Why is it important to think about economy in relation to art? Why is it important to think about the transitional economy in relation to the post-socialist Eastern European art? Is it possible to talk about the ways in which contemporary art represents economic processes, and (if the answer is positive) what kind of meaning this artistic discourse brings to light? How this art can be read and how this discourse can be interpreted as a source of knowledge about contemporary economy? Is it possible to identify a concise historical overview of such art practices and should they be approached from a single perspective, provided that some artists are critical about the issue of economy, while others take an outright affirmative position? Is it possible to offer an alternative to the one-sided, neo-liberal discourse in the world of economics and in the media, through analyses of economic mechanisms in the contemporary art projects and art-works? How is South East European post-socialism positioned with regard to contemporary global capitalism?
art-e-conomy transitional economics and art - theory and practice of contemporary global production is an international collaborative research and educational working platform, initiated with an attempt to re-think the ideas behind the economy of art and the aesthetic dimensions of social and economic changes in the post-socialist Eastern European situation. This especially refers to the state of contemporary art system in the South East of Europe perceived from the "neighborhood-perspective" toward the European Union, and exclusively through issues dealing with economics and the way in which society is generally structured and how it functions; or, more precisely: art-e-conomy intends to pose questions about the global capitalist market and the way it influences the structure of contemporary society. The project is organised by the Belgrade-based not-for-profit organisation O3one, which recently won the main 2005 BIZART Award by the Serbian Ministry of Culture, for the best strategic partnership between the cultural and business sectors.
The project departs from the fundamental lack [for Serbian and South East European cultural and political space] of a specific and articulated discourse related to the intersection between art and economy. This is perceived as a problematic field, where the [im]possibility to establish an explicit relationship between contemporary art and economy fosters the necessity to overcome this gap, publicly problematize it, and react by fostering the articulation of the various practices of artistic intervention. The fact is that the relationship between art and economy, within the local and regional territory of Serbia and South East Europe, has still not been analysed from either an affirmative or critical point of view. By establishing explicitly this relational discourse, the project is conceived as a stimulating fertile ground and a contribution toward common interests for both sectors.
During the initial phase, the project has raised the fundamental questions about how individuals fit into the community and the social world. The first international guest-participant of the project, the artist group REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT, explored the same question while visiting Belgrade at the beginning of February 2006. Their artistic research and investigation in Serbia was particularly focused on the connection of a transitional society and new concepts of labour. The result will be presented in May 2006 in Kunsthaus Dresden, on the occasion of the exhibition entitled 'Wildes Kapital' [The Wild Capital], in course of a long-term project supported by relations.
Curator: Marko Stamenkovic
Supporters: Ministry of Culture - Republic of Serbia, Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency – SIEPA, Privatization Agency – Republic of Serbia, Foreign Investors Council – FIC, Institute of Serbia & Montenegro
For more details visit its website www.art-e-conomy.org.
Read also the article Curatorial positioning in post-socialist conditions, commissioned to Marko Stamenkovic by Policies for Culture, InSIGHT 5/ APR 2005.
Text by Marko Stamenkovic. Photos by Henrik Mayer & Martin Keil (REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT).