simultaneous parallel events

MAY 20, 2010

17.00 - 18.00
Alexandru Dima and Nicoline van Harskamp on Expressive Power in Contemporary Cultural Production - a scripted discussion

Featuring Daniel Popa as Alexandru Dima and Nicoline van Harskamp as herself

Script by Nicoline van Harskamp and Silvia Ceauscu

Co-produced by Tudor Bratu
Based on conversations with Nina Yuen, Maarten Overdijk, Ilse van Rijn, Cosmin Costinas, Studium Generale Rietveld Academy Amsterdam, Partners Foundation for Local Development Bucharest, Foundation for Democratic Change Bucharest, British Council Bucharest, Association Pro Democratia Bucharest

Nicoline van Harskamp is a participating artist in BB4.

Venue: National University of Arts, 28 Calea Grivitei - in the lecture hall.

MAY 21, 2010

Rhizomic Structures of Art Institutions. Neo-politics of culture.

Razvan Ion in dialogue with Vasif Kortun

"Rhizomic Structures of Art Institutions. Neo-politics of culture" is a series of lectures, live discussions and debates connected to the book with the same title edited by Razvan Ion and scheduled for publishing in February 2011. The live talks will be recorded and published in the book produced in cooperation with Index Stockholm.

"Moving fast in different directions is the most important criteria for an institution today - the institution should be a temporary structure like a rhizome, to quote Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari and their book "Milles Plateaux". A rhizome is sort of a stem cell that puts out lateral shoots in any directions, without having a dichotomous structure, but instead a pluralistic structure. A rhizome is a temporary structure insofar that it can spread out from every point within the rhizome to every other point in - or outside of the rhizome, having the possibility to grow new shoots and also to mortify old shoots - a structure, which is necessary for a cultural institution today - temporary and moving in every possible direction.

Only this temporary structure, the rhizoid structure, allows us to intervene in the "society of the spectacle", exactly analyze recent issues and their power structures and to finally turn the spectacle upside down. We have the possibility to re-think processes and to redirect them." (excerpted from the introductory text of the book)

Vasif Kortun is a curator, writer and teacher in the field of contemporary visual art, its institutions and exhibition practices. He was the founding director of the museum of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York, the short-lived Proje4L, Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art. He  was the co-curator of the Taipei Biennial in 2008, one of the curators of the 24th Sao Paolo Biennial in 1998, Tirana Biennial, and 2nd Ceramics Biennial in Albisola, 2003. He curated the Turkish pavilions for the 1994 and 1998 Sao Paolo Biennials and the 2007 Venice Biennial for which he worked with artist Huseyin Alptekin. Presently is the director of Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center. Lives and works in Istanbul.

Razvan Ion (b. 1970) is a theoretician, curator, cultural manager and political activist. He is the co-editor (with Eugen Radescu), of PAVILION - journal for politics and culture, co-director of Bucharest Biennale and in 2008 he was appointed as director of PAVILION UNICREDIT- center for contemporary art & culture. He lectured at University of California -Berkeley, Headlands Center for the Arts-California, Political Science Faculty - Cluj, Art Academy - Timisoara, La Casa Encedida - Madrid, Calouste Gulbenkian - Lisbon, etc. He writes in different magazines and newspapers. He recently curated "Exploring the Return of Repression" at Pavilion, Bucharest and rum46, Aarhus. Now he is working on the book projects "Rhizomic Structures of Art Institutions. Neo-politics of culture" and "Exploring the Return of Repression". He is preparing his new curatorial project "Smash the Church! Smash the State!" dealing with anarchist and collective activism and social-political movements in art. Lives and works in Bucharest.

Venue: National University of Arts, 28 Calea Grivitei - in the lecture hall.

MAY 21, 2010

Handlung. On Producing Possibilities
Live talk between the participating artists of BB4 and the curator Felix Vogel.
The talk will explore the production of the concept and the responses of the artists.

Venue: National University of Arts, 28 Calea Grivitei - in the lecture hall.

