Ostracism - Curatorial Aristeion

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when artists reward curators

Rejection from a team can be serious a reason for grief. But what if the person rejected also happens to be the one who once created and shaped the team together? Artistically speaking, what is at stake when artists expel the curator? 

ETHICS IN POLITICS: WHITE HOUSE BIENNIAL (WHB) is a way of being activist by activating art. What is more activistic though in the WHB case is that artworks and actions should be actualized by the eventual activation of the White House and the American government. Some were prompt to contextualize it, analyzing how political and effective that could be in actual fact. While it is being debated and theorized, WHB’s commitment is to keep on praising drastic ways of thinking about art; promoting Innovative and decisive forms of social interaction that evolve not just the ‘dialogical aesthetics’ but the aesthetic values of art itself. Either way, aesthetics is the precondition of ethics, which in our crucial time should play a much more radical and daring role in art than ever. Ethics is the only revolutionary art of today! 

OSTRACISM CURATORIAL ARISTEION aims at discovering, recognizing and rewarding creators of emblematic exhibitions that enact subversive art models of public engagement with the political sphere, raising collective awareness around critical issues, social justice and human rights. Activities that preserve the public space as a place of emancipation, claiming back the original field of open democratic dialogue and social networking. Cultural producers who put into practice rebellious yet constructive ‘’guerrilla’’ methods, instigating public consciousness and the sense of belonging to the commons. OSTRACISM ARISTEION hails curators who shape new provocatively creative structures of exhibition-making, models of action and initiatives that challenge the infertile, predictable ways by which ‘’engaged art’’ is being approached. Aren’t ‘’relational arts’’, activism and the ever increasing projects of socio-political relevance the academicism of nowadays? Should an inspiring curator activate art-activists to steer in the direction of activating art itself, while activating activism? 

THE NOMINATING PANEL: Is comprised of the significant international artists, participating at the 1st edition of the WHB, who are invited to propose a selection of up to three curators or curatorial teams from their own country and up to three from elsewhere in the world, based on the creativity of projects realised during the 2012-13 period. The theoretical strength and originality of their concept, their effectiveness as cultural producers of thought-provoking and significant ideas, the dynamic of their practices in addition to the professional ethics and the ethos of their curatorial strategy, are important criteria for their nomination. Older and established curators with high accomplishments in the exhibitions field and in theoretical writing are not 
excluded from the competition. 

MEMBERS OF THE NOMINATING BOARD ARE: Moataz Nasr (Egypt),Olaf Nicolai (Germany), Bob Wilson (USA), Khaled Hourani (Palestine), Tarohei Nakagawa (Japan), Helidon Gjergji (USA- Albania), Mounir Fatmi (France-Marocco), Sandra Ramos (Cuba), Ilona Nemeth (Slovakia), Savvas Christodoulides (Cyprus), Baptiste Debombourg (France), Txuspo Poyo (Basque), Eric Valette, Daniel Le (France), Ai WeiWei (China), Panamarenko (Belguim), Nicos Tranos (Greece), Oana Farcas (Romania), Gulsum Karamustafa (Turkey), Juraj Dudas (Slovakia), Democracia (Spain), Köken Ergun (Israel). 

THE LISTS OF THE SEVEN FINALISTS: The participating artists in the second section of this year’s WHB are members of artist collectives. The assembly of each collective is asked to examine the amount of the accumulated information related to the nominees and their works in order to select, through voting, the proposal of seven finalists. Each group shall send its list to info@whitehousebiennial.com. The final short-list of the competition will be comprised of the seven candidates who will receive the highest number of votes. 

THE OSTRACISM PROCEDURE: Going through numerous art activities, in search of remarkable achievements by emerging new talents or established curators, it’s a procedure that obviously might bring to light also negative aspects of the expanding role of curating. Evidently one of the most common weak points that devalue even international exhibitions and biennials of our days is the absence of strong and inspiring curatorial essays or theoretical writings, especially from the younger generation of curators. Although an essential deficiency like this might be sufficient to reduce the impact of an exhibition, most often other circumstantial factors or even the potential destructive relationships between the curator and the artists have proved to be more decisive in the inefficiency or the failure of such events. Frequently, attitudes like these lead a major exhibition to end up being just a game of public relations than a beneficial experience for the artists and the wider public. 

HOW CAN WE PRACTISE “THE CURATORIAL” TODAY? Geared towards the restriction of similar disorienting situations and behaviours, as such mentioned above, the WHB set up the Ostracon Document, a series of multiple folders with a wide-ranging material around curating. Including questionnaires, articles, essays and scientific researches, even forms of statistical planning and inferences, the folders capture a variety of opinions, comments, remarks, statements and suggestions that reflect the intricacies in the function of the curatorial practices. The Ostracon Document will be progressively enhanced with fresh views and approaches, putting forward a multiplicity of perspectives, modifications and solutions. Even though some enlisted references to personal examples point out certain curators’ attitudes, identifying specific manoeuvres and self-seeking tactics that could comprise a compilation of rather amusing anecdotes, the objective of the Ostracon Document is certainly not to condemn the “virtuoso curator” to exile, but to gain an overview on the topic, as representable and comprehensive as possible. The total of the registered material will gradually build up an archive, a long-term vital source of information, for critical contemplation and effective conclusions that eventually could be a key tool for the improvement, advancement and evolution of the curatorial operation. The archive will be accessible through the official database of the Contemporary Greek Institute (ISET) providing services also to other international institutes, museums and foundations. 

OPEN CALL /VOTING PLATFORM: Could Ostracism be as democratic contest as ossible? Through an open voting platform, everyone is invited to send a proposal of seven finalists to info@whitehousebiennial.com along with a small text with arguments that support their selection. Definitely your votes could affect the final results. Anyone could also ask to be receiving questionnaires and partial data from the Ostracon Document. The initial questionnaire will be distributed during the voting process of the competition. Suggestions and initiatives towards the progression of the Ostracism course of actions are welcome. 

ANNOUNCMENT OF THE FINALISTS: The synthesis of the final shortlist as well as the members of the international jury committee, composed by distinguished personalities, will be announced end of  2014.

The Ostracism Curatorial Aristeion it’s not just an honorary award; it provides financial support to the winners in order to carry out a collaborative project, a significant exhibition or any other cultural event, putting in practice the particular potentials and the capabilities for which they have been awarded.