The inaugural 2018 edition of the Assembly, entitled Elephants in the Room, focuses on processes of unlearning and on art organizations as sites for unlearning. The assembly will focus on the question: “Within the context of the commons, how does art institutional change relate to unlearning, particularly with regards to redistribution of power?”
The Assembly will draw from the project and study line Site for Unlearning (Art Organization) by artist Annette Krauss and the extended Casco team, who have been working on the project since 2014. The project now concludes with the book Unlearning Exercises: Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning.
The intention of Site for Unlearning (Art Organization) has been to question the accumulative, proprietary notions of learning within art institutional settings, and to propose collective exercises of imagination to those involved, to confront and change learned and taken-for-granted institutional habits. The project began with “learning to unlearn” the psychosomatic experiences of busyness as an emblem of an (art) institutional habit. The research collective then analyzed how this habit is formed and structured, studying its rootedness within the productivity oriented political-economic system we live in. Whereas this habit usually remains invisible or hidden in plain sight, naturalized to such an extent that it feels impossible to get rid of, the Casco team and Krauss attempted different exercises to confront that “impossibility”, while learning, unlearning, and studying the underlying colonial, patriarchal, and capitalist structures of the habit within the institution.
Reflecting on some of the outcomes from Site for Unlearning (Art Organization) the inaugural Assembly program consists of six sessions of “unlearning.” The opening session broaches the topic of care and reproductive labor. In the next session care and reproductive labor will further be studied and in the context of colonial institutional legacy in built environments. By the third session, the Assembly thinks through decolonizing practices, from which collective organizing emerges and is necessary. After embarking on unlearning on the first day, the second day of the Assembly dives into the diverse economy of art, then zooms into unlearning the current funding paradigm and its effect, eventually articulating a collective agenda among the Assembly participants while experimenting with the collective pot.
Find the booklet including full colophon and program here.