Art Swap Europe
Symposium, October 11-12, 2008 in Berlin
76 artist-run initiatives from throughout Europe took part in the open forum Art Swap Europe at the Berliner Akademie der Künste.
Apart from the presentation of the invited initiatives the event focused on artistic exchange and networking in Europe.
The call for participation in the event was addressed to different organisational forms of non-commercial artist-run exhibition and project spaces. This resulted in a broad spectrum of artists’ initiatives being shown in Berlin, including small temporary spaces like A Certain Lack of Coherence from Porto, exhibition spaces with a long tradition like the Gallery of the Slovak Union of Visual Arts in Bratislava, galleries that are managed by artists like the Produzentengalerie Passau and the Künstlergalerie Bonn, and initiatives with a special thematic focus. Among the latter were, for example, Einstellungsraum from Hamburg which focuses on artistic projects concerning road traffic, or Het Rondeel, which works as a ‘cradle to cradle lab’ in Maastricht and supports the creative conversion of discarded objects. During the two days of the event the initiatives had the opportunity for discussions and face-to-face meetings in the ‘Open Forum’, as well as for the introduction of their work and concepts in an exhibition in the foyer of the Akademie der Künste.
Three panel discussions complemented the talks and presentations. In the first panel moderated by Petra Reichensperger, Andreas Joh. Wiesand (ERICarts) and Sabine Bornemann (Cultural Contact Point, Bonn) discussed artist mobility and appropriate support programmes in Europe.
The second panel, titled ‘networks – platforms – structures’, featuring Maria Backman (Nordic Art Association), Daniel Suter (network OffOff from Switzerland) and the curators of subvision.kunst.festival.off. (Hamburg, 2009), Brigitte Kölle and Tim Voss, presented existing networks in the European context. The discussions in this panel predominantly dealt with the definition of the term ‘off’, however.
In a third discussion, the ‘best practice’ panel, moderated by Grit Ruhland and Michael Stellmacher (project ‘being organized’ (On Call) Dresden), different artists’ initiatives gave an insight into working concepts and organisational structures. Lådan/the mobile box (Gothenborg), IDEE 01239 e.V. (Dresden) and Stedefreund (Berlin) attended the discussion and several participating initiatives in the audience used this opportunity to join the conversation.
In the evening the participants had the chance to join a guided tour through the exhibition Cairoscape at Kunstraum Kreuzberg, to learn about the Berlin-based exchange project of the two curators Antje Weitzel and Marina Sorbello.
On the second day most participants visited kolonie wedding e.V. – a network of project spaces and galleries in Berlin Wedding.
The great interest in Art Swap Europe showed a demand for discussions and exchange. It is remarkable that representatives of 70 involved initiatives from cities such as Istanbul, Stockholm, Porto, Paris and Tallinn joined Art Swap Europe in Berlin. Among the 250 visitors were delegates of additional European artist-run initiatives which used the event to network and participate in European artistic exchange.
The symposium was organised by the Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste (IGBK) and supported by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. IAA Europe was cooperation partner.