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Ethics of Curatorial Practice: Making Art Public, Building Institutions
November 7, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
In examples of institutions created by artists or curators, many times the institution is a personal affair, whereby it is inextricably connected to the research interests and cultural practice of its founders. Reflecting on the already existing modes of cultural and institutional operations in Athens, Fokianaki will unfold the institutional trajectory of the independent space State of Concept Athens, where she serves as founding member, and how it evolved since its commencement of activities. She will demonstrate how the institution responded to the change of ecology in the local art field, by refining its discourse, choosing its institutional language, and honing in questions that directly respond to the socio-economic condition of Greece and Europe. Fokianaki will highlight ways of institutional being, through a practice that reflects on collective responsibility but also enacts ethical instituting, in a financially precarious environment. The question for the cultural worker is how to “unlearn one’s privileges” (Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak) by way of creating structures that promote the flourishing of institutions through collective responsibility, ethical practicing, but also through alternative economies of exchange, that promote what Fokianaki calls a “creative embodiment of instituting”.
iLiana Fokianaki is a writer and curator based in Athens and Rotterdam. Her research focuses on the notion of the state and the formations of power that manifest under the influence of geopolitics, national identity and cultural and anthropological histories. In 2013 she founded State of Concept Athens, the first non-profit institution with a permanent program and location in Athens. It promotes Greek and international artists through solo exhibitions, but also invites international curators to create exhibitions that comment on the current socio-political landscape of Greece and beyond. The institution has worked with artists such as Laure Prouvost, Hito Steyerl, Basim Magdy, Keren Cytter among others, most of whom had never exhibited in Greece before. State of Concept is also focusing on a pedagogical programme that enables, through free consultations, art students and artists to further their studies and develop their projects. In 2016, together with Antonia Alampi, Fokianaki founded Future Climates, a platform that aims to propose viable futures for small-scale organizations of contemporary art and culture. Fokianaki has taught in Greek institutions and abroad, and is a visiting lecturer at the Dutch Art Institute.