NETWORKERS


2763 names and surnames – that’s how many people have actively cooperated with the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery since 1994. That’s with how many people we have signed various types of agreements (employment contracts, job order contracts, contracts to perform a specified task, licensing agreements). Not included in this list are those who have prepared our materials for printing, moved artworks for us, painted our walls, and took care of our guests, hosting them in their homes and offering their own cars for our guests’ transportation. Also absent from this list are those with whom we have discussed cooperation, but have never moved past the discussion phase. Finally, our audience is not on this list either.

 

On this wall, we have put the names and surnames of those people, whom we have been able to reach directly, asking for the consent to use their personal data, and who have given us such consent. We will be adding more names to this list as we proceed with the project, provided that more people among those with whom we have cooperated give us their consent.

 

It would seem that there is nothing more important and uncomplicated than presence. However, appearances can be deceiving, and institutional processes of managing that visibility are not just vertigo-inducing, but a gateway to nervous breakdowns and heart disease. Nothing is more misleading than this idea that art exists in a vacuum, completely on its own and unaffected by bureaucracy.

 

Guidelines and instructions for institutions appear on a regular basis, complementing the avalanche of diverse work practices of artists and curators, the growing expertise of actively involved audiences, as well as the increased awareness of institutions that try to adapt to the ever-changing pulse of urban life.

 

Alex Farquharson sets forth a blueprint for dealing with bureaucratic scrutiny for art institutions as follows:

1. Create spaces for participation.

2. Be hospitable. Try to make people feel welcome—whoever they are, whatever they are— and let them know that what you do is for everyone, anyone at all.

3. Be generous. Distribute the knowledge that has been publicly paid for.

4. Bet on transdisciplinarity. Let the institution open up a public platform for intellectual exchange.

5. Say “yes.” Do things in your own way, according to your own values. Meet political and public expectations with a radical and unexpected response.

6. Don’t be afraid of popularity, but don’t confuse it with populism. Be critical, but don’t forget about pleasure.

cf. Alex Farquharson, Institutional Mores, ONCURATING, 21 (December 2013), 55-58.

Nothing could be simpler, right? But it also requires management.

NETWORKERS is not a project about utopia, let alone about institutional dystopia. This project tries to illustrate how presence is processed, what the pitfalls of this process are, how not to run aground, how to deal with adversity, and how to get out of an impasse of managing something that often has no form as well as what something that has no form is formed into.

 

Responsible for the dissection of institutional activities: Post Noviki, Irmina Rusicka, and Kasper Lecnim.