Tonight we invite you to encounter a collective archive of the 2022 What could/should curating do educational programme, which took place in Belgrade and other locations around the Post-Yugoslav region, between September and December this year. The departure point for this archive is a proposal by Biljana Ćirić, program curator and facilitator, to consider the means by which the discussions, events, inquiries and relationships developed during this time might be recorded or documented.
Archiving is never neutral. Determinations are always made—by individuals, by collectives, by collecting institutions—about what knowledge is worth saving, the means by which knowledge is indexed, housed and cared for, who has access and on what terms. Within the framework of an alternative educational platform—with a loose and evolving curriculum, and no formalised method of assessment or grading—this exercise presents an opportunity to consider what alternative measures we might allow ourselves for the production of knowledge when freed from institutional modes of transmission and circulation.
As such, these archives—both individually and collectively—do not simply record a series of shared (and at times differing) experiences. They include questions around how the embodied, linguistic, political, intimate, relational nature of experience and remembering, ranging in scope from the personal, to the national. Each contribution is informed by the “baggage” we carried with us, as a group of individuals from many different geographic and cultural contexts, many of whom had little relationship with Belgrade, Serbia or the Balkan region prior to this course. This “baggage” includes our different relationships to contemporary art’s infrastructures; our different fields of knowledge and networks of relationships; cultural and linguistic differences; differing relations to histories of colonialism, resource extraction and capitalist exploitation; and varying habits of thought, modes of making, inhabiting and formulating questions about the world.
Through differing strategies of presentation and circulation, we hope to open up questions about what we have in common, as well as what separates us; what of ourselves is dispersed, and what is withheld. But the physical “archive” we share with you tonight is only a part of a wider set of relationships, experiences, idea exchanges, occasional encounters, gossip and experimenting. Tonight we celebrate the beauty and fragility of these moments. Be our guests at the two tables. Read silently. Read aloud. Whisper. Describe what you see. Share what you feel. Eat. Drink. Embrace.
This archive is staged as something living, developing and transformational, ever evolving as our moments with you. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. We hope it’s not the end, but only a stop on the way.
Adelina, Anastasia, Ginevra, Giuglia, Jelena, Karly, Lera, Sabine, Simon