Monthly Archives: March 2011

Public Conference at the Macedonian Museum on March 19 at 12:30 on the subject of collective initiatives and public interventions

This Saturday, March 19, Societe Anonyme will host its first public conference entitled “Collective Initiatives and Public Interventions”, with guest speakers Spiros Pegas, Yiorgos Papakostas, Aris Stilianou, Apostolos Kalfopoulos and Marios Spiroglou, at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art at 12:30 p.m.

The conference will focus on the recent upsurge of collective initiatives and public interventions in Thessaloniki over the past few years. It will look at how these different initiatives and interventions operate, examining both the ways in which they frame the social sphere, and articulate a particular model of communal engagement. The conference aims to address a number of questions including: Why the recent proliferation of such initiatives and interventions: in other words, what socio-political and art institutional context has promoted such development? What understanding of “the common” do they enact through their collective formation and their engagement with the public? What strategies (play, detournement, etc.) do they deploy within their field of action and to what end? Are such initiatives effective?

As part of this conference, artist Lena Athanasopoulou was invited to create an image for the poster of the event designed by Designers United, which you will find here enclosed. This is the first of a series of posters that Societe Anonyme will commission in the future around selected activities.

Is the artist vs. curator debate manufactured by the market?

22 February 2011: Discussion on the role of the artist versus the role of the curator at Ideal

The debate concerning the role of the artist versus the role of the curator seemed timely, especially after our last discussion, which raised a number of questions regarding Vavatsis’ collection, including whether it might be considered a work of art, whether a curator might have the capacity to designate it as such, and how this type of collection might be presented within the context of a museum.

Beyond our immediate conversation, the debate has certainly been in the spotlight these past few years with the appointment of artist Artur Żmijewski as curator to the 7th Berlin Biennial, the multiplication of exhibitions and symposia dedicated to curatorial research and the publication of Anton Vidokle’s controversial essay “Art Without Artists?” in E-flux journal (2010). The latter seemed to crystalize the debate rather well so we used it as reading material in preparation for our discussion. Continue reading

“What you really collect is always yourself”, Jean Baudrillard

10 February 2011: Visit to Ioannis Vavatsis’ private collection of antique toys and discussion at Partizan

For 20 years now, Mr Vavatsis collects toys and other objects related to children’s life and reality –toys, school books, tests and essays, magazines, health records, family photos… approximately 8000 objects compose this peculiar collection, exhibited in an underground space below the collector’s antiques store. The place is packed with different objects, grouped by kind –dolls, stuffed animals, school books, cars, trains, rocking horses…– occupying shelves, showcases, trunks; without chronological classification, but with tags bearing the year of manufacture, enriched with some (random) information on the history of each object –when available and without epistemological pretense. Continue reading

What can democracy mean today?

26 January 2011: Talk by Jacques Rancière at Aristotelio university and discussion at Narghis

Seeing as how we’d already done a few readings by French philosopher Jacques Rancière, including “The Emancipated Spectator” and a passage from “The Future of the Image”, we thought it only fitting to schedule Société Anonyme’s first meeting in conjunction with Rancière’s talk at Aristotelio university. Entitled “What can democracy mean today?”, the talk focused on the ideas that Rancière develops in his book “Hatred of Democracy”, which was recently translated into Greek. Looking around the jam-packed room, it was exciting to see just how many artists, curators, art historians… had turned up despite the fact that the event was held by the department of Political Sciences.

In his talk, Rancière argued the necessity to significantly rethink the notion of democracy. He began by discussing some of the critiques that have been leveled against democracy since its “apparent” triumph over totalitarianism following the collapse of the Soviet Union. He mentioned, for instance, how democracy was being posited by some as a regime that threatens the public good by promoting mass individualism in a society of the spectacle, ruining traditional filial ties to usher in the rule of the free market. Continue reading

Why Société Anonyme?

Those of you who already familiar with Art Night might rightly ask: Why Société Anonyme? In other words, two years down the road, why rebrand (a highly suspicious and let’s face it usually insidious commercial practice) an informal artistic platform? Moreover, why choose to rename it with a French expression that signifies, among other things, corporation? Continue reading