Caveat is a collective research project reflecting and acting on the ecology of artistic practice. Convened in 2017 by the Brussels-based artists’ initiative Jubilee in context of a research residency programme Lodgers, organised by AIR Antwerp and M HKA, Jubilee initially used its own networked operational structure to model Caveat. During the Lodgers residency Jubilee not only organised presentations and workshops, consultation and exchange between artists and art workers from art centers, museums, galleries, academies, residencies... but also addressed a number of historical case studies. Each time a different legal consultant attended these meetings.
In collaboration with three research partners who joined in 2018 – Open Source Publishing (OSP), No New Enemies and Eté 78 – Caveat started to develop as an interface that inserted itself within the fields of friction between the different actors and perspectives involved. This moved discussions and negotiations from a private, not-visible environment – where considerable differences in economic and other power positions exist unchallenged – to the agonistic inclusivity which Caveat strives for, as a project situated in the public domain.
With a one-year-support of Innoviris Caveat was able to set up a number of artist research trajectories in 2018-19. In different ways Caveat related all of them to the question: how can juridical tools contribute to a shift from an economy to an ecology of artistic practices.
The project title Caveat alludes to the expression caveat emptor (buyer beware) – signaling the research's ambition to raise awareness and co-create alternatives. As such Caveat is a wake-up call to artists and art workers, as well as to art institutions and producers, to collectively re-think and respond to the nature of their work relationships; not only to their socio-economic and legal context, but also to their cultural positions in a broad sense.
Caveat is artistic research with a focus on contracts as a tool for reconfiguring relationships in the field of visual arts. Its methodology attributes a central role to a great number of artists and practitioners who are invited to share their in-depth research into the socio-economic and legal conditions of their practices. A research team (an artist, a curator, a legal specialist and an editor), further completed with collaborators of the different partners, curated and coordinated this phase of the project. This extensive team worked closely together with the artists to narrate and extrapolate the commissioned works.
A wide variety of professionals in the cultural and legal fields were also involved, offering their expertise to the project. Next to that, a number of Brussels-based art institutions were engaged in the research trajectories, or acted as co-producers or hosting institutions for the artists' commissions. Last but not least, Caveat also initiated an ambitious educational programme for art academies and universities.
Caveat will continue to look into a more sustainable, balanced way of operating within the existing legal frameworks of visual arts. Its aim is to develop a method and framework for contracting that can be adopted both by artists and institutions. By working on this from different levels – with artists, institutions, policy makers and other professionals – Caveat envisages to offer advanced and reframed equivalents of what is commonly understood as a contract – an instrument that can be customized by the users in the face of the particularities of each practice, project and relationship.
The current website gives an overview of what has been developed so far. Updates of the continuing work on Caveat will be made regularly.
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Caveat c/o Jubilee
Chaussée d'Alsembergse Steenweg 820b
Rue Paul Devauxstraat 3
Boulevard Anspachlaan 1, box 15