Spoken introduction to 'Publishing & Performing Relationships. Caveat at Bâtard Festival' by Florence Cheval, October 30, 2018
I am Florence Cheval, curator, very pleased and excited to be here today as founding and active member of Caveat, a collective research and commissioning project reflecting and acting on the ecology of artistic practice. My colleagues are Ronny Heiremans, founding member of artist-run platform for research and production Jubilee, initator of Caveat; Julie Van Elslande, legal advisor for Caveat; Jesse van Winden, curator-researcher for Jubilee, editor at large for Caveat; Lola Martins-Coignus, artist, also collaborating with us on the project. We also work with collective Open Source Publishing, a graphic design collective that uses only free software tools. And of course also many artists present today, taking part and actively involving in the project.
Caveat is a research project exploring the ecology of artistic practice. In order to dig into those questions, Caveat focuses on the contract as a tool, as a tool for thinking AND as a tool for reconfiguring relations of authorship, labour, and price, among others. One of our main characteristics is that it is entirely based on and develops from the artistic practice of the artists themselves. Some of them are here tonight, as speakers, whom I will introduce in a second, but also as co-researchers actively taking part in the discussions – and I can introduce here Stijn Van Dorpe, Kobe Matthys, Jubilee artist Eleni Kamma... and also thanks to all of those who have joined our sharing moments that I see here again today.
Together as Caveat, upon invitation of Bâtard Festival, thanks to Bryana Fritz, Michiel Vandevelde and the whole Bâtard team – we imagined this programme that we titled “Publishing & performing relationships” (which could also have been “Publishing as performing relationships”). Publishing, as a way of making things public – we will go into a back and forth movement from publishing to performing, but also curating, collective practice, and so on. We will activate this each day and / or evening - and tonight with Ben Kinmont, the next days with franck leibovici, Eva Barto, Eric Schrijver, Sofia Caesar, Loraine Furter & Laurie Charles – different artists from different generations and different backgrounds, different modes of operating and approaching those questions.
For us, this programme is one step amongst the numerous steps that will lead us through this ongoing programme, a trajectory that we develop as artistic research into the ecology of artistic practice – trying to engage into the contract as a tool to reconfigure relations of labour, value, power, authorship...
For Bâtard Festival, we tried to open up the following questions: How to survive as an artist/art worker? How to engage into working conditions? Why and how do we contractualize relationships?
Publishing This week's programme is about artists whose practice of publishing could be described as “making things public” which may imply text writing, text-assembling, book designing, performing, curating, but also sculpture in the sense of “third sculpture”, as Ben Kinmont puts it, as well as design in the broad sense. Publishing is also here approached as a properly collective practice, a medium for empowerment and coalition, a tool for thinking... These strategies may echo Caveat’s consideration of contracts as relational objects, promises, scripts or scores to be activated... which means it makes total sense that this festival programme takes place in a café.
In terms of objects surrounding us, let me also introduce: − Sofia Caesar's Zero Hour relational object, which is also a form of publication. It will be activated this Saturday before we move to Decoratelier. − Graphic designer & researcher Loraine Furter’s display/conversation module, which was produced with artist Laurie Charles, and is part of Speaking Volumes, a hybrid research project about feminist publishing practices, its form being inspired by an artwork by Alison Knowles called The Big Book, from 1966.