Rounding up by Caveat 'dramaturgs' at Artist Placement
Dramaturgs of the project, Steyn Bergs and Greg Nijs, reflect upon the artist presentations of the past days, their roles as dramaturgs, the intentions, goals and current insights of the Caveat project, and how, after a period of 1 year, being confronted with a lack of funding for the future, Caveat could continue. Their reflections are the starting point for discussions with the public on the future of Caveat. A discussion on new forms of working together, funding and useful tools.
00:48 Steyn Bergs on how APG has been an inspiration source for the Caveat project since the start.
03:40 Greg Nijs relates it back to his own practice as a sociologist and part time teacher at an Art school. He had to come up with a pedagogical note for the school to introduce what he was going to address during his classes. He made the general proposal to focuss on 'art as a speculative practice', which was something he was particularly interested in at the time. Initially what he had in mind was to approach it as a narration, without relating it to the mundane. "I think, the basic tenet of the discussions we had here this morning, however, was exactly this question of art as a speculative practice, not through the creation of otherwordly narrations, but through very mundane relations. I put the emphasis on the 'practice' as most of the speculative aspect is generated by the practice and not the a posteriori reflection." How can you approach or interpret speculative practice? It tends to touch upon preexisting fears and issues and takes them as a starting point. There are different degrees of speculation.
07:45 Quotation from Matters of Care by Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, the speculative part here is in the creation of connections that did not exist up until that point.
10:30 It remains a question whether you want to create a new professional profile in an institution, one that needs to be resolved case per case. GN makes comparison to a different field: dissability and orphan illnesses, a field with a lack of funding and public interest. The issues here are all very personal ones, which do not affect anyone outside of the intimate circle, but through the creation of proto instruments and the formalisations of what is in essence very intimate and experiential knowledge you do have something which is called a montée en généralité. You rise to a higher level where more people can identify and this strenghtens both the knowledge, the epistemology, and becomes epistemologically 'worthy' for big institutions. This has also happened in the field of Post-colonial Studies, Indigenous Knowledge versus Modern Knowledge, ... there's been this quest, in different fields, of how to relate knowledge practices without effacing it into something universal or effacing its particularities. But there is a price to pay in formalisation, besides being accused of subjectivity and not talking for a wider audience.
14:30 How does this relate to the idea of a contract? I will come back to this after. What I've learned from studying these cases is how they work their way from experiential knowledge to a level of formalisation that did not compromise the entire cause.
Steyn Bergs: If I understand correctly, what you want to bring to the table is what would constitute a meaningful oscillation between the particular and experiential, the rooted and situated versus the challenge of this montée en generalité that you mentioned, coming up with a workable level of abstraction, a way to formalise these things - which is always the question when we are talking about contracts of course. The tension and how to make it productive.
Referring to two different approaches with Vijai Patchineelam and Victoria Ivanova, Victoria's being on a higher level of montée en generalité. Greg Nijs: I find them very compatible. In the eighties - nineties it was all about perspectives, but the reality itself was never put to question. Then came the ontological, and even materialist turn.
19:38 An institution or organisation is not just a discourse or an idea, it is also a building, cathegorisation systems, a telephone line, ... it is all of that too. Nijs makes the connection to performance and performativity.
Performance projects a dramaturgical element on a material, you do not actually change that much. With performativity you also take the materiality of that body, of that setting, of that truth, that you are addressing and engaging with or potentially trying to change.
00:21 Opening up the dicussion with the audience on demarkation point: end of this phase of the project and the start of its continuation.
22:27 Timo Demollin: Vijai's notion of resistance at Jan van Eyck, as well as that of APG, how productive is such resistance still today? Compared to some of the projects presented yesterday and even APG, I wondered: what option's do we really have? Are there any other examples anyone had, small successes, examples of how this can be productive.
24:26 Katleen Vermeir: There is always the possibility of 'capture' (recuperation), even Heidegger is interpreted as a model to make more profit. Art might be valued, but not always in the way we want. Example of experiece with guy that was active in finance during an exhibition in London: Vermeir & Heiremans were asked to share everything about their practice, but when asked about his own practice, the man did not want to talk about his projects and ideas himself. One way traffic. I am pretty sure he is now using and profiting from our ideas.
