Following a successful and well-received pilot edition in 2015, the University of the Arts Helsinki has decided to again realize a Research Pavilion within the context of the Venice Biennale. This new edition will last five months (from early May through to late September) and will be undertaken as a Nordic collaboration together with institutional partners outside Scandinavia (including the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Zurich University of the Arts, EARN (European Artistic Research Network) and SAR (Society for Artistic Research)). The second Research Pavilion will be registered as an official collateral event at the Venice Biennale.
Theme: The Utopia of Access
The program of the second Research Pavilion will focus on the current debate around access. The “Berlin Declaration” as drawn up by the European Union, states that from 2025 research funded from public means should be accessible for everyone through Open Access. What are the consequences of this measure for a relatively young and as yet not fully disciplined field such as artistic research? Will there be a further demise of originality and authenticity and an increasing focus on metadata? Are we at risk of encroaching bureaucracy that will achieve the opposite of the legislation/regulation’s aim: Open Access as a pricy process for the happy few who know the rules and possibilities of the game? Can the access-rhetorics be reduced to the now dominant, but also questionable, neo-liberal interpretation of the concept of democracy as a globalized export product? And finally: how accessible will artistic research itself remain—where will research within the arts and about the arts, that traditionally has a crucial impact on theorizing and informing on art within education and criticism, stand in the artistic turn of research?
Despite all of this: can creating an infrastructure geared at access offer new, constructive possibilities for the field of artistic research, such as the fundamental demystification of the artistic (thought) process and the development of new links to different forms of knowledge production and to topical political perspectives (e.g. commonism)? And what are the consequences of the access-oriented agendas of mega-events such as biennials, for the critical potential of art and research? Moreover, starting from art, is it possible to develop a coherent critique of current access-thinking?
Under the title The Utopia of Access the 2nd Research Pavilion wants to give room to all sorts of artistic interpretations and perspectives involving access-oriented thought. Leading question will be: how and in what way can we prevent that the current access-ideology results in the decline of human imagination and radical thinking? If we recognize that nowadays access-thought touches the very roots of political awareness, how can we set about dismantling these contemporary configurations of power? And what are the consequences of such critical reflections for the further development of curatorial models and display-systems?
The program, designed as a series of experimental exhibitions and parallel activities will harbor a range of diverse perspectives and viewpoints that can offer an incentive for the necessary and urgent discussion of the current politics of access.
Logistics and organisation
The second Research Pavilion has a commissioner: Professor Anita Seppä, University of the Arts Helsinki, two curators: Scientific Advisor in Artistic Research at the Swedish Research Council Jan Kaila, and Dean/Professor Henk Slager, MaHKU Utrecht, and two guest-curators Professor Florian Dombois, Zurich University of the Arts, and Professor Renate Lorenz, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Producer of the second Research Pavilion is Christine Langinauer and Head of Communications is Eevastiina Aho, both University of the Arts Helsinki.
Steering group: Rector Jari Perkiömäki, University of the Arts Helsinki; Dean Ingrid Elam, Swedish Arts Universities Collaboration; Professor Mika Elo, University of the Arts Helsinki; Head of DocMus doctoral school Päivi Järviö, University of the Arts Helsinki; Cecilie Knudsen, Chair of the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme; Researcher Otso Lähdeoja, University of the Arts Helsinki; Vice-Dean Leena Rouhiainen, University of the Arts Helsinki; and Geir Strøm, Head of Administration at the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme.
Responsibility for the contents and general outline of the Research Pavilion lies with the commissioner, the curators and the steering group. They will develop the program in collaboration with all partners and the guest-curators.
The proposed program of exhibitions consist of three consecutive presentation moments:
–an exhibition made by the curators (May/June 2017 based on a call for contributions—Call A);
–two programs by guest-curators (July–September 2017)