MAY 22, 2010

Maria Muhle
What is aesthetic realism? From Chris Marker to the Medwedkin Groups

The talk will outline the notion of an aesthetic realism and its potential within a political aesthetics. Aesthetic realism is defined by the end of the imperative of resemblances and emerges in the rupture with the traditional hierarchies of representation, a rupture that Erich Auerbach has analyzed for the European literature. The talk relates the notion of aesthetic realism to the documentary film, especially the militant worker's films (film ouvrier) of the 1960 and 70s. Through a confrontation between Chris Marker's "A bientot j'espere" shot in collaboration with Mario Marret in 1967 on the strikes in Besançon and the films of the Medwedkin Group of Besancon, namely Classe de Lutte from 1967/68 shot by the factory workers, the talk will outline the continuities but also differences between the forms of description and the forms of auto-description of the workers and their struggle in order to challenge the classical notion of the documentary as the alleged realist and political image.

Maria Muhle is Academic Assistant at the Chair for History and Theory of Artificial Worlds, Institute for Media Studies, Bauhaus-University Weimar. Her research focuses on contemporary political and aesthetical theory, and especially on the notion of "aesthetic realism" in the context of a political aesthetics. Latest publications include: "Zweierlei Vitalismus", in: Friedrich Balke, Marc Rölli (ed.), Gilles Deleuze: Philosophie und Nicht-Philosophie. Aktuelle Diskussionen, Transcript Verlag, Bidelefeld (im to be published); "Hito Steyerl. Notes on documentary realism", in: Hito Steyerl. Exhibition Catalogue, Henie Onstad Art Center, Oslo, 2010; "Anna Artaker. History and Infamy", in: Camera Austria, No. 109, 2010; Eine Genealogie der Biopolitik.Zum Begriff des Lebens bei Foucault und Canguilhem, Bielefeld 2008.

Venue: National University of Arts, 28 Calea Grivitei - in the lecture hall.

MAY 22, 2010

Chantal Mouffe
Agonistic Politics in the Age of Post-Fordism

Chantal Mouffe will examine different interpretations of the transition from Fordism to Post-Fordism and their consequences for envisaging democratic politics. After contrasting her hegemonic approach to the post-operaist one of Hardt and Negri, she will discuss different forms of agonistic politics, bringing to the fore their points of disagreement.

Chantal Mouffe is Professor of Political Theory at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster in London. She has taught and researched in many universities in Europe, North America and South America and she is a corresponding member of the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. She is the editor of Gramsci and Marxist Theory (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1979), Dimensions of Radical Democracy. Pluralism, Citizenship, Community (Verso, London, 1992) Deconstruction and Pragmatism (Routledge, 1996)and The Challenge of Carl Schmitt, (Verso, London, 1999);the co-author with Ernesto Laclau of Hegemony and Socialist Strategy . Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (Verso, London, 1985) and the author of The Return of the Political ( Verso, London, 1993) The Democratic Paradox (Verso, London, 2000) and On the Political (Routledge. London, 2005).

Venue: National University of Arts, 28 Calea Grivitei - in the lecture hall.

MAY 27, 2010

Goran Bjornberg
Narrative spaces, Contemporary art and the shaping of Identity.

Contemporary art with its multimodal and dynamic features offers a narrative space which works well as a starting point for practices which are experimental and art pedagogical. By understanding the exhibition as a meeting place for learning, a social arena for meaning making through active participation and collaboration, great opportunities open up when working with youth. Through its diversity contemporary art has a unique possibility to contribute to open-ended reflections and discussions on themes, subjects and narratives which in their turn contribute to the shaping of identity. The creation of the own self, the identity, is central in all people's development. For the youth of today this process seem more complicated than ever. Media and commercials offer stereotypes which are hard to shake off. Studies also show that youth is more open to contemporary art than other target groups. This lecture focuses on how contemporary art can work as a tool for the shaping of identities - the construction of I-TOPIA.

