Points of Connection. The Vienna L'Internationale* Conference

You will be able to view the conference at http://internacionala.mg-lj.si/

27-29 October 2010

The Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue
Armbrustergasse 15
A-1190 Vienna

The conference and research seminar, Points of Connection, is the first in a series of projects at
L'Internationale, a new transinstitutional organization of five major European museums and artists
archives. The intention of this organization is a long-term collaboration based on collective use of the
institutions? respective collections and archives. One of the goals is to challenge common canons and
master narratives of art and investigate local-to-local comparisons and differences. In place of the
global hegemonic ambitions of the largest contemporary art institutions, L'Internationale proposes
collaboration between museums, each with its specific collection focus and history, as a way to
instigate transnational, plural cultural narratives. One aim is to give greater visibility to the similarities
between different collections and archives as the point of connection at which their interests,
methodologies, and visions come together. L?Internationale aims to build a new, plural narrative and to keep the processes that build it transparent. The first conference will give equal attention to the
object of research (avant-garde art from 1956 to 1986) and to the methods of research and the sources
used (particularly collections and archives).

The conference will be organized around two major thematic blocks:

1. Avant-Gardes from the Decline of Modernism to the Rise of Globalization. 1956?1986

1.1. Contextualizing Post-War Avant-Gardes

Like the first part of the L?Internationale projects, the conference focuses on the period between 1956 and 1986. This was a period in which authoritarian regimes of different kinds predominated in a substantial part of the world, but which was also characterized by the post-war belief in a new modern era ? shared in the societies of the social-democratic or liberal West, the decolonizing South, the socialist East, and the so-called block- free states of the Non-Aligned Movement ? where advanced technologies played an increasingly prominent role, the world was better connected through new ways of transport and new communication systems, and the media had increasing power. It was the time of the Cold War, of Fordism, state socialism, and decolonization; of politically and economically separated yet homogenizing scapes and spaces, and at the same time of increasing processes of globalization.

Experts in the historical and socio-political contexts are asked to respond to the following questions:To what extent and in what ways can the different dictatorial, social-democratic, socialist or liberal- democratic regimes of Europe, North and Latin America be compared? What were the similarities between the East and the West, and what were the common themes of the opposed political regimes? To what extent did these mirror the processes of colonization? How can we define the alternative communal or global interests today? What are new points of connection between these spaces that can serve as points of departure for new subversive global actions? How can we stimulate the processes of decolonization of knowledge today through museum work and art?

1.2. Re-writing the Canons: Avant-Garde Art Practices Between 1956 and 1986

For this section L?Internationale is inviting experts involved in post-war avant-garde art practices, including performative practices, new media, political activism, and visual poetry, as well as some other art practices with strong social utopian imaginary, to participate. The experts in this section represent two fields of expertise, one that discusses the construction of new narratives and the other that relates lived experiences. By posing the same questions to experts from Eastern Europe, Latin America, Western Europe, and North America, the conference intends to serve as a tool of comparison for questions like: Is it common ground for all the practices that appeared under different names in different parts of the world to define the post-war avant-garde as a reaction to the corrosion and break within Modernism? How did this break occur in different cultural and political contexts, and what were the key cases and the key issues?

A long-lived stereotype about non-Western art was that it copied Western aesthetic concepts, always with a delay. How, today, can one reinterpret this very common idea, namely that the West functioned as a model for or a mirror to the non-Western post-war avant-garde practices? Although terminologies
used by post-war avant-garde practices differ, we can speak about a common international language to a certain extent. The main difference was in the ways in which these practices communicated and functioned in their social contexts. Which communicative approaches were adopted in different spaces and what were their different targets?

2. Transnational Zones for Museums and Archives

L'Internationale can serve as a model for new ways of collaboration and common methodologies in the museum world. The second part of the conference will therefore discuss the ways in which the art system and its alternative models operated in the period under scrutiny, as well as the new possible ways of institutional and international collaboration today.

Representatives of institutions and individuals linked to the alternative models of operation from the past and the present will try to answer following the questions: How did ideas and artworks circulate between and within Western and Eastern Europe, North and Latin America? How did artists in more isolated positions network internationally, and what can we learn from them today? What are the possible ways of mapping past international collaboration (East-West, North-South)? What are the possible ways of mapping the different terminologies used by the post-war avant-gardes? Our research archives are becoming equally important parts of our heritage as our collections. What are the possible ways of transferring first-hand knowledge directly from the protagonists to museum archives and collections?

Speakers include : Alexander Alberro, Graciela Carnevale, Eda Čufer, Ješa Denegri, Cristina Freire, Vít Havránek, Anders Kreuger, Viktor Misiano, Piotr Piotrowski, Marko Pogačnik, Dieter Roelstraete, Branka Stipančić, Immanuel Wallerstein, Peter Weibel and others

* The founding partners of L'Internationale are the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana; the Július Koller Society (SJK), Bratislava; the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona; the Van Abbemuseum (VAM), Eindhoven; and the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (M HKA), Antwerp.

Contact: mertens@sjk.sk

Programme in the attachment.

LInternationale_VIENNA Conference.pdf109.74 KB

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