25:28 Ronny Heiremans: In general, there are two approaches (cfr mundane and narrative/speculative). You could say: "from now on I will refuse to feed the beast with new ideas and turn to the mundane... which is the beast and try to redefine, restructure or redirect part of the mundane. That is one of our principal approaches: not to be creative - or to be creative with the uncreative, and in that respect address the mundane as the condition for producing a narrative, but a condition that has been very much subsumed by the narrative that we are trying to address. Hence you end up in a circular reasoning. Part of the motivation of Caveat is to see a contract as a potential tool to escape that circular reasoning. Most artist would call the contract a neoliberal tool that they don't want to be part of or pay attention to. Not sure if we actually are able to do this, but that is Caveat's potential, in my eyes.
28:27 Timo Demollin: I think you're right and wrong. In an era of service industry, everything is forced to become creative. It seems like a logical reaction or evolution from the artist to become uncreative, isn't that also just a trap?
29:12 Ronny Heiremans: Of course it might very well be a trap, but I don't see huge crowds gathering. I think the position is still very marginal. It is trying to address some of the issues that define the mainstream, of the arts.
29:45 Steyn Bergs: I use those terms myself, but when doing so you assume a somehow innocent prior state, inception of autonomy. APG and Caveat are interesting because they use tools that are contaminated already. I see their potential to step away from implicit presumption of victimhood. The naivity of APG was the presumption that prior to the placement they were on the outside of the apparatuses they were entering, while maybe they were already inside to begin with - and if they were not, then at least I think we all are now. One can question what agency that position can still afford. That's when the contract becomes interesting, for resistance maybe, or at least negotiation, or just a way to make these soft power relations, these slight assymetries that are so characteristic for the field in which we work, visible. This is something Caveat attempts to do, but we can still develop further because, honestly, I think it is something most of us do not know how to do yet, and also because there is not much of a willingness in many institution to engage with the ideas that we are toying with.
33:00 Scott William Raby: To add a bit to the conversation of the contract, part of the projects I'm involved in are trying to look at the multidimensional, idiosyncratic character of the contract as both a legal paper stipulating negotiations or recording verbal negotiations between parties and how it essentially needs to be readdressed in every situation and context in a multitude of ways, and how different strategies can lead to different levels of success.
Social Sensibility and Diakron have completely different ways of dealing with and utilising the contract.
Having done some research in this area, I wanted to stress the absolute flexibility and multidimensional characeristic of the contract and the way it can be utilised.
35:53 Antony Hudek: It is interesting to see how much of this work is being funded by research bodies and how much of this is now endorsed as an artistic practice, assuming that academia is a neutral middle term between the industry or government and the studio of the artist.
I am just sharing a discomfort - this came up earlier - "who is funding?" This leads to some thought about the role of the aesthetics. I keep thinking about APG, it was still artists being placed, while in the incidental unit the artist was already lost in the generic title.
Would it be something to rethink the legal status, not as the cultural worker, not as the research-artist, not as the placed incidental person, but just as the artist? It's just a refocussing of that term, this hyper-modernist legacy. There is something there in that authonomy, which I find quite exciting. In relation, specifically, to funded research, which I find more and more commonplace and questionable. Who's goals are we following and how can the artist step away from that predetermined academic strand?
37:42 Steyn Bergs: As someone who's being funded by the Dutch government, who get their funding for education primarily from gas exploitation, I share your concerns. It is interesting that we do no longer talk that much about what the aesthetic or artistic aspects and their potential. It starts to be very conceptual. The APG was still drenched in this belief of the effects and potential of the arts, not as research necessarily, but being disruptive. While those are things we haven't spent that much time talking about and we tend not to. Talking all of this into consideration, the question is: can we still think about the specifically artistic or aesthetic and its function in relation to the issues we are approaching or are we becoming researchers with, maybe, an increasing disregard for the aesthetic.
40:05 Greg Nijs: For me, it's about more than aesthetics and aestheticisation. Talks about the 20th century Post-war massification of aesthetics and the aestheticisation of everyday life - of organisations and even of accounting. The fear of the academisation of art (first with the diplomas and then in terms of PhDs, which eventually led us to artistic research and funding institutions, be it private or public, that were all taking this on board and promoting it) and whether this is to be taken critically... - even the question of critique has become a very mundane debate.
It's not about being in or out, but how to cut diagonally. There is good research done outside of academic context and shitty research done inside of it, both of them being sold as really scientific. Same goes for outside or inside of capitalist institutions. We need to address this differently and not as 'it is bad to be in and good to be out'.
42:22 Antony Hudek: Just to say that this was not at all what I was suggesting, but just the reintroduction of this foreign, historical, obsolete term - if not of 'aesthetic', then of 'art' - I find intersting. I find the contract a completely uninteresting art, or an uninteresting something. Talks about the APG members background in art education.