Venue: PAVILION UNICREDIT, Sos. Nicolae Titulescu nr. 1 (Piata Victoriei).

May 28, 2010 - 20.00


My Beautiful Dacia Directed by: Julio Soto & Stefan Constantinescu

Venue: Cinema Union, Strada Ion Campineanu 21

My Beautiful Dacia is a light hearted and humoristic portrayal of the evolution of Romania from Communism to Capitalism, seen through the eyes of its most emblematic symbol, the Dacia automobile.
"In our film, we will follow different generations of Romanians - from the old nostalgic to the young entrepreneurs - showing the present transformation of Romanian society. The connecting point between the different stories is always the Dacia car: first, a symbol of the ambitions of Communist technology and now a reflection of the new global economy. "(Julio Soto and Stefan Constantinescu)
Julio Soto is a Spanish film director and producer. Stefan Constantinescu is a well known Romanian artist living in Sweden.

MAY 20, 2010 - MAY 30, 2010

Trop tot, trop tard | Too early, too late
Activating the present, now.

From 20th of May to 30th of May, 13 students from the installation department and work.master, contemporary art practices, Haute école d'art et de design, HEAD Genève, Switzerland, will join Bucharest and work on site specific interventions around the housing area of Rahova-Uranus. The idea is to produce singular views on what the term of "Handlung", as Felix Vogel makes it accessible for his concept on the public sphere in Bucharest,  can mean in terms of an ephemeral art production. Trop tot, trop tard | Too early, too late. Activating the present, now. is also asking about the conflict of being elsewhere than in the right place at the right time, of missed opportunities, and a possible change.

The 13 different approaches - between installation, performance, writing, sound- and video art, as well as a conference - will be presented to the public on May, 29th at 12.00 with a conference and a guided tour.

Participants: Sonia Kacem, Stephan Freivogel, Hadrien Rossier, Olga Kokcharova, Roxana Sima, Violetta Perra, Stephanie Giorgis, Emeline Vitte, Ceel Mogami de Haas, Laurent Peter, Vincent de Roguin, Natalia Comandari, Florent Meng

A project by: Katharina Hohmann, professor at the Installation, Sculpture and Space department, accompanied by Laurent Schmid, professor at the work.master programme, both HEAD Geneve in collaboration with Felix Vogel.

Venue: Public space in Bucharest; opening 12:00 on Saturday, May 29 in Rahova-Uranus, Calea Rahovei nr. 194 and street crossing Strada Sabinelor and at PAVILION UNICREDIT, Sos. Nicolae Titulescu nr. 1 (Piata Victoriei) at 19:00. (Lecture by Ceel Mogami de Haas and Florent Meng and a sound piece by d’incise). Please check for updates.

June 2, 2010 - 20.00


Kapitalism - Our Improved Formula / Kapitalism - Reteta noastra secreta Directed by Alexandru Solomon

Venue: Noul Cinema al Regizorului Roman, Muzeul Èšaranului Roman (Romanian Peasant Museum), Soseaua Kiseleff 3

Solomon invites Ceausescu to revisit Romania, 20 years after he has been executed.
The dictator haunts present-day capitalist society, emerged in the Wild East and often deeply rooted in its communist past. The film offers incredible access to top magnates - at home, in their offices and in their minds - building a bitter-sweet portrait of a new ruling class.
Capitalism with a K - an Eastern European cocktail of power and money.
This is now part of Greater Europe.
Alexandru Solomon is one of the most appreciated Romanian film directors. He has directed more then 10 documentaries until today and won many awards.

JUNE 16, 2010

August 23rd 1944 - Performing Recent History
A project by tangaProject.

