Transcending Realities, Overcoming Borders and Creating Structures. Curatorial Symposium

  • 1/8 | 
  • 2/8 | 
  • 3/8 | 
  • 4/8 | 
  • 5/8 | 
  • 6/8 | 
  • 7/8 | 
  • 8/8 | 
New Holland Island, The Pavillion, Admiralteyskiy channel emb., 2
03.10.2019 - 11:00
Curatorial Symposium

In partnership with the North-Western branch of National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) ROSIZO and in the framework of the 1 CURATORIAL FORUM

October 3 - 4, 2019
New Holland Island, Pavilion, St Petersburg

Symposium curators: Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits (The Creative Association of Curators TOK)

The Symposium will be accompanied by the retrospective exhibition of the TOK curators "How To Work Together".

The Curatorial Symposium  "Transcending Realities, Overcoming Borders and Creating Structures" focuses on extending territories of curatorial and artistic practices as well as changing conditions of curatorial profession. The 2-day event  brings together Russian and international art professionals to study and discuss how contemporary curators and artists infiltrate into different social structures that shape new political realities. The speakers of the symposium present examples of recent and ongoing curatorial projects that deal with a variety of  fields and areas of knowledge including law and governmentality, alternative economies, climate disasters, education, property, real estate and social segregation, gender equality, migration processes and manipulative strategies of the media. Together with the local art community they analyze the role and impact of curatorship in rethinking historical discourses and reshaping understanding about publicness, sharing, and solidarity in the artistic domain. The symposium  opens up a conversation about the transforming modes and formats of curatorial practice that are dictated by the duality of contemporary political and social processes. In one respect the development of new technologies, professional mobility, and change in the understanding of artistic production expands the possibilities of curating. On the other hand, growing political tension, raising control and censorship in different geographies are setting up new and dangerous limitations on freedom of artistic and curatorial expression. During the Symposium we're  discussing the potentiality of contemporary curating to resist the shrinking autonomy and the impact of the challenges of our times on contemporary art and cultural processes.

Symposium speakers: Bassam El Baroni (Egypt/ Finland),  Avi Feldman (Israel, Germany), Ulrika Flink (Sweden), Galit Eilat (Israel/Netherlands), Paul O'Neill (Ireland/Finland), Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits/TOK (Russia), Russia, Snejana Krasteva (Bulgaria/ Russia), Joanna Sokolowska (Poland), Mariika Semenenko (Russia)

Read the Symposum leaflet with the curatorial and participants' texts

Thursday, October 3

11.00 - 11.10 Welcome note by Maria Katz, director of The National Center for Contemporary Art, North-Western branch, Natalia Khvoenkova, Head of Art Programs Department of North Western branch of NCCA-ROSIZO  and symposium curators Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits, The Creative Association of curators TOK

11.10 - 11.50  Bassam El Baroni, Curating the Desert

11.50 - 12.30  TOK (Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits), How to Work Together: Institutional 

                        Inventory as a Method 

12.30 - 13.10  Ulrika Filnk, Curating Differently: Finding a way Back to Art  

13.10 - 14.10  Lunch on the premises of New Holland

14.10 - 14.50 Paul O’Neill How Institutions Think and Parahosting as a Form of  


14.50 - 15.30  Mariika Semenenko, Culture Makers

15.40 - 16.10  Closing notes for the day, additional questions and a discussion


Friday, October 4

11.00 - 11.40  Snejana Krasteva, Liberating Knowledge: the Changing Role of Curatorial and 

                       Museum Practice in Russia

11.40 - 12.20 Joanna Sokolowska, All Earthlings Become Sisters

12.20 - 13.30 Lunch on the premises of New Holland

13.30 - 14.10 Galit Eilat, How Do We Create Conditions for Muslim Immigrants to Be

                      Returning to Europe, Instead of Arriving There For the First Time? 

14.10 - 14.50 Avi Feldman, The Agency for Legal Imagination (ALI): Between Visual 

                      and Legal Activism

15.00 - 16.30 Closing notes for the day, additional questions and a final discussion

All curatorial presentations are followed by short Q&A. Working language of the symposium is English and Russian. Synchronous interpretation will be provided.


Information about the speakers
Bassam El Baroni is an assistant professor in curating and mediating art at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland and former lecturer (2013 – 2019) at the Dutch Art Institute MA Programme, ArtEZ University of the Arts, Arnhem, the Netherlands. He was director of Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF) 2005 - 2012 a now closed non-profit art space in Alexandria, Egypt. He has curated or co-curated projects/exhibitions such as Manifesta 8 (Murcia, 2010); LIAF – Lofoten International Art Festival (Lofoten Islands, Norway, 2013); Eva International - Ireland’s Biennial (Limerick, 2014); HOME WORKS 7 (Beirut, 2015).

Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits /TOK are curators and co-founders of Creative Association of Curators TOK, Saint-Petersburg, Russia. TOK is curatorial collective co-founded in 2010 by Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits as a platform for interdisciplinary research-based projects in the field of contemporary art. Throughout their practice TOK curators challenge the borders of the territory of art and seek ways of how it can foster social change. Most projects of the collective are multilayered and long-term initiatives aimed at generating new knowledge about the causes and consequences of changing political and social realities and often lie between historical analysis and the political imaginary. TOK's projects deal with current issues that are widely discussed both in Russia and internationally such as migration, public space and citizens, development of education, deprivation of social resources, forming collective memory, human rights, feminism, the growing role of the media in the global society, changing political climate and many others. Curators of TOK organize educational events, international conferences and summer schools, programs that aim at the international exchange between artists, curators, designers and educators from Russia and other countries. TOK has a strong publication component and publishes books, brochures, exhibitions catalogues that are available in print and online.
Galit Eilat is an interdependent curator and writer based in Amsterdam. Since 2018 she is the director of Meduza Foundation. Her projects seek to develop conditions that enable collective encounters and experiences, underpinned by a critical view towards the status quo. Deploying eclectic, site-specific projects, often in collaboration with grass root, politically active groups and individuals. In 2001, she founded the Israeli Center for Digital Art, where she served as director for ten years. In 2004, Eilat co-founded Maarav, an online arts and culture magazine and in 2007 she founded the Mobile Archive. In addition to her curatorial activities, she also engages in teaching and writing extensively about art and politics. is the recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at Bard College, 2017-18

Avi Feldman is a curator and writer based in Tel Aviv, Berlin, and Dresden. He was the 2018 curator in residence at Ludlow 38, the MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies program, NYC. Feldman is the founder of The Agency for Legal Imagination, which is an independent organization devoted to the investigation of existing and imagined relations between legal and artistic imagination, and visual activism and legal activism. In 2018, the Agency organized and collaborated with Tali Keren, Hinda Weiss, Jason Loebs, Forensic Architecture, NSU Tribunal, and Devin Kenny, among others. The Agency started operating in NYC following a residency, workshops and exhibition at Artport Tel Aviv (2015-2017), and an exhibition at tranzit/sk, Bratislava (2017). Feldman holds a law degree and has been a member of the Israeli Bar since 2005.
Snejana Krasteva is a сurator at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. From 2007 to 2009, she worked at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. From 2011 to 2013, she was a curator at Art on the Underground, London, where she realized a series of public art projects. Her exhibition projects at Garage include The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030-2100 (2019); Allora & Calzadilla: Graft (2019); The Other Trans-Atlantic. Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1950s–1970s(2018); the first Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art (2017), NSK: FROM KAPITAL TO CAPITAL (2015).

Paul O’Neill is a curator, artist, writer and educator. He is the Artistic Director of PUBLICS, a position he took up in September 2017. PUBLICS is a curatorial agency and event space with a dedicated library, and reading room in Vallila Helsinki. . Between 2013-17, he was Director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS), Bard College. Paul is widely regarded as one of the foremost research-oriented curators, and leading scholar of curatorial practice, public art and exhibition histories. Paul has held numerous curatorial and research positions over the last twenty years and he has taught on many curatorial and visual arts programs in Europe and the UK. Paul has co-curated more than sixty curatorial projects across the world. His most recent anthologies, The Curatorial Conundrum: What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice? and How Institutions Think are co-edited with Lucy Steeds and Mick Wilson, published with The MIT Press, CCS Bard College and Luma Foundation, in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Marika Semenenko is a co-founder and curator of House of culture Delai Sam/a, an independent cultural space based in Moscow for activists, artists, researchers, designers, architects, musicians, documentary filmmakers, theatre directors and experts. It is a hub for everyone who, by their actions, is exploring, developing, changing or seeking to improve urban life. She is also a program curator of the international activist documentary film festival Delai Film. Before that, she worked on several art projects in public spaces in Moscow and Kiev aimed at involving local people into urban development processes and community building. She was researching migration in Moscow while studying at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow. Before that, she studied political science.

Joanna Sokolowska is a curator at the Muzeum Sztuki  in Łódź, Poland. Her interests include contemporary art that resonates with feminist practices, and the transformation of the ecological and  economic imagination. Selected exhibitions: Pangea United, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, 2019; For Beyond that Horizon Lies Another Horizon, Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg, 2017; Exercises in Autonomy: Tamás Kaszás featuring Anikó Loránt (ex-artists’ collective), Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, 2016; All Men Become Sisters, Muzeum Sztuki, 2015/16; Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin. Facts, Incidents, Accidents, Circumstances, Situations (co-curated with Magdalena Ziółkowska, Muzeum Sztuki, 2013)Workers Leaving the Workplace, Muzeum Sztuki, 2011; Another City, Another Life (co-curated with Benjamin Cope), Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, Warsaw, 2008. She is author of essays and articles on politics of contemporary art and recently edited the book All Men Become Sisters copublished with Sternberg Press focusing on feminist perspectives on work, social reproduction in art since the 1970s  until today.

The Symposium will take place at the New Holland, which will in parallel serve as a venue for the retrospective exhibition of the TOK curators "How To Work Together". The exhibition, which reflects upon the collective's practice of 10 years, addresses the theme of curating in turbulent times and juxtaposes TOK's projects and developments with social and political changes in Russia and internationally. Documentation of TOK's projects, publications, video archival materials, objects and artifacts will be organized together to present a scope of TOK's projects  - exhibitions, conferences, talks, residencies, research  - that have been conducted in public spaces and educational institutions and presented in art galleries in St Petersburg and beyond over the past decade. A talk ‘Curatorial Turns from Feminist and Intersectional Perspectives’ by curator of Museum Arnhem Mirjam Westen (The Netherlands) will accompany the exhbition and will take place at New Holland on October 5th at 19.30.

The Curatorial Symposium  "Transcending Realities, Overcoming Borders and Creating Structures" is conducted as a part of the 1st Curatorial Forum annually organized by the North-West branch of the National Center for Contemporary Art.
Idea of the Curatorial Forum: Maria Katz and Natalia Khvoenkova.

The Symposium is supported by 
Frame Finland
Polish Institute in St Petersburg
University of Bielefeld
Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Center for German and European Studies
New Holland Island