44:40 Steyn Bergs: I can pick up on some of the things that have been said just now.
I do agree with not making these easy assumptions of the good outside and the bad inside. However, the past two days have reminded me of the explicit need to be attuned to the specificities of situations, take an explicitly political standpoint. It's unfortunate that Victoria isn't here, because I agree with her perspective on not seeing ourselves as the victim (the artist) and predatory perpetrator (the outside). On the other hand, she's working at the Serpentine Gallery, which is heavily funded by the Sacklers, American producers of opiates which caused a lot of deaths, who fund a lot of art projects. This also relates to the question of the abstract and particular.
Katleen Vermeir: Yet you haven't asked her about it...
Steyn Bergs: No, because I don't think it's the kind of question to ask over skype. I'm sure she has thought about it and is aware, but it is a question that merits another, more profound conversation.
Katleen Vermeir: This is often the case with researchers within the academic context too, who are also funded. We really need to ask these questions about the predatory outside.
49:16 Greg Nijs: It's true and a bit obfuscated that the Belgian Humanities, like the Social Sciences Department, are funded with money mainly brought in by the Bio-Engineering Department, and we live by the grace of this. The rating system of academic publications is in the hands of 3 companies, and so forth. The field of science and technologies studies had to deal with these questions too, from the seventies on, which generated this anti-critique stance, whoever critiques knows better than the one he is critical about. It's not merely about case specificity. Trying to describe, without too much of a personal voice, while allowing the audience to think about it themselves and form their own opinion is a strategy, not a tactics. This is one possible solution. Do away with a priori definitions of good and bad. Practice research and deploy whatever you want to deploy. It's the same with failure or success, its a good idea to have a symmetrical approach.
53:30 Timo Demollin: If all of these flows of money are connected and there is no initial good or bad, is their a future for Caveat, not as a research programme, but as a service provider? What would that mean, if you actually make a bussiness of it? Management Art, I don't know. If we talk about efficacy: a lot of people could benefit from all the knowledge here.
54:13 Greg Nijs: When you say service provider, do you mean private service or public service? I'm also in a an innoviris funded programme developing technologies for citizen engagement and now my colleague is joking that we are actually a state-funded startup. You start out and get four years to do the research, in the end you're supposedly free, but we did put in the contract that we would do open source stuff and are going to create a library. As a safeguard to not become a private service.
55:35 Ronny Heiremans: In our case the condition to start the research was that the output would be in the public domain. This had to do with funding structure and lack of resources, so they solved it by conditioning it. This leads to the question of what belongs to the research and what doesn't. The condition was also that we couldn't produce art. So we didn't.
The only thing we were allowed to fund was the research part, the artists were invited to do research by themselves, with third parties or with us. I personally wanted to make sure that we made it absolutely clear to them that we were investigating this triangular relationship, but were not producing the art ourselves.
After a year the funding body decided to stop funding because in a way we were very atypical, a singular case for them, which meant a lot of work for them and a lot of work for us. You could actually ask yourself what it is that we were researching.
58:58 Steyn Bergs: This relates to what we were talking about earlier. Now that the bureaucratic restrictions tied to the funding are gone, fun can begin.
Ronny Heiremans:We're back to the precarious positions we started from, but now it's not only about the artists, it's the entire team, the partnerships. Suddenly the entire set-up, or environment finds itself in the same precarious situation we, as artists, experience every day. I guess this is similar in the academic field.
Greg Nijs: Or the iron cage of bureaucracy.
Ronny Heiremans: It was a very interesting experience for sure, but it's also very heavy. The agenda weighs a lot on how you think about things.
Katleen Vermeir: I think you should answer Timo's question on why not to become a service provider?
Julie Van Elslande: What would be the service?
Timo Demollin: Legal advice?
1:01:30 Julie Van Elslande: I think what Caveat did was to create a narrative, which allowed artistic trajectories to make sense within a broader context. I don't think a service provider is the future of Caveat.
1:03:00 Florence Cheval: If we became a service provider, we could become a new Cultuurloket, somehow.
Greg Nijs: What's the difference between you and Cultuurloket? There is clearly a difference. What do we understand by 'service'? How much leeway is there when on the notion of service and on the notion of research, for that matter? To come back to the evaluation of Innoviris, there was a discrepancy between what Innoviris was expecting and the end evaluation, which was full of methodologically hygienist arguments for shutting it down.
