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‘Arte.act: The Political Potential of Art’

at Wyspa Institute of Art
Event accompanying “Dockwatchers” exhibition

“Arte.act: The Political Potential of Art” a conference organized by ‘Krytyka Polityczna’ (‘Political Critique’) and the Wyspa Institute of Art

Curators: Magda Pustola and Aneta Szylak
Timing: September 3-4
Place: Wyspa Institute of Art / Wyspa Progress Foundation
Ul. Doki 1, building #145B
80-958 Gdansk, Poland
Phone.: (+48) 691 916 601 / (+48 58) 320 4446


‘Krytyka Polityczna’, Warsaw-based quarterly, and The Wyspa Institute of Art, located in the historic Gdansk Shipyard, welcomes an international and interdisciplinary group of intellectuals, artists and activists: Irit Rogoff, Stefan Nowotny, Therese Kaufmann, Aneta
Szylak, Waldemar Baraniewski, Dorota Monkiewicz, Adam Mazur, Lukasz Ronduda, Benjamin Cope, Katarzyna Bratkowska, Kinga Dunin, Magda Pustola, Slawomir Sierakowski, Maciej Gdula, Edwin Bendyk, Grzegorz Klaman, Marek Sobczyk, Mateusz Falkowski, Konrad Pustola, Grupa Twozywo,  Rene Lűck, the participants in the ‘Arte.act’ project. The conference, preceded by the ‘Dockwatchers’ exhibition, is aimed at  verifying the subversive potential of art in contemporary Poland.  ‘Arte.act’ refers to politicization of culture, power relations organizing the cultural field, and emancipatory character of artistic activities.

As the appropriation of culture in Poland have been constantly reinforced and have become highly destructive, Magda Pustola and Aneta Szylak, the curators, want to reverse the process so that art can seize politics. Together with other participants in the ‘Arte.act’ project, they want to verify what is the real influence of art, and whether it is worth thinking of art as an efficient instrument for political action today.

Is art a pre- or non-political method of doing politics? Or just one of the technologies of power, of regulatory techniques, with artists as politicians’ direct competitors? Why everybody wants art to be political? Is art able to create a space where political means
alternative, not instrumental? Happening alongside the official celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Solidarity, the conference intellectually comments on this one of the most symbolically and politically charged events in Polish history. It uses works presented at the ‘Dockwatchers’ exhibition as a direct point of departure for the debate.

The funding has been provided by the Minister of Culture, The Foundation of Janusz Palikot, Austrian Cultural Forum, the Communication Unlimited advertisement agency,  Lot Polish Airlines, Polmos Jozefow and the publishing house Słowo/obraz terytoria.

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