The project proposes the performative investigation of history from the perspective of a relevantly major event both from the collective and individual sides. The event generated significant changes at the level of private and also public existence.
A breakthrough year in the history of the Jewish communities in Romania is the starting point of the performative research developed by tangaProject group together with the inhabitants of Moses Rosen residence for seniors.
1944, august 23rd - Ion Antonescu, prime minister of Romania, is arrested and a new government established. Romania exits the war against Soviet Union, joining the Allies. Soviet occupation/ Involvement in the war against nazi Germany/ Communist invasion/ A new beginning/ Betrayal of the war allies/ Abolishment of Antonescu's dictatorial regime. What were you doing?
The event is focused on the performative archive of memory, oral archive - testimony, written archive - documents, fictional archive. The personal histories of the residents are documented and mixed with factual historical material, using several techniques - photography/film/video material/audio recording/music/testimonies.
The goals of the performance are: sharing information and creative experiences between tangaProject group and the community of the residents; researching/revaluing of the historical event.
The performance is part of 4th Age community art programme developed by tangaProject together with the inhabitants of Moses Rosen residence for seniors, since 2009. The major goal of the programme is changing the attitude towards agedness in the Romanian society.

The team: Paul Dunca, Cinty Ionescu, Monica Marinescu, Mihaela Michailov, Ioana Paun, David Schwartz, Constantin Vica, Bianca Brif.

Venue: Old People Asylum "Moses Rosen", str. Jimbolia nr. 105

JUNE 25, 2010
JUNE 26, 2010

Comparative Art History: The Biennale Principle
A conference on the history, present and future of art biennales

In cooperation with the Swiss Institute for Art Research in Zurich (SIK-ISEA), Bucharest Biennale will host an international conference on the >Biennale Principle<. The agenda will address the genealogical aspects of Art Biennales by discussing the history of the Venice Biennale, as well as the present and future conditions of Art Biennales such as the Bucharest Biennale. The conference is based on the assumption that Art Biennales are foremostly Janus-faced. On one hand, they are part of the globalized art market and perpetuate its structures, rites and conventions - the homogenizing effect of Biennales. On the other hand, they often highlight local, regional or national idiosyncrasies - the heterogenizing effect of Biennales.
At SIK-ISEA, a team of international researchers is currently exploring the history of the Venice Biennale with a focus on the Swiss and various Middle-European pavilions. As the first Art Biennale ever, the Venice Biennale is a promising case study for the above implied dialectics of universalism - exceptionalism. Since its beginnings, the exhibition at the Giardini in Venice has served as an arena for bringing various nations together and engaging them in discourse. At the same time, it shed light on or even ignited rivalries between nations. As a heir of the World Fairs in the field of art, the Venice Biennale displays the same simultaneity of competition/mutual exchange, universalism/exceptionalism, inclusion/exclusion as its predecessors.
While curators, artists and politicians often pursued quite different or even incommensurable objectives, depending on their respective cultural backgrounds, the Venice Biennale was and is altogether a more or less conservative, consensus-oriented event. In most cases, the art nations involved follow(ed) the dominant narratives of art history and the dominant international artistic styles in order to adapt to the cultural lead currencies. Marginal progressivist avant-garde movements were hardly ever considered, whereas in recent times, the label >avant-garde< has become institutionalized, pacified and absorbed in mainstream discourse.
On a structural level, the Venice Biennale was (and to this day is) based on a comparative scheme, realized through national pavilions, thus allowing for the association and disassociation of cultural policies and aesthetic programmes. However, the assembly of national pavilions does not provide insight into the >nature< or >essence< of nations, but rather into the manifold ways of constructing, inventing and representing concepts of (inter-, trans-)national or (inter-, trans-)cultural identities.
One of the most promising research methods for exploring the Venice Biennale and its various contemporary successors is "Comparative Art History". This methodological approach has recently been coined by Piotr Piotrowski (Uniwersytet im. Adama Mieckiewicza, Poznan, Poland) who also speaks of "horizontal art history" as opposed to "vertical art history". The latter implies a certain dominance of the Western cultural centers over the so called >peripheries< or >margins< in East-Central Europe. Comparative Art History seeks to abolish such implicitly judgmental hierarchies by highlighting the specific modes of local and regional art reception and art production. It allows for the analysis of unity and diversity at the same time.
Precisely looking behind the curtains of the >Biennale Principle< casts universalist notions of art history into doubt and demands the renunciation of homogenizing, self-contained narratives of art history. The question is not only: who and what was shown at this Biennale or that Biennale? But also: what was not shown? And why was it not shown? Moreover, it is evident that certain styles and discourses indeed have transcended - and more than ever do transcend - national boundaries, but nevertheless take on different meanings in different social, political and cultural contexts.
In summary, the conference will address and discuss the potentials of Comparative Art History in the field of Biennale studies, starting from the Swiss pavilion in Venice, continuing with lectures on further national pavilions (see below) and finally tracing the modifications and variations of the >Biennale Principle< by the example of more recent Biennales such as the Istanbul Biennale or the Bucharest Biennale. The conference is supported by ProHelvetia and the Goethe Institute Bucharest.