1:05:03 Florence Cheval: The other alternative would be a pressure group on a political level, forgetting the fact that we wanted to engage in the actual practices of the artists. Each time I try to imagine it as something else, the practice of the artist is pushed aside.
Greg Nijs: Just with another funding body perhaps.
1:05:42 Ronny Heiremans: These funding bodies do not exist in art. The negotiation with Innoviris was quite interesting. You can take a risk, but in the second year, when confiming the risk it becomes dangerous as they made a descision. The first year is an option, the second year is a descision.
Greg Nijs: Innoviris probably also has an evaluation of their budgets.
Ronny Heiremans: The question now is how to continue to make the most of it. Julie, who comes from being a service provider, maybe you should go into the issues you experienced there and the things we try to do differently.
Julie Van Elslande: I think that only in co-creating and looking for other ways, which can only be achieved in collaboration, you can create a real value.
I think we're having a very depressing discussion.
One of the things we should do in the future is to digest all this material we've developed in one year of Caveat and make it publicly accessible.
Although it seems very difficult in practice, I am very ambitious about the contract , it can be a space where things can be renegotiated and roles can be shifted. What we mainly tried to focus on was questioning the relationships within the art economy and I think we should continue to do this. Maybe one of the ways to get funding for it is by collaborating with institutions. It's a pitty we do not have any institutions with us here today. Niels would you like to say sth?
1:11:32 Niels Van Tomme: I do not want to represent 'the institutions'. Was there an actual question involved? Julie Van Elslande: How can an institution be involved in questioning the relationships within the arts?
How can an institution be involved in questioning the relationships within the arts?
Niels Van Tomme: One example would be to host a conversation like this, but not merely hosting, also to organise a follow-up for such a moment and see where we can go from there. It depends on what you are trying to do with the institution. Are you there just to fulfill an agenda, a predetermined collective wish of what an institution needs to be? Or is it something to be rebuild and reimagined each time? It's slippery terrain, everytime you reach out and step out of the ordinary, you bump into all kinds of limitations - administrative, bureaucratic and institutional. It would be messy and chaotic, but not impossible. I cannot articulate a clear position at the moment, except for sensing that that might be a way in which these things could advance, not in a clear-cut straightforward way. APG seems to be a good model in it's first utopian phase. I think what were facing right now is that there are no models, which is liberating, but also offers no direct alternative.
1:15:11 Katleen Vermeir: At On & For Production, you spoke in a quite utopian way. You mentioned how film production, screenings, festivals, etc are a very unsustainable model for artists t and were asking why we would stick to the status quo, and why not rather cooperate and find a new model together.
Niels Van Tomme: I think the context was completely different. I did propose some kind of utopic science fiction scenario back then. It's weird to have been a curator for 15 years and all of a sudden becoming the director of an institution. I think we were talking about resistance at some point. It's difficult to talk about as you easily end up in binary thinking, but one thing that has helped me - and now I'm specifically reffering to the work I've done with the team of de Appel - is to think about the fact that we are funded by Mondriaan and by the city and what this allows and obliges us to do, and to see if there is a space in between.
This was not always successful, but at least I felt that when you make sure you do everything you have to do... Earlier, I was talking about quotas that an institution has to adhere to. In the Netherlands it's a bit more radical, but I feel a clear shift happening here as well.
Our next minister of culture could be an extreme right wing racist for that matter.
The Dutch ministery is very precise in stating what you have to do to keep your funding.
One of the shifts at de Appel was thinking about relation to neighbourhood and the aspect of education having a different space in the organisation. There was also a demand coming from above about the amount of students with specific numbers according to different age categories. To be able to do that you must be a factory. There was a concious choice not to do that and to communicate it to the funding bodies, because we do not believe it to be a productive position to be in within the current cultural field. Instead we wanted to focus on micro long term relationships with specific partners. Luckily was accepted. I feel like you can either go with these overly rationalised systems or brush against them, without rejecting them completely.
Steyn Bergs: We also have several of the artists present. Maybe they can talk about their perspective and what they would like in terms of a possible continuation of this project.
1:24:33 Scott William Raby: How I gather, the existential moment of how Caveat continues, the critical existential problems facing the project at this point are about finding a new economic model to sustain the activities of the group, and defining, articulating and creating a new agenda correlating with a new set of economic circumstances. I'm curious to see how the Caveat organisers will approach this and come up with a new solution. I'm interested in bringing back the idea of resistance in a non-binary way, not being a good insider or bad outsider, multi-directional strategies creating models for socio-economic conditions that can reproduce itself from an administrative perspective and allow artists to continue to interact with this engagement as well.
