practices. Can these practices be connected to community art or it is an artistic prerogative to produce a communally visible and viable art? How can aesthetic objects from the past be engaged in re-evaluation of a site specific public sculpture in ways that this re-evaluation may empower local communities to engage in the striving for cultural and social change? How can we communally re-evaluate the work in ways that might permit escape from oblivion on the one hand and sacralisation on the other?

The Program is structured to accommodate daily lectures by invited specialists, round-table discussions and presentations by the participants. The presentations should focus on curating and aesthetic communities or curating community art.

There is no fee for participation. However, the participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. AICA-Armenia does not provide funding for logistics.

To participate, please send us your CV and a 300 word abstract of your proposed presentation by May 15th, 2010. All materials should be sent to Marianna Hovhannisyan at m.a.hovhannisyan@gmail.com.

International Association of Art Critics
H. Kochar Str. #13/99
0012 Yerevan, Armenia

Phone: +374 10 264619
Fax: +374 10 270472

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