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Symposium: My City, My Institution, Myself

Organisational Units
Location Description
Room M 13
Location Venue (1)
Main Building
Location Address (1)
Schillerplatz 3
Location ZIP and/or City (1)
1010 Vienna

Participants: David Codling, Joshua Decter, Andreas Fogarasi, Minna Henriksson, Gülsün Karamustafa, Joanna Rajkowska, Andrea Schlieker, Georg Schöllhammer, Andreas Spiegl, Clemens von Wedemeyer

Taking place at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 April 2011, this is the finalsymposium of My City, a project designed and implemented by the British Council during the last two years in partnership with a distinguished group of cultural institutions from Turkey, Austria, Finland, Germany, Poland and Britain.

Commissioning new works by prominent artists from Europe, the project has explored art and public space in five cities across Turkey and alongside these commissions an education programme in each of the cities has encouraged young people to engage in debate and creative activities relating to their specific urban environments. In addition, six artists from Turkey were hosted by leading residency programmes in Berlin, Dortmund, Helsinki, London, Vienna and Warsaw. My City project was initiated with a view to bringing culture to the heart of the conversation between Turkey and Europe. Conceived by the British Council together with partners from Turkey Anadolu Kültür and Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Centre, the project is funded by the European Union within the framework of EU-Turkey Civil Society Dialogue: Cultural Bridges Programme and British Council.
The final results illuminate a series of transnational and transcultural issues beyond the notion of cultural, political and social differences. Instead of fuelling stereotypes of the “other”, the projects offered another version of otherness – beyond the classical distinction between the one and the other, the self and the foreign or between Europe and Turkey. The “otherness” of the projects was found in the opposite, so to speak: in the notion of an all too familiar commonality, a cultural and artistic familiarity similar to the Freudian uncanny that does not show through as something unknown but as something all too well known.

The effect of global trends of economics, migration and political power structures in different locations and territories seems to be that more concerns are held in common than are held differently. It is precisely in these common agendas set against a background of political interests which fuel differences that the “uncanny” appears in
contemporary cultural politics. One of the results of this project might be that “my city” is neither the one where we were born nor the one where we now happen to live or work, but simply the notion of the self as everyday practice in a cultural and political diversity comparable to a city. This urban notion of the self also has an effect on the conditions of institutions. Having once represented social, political, cultural or local and common interests, nowadays institutions are confronted by those very same constituencies with various claims and contradictory demands, so the question is now about what institutions are meant to represent. A new kind of institutional purpose is evolving in that instead of representing identifiable interests of persons, institutions are more and more required to represent themselves. A consequence of this is that institutions are becoming more and more alike in their implicit organisational, economic and even programmatic parameters. Accordingly, the notion of the public or of a public space is disappearing. This leaves a gap that needs to be filled by the arts.
Therefore the symposium aims to reflect on the changing parameters of what is public, and the consequences for institutions as well as for artistic practice as the notion of the self against a background of increasingly contradictory demands.

Symposium: My City, My Institution, Myself

Friday, 1st April 2011

15:00 – 15:15 Welcome & Introduction by David Codling, Director Arts, British Council Turkey.
15:15 – 16:00 “The idea of the Institution”
Georg Schöllhammer, co-founder and editor-in-chief, Springerin magazine and Andreas Spiegl, Vice Rector,
Academy of Fine Arts will lead a wide ranging discussion of the idea of the “institution”.
16:00 – 16:30 Questions and answers

Saturday, 2nd April 2011

11:00 – 11:15 Welcome by Andreas Spiegl, Vice Rector, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
11:15 – 12:30 “A critical reading of the My City project”
A “critical reading of My City”, a panel discussion with the curatorial adviser and the artists participated in theproject.
Panellists and projects: Dr. Andrea Schlieker, Curatorial Adviser of My City project, Curator of the Folkestone
Triennial, Nominating Curator of Mark Wallinger’s project in Çanakkale: Sinema Amnesia; Andreas Fogarasi
“Panorama: The Right of View” in İstanbul; Minna Henriksson “The One Who Loves Tells the Truth” in Trabzon;
Gülsün Karamustafa “The Monument and the Child” in Vienna; Joanna Rajkowska “Walter Benjamin in Konya”
in Konya; Clemens von Wedemeyer “Sun Cinema” in Mardin.
12:30 – 13:00 Questions and answers
14:30 – 15:30 Lecture by Joshua Decter
Critic, curator and theorist; Director (and Assistant Professor), MPAS Program: Art/Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere, Roski School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
15:30 – 16:30 Questions and answers