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Announcement
December 13, 2021

CuratorLab 2022–23 at Autostrada Biennale

Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design

Agnes Denes, Sunflower Fields, 2021. Installation view, Autostrada Biennale, in collaboration with Manifesta 14 Prishtina, 2021

Biennales of Resistance: A collaboration with the fourth Autostrada Biennale in Kosovo.

For the academic year 2022–23, we invite you to form the team of researchers and assistant curators for the fourth Autostrada Biennale, curated by Övül Ö. Durmusoglu and Joanna Warsza. Autostrada Biennale was established by two artists and a pedagogue in 2014 in Kosovo. As the only contemporary art institution in Prizren, it functions on two speeds: one is a physical exhibition taking place in the public space every two years, the second is a long-term educational center in the former KFOR military camp where the exhibition preparation process is open to the public, making the production of the artworks a form of learning and critical thinking.

Among the three hundred biennials in the world, there are biennales and biennales. Those second ones—such as, in our belief, the Autostrada Biennale—are more valuable to look at and work with from a critical, curatorial perspective. These have been called Biennales of Resistance by the political scientist Oliver Marchart and many have originated in the Global South such as the early Havana Biennial 1978, the Gwangju Biennale after the democratic uprising in South Korea in 1980, the short-lived Johannesburg Biennale after the end of apartheid in 1994, or the Istanbul Biennale after the 1980 military intervention in Turkey. Some of their aims were to de-westernize the art canon, decenter cartographies, shake legitimized institutional art, or create counter-hegemonic models. Autostrada Biennale responds to some of these needs, from the position of the Western Balkans. Kosovo is among the very few countries in Europe where a visa is still needed to travel in the EU, it is a post-war political entity only partially recognized, a corner where different ethnicities and religions breathe side-by-side, and finally, it is a place where the language of contemporary art is needed as a form of resilience and recovery.

The participants are invited to join, shape and reflect on the process of biennale-making in Prizren, working on the conceptualization, contextualisation and production of the context-responsive works and the public program in close collaboration with the curators, artists, directors, education and production teams. The participants are also encouraged to propose their own public and/or education program around the opening of the biennale in early summer of 2023, as well as share educational tools in collaboration with young curators working in Kosovo and the Western Balkan region and with the University of Prishtina and Academy of Fine Art.

CuratorLab is a one-year international curatorial course at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. We are exploring radical approaches to engagement, contributing to the pertinent conversations of our times, practicing curating beyond exhibition making, having collective fun and applying horizontal learning. One of our leading questions is how to understand—paraphrasing Audre Lorde—our interdependence in relation to our own individual power and creativity? Thus, every year we work on one common topic where everyone contributes in an own way. CuratorLab is open for everyone interested in collective work, thinking out of the box, and keen to form a solid research group together with the language of art.

In recent years we performed advocacy as a curatorial form at the Visible Temporary Parliament; co-edited a reader on love and revolution in the legacy of the Bolshevik revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai and re-staged the "Operaist Trial 1977-78" with the artist Rossella Biscotti. Established in 1999 CuratorLab is the oldest curatorial education course in Sweden and remains a platform open to everybody with curiosity to challenge and present new curatorial practices

We will meet four times per year for ten-day sessions in Stockholm and Prizren, in autumn, winter, spring, and early summer, including two trips to Kosovo, with additional online meetings in-between the sessions. You do not need to be based in Stockholm, however attendance during all the sessions is necessary.

Programme director: Joanna Warsza. Guest lecturers: Övül Ö. Durmusoglu, Maria Lind. Guest seminars: Vatra Abrashi & Leutrim Fishekqiu, Defne Ayas & Natasha Ginwala, Olivier Marchart, Lisa Rosenthal, and many others. Curatorial assistant: Vasco Forconi.

Check CuratorLab website as a reference for past group projects, as well as the website of Autostrada Biennale. The deadline for applications is January 17, 2022. To apply visit Konstfack website.

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