Zdenka Badovinac (SLO, curator and art historian, keynote lecture)
Natasha Becker (USA, art historian)
Marcus Graf (D/TR, art historian)
Annika Hossain (CH, art historian)
Regula Krahenbuhl (CH, art historian)
Li Zenhua (CN, art historian)
Jan May (D, art historian)
Jorg Scheller (CH, art historian)
Felix Vogel (D, curator of Bucharest Biennale)
Razvan Ion (RO, curator, co-editor of PAVILION-journal of politics and culture)
Beat Wyss (CH, art historian)
Ursula Zeller (DE, art historian)

Venue: National University of Arts, 28 Calea Grivitei - in the lecture hall.

JULY 25, 2010

Small Potatoes Make Big Noise
Potato talk and distribution

With artist Asa Sonjasdotter and biologist Dana Constantinovici

During the exhibition period, micro samples of old, nearly extinct, varieties of potato plants have been growing in special in vitro preparations as part of the installation Small Potatoes make Big Noise by artist Asa Sonjasdotter in collaboration with artist and theorist Nicolas Siepen.
The micro plants have developed very small tubers that now will be ready for planting in soil. In order to help securing these varieties from not becoming extinct, please join the planting session and take with you samples of potatoes for further growing in gardens, in fields, on balconies and windowsills...

Biologist Dana Constantinovici from the Suceava Gene Bank will participate and talk about her work with endangered plant varieties.

Asa Sonjasdotter is a participating artist in BUCHAREST BIENNALE 4.

Venue: Geology Museum, 2 Sos. Kiseleff

2009 - 2010 parallel events

Free Academy

Free Academy wishes to be an informational platform, an informal alternative to the Romanian educational system (unsatisfying) without the intent of placing it in an official context. Focusing on a neo-liberal manner of teaching we would like, through this project, to attain individual benefits rather than group ones.

Each individual has the opportunity to culture/culturalization and, in extenso, an opportunity to an alternative that can determine the growth of his value. We don't believe that a diploma can offer an example of competence and, especially, of individual quality and that is precisely why Free Academy doesn't offer any diplomas and other types of papers.

Being the adversaries of the "accreditation society" we believe that there aren't any remarkable similarities between a diploma and the professional competence of an individual. What makes the difference between the formal system proposed by the official state power network through the ministry and informal education, proposed by the Free Academy project, is the creation of what appears in the educational discourse as an "active citizen"- that type of citizen that participates in the social debate, that is an agent of change, that proposes the terms of development, that has the attitude resources and competences to get involved.

If it's true that man becomes what he is through education, then the courses proposed by Free Academy must sustain, model and spiritualize the being in order to make it fit to participate and take action. We propose as adequate subject for our project, action, the only activity that unfolds unconditioned between people, without the mediation of objects or matter, that corresponds to the human condition of pluralism, the fact that people and not Man, live on Earth and populate the world (H. Arendt).

