On February 18 and 19 Kim? Contemporary Art Centre and art historian and curator Maja Wismer had invited to attend workshop on the topic of writing – “How to Act in the Middle of the Sentence?”∗. It focused on how to use written material, the institutional role of a library and reading room that are connected to an artspace and the social life of books.
Four guests had been chosen to make presentations due to their professional skills, interests and experience. Each of them had been invited to bring to Riga 5 titles (books, publications, magazines etc.), which are crucial for their own practice or which in their opinion might be essential for the library of a contemporary art space. Books will be integrated in the Kim? library and after the event will be available for public. Amongst the audience a few personally through Kim? selected people were present in order to create a more focussed and participative atmosphere. These people also had been asked to write about the event for documentary reasons.
Emma Kihl, visual artist, based in Stockholm
Elisabeth Klement, graphic designer, based in Amsterdam and Tallinn
Judith Schwarzbart, art theoretician and curator, based in Copenhagen
Manuela Schlumpf, curator and writer, based in London and Zürich
Maja Wismer, art historian and curator based in Basel and Stockholm
February 17 Arrival of the guests
19.00 Opening of the exhibitions of Kaspars Podnieks, Mārtiņš Ratniks and “Harald Szeemann:
Documenta 5” (from ICI series “Exhibition in a Box”) in kim? galleries
10.15 – 10.30 Registration
10.30 – 11.00 Introduction by Maja Wismer and Zane Onckule
11.00 – 13.00 First presentation and discussions
13.00 – 15.00 Lunch and conversations
15.00 – 17.00 Second presentation and discussions
11.00 -13.00 Third presentation and discussions
13.00 – 15.00 Lunch and conversations
15.00 – 17.00 Fourth presentation and discussions
19.00 Closing of the workshop
Maja Wismer about the idea of the workshop: Starting point for the workshop “How to Act in the Middle of the Sentence?” was the idea of an art writing workshop, focussing on Northern Europe. From this conceptual discussions developed about more general approach towards written material – use of written material. The question arose: Who uses written material and how? This seemed to make even more sense in connection with the newly established Kim? library / reading room open for public. The library / reading room as a social space and an integral part of Kim? and Kim?’s aim to establish itself within the local context are part of the concept to invite four guests to contribute their working material (books, printed matter) to the library. To leave traces in the library, that will attract other users.
The library as a social space and the books as a social space – both of them function with time gaps. In order to allow social encounters the books don’t need to be read at the same time. This can, in the Derrida sense, also happen in different moments (even spread over centuries), and still it is some kind of sharing, when people read the same books. It is the aim of the workshop to focus on the spatial dimension of books, to not simply treat them as titles in a list, but to connect them with social moments, with people talking about them, opening them.
One very important change from the initial invitation to conceive an art writing workshop is the shift from the focus on two dimensional text towards three dimensional options on how to use text or printed matter in general. (Thinking that writing comes from reading…)
Another aspect, in the last few years so many “reading lists” etc. have been circulating within the context of the fields of contemporary art, I think it’s quite important to “open” the books again. Not just mentioning the titles, but bringing back the objects, the books. It is for this that these four guests have been invited to bring “their” books, talk about them and leave them for somebody else to open.
The workshop “How to Act in the Middle of the Sentence?” was held in the Kim? library, Maskavas str. 12/1. Admission is free.
∗ Idea about the title of the workshop comes from lectures on writing by Guna Kalniņa in Lukabuka
Thanks for support to: State Culture Capital Foundation, Kulturkontakt Nord, Goethe-Institut Riga, Embassy of Sweden in Riga, The Danish Culture Institute, airBaltic, Studija, ¼ Satori