In recent years, the world has seen a rise of international gatherings and symposiums focusing on the growing emergence of independent art and cultural centers, and the issues that surface in the operations of such centers. These symposiums have been especially instrumental in spreading awareness in Asia of the movement to adapt innovative structures of organizing artistic and cultural projects in contemporary art and society. With this growing awareness comes the need to branch out and exchange knowledge and ideas to the rest of the world, especially Europe, where some art centers already enjoy a respected reputation. After attending a few symposiums (in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Seoul), this need was especially clear to The Artfactories Association (France) and BizArt (Shanghai, China). Artfactories, based near Paris, is an international resource platform for artistic and cultural centers with a focus on contemporary creation and new cultural, artistic and social practices. BizArt, as an independent art space, has always relied on networks within the art community in China and abroad, and in the past five years has established itself as the premier venue for promoting and exhibiting contemporary art in China.
The inevitable meeting of these two organizations has sparked the idea to organize an International Symposium, bringing together art centers from throughout Asia, Europe and other parts of the world. The purpose of this important meeting is to establish a workable network between these organizations, wherein exchanges (artistically and intellectually) and projects can be implemented in a sustainable way. This meeting, occurring in tandem with the Shanghai Biennale, will provide the ideal atmosphere for these two regions to develop solid relationships and co- operations. The network that results from this will be integral in facilitating communication and confrontation. The Asia-Europe Foundation supports this initiative as part of its new program, Asia-Europe Artists’ Laboratories, which aims at stimulating a new environment where artistic projects and exchange between Asia and Europe can be tested and developed among artists’ run spaces and artists’ networks.
The structure of the symposium, at BizArt Art Center, will be an installation, where each organization can present their own space to each other and the general public. Each space can display in any form or medium that they feel suits them: installation piece, video projections, etc. At the same time, BizArt will host informal workshops on the side focusing on pertinent issues related to contemporary spaces and the current situation in art. Tentative topics are as followed: (The following is subject to change)
Art in contemporary society & the evolution of artistic practices: The roles of cultural and art centers
Territory, Community and Artistic Development
Surviving the institutions: rule and developments of independently founded art spaces
Networking: The exchange and development of transnational projects in Asia and Europe
This project is made possible with the generous support of:
Artists Links, joint project between Arts Council, England and British Council, China
The Dutch Consulate General of Shanghai
The French Embassy
The French Government and AFAA