THE ARTE ÚTIL SUMMIT 2016:
Responding to Current Urgencies – Toolkit for an Institution
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), UK
22 – 25 July 2016
Booking essential – to book a place click here
This open international summit brings together the leading protagonists and affiliates of the Arte Útil, to reflect upon the genealogy of the movement, its influence to date and to plot its future course, particularly in relation to current social issues and urgencies.
This inaugural summit takes place in the shadow of the UK referendum decision to leave the European Union, the Spanish General Election, terrorist attacks in Istanbul and an emerging right-wing discourse that is infiltrating the traditional provinces of the left.
Pertinently, the 2016 Summit takes place at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, an institution repurposing itself according to the criteria and methodologies of useology and directly located in one of the most disenfranchised regions of the UK, noted for the strength of its support of an EU exit.
Arte Útil (roughly translated into English as ‘useful art’ or, more accurately, art as a tool or device) is an ongoing body of work that draws on artistic thinking to imagine, create and implement tactics that can change how we act in society.
Since its initiation by artist Tania Bruguera in 2011 the movement of Arte Útil has grown through an expanding network of allegiances, partnerships and platforms to provide a serious and real challenge to the orthodoxies of contemporary art.
This includes presentations at the Queens Museum New York, The Museum of Arte Útil at the Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Tate Liverpool, Ikon Gallery Birmingham, Nova Gallery Zagreb Museum of Modern Art Warsaw and Arts Catalyst London, alongside an expanding constellation of projects and activities, all documented through the Arte Útil website.
Arte Útil forms part of a significant moment that is witnessing a migration of art from its usual sustaining environments (museums, galleries, markets) into the cut and thrust of ordinary life. As this takes place and begins to influence a genuinely radical change in institutional practice, Arte Útil has been met with strong opposition, often with the accusation that its motivations are complicit in a neo-liberal agenda.
This summit is called to redress the balance in this debate, to answer these criticisms and affirm the position of its agencies as a subversive challenge to a market driven orthodoxy and insist on Arte Útil as a broad and diverse network of common authorship that transforms spectatorship and the conception of the artist.
mima provides an ideal host for this first summit as it moves forward with a new institutional vision to repurpose the museum according to the emerging concept of the Museum 3.0. This offers a live case study of a museum in transition, in a post-industrial region, facing some of the most acute social and economic challenges – a town built around a steel works that closed for good last October, the UK’s highest concentration of migrants per head of population, some of the highest indices of deprivation and a traditional working class community undergoing wholesale political change.
The purpose of the Summit is to:
Expand the understanding of Arte Útil through presentations, workshops. lectures, conversations and Q&A sessions
Launch the next phase of Asociación de Arte Útil and website
Address the role the art sector in forming a new political agenda in dramatically changing times
Present the Arte Útil archive as a toolkit for constituencies
Build critical mass around Useology and the Post-Artistic
Create a Toolkit for Institutions, to apply the methodologies
Reflect upon what Arte Útil has done since its first iteration at the Queens Museum New York, as well as looking at the wider constellation of related activities.
Analyse the history and lexicography of Arte Útil
Re-present the Asociación de Arte Útil and the Archive as a resource that is activatable by constituencies and publics in specific local situation
Work with specific constituencies in Middlesbrough to apply the resources of the Summit to solve urgent issues in the town.
Friday 22 July
Arrivals and Introduction from 17:00
Introductions, tour of mima and its current exhibitions, which respond to the current urgencies of migration and the closure of the steelworks.
Followed by dinner and after dinner speech by Stephen Wright live from California.
Saturday 23 July
Toolkits for a Post-Artistic Society
10:00 – 12:30 Morning session
Provocations and dialogues on how artists, institutions and constituencies can effect social change through artistic actions and tactics:
Tania Bruguera, artist
Annie Fletcher, Van Abbemuseum
Kuba Szreder and Sebastian Cichocki, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw
Stephanie Smith, Art Gallery of Ontario
Nuria Guell, artist
Gemma Medina and Alessandra Saviotti, Broadcasting the Archive
12:30 – 14:00
Communal lunch and presentation of The Coffee House project with New Linthorpe Pottery and members of the Eritrean community
14:00 – 17:00 Afternoon session
Workshop: Toolkits for Institutions and Broadcasting the Archive with Alessandra Saviotti and Gemma Medina followed by site visits in the Gresham area of Middlesbrough with the charity Investing in People and Cultures concerning housing and migration.
17:00 – 18:00 Break
18:00 Dinner and Reception
Sunday 24 July
Toolkits for a Post-Democratic Society
10:30 – 12:30 Parliament of Arte Útil – discussion and debate around the role of artists and artistic competencies in taking on civic issues and political leadership:
Charles Esche, Van Abbemuseum
Tania Bruguera, artivist, INSTAR
Kathrin Bohm and Rosalie Schweiker, artivists, EU:UK
Michael Simon, Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust, Liverpool
John Byrne, Liverpool John Moores University
Emily Hesse and James Beighton, New Linthorpe Pottery
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 17:00 Workshops in the Gresham district of Middlesbrough with new Linthorpe Pottery on rebuilding, activism ground up regeneration.
Followed by plenary session.
Monday 25 July
Meeting of the membership of the Asociación de Arte Útil and Departures
The Asociación de Arte Útil is part of an ongoing collaboration between Tania Bruguera, Grizedale Arts, Van Abbemuseum, Liverpool John Moores University and the Internationale confederation of European museums, as part of the 5 year project ‘The Uses of Art: The Legacies of 1848 and 1989’. The Asociación de Arte Útil is co-directed by Tania Bruguera and Alistair Hudson (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) in partnership with the Van Abbemuseum.
Invited contributors include Stephen Wright, Tania Bruguera, Charles Esche, Nuria Guell, Stephanie Smith, Kuba Szreder, Sebastian Cichocki, Gemma Medina, Alessandra Saviotti, John Byrne, Annie Fletcher, Investing in People and Cultures, New Linthorpe Pottery, Middlesbrough Borough Council, Assemble, Granby Fours Streets Community Land Trust.
The Arte Útil Summit is supported by the EU Culturefund and Arts Council England.