Having participated in Caveat and having specific connections between my own research and practice and the subject matter, I see a great deal of value produced in this project - and so how can it continually be reproduced or find its way?
1:28:35 Sofia Caesar: I spent the entire day thinking about the word 'model'. I was thinking about the anti-model or non-model. One of the things Caveat guaranties, supports or protects is the space in which there is no model, but an artistic practice. Something which is inherently complicated and many things at once, embedded in a place and its particularities. That space is the space to be guarantied in the face of the worldwide changes - to guarantee a space for art being art. I think it's very nice that every event that Caveat does is a question.
Ronny Heiremans: That's why they cut the funding.
Sofia Caesar: Yes! And maybe it's good!
Ronny Heiremans: Yes.
Sofia Caesar: Because I think instrumentalisation was inherent in that, no?
Ronny Heiremans: Potentially.
SC: Potentially a risk. At the same time I do not know what it will be. I do see this break as a very exciting moment to rethink it and look for the essence.
1:31:51 Vincent Meessen: As a member of Jubilee, partly involved in Caveat as an external, but artistically involved in the project, now the main perspective for the project seems to be to think about a lot of things that happened and stlll need to be digested. Jubilee is an organisation always on the verge of institutionalizing itself, calling for new fundings. There's a usefull exercise to channel the most important ideas, reflect on them as an artist. The moment you create a platform there's a risk of instituionalizing, a risk for the artist to becoming a bureaucrat and loose the most important drive as Sofia has just said. The 'how' sometimes calls for the organisation, but also raises issues.
It is interestring to think about Caveat as a project coming from an artist-run platform and to keep on connecting to this issue, not only as a model, but also as a tool to develope, interact and reflect on the own position as an orgnaistion.
Niels Van Tomme: I sometimes wished that art institutions would be better bureaucrats than they are. There's nothing wrong with correct bureaucracy. But as we all know, that's not the case. I wanted to pick up on the anti-model or non-model. I think what we experience right now is a collective awareness that there is not such a thing as a model that we can still adhere to. I wouldn't replace it with the anti-model, because it introduces yet another form of binary thinking. I would see this as an openness, a space which allows us to come together and think about which new art world of new way of thinking would be possible within the demise of 'the model'.
- That's my official reply, so forget the previous one. - That's the moment where something new can happen The dissapearance of the model as such, the universal quality of all art institutions, it is a complete fraud. We all know what it is to walk through an art fair and then go to visit an exhibition at a cutting-edge art institution and encounter the exact same way of thinking and framing or presenting art works.
I hope that Caveat could spark those connections between art instituiotns, artists, governments, etc
1:38:18 Katleen Vermeir: It's a pitty that Stroom, Den Haag isn't here, because in their newspaper I read: "Why continue the status quo, what if, for once, we didn't apply for project funding? Let's not make an exhibition, but what else can we do?" So then they come up with inviting artists for longer periods and follow-up on that. I would be interested to hear how they are going to do that, what are the traps? Do you pay the people or ngo's coming in for collaboration?
Ronny Heiremans: It's courageous. It would have been a good connection, shame they didn't make it. I think an institution can be subversive and resistant, it's just a descision. Just do it!
1:39:53 Kobe Matthys: I don't know if any of you followed the discussion going on about the possible merger of Kaaitheater and PARTS (Anna Theresa De Keersmaeker's dance school)?
So Kaaitheater hosts many international artists, supports artists on a project-base and is not an institution with their own company - which is how it used to be. In the 1980s, a new way of working arose in Belgium, in which theatre makers created their own ngo's and were no longer associated with institutions. They mainly financed themselves with project funding.
Anna had long term structural funding and created an organisation around her. She also founded a school funded by the Flemish community and had a strong long-term agreement with Muntschouwburg, but since there were cut backs on the Federal institutions, she lost this security and is looking for solutions.
She wants to institutionalise a bit more, I believe, but also has an entire repertoire which she has built up over the years.
Kaaitheater, on the other hand, didn't really have a repertoire nor a group and would primarily stage individual creators.
Now, with subvention pressure, there is a pressure for them to merge. The Art institution (or Vlaamse Kunstinstelling) no longer has to apply for funding, funding is guaranteed, and every big city in Flanders has a big institution - all but Brussels. So, if they merge the two together they could have the status of 'Kunstinstelling', but the people active within Kaaitheater are afraid because it would imply a move back to the old model with a theatre associated to one director.
