On June 7, 1998, the Swedish section of AICA and Edsvik konst & kultur hosted a seminar, Translating Cultures, at the castle of Edsvik on the outskirts of Stockholm in connection with the Medialization exhibition, curated by Joseph Backstein and the BRUS exhibition with works by students at the Royal University of Fine Arts (Konsthögskolan) in Stockholm, curated by Tom Sandqvist
JUNE 7, 1998
On June 7, 1998, the Swedish section of AICA and Edsvik konst & kultur hosted a seminar, Translating Cultures, at the castle of Edsvik on the outskirts of Stockholm in connection with the Medialization exhibition, curated by Joseph Backstein and the BRUS exhibition with works by students at the Royal University of Fine Arts (Konsthögskolan) in Stockholm, curated by Tom Sandqvist. The seminar was co-arranged by the Swedish Broadcasting Company, the Arts Department, and by Partnership for Culture, initiated by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in close co-operation with the Ministry of Culture and the Swedish Institute, project manager Mika Larsson. The first step in this long-term governmental project was Shaking Hands & Making Conflicts, April 23 – 26, 1998, at Färgfabriken in Stockholm. The seminar at Edsvik has been recorded.
Moderator: Karsten Thurfjell, Stockholm, critic at the Swedish Broadcasting Company and board member of the Swedish AICA. Panelists: Joseph Backstein, Moscow, Disa Håstad, Stockholm, journalist at Dagens Nyheter and Margareta Tillberg, Stockholm, slavist, art historian and art critic. All the artists in the two exhibitions were invited as well as the public. Among the participants in the lively discussion can be mentioned the artists: Alexander Brener, Vienna, Caraggio, Olga Chernysheva, Moscow, Amsterdam, Christiane Dellbrügge, Berlin, Lev Evzovitch, AES, Kendell Geers, Johannesburg, Jårg Geismar, Dusseldorf, Róza El-Hassan, Budapest, Ralf de Moll, Berlin, Nedko Solakov, Sofia, Maciej Toporowicz, Poland, New York and Borut Vogelnik, IRWIN and further: Maria Fridh, Stockholm, Director of Edsvik konst & kultur, Sirje Helme, Director of Soros Center for Contemporary Art, Tallinn, Ando Keskküla, Rector at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, Magnus af Petersens, Riksutställningar, Stockholm and Christian Chambert.
To start the discussion Irina Sandomirskaja, linguist from Moscow currently working in Stockholm had been invited to write The Fourth Power: Mediating Between Global Interests and Local Myths. At the workshops during the lunch break we discussed, in connection to the text, questions as: Are the media the universal language of post modernity?, What is the relationship between the globalized mass-cultural mainstream as represented in the media and the local knowledge concentrated in cultural traditions? and Intervention of the media and the right to privacy. Ralf de Moll didnt want to talk about privacy any more. He felt it is an outdated moral attitude in a media time, when the outside comes inside.
Questions raised during the discussion in the auditorium were e.g.: What does the sudden medialization of Eastern Europe mean? and: What is a radical standpoint for an artist today in a medialized community? From a South African position Kendell Geers said that we, the artists, are always there, even if the media do not cover the artists work.
What is the changed role of the museum in the age of the new media? The site specific remarks, like many of the pieces in the Medialization exhibition, are influenced by the media and they are not done for the museums.
Karsten Thurfjell made a distinction between an art critic writing for the art pages and the news journalist writing for news media with a news angle. The approach is quite different. In the latter case the art work becomes the media coverage itself and the artist becomes an icon.
Many of the speakers commented on the scandalous activities of Alexander Brener and Oleg Kulik at the Interpol show at Färgfabriken, Stockholm, some years ago, which is a very good example of an exhibition immediately being medialized, with reactions going on all through the art world for months after, in a way and to an extent, which was not possible with the so called scandals in the radical 1960s.
As a background to the two exhibitions and the seminar, Edsvik konst & kultur had commissioned some theoretical texts, which are available on the Internet, www.edsvikart.com Joseph Backstein The Fine Arts and the Phenomenon of Medialization, Boris Groys Media in the Museum/The Museum as Medium, Tom Sandqvist When the Ketchup Bottle Is Re-Presented: Art and Medialization and Michael Yampolsky Between the Immediate and the Mediated.
During the autumn of 1998, the Medialization exhibition has been shown in The Art Museum of Estonia in Tallinn. As a part of the Partnership for Culture project a seminar was organised on November 22 – 23, 1998, in Tallinn Action – Reflection Conference on Art, Culture and Social Action Strategies in New Mediaspace, with special emphasis on artists and critics particularly from the Baltic Sea countries, together with Belarus and the Ukraine. Organisers were Sirje Helme and Ando Keskküla.
President AICA Sweden.