AGM Conversation series brings together, in different configurations and venues, artists, curators, thinkers and contributors variously involved in processes of “knowledge production” via art, media, research or other forms of critical dialogue. Adopting AGM’s itinerant format, these sessions seek not only to assess the “state-of-play” at various moments in the lead up to the exhibition or research process in which they are involved at that time, but to continue discussions around thematics that are central to their approach and productions. Previous conversations have dealt with the overall Manifesta 8 project in 2010, artists engagements and research with the region of Murcia, the issues related to specific artist productions and the wider preoccupations of contemporary art production.
A significant feature of the conversation series, is that they have taken place in semi formal settings, requiring no audience but the camera and the amassed group of participants. They sit somewhere between the formal setting of the commonly used artists talk /seminar format and the informal nature of social/networked conversations between arts practitioners and producers. The sessions provide an open forum for sharing and exchange with no underlying pretext but to consider the current state of affairs.
In line with the theme of Hospitality, AGM suggested a series of recorded conversations in meeting rooms. Hosted through provision of space, technical support and refreshment, AGM will reciprocate their generosity by hosting and producing a series of conversations during led up and opening week. AGM will invite participating artists, biennale staff, and a selection of curators and cultural producers from the influx of local, national and international visitors to create informal places for communication, asking: what is the best way to “act out” rather than just represent Hospitality? Through ‘acting out’ hospitality and documenting the informal conversations AGM will act as critical lens, reflecting on the new productions, working processes and responses in relation to the main curatorial concept. These recorded conversations will demonstrate and question the various procedures and agents (visible and non-visible), which govern the conception, production and distribution of artistic activity with a Biennale.
Conversations will include:
Discussion: On Context Starting from the contextual environment of North Wales/North West England, the conversation will revolve around the idea of ‘Celtic’ (in the UK and throughout Europe i.e. Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany, Galicia, the Basque Countries etc.) in relation to what is called, for instance, ‘British’ or ‘Spanish’ and so on, marrying this debate with artists from Latin America and Africa in relation to what is called ‘Europe’ or ‘Western’. In short, we will be exploring that ‘space of relation’ so to speak – not only unpacking Celtic in Europe and beyond, but also literally discussing Europe and Western themselves through the work of artists from the Celtic region, Latin America and Africa.
Discussion: On Dialogue II The session specifically seeks social and geo-political topics relevant to the global and local, questioning if, as in the realm of cultural diplomacy, dialogue is to be understood as a reciprocal act and as a prelude to collaboration /cultural understanding, then who sets the terms of dialogue, where is it enacted, how does it function and what are its inherent asymmetries? More specifically, it aimed to delve into the realm of questioning the instrumentalisation of “dialogue” in contemporary art and institutional practices as well as on the geo-political scale.
Discussion: On Mobility. By considering residency programs, Biennales and the fragmented geographies of artists in the global context of contemporary culture; Is the mobility offering more opportunities in terms of sustainability of the art practice, but at the same time deflecting the attention of the artist from the ‘urgencies’ to a form of ‘cultural hopping’? Is the artist-in-residence/ biennale format possible outside the art system, as a form of gaining sources and attention, being relevant for other interested audiences and building the knowledge necessary to re-insert this content in the art system when it the right moment? Also working with other ‘platforms’ at the same time?
Discussion: On Public, How art is used in the public sphere; or rather, shouldn’t’ art ‘build’ the public sphere? Considering the rapid urban development in the region in the lead up to the Capital of Culture and comparing this to the current art and cultural climate, it is important to question what other spaces there are in the city for art production and reception and how can they contribute to the general community’s knowledge of their presence.
Discussion: On South/North Investigation and discussions on the contemporary South/North as space, as singular dimension, as concept and paradigm, with its specificities, its richness and its problems, with which the artists, the curators and the cultural operators who live and work on the respective territory deal daily. How can we compare the Liverpool Biennale in relation to notions of South/North?
Discussion: On neo-European identities The conversation will ask what are the visual translations offered to neo-trans-Arab artists living in Europe? The artists will be discussing with other practicing artists who are of European origin, to dissect and disseminate their understandings of neo-European identities. This session will follow on from a series of conversations presented at Manifesta 8, 2010, that use the biennale subtitle “In Dialogue with North Africa” as a departure point for discussion.
Discussion: On City State Is it possible to be an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city that is not administered as a part of another local government? If a state is a political and geopolitical entity, and the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity, what is the ‘city state’ in the economy of culture?
Maniffature Knos, Lecce, October 2011
“On Regeneration” saw the participation of Heba Amin (EGY), Emma Houlihan (EIRE), Stefano Calgo (ITA), Rachela Abbate (DE), Maria Rebecca Ballestra (ITA), Natascha Hagenbeek (NL), Giuseppe Pansa (ITA), Marcus Owens (USA), Andrei Siclodi (AUS), Ana Hoffner (AUS), Sergio Racanati (ITA), Alfredo Cramerotti (UK) and Hannah Conroy (UK).
Goleb Studios, Amsterdam, January 2011
“On Temporary” saw the participation of Aukje Koks (NL/BE), Igor Sevcuk (BA/NL), Taf Hassam (UK/NL), Hannah Conroy (UK), Rumiko Hagiwara (JP/NL), Candice Jacobs (UK),Istvan Ist Huzjan (SI/BE/NL), Gregory Pirus (FR) and Scott Joseph (UK/NL).
Darb 1718 Contemporary Art and Culture Centre, Cairo, December 2010
During the Cairo Biennale, AGM coordinated a recorded conversation between curators, artists and cultural producers on the 16th December 2010. This one day session focused on social and geo-political topics relevant to the Mediterranean region, opening up to some tactics for producers and audiences to employ via modes of aesthetic journalism, ficto-criticism and political fictions. Having recently interrogated the nature of collective production and collaboration as part of Chamber of Public Secrets’ contribution to Manifesta 8, AGM wished to expand on this to address the term “dialogue”. If, as in the realm of cultural diplomacy, dialogue is to be understood as a reciprocal act and as a prelude to collaboration/cultural understanding, then the session asked: who sets the terms of dialogue, where is it enacted, how does it function and what are its inherent asymmetries? More specifically, it delved into the realm of questioning the instrumentalisation of “dialogue” in contemporary art and institutional practices as well as on the geo-political scale.
“On Dialogue” saw the participation of Alfredo Cramerotti (Italy & UK), Hannah Conroy (UK), Yesomi Umolu (UK), Khaled Hafez (Egypt), Aida Eltorie (Egypt & USA), Ahmed El Shaer (Egypt), Giuseppe Moscatello (UAE), Michael Thoss (Germany), Heike Mertens (Germany).
Darb 1718 Contemporary Art and Culture Center
Sponsors/Supporters: Allianz Stiftung
Museo Regional de Arte Moderno, Cartagena, October 2010
“On Ethics” saw the participation of Erlea Maneros Zabala, Yesomi Umolu, Hannah Conroy, Khaled Ramadan, Danilo Correale, Alfredo Cramerotti, Martin Rosengaard, Khaled Hafez, Celine Condorelli, Henna Hyvarinen, David Berg.
Filipa César’s Studio Berlin, August 2010
“On Space” saw the participation of David Rych, Rossella Biscotti, Hannah Conroy, Inês Costa, Michael J. Baers, Filipa César, Ariel Reichman, Alfredo Cramerotti, Ralf Homann, Pedro Maia.
Nottingham Contemporary, July 2010
“On Translation” saw the participation of Michael Takeo Magruder, Fay Nicolson, Nada Prlja, Alfredo Cramerotti, Yesomi Umolu, Hannah Conroy, Jeffery Baker.