I'd be interested to take the practice as point of departure, rather than the institution or the individual, to put forward a protocol that is singular to a practice. I think it has more openings, because it's not a standardised institution that hosts people, nor the other end, where individuals set up their own structures in an almost ideosyncratic way, but something that goes along the milieu or environment of the practice.
We often fall back into individual vs institution. (We need) something that is less standardised, but not totally ideosyncratic either. It's dealing with interstices - how can you create an interstice for a practice to be able to exist?
I think there are all kinds of possible symbioses, there could be these forms of cohabitation, which could also happen in what is considered to be outside of the cultural field. For example: schools are empty at night, these are huge spaces and infrastructrues.
1:46:58 Steyn Bergs: Am I correct in understanding that a big part of what you were saying in the beginning is - to paraphrase it - not completely doing away with 'the model', but modeling 'the model' or modeling 'the anti-model' around specific practices;
01:46 Kobe Matthys: I think the theatre world in the eighties in Belgium came up with an anti-model and we are seeing the limits of it right now. I think it's important to focuson the practice and what it desires, on how to find interstices with more possible symbioses that could also be outside of culture.
Julie Van Elslande:What would it be? A Centre Flamand de la Dance? If you talk about modeling the model around a practice and take the example of Kaaitheater and Rosas, would this mean creating a centre for dance?
Some practices might profit from being hosted in a theatre, but it shouldn't be reduced to a discipline. If you have a group of practices that could join forces under the label of dance, that could be possible. It is quite singular, some practices might benefit from interstices that are not their own.
1:49:28 Ronny Heiremans: I used to work in that environment, and I think these institutions were crafted on the times and people that brought in the content. The artists were young and eager, but now it's a case of the son eating the parent: the hosting institution is big, but the artists have become much bigger. There is a conflict between creating narrative and the mundane aspects of creating, which means that for the moment Anna Theresa has no possibility to do extended series of her performances, she can only do it properly, in a way that is economically viable, abroad. In Belgium we're on top of the international dance scene, but there's no dance centre. I see a necessity for both sides to exist. This model that was created in the eighties when we were a cultural desert has come to a moment where it is confronted with the lack of taking care of the own heritage. A lot of centres have changed artistic direction recently and a lot of them are encountering issues with regard to insitutional forms and how these relate to the artistic practice. There is a crisis in our landscape. I can't see the dynamics anymore, I'm no longer active in that field, but i can see a point on both sides.
1:51:53 Niels Van Tomme: Building on what Kobe said - sometimes institutions behave like what they think they should be doing, rather than questioning or putting forward a more reflective mode of being. I think ARGOS, Centre for Art & Media might be considered as one of those institutions. It generated from a very specific necessity or reality in the late 1980's.
It's also very hard, and takes time, energy and care to change that type of thinking that pushes an institution to doing something because it thinks it should be doing it. How can you undo that and create new possibilities within an institutional framework? I do think that your suggestion of taking the practice as a point of departure, specifically not tied to a discpline, is a possible way out of the status quo for the institutions.
To think about a future programme is not necessarily to think about solo or group exhibitions, working with the collection, etc., but rather being interested in a specific artist and the things this artist allows us to do as an institution that we would previously not have done? It is about thinking beyond the category of solo exhibition or collection exhibition. What does the artist's practice bring in and what can Argos bring in at this particular moment in time that another institution could not. It's a creative relationship that you establish and within it you need to be dynamic and responsible to one another. It immediately creates a different type of power relationship, in which it is not necessarily the institution that allows things to happen, but a specific project that allows something to happen at an institution. I don't think there is a clear-cut answer to this - let's not call it a crisis, because crises are boring - to this, apparent impossibility of institutions to move forward and maintain their relevance.
1:56:16 Florence Cheval: How would you choose artists? Is it a collective choice within the team? I think it's important not to mainly focus on the director's choices.
Niels Van Tomme: It's my choice not to choose. It's funny that institutions sometimes become very institutional, I also think it's dangerous. Even a small one like Argos sometimes starts thinking of itself in departments. One of the things I would find interesting is that these hierarchies would be questioned. Argos could become a collective, not so much a curator or a director who's in charge or makes the descisions, but carrying the different aspects of the projects collectively. People who work in production or distribution sometimes have amazing ideas for curatorial projects. An organic entwinement of different functions within Argos and how they can influence one another, creating a unique voice is what I consider to be a valuable future development.