We propose action in the space of information to the detriment of accumulation of information that, most of the time, doesn't involve knowledge. Knowledge is one of the defining processes, fundamental for the human spirit. The prime process through which reality consciousness and self-awareness appear in the subject relating one to the self and one's world. A reality in which one can take action, experiment, evaluate and draw conclusions on the consequences. The processing state of an informational system connected to a reality ambient, that can build modal representations and predictive strategies on the ambient dynamics and can develop transforming actions, utilized and evaluated in the modeled ambient. Through this interactive perspective, knowledge can be a perceptual, gestural, linguistic or mixed relation to reality. Reality can be defined as an object-interactive space, defined by structure, causal correlation, property and event. Human knowledge entails intentionality, rationality and evaluation. Intentionality defines the predetermination of action in reality through the construction of an action model in the mind of the subject. Rationality defines the search, the identification, the causal expression and utilization of all forms, properties and relations between properties, that enable the subject to determine a certain transformation of state in reality or to causally explain a certain state experimentally observed or constructed. Valorization is a consequence of evaluating the utility of the obtained results through certain knowledge, through a configuring action or causally explaining modality. The quality of knowledge depends on the conceptual and experiential instruments utilized in gaining and using it. Each field of knowledge has its own objects, own generating rules and own evaluating and utilizing strategies, some accessible to the majority and others extremely formal from a technical point of view or realized aesthetically in a subtle way. Cultural knowledge operates with ambiguous variables such as values, attitudes, emotions, contacts, cooperations and human conflicts. The last step of reason and rationalization being abstraction, Free Academy wishes to sort out information on subjective grounds, elaborated by those that call themselves teachers. We differentiate ourselves clearly through the teaching method, as well as through the principles that should govern a good example of education, from the formal status of the teacher, that of magistro. We exclude indoctrination, idiotizing and projecting the personality of the magister onto his disciples, the students that involuntarily assume the incapacity of the teacher to think and express himself freely. We are neither against the system, nor we support it.

Until now our lecturers have been Felix Vogel, Adrian Majuru, Eugen Radescu, Razvan Ion, Anca Mihulet, Andreea Grecu, Corneliu Porumboiu.

Project founded by Eugen Radescu. Project assistant: Silvia Vasilescu.

out of town parallel events

3 June - 24 September

The Realism Question - Epilogue to Bucharest Biennale 4

Participants: Magnus Bärtås (Stockholm), Kalle Brolin (Göteborg), Ion Grigorescu (Bukarest), Joana Hajdithomas & Khalil Joreige (Beirut), Groupes Medvedkine (Besanςon/Sochaux), Asier Mendizabal (Bilbao), Paul Neagu (Bukarest/London), Lina Selander (Stockholm) and Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor (Bukarest).

Curator: Felix Vogel (Berlin)

Romanian Cultural Institute
Skeppsbron 20, Gamla Stan
Stockholm, Sweden

The Realism Question has its starting point in the hypothesis that a new form of realism emerged at the end of the 1960s and in the 1970s on both sides of the Iron Curtain in Europe. In Great Britain and France, for instance, independent film groups such as The Medvedkine Groups produced militant films where members of the working class were given a degree of power over the act of representation. Turning against the established hierarchies of representation of the time, they were taking on the challenge of combining aesthetics and politics to generate innovative films.

At roughly the same time, in former socialist Romania, artists like Paul Neagu and Ion Grigorescu attempted to distance themselves from the dominant artistic practice known as Socialist Realism. Not only through their actions, but also through their position outside the mandatory system of representation of the time, they were able to make visible what was obscured. These artistic practices not only interrupted the sanctioned structures and established a form of disagreement, but they also articulated a new way of addressing the real by creating the possibility for a prospective reality.

The Realism Question follows these traces from the past into the present, searching for today's descendants of those early endeavours with works by Kalle Brolin, Asier Mendizabal, Lina Selander, and Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, among others. In an experimental set-up, and by exhibiting artworks in a wide range of different media dealing with different contexts and times, The Realism Question examines conceptions and practices tangent to the notion of realism. Rather than coming with some definitive answers, the exhibition will breed questions emerging from the central one: What is at stake if we talk about realism today?