SOTA SUMMER CAMP
FAIR ART ALMANAC 2019
a self-educational platform for
artistic, economic and political movements
proposed to the Belgium arts community
in reaction to the call for projects by Kunstenpunt
in the frame of D.I.T. (do it together) 2017
State Of The Art proposes to launch an annual Summer Camp for art practitioners of any background and color – a camp where everyone concerned with the concrete conditions of art making comes together and discusses the politics of practice. The Camp shall be a meeting point of people working on all sides of the artistic production, wether in or out of institutions, as artist, technician or in administration, wether engaged in research or in production. The Camp gathers forces of those who want a strong, advanced, differentiated, diverse and challenging artistic culture in their closer or larger surrounding.
The Camp’s goal is to publish an almanac of art’s practices in Belgium and beyond.
The FAIR Almanac 2019 is aimed as a tool that gathers practices, knowledge and perspectives in form of a year calendar, generated during the Summer Camp. It shall discuss and develop five core fields of fairness in the arts: solidarity, ethics, diversity, ecology, and empowerment. The annually renewed Almanach shall be come a key instrument for a continuous discussion about working conditions in the arts.
We ask D.I.T. to support the first edition of the SOTA Summer Camp and the production
of its Almanac 2019.
During a week long gathering in Summer 2018 the participants of the Camp shall reflect upon the link between the daily practice of art making, its political, philosophical and economic constructions, the structural possibilities of the sector, and the embedding and impact of art in our society. The camp can take characteristics of a conference, a playground, summer school, public court or a festival – all of witch shall contribute their tones to the atmosphere of the Summer Camp. The general aim of the camp is to commonly improve the economic and political survival skills of the individual artists and the art field as a whole. The Camp shall be an informative, inspiring, connecting, productive and practical place that generates an instantly printed outcome – The FAIR Almanac 2019!
The Camp will take place in the open air. It shall be an independently organized space- and timeframe beyond the normal working grids, that is managed in ‘good neighborhood’ to a variety of institutions, peoples and places.
The Almanac aims to be a common tool for politicizing the arts and for ‘artifying’ political movements. It triggers discussions, features and documents the spectrum of thoughts and approaches, and lift the status of the profane organizational work into realm of the artistic. The Almanac shall provide useful practical information, dates of major and minor events, as well harvest interesting texts that addresses the precarious economic and political conditions of art practitioners. Based on the exercises and experiments of the Camp, the Almanac will not only include some basic political and administrative data provided by the cultural ministries, it discusses and reflects practical, political and performative values of these ‘data’. It will publish unsolicited comments, bottom-up advises, make proposals for changes, etc… The editorial policy of the Almanac 2019 will continue SOTA’s ongoing discussion of and for fair artistic practices within our society. Fair, in SOTA’s understanding, is a list of five concerns: solidarity, ethics, ecology, diversity and empowerment. The publication will put together what artist practitioners like to share in an almanac, beyond their usual financial and institutional implications.Fair?
The request for fairness lies in the veins of SOTA. Form the beginning on the artists forming the loose group that called it self „State of The Arts“ was concerned about the conditions that create a lively and engaged artistic scene that is able to create and reflect upon the knowledge our contemporary society needs. These conditions are under constant political threat and have to be taken care for in a continuous process that is mainly lead by the artists themselves. SOTA tries to create artist-run platforms for this engagement.
After two symposia in 2013 and 2014 a paper was created that stated the outlines of what we understand under fairness. This paper was widely discussed in Belgium and became the backbone of the recently launched Fair Practice Code in the Netherlands. We still believe that the key points of this paper are relevant and want to take its statements as a starting point to structure the Camp, the Almanac and further practices. You can find the original paper in the appendix of this proposal.
Before May 2018 SOTA will launch an open call for practices that can lead to an Almanac of Art Practice and for participation in the Summer Camp. This call will be followed by one week of creating the actual content of the Almanac the during a Summer Camp in the month of September 2018. This Camp, will at the same time continue to discuss, negotiate, learn and un-learn the what and the why of an Almanac. Although the Camp itself shall be a self-educational test ground for fair practices, the final outcome will be the draft of a blue-print of the Almanac. A team of editors will finalize this draft to a publication and sustainable blue-print for following years. While printed in November, our first Almanac will be launched in December 2018. We see it as a useful publication that on the one hand enables to build on past experiences and on the other hand allows future yearly updates of a spectrum of transformative activities and initiatives.
The Almanac will harvest various voices of art practitioners in Belgium, from people working inside institutions until free-lancers, amateurs, etc… The creation of the Almanac shall be based on two open calls. One call is for contributions in form of texts, images, works, and other materials for the Almanac. Another call is to join an editorial group, that joins the Summer Camp. The group of editors will select the contributions and edit the publication, based on a continuity of the research by SOTA. The editing of the Almanac in the future will be fluently handed over form year to year, based on new calls.SOTA
State of the Arts (SOTA) was born more out of a situation to support fair art practices in Belgium then an idea. State of the Arts happened spontaneously at a conference in Brussels. An ongoing platform proved to be desired and so here it is to stay. SOTA sees itself as a divers, not homogeneous, inconsistent, wild and yet engaged bunch of fair art practitioners. With its loose gatherings, its spontaneous symposia and recurrent attempts to stand up for improvements of conditions within the arts. SOTA confronts art practitioners with their internal economical and political kitchen. We can be pleasantly surprised by the demonstrations of the force and relevance of SOTA’s rather “undisciplined” way of influencing.
In the writing process of this proposal following people were involved:
Nicolas Galeazzi, Kobe Matthys, Einat Tuchman, Gosie Vervloessem, Michiel Reynaert.