Symposium 1

Symposium 1

State of the Arts

6th of November

Resonance 7th of November 2013

 16 discussion tables

We invite all artists to join in a worksymposium in the café of Beursschouwburg, that will be transformed for an evening into a ‘State of the Arts’- center of operation. We present different worksurfaces guided by different moderators, each presenting a pioneering concept of organisation. Every workspace will offer a collective debates concerning autonomous ways of reorganizing ourselves as artists and cultural creatives

5 lectures

The work surface-debates will be regularly be punctuated by short lectures that will add different perspectives about the social political cultural situation in Belgium today
Timetable for the 6th of november:
18h : All participants enter, choosing working table , welcome speech
18:30h : Lectures: Wouter Hillaert and Leen Laconte
Art as a political position and a social engagement - Wouter Hillaert
The cultural crisis in Holland and what can we learn from it - Leen Laconte
19:15h : Table discussions ( all at the same time) 30 min
19:45h : Lecture: Robrecht Vanderbeeken
Creative industries and neoliberal cultural polices Robrecht Vanderbeeken
20:15h : Table discussions ( all at the same time) 30 min
20:45h : Lectures : Kobe Matthys/Axel Claes and Bernard Lietaer
Social security and the inscription of an artist as a worker" Kobe Matthys and Axel Claes
Art and money, art vs money Bernard Lietaer
Table discussion assembling the different ideas, questions proposals on one format
22:30h : a short closure of the symposium and introduction of the next evening.

 List of table guides and their subject of discussion:

Bart Vandeput
Can we organize ourselves as an Artists ‘Guild’ ?
Nicolas Galeazzi
How to shadow a government ? Exploring the possibilities of a shadow cabinet as an artist's opposition to the political system or beyond; from warping a ministry to mastering a Federal Art Departement.
Lilia Mestre and Loes Jacobs
The economy of artistic research - Is it still viable to claim space, time and means purely allocated to process, knowledge, trial and error, exchange with others?
Wendy Van Wynsberghe
The Freedom to” - On artistic work,art licenses and the future. Can free art license save the world? Analyzing positions of copy write and concepts of public domain, how do you see the future of your work concerning free art license and how can we share , distribute and modify?
Michiel Vandevelde
Towards a new policy for the arts? What if we were to create a party program for the arts, what would the program look like from the position of the individual artist? This complex discussion relates back to the question why art should be of a public concern?
Michiel Reynaert
The only value is too much.’ Distilling words and sentences out of the lectures, Physicalising their meanings and examining their value by creating rituals.
Natacha Roussel
Far from institutions, we will investigate the way artistic interventions have been the lead to social change, and we will envision the current technological means to model open and immediate participative systems.
Ruben De Roo
Should we move towards or away from existing institutions, or create new ones ?Instead of focusing on the financial matters (as the policies do), we need to reclaim art itself. We need to instal a revolutionary crisis for the transformation of the artworld become possible. It is a call for fundamental transformation, for the fabrication of non-subservient modes of living, for disobedient industries, for non-conforming forms of living together.
Kobe Matthys and Axel Claes
Social security and the inscription of an artist as a worker.The diversity of art practices in the belgian social security system are currently put under pressure. In the current negotiation with the ministry of Work about the clarification of the definition of an ‘artistieke prestatie’ (artistic output), the NAR (nationale arbeidsraad) suggests to introduce a new control mechanism about who can be considered as an artist and who not. How can we analyze this situation? What is our stand towards this new control-mechanism?
An Mertens and Rasa Alksnyte
The Silent political party of Trees. Can we imagine sustainability by initiating the silent government of trees ? Can we reflect an artistic organization by observing the organizational phenomenas of trees.
Audience: Who do we reach? How can we reach out? Why should this be our concern? Should we try to build more bridges to other segments of society? Should we try to involve more and a wider variety of people? And should artists take on this responsibility?
Merlin Spie
An image of the Artist In Platonic way searching the imagination of the phenomenon “Artist” in a neo-liberal society. What are its values and meanings in a society that gradually implodes? one on one discussion.
Robin Amanda Faure
Putting together a 10 point manifesto designed to influence the cultural policy of political parties in the next elections.
Various Artists
Can non-consuming (spending) become fashionable? How to break the stock market?
Katrien Reist , Linda Suy, Christoph Ragg
Sharing as basis for an autonomous economy of the artistic practice. There is a need for organization models of cost sharing and co-working that recreate solidarity and collectivity, without touching upon the free autonomy of the individual artist. What are we prepared to share and can ‘collectivity’ become the key for preserving of the autonomous practice?
The day after wrap-up/launch the action 7th of november - Beursschouwburg 18h- 21h

The 7th of november each table will present what they harvested the previous day.

The resonance will end with a convocation that will decide on how we collectively choose to proceed from here .



Lets depict a future Dystopia where society worships economy above all else. Where social structures, originally invented out of a notion of solidarity, are replaced by privatization and competitive behaviors. Where free trade leads to inequality and big business controls the resources of the world. So in a world like this, what will be the ‘State of the Arts’? Here in Belgium we live in a society that still values Social Welfare and Culture. But the possibility of this dystopian future seems to be creeping around behind the scenes, lurking in the corners, and invading our very selves. In ‘State of the Arts’ we call all artists, from the broad and flourishing international scene , to come together to look at our present situation here in Belgium, and see how we want to position ourselves as artists and take Action. ‘State of the Arts’ wants to claim ownership of the present position of Artists as propagators of culture and ‘In order for things to stay as they are things must change”. To do this ‘State of the Arts’ will bring together the multitude of art practices already exploring this area.

How ?

‘State of the Arts’ will set up a Work Symposium to examine the value and position of art and artists in todays society. The intention behind this will be to create a solid springboard towards action.


‘State of the Arts’ is a two evening platform taking place on the 6th and 7th of November where we as artists can come together to debate, get informed, educate ourselves and start to think of scenarios of action.


The Symposium will take place at the Beursschouwburg cafe. Artists will gather around 10 different work surfaces to explore the different issues with an artist as a moderator. Each moderator will discuss topics (mentioned below) from different angles using different methods of generating conversation and harvesting information.

The day after wrap-up:

The 7th of november each table will present what they harvested the previous day. The symposium will end with a short convocation that will decide on how we collectively choose to proceed from here .

Who: At the moment ‘State of the Arts’ is an initiative launched by Einat Tuchman and Gosie Vervloessem with the help of many other Artists.


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