Foreword to the book by
Martin Bricelj Baraga
This book is a result of a longer process that started years ago with the establishment of T.R.I.B.E. – Transitory Research (Residency) Initiative of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. T.R.I.B.E. was meant to be a research and residency network of the so-called ‘off’ spaces in the artworld, trying to connect the not so connected scenes of Balkans, Eastern Europe and beyond.
We started T.R.I.B.E. with 4 diverse organizations: MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art from Ljubljana, Artos Foundation from Nicosia, Amber Festival from Istanbul and Ciant from Prague, alongside several partners, artists and initiatives. What we realized before establishing the network is that we had always met at the same places and venues – most often in the Western Europe. Therefore, we wanted to give artists and cultural activists the opportunity to meet and create in different, often unheard, or hidden contexts.
T.R.I.B.E. issued an open call “Transition & Utopia”* and offered a shared residency format to both artists & researchers where they would travel, research and create in more than one city consequently. Within the first two years, we developed several residencies and research papers, as well as working meetings and symposiums.
This book is a collection of those works and ideas that directly or indirectly reflect the theme ‘Transition & Utopia” or relate to Transitory Art. It could be read as a book, as a manual or as the first introduction to discovering transitory art that has been published. We didn’t want it to be another art exhibition catalogue, so we included a few practical tools – interviews, articles and manuals that make an addition to the book itself. For instance, the manual on how to hack public space with sound by Nik Nowak and a manual on how to expropriate money from the banks by Nuria Güell.
We named TRIBE by the term “transitory” as a growing experiment and an effort to try to define transitory art through an organic process. This is why we have invited artists, whose poetics and tactics are very different from each other, so that the curation of the whole project would offer a more complex reading of transitory art.
MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art, whose name also includes the term “transitory”, never wanted to define this term in a manifesto manner. We never saw transitory art as a term that would be defined by a manifesto, but rather through different practices and thoughts that would correlate to today’s realities. We never saw the term as an exclusive truth or an artistic genre or direction, but rather as an inclusive term that could name the phenomena and practices we have been interested in since its existence.
MoTA is a collective of individuals, and each one enters this field from a different position. MoTA is therefore not a museum defined with walls or a building, but rather a collection of people and ideas that exist and are active within its programs.
But the term transitory within T.R.I.B.E. is to be read not solely from an artistic point of view, but as a term that relates to the transitional times and the very specific region we are working in. Within those three years, the issues we have raised in the open call Transition & Utopia have become a reality – Cyprus faced troika measures and frozen bank accounts, Istanbul became a battlefield of protesters demanding the citizen right to public space vs. corporate powers, which penetrate everyday politics & normal lives, and Slovenia has fallen into a deeper political, social and economic crisis as well.
Moreover, not only the Balkans & East Europe, the whole Europe is in search of its identity, the one that has always been defined and expressed as the opposite to its “other” side. The very year 2014, with growing nationalist tensions, despair and a lack of vision in the political & economic field in the whole Europe, resembles so much the year 1914 and the outbreak of the big war that it almost seems unreal how much history repeats itself.
Zadodati: – 1stMoTAtext / open call / cartographies text
THEME for RESIDENCIES 2013 & 2014:TRANSITION AND UTOPIA
Transition can be seen in acute forms in current political and social conditions and in the accelerated transition of social, religious and economic notions of value. In a situation of constant dislocation and perceived loss of values, Transitory Art can play a vital role in adjusting perceptions and bringing forward new forms, considering and analyzing not only longer-term solutions and structures, but also smaller, short-term interventions that can help trigger processes of change, including at the socio- and geo-political level.
While the Balkans did enjoy a period of the so-called independence, they are now increasingly subject to historical Austro-Hungarian interests in new forms, and re-entering a state of disempowered economic dependence. This is accompanied by a loss of respect for human rights in Europe, accompanied by growing nationalism at the European center as well as the peripheries.
Both center and periphery are experiencing an ever-harsher capitalist regime. This intensifies processes of migration from and across the Balkans. These conditions generate social, cultural and political uncertainty and a related lack of vision and leadership at a time when much of the region’s populations remain traumatized by the constantly changing and deteriorating life conditions.
The forced and even catastrophic transitions occurring at all levels of human existence (intellectual, political, personal, media) produce widespread disorientation. Transitory Art is a process that responds to the consequences of transitional “realities”, which create such a widespread state of fear and uncertainty, and social and mental dead-ends.
In the current state, change seems a utopia. We believe that the role of art is to allow space for the possibility of change, generating fresh perspectives and proposing new solutions. We search for concepts and ideas in which the citizens of a dreamless Europe regain their power to change.