VA13 Venice Discussions


The Alternative Art Scene

“Visual art production at International Events and on the Alternative Scene: a possible dialogue? Cultural production in times of financial constraint. Production, Networking, alternative cultural policies. What is going on and what can be done to improve, the conditions of work in Venice during the Biennale“

Chaired by Vittorio Urbani with Elisa Genna, Francesco Ragazzi and Francesco Urbano.


Are the International Biennales and international art events becoming the sites for the production of artworks rather than just the places to consume and view art? The fringe events are acquiring more and more relevance around the stage of official cultural events and in many cities hosting international events, a flowering scene of spontaneous non for profit institutions has appeared in recent years.

Can we state these two actors are more and more co-related and collaborating? Is it possible to create a real network between institutions, biennials and non profit, that goes on also when biennials are shut down?

1) SECRETARY: Vittorio Urbani - Venezia
2) Penelope Curtis - London
3) Magda Guruli - Tibilisi 4) Salwa Mikdadi - Abu Dhabi 5) Branko Franceschi - Zagreb 6) Beral Madra - Istanbul 7) Ruben Arevshatyan - Yerevan 8) Ala Younis - Amman 9) Reem Fadda - New York 10) Noura al Sayeh - Manama, Bahrain 


Emerging scenes are modifying the Biennial model at different levels: how are projects involving educational institutions and residencies, alongside these

'main events' able to change the habits of a globalized art world where values and formats are intended to be exportable and repeatable?
Venice Biennial is a collection of National pavilions that don't get in contact each other; this is a loss of opportunities and enrichment. How can we supply to this?

1) SECRETARY: Francesco Urbano and Francesco Ragazzi - Venezia 2) Antonia Carver - Dubai
3) Aaron Cezar - London
4) Marina Fokidis - Athens
5) Georg Schöllhammer - Wien
6) Yasmina Reggad - London
7) Hoor Al Qasimi - Sharjah
8) Kathrin Becker - Berlin
9) Stefanie James - Bournemouth



When times are hard and museums and sponsors are cutting back what can be done? Are there innovative forms to engage sponsors in cultural production, minimizing the risk of a control by the sponsor on the cultural content? What is the role of society in this process? Can we state that art should consider thesocial environment and try to involve local artists and the community hosting the stage for the artworks? Maybe a new collaboration between Institutions and Non Profit Sector could offer an answer to the current crisis. In which ways these two sectors could collaborate? And which kind of strategies can be useful for this purpose?

1) SECRETARY: Elisa Genna - Venezia
2) Maria Hlavajova - Utrecht/Amsterdam 3) Deniz Erbas - Istanbul
4) Jinny Yu - Venezia and Ottawa
5) Kalliopi Lemos - London
6) Terry Smith - London
7) Franco Gazzarri - Venezia
8) Agnes Kohlmeyer -Venezia
9) Aurora Di Mauro - Padova

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Live Art - Are you here? Were you there?

As performance art becomes increasingly visible in the programmes and collections of major museums and galleries, this event aims to evaluate the current status of performance and live art. Through a series of brief presentations by artists and professionals, as well as performative interventions, it will ask whether this inclusion kills the element of risk that is often related to performance or if live practices enable institutions to challenge their audiences as never before. The session will also consider the unintended performer and raise issues that encompass disability and gender.

Chaired by Jean Wainwright, speakers included Kathy Battista, Tony Heaton, rAndom International, Lois Keidan, Lauren A Wright, and artists Marcia Farquhar, Joan Jonas, Marta Jovanovic, Andrea Pagnes and Verena Stenke.

Risk - and contexts for risk - what might risk mean for an artist and what might risk be for an institution. Different forms of risk - risky practices or dangerous ideas, issues around the 'right to fail' and the risk of 'new work'

Documentation - what documentation is and can be, the privileging of the object (the document) over the experience (the live work) and how this influences and disrupts the histories of performance etc. Shifts in artists' approaches to documentation (now embrace it within their practice) and the forms it can take - including writing about/as performance.

Audience and participation - huge shifts in recent years in relationships between artworks and their audiences. As Joshua Sofaer puts it "Contemporary culture is marked by the emancipation of the spectator and the transformation of the audience from passive recipient to active participant."

Alternative spaces/institutions - the recent institutional embrace of performance in relation to the independent-risk-taking-under the radar alternative space - what do these different contexts offer artists and audiences.