Discussion 16. August
For the discussion in Dresden August 16, 2013 – with best regards from the moderators Nina Bondeson & Jim Berggren!
What do we need to agree on? What do we not need to agree on?
When we discuss how we want to continue the work with ENDEGRA, it is important to sort out what it is we need to agree on and what is it we do not have to share opinions about, in order to strengthen and extend opportunities within printmaking. These two questions are at the same time a supportive reverse gear if a discussion comes to a dead end, since the only way forward from a dead end is to back out of it.
We live in a floating modernity, says sociologist Zygmunt Bauman. Things change quickly and we are all expected to be flexible and change with it. Whatever we think of that, it has affected our ways of thinking and acting in the last 3 – 4 decades. Our ENDEGRA network is itself a consequence of this floating new world. To develop the network, we have to identify terms and pre-conditions in order to adapt to or to oppose the changes we see. Either way, we need to have good arguments to apply for co-funding for work and projects and to make politicians and decision makers understand that art, in all forms, is a founding necessity in a democratic society.
Our workshops are our physical anchor grounds. Our knowledge and skills are not thretened by change, only by lack of money.
In art-making, there are good reasons to reach a consensus on HOW art is made in order to be able to provide the necessary conditions for it to be made. It is, for instance, of little use to deny the need of machinery and tools we use in artistic printmaking. If you don ́t have what it takes, no print will be made. This, of course, applies to any art-making, from huge opera projects to needle point: production terms must be adequate. You cannot talk your way out of them.
So, to secure good quality in art-making possibilities, we have to agree on the production terms. But we do not have to agree on how we regard the outcome of artistic production. The artistic quality, how
art looks, what it expresses or what things are called does not benefit from such agreements. When it comes to that, we can, and indeed should, have interesting and agonistic1 discussions and ”fights”.
What we need, to work with and develop printmaking, has to be separated from subjective opinions
about art and different formalities in art. The conceptual framework must be flexible and open in respect of different standpoints and ways of working. Respect in these matters does of course not mean that the differences can ́t be argued and discussed. Quite the opposite! Discussions about art are vital, but unlike discussions about artistic prodution terms, discussions about art don ́t have to end in a consensus to be nutritious and worthwhile.
This attitude towards art and art making mirrors what is needed (but not implemented) in society as a whole. We come from different traditions, different backgrounds. We all carry heritage that might occur
strange to others. In the floating new world everyone of us is a stranger sometimes and we have to be able to deal with ambivalence and ambiguity.
Art is good here. To tell about the world through art presents an ambivalent language situation in itself.
Art communicates through our different experiences. That is: art communicates through my ability to open my own experience as a tool for interpretation, a tool to create meaning. (This ability has to be trained. It is a skill, like reading and writing. But we don ́t acknowledge it in our elementary schooling. That has to do with our ”Newtonism”, the mechanical view on life that we have extracted from Newton ́s theories, but that he didn ́t have himself… : )
So; while we develop and make use of our network, we articulate the terms and conditions needed in
artistic printmaking. It gives us great possibilities to show ourselves and others how to not avoid, but
make use of, the ambivalence and ambiguity of our time and of course: the ambiguity it allways has
been to be human and live in the world.
What do we need to agree on to develop ENDEGRA and conditions for printmaking?
What do we need to be able to disagree on to develop ENDEGRA and conditions for printmaking?
Looking forward to Dresden 11 – 17 august!