In November 2017 over 150 curators, artists, thinkers and students gathered in Amsterdam for Humans of the Institution, a symposium and working session that collectively asked ‘who makes the present’ by foregrounding the freelancer in the arts and within globalising dynamics more broadly. The gathering was grounded in the figure of the freelance curator and the multi-vocal setting produced a series of statements with concrete proposals and in-depth analyses, resulting in the book Towards an Infrastructure of Humans.
Humans of the Institution opened with a weekend symposium Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November 2017, co-organised by Curatorial Practice (UiB) and Frontier Imaginaries at Veem House for Performance as part of, and supported by, the DAI Roaming Assembly and Amsterdam Art Weekend. The dialogues addressed transforming institutional structures, formations of non/employment at global scales, and emerging regimes of networked governance. The program was designed to create exchange and facilitate multiple perspectives – allowing time out for salsa dance sessions, facilitating debate by using throwable microphones and multiple speaking platforms.
Building on the weekend's dialogues, Humans of the Institution culminated Monday 27 November 2017 with a series of Working Groups on six key topics: Archives & Individuals, Biennials & Guest Work, Boycott & Mobilisation, Censorship & Strategy, Critical Regionalism, and Fees & Conditions. These groups each produced a Working Groups Statement, and around the world three affiliated groups produced statements under the headings Curating & Ethics (Oslo), Art Education & the Romance of the Studio (Montevideo) and Infrastructure & Practice (Glasgow). These discussions are the backbone of the publication Towards an Infrastructure of Humans.
This online journal compiles the written record of Humans of the Institution and is co-published by Van Abbemuseum and Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen. Humans of the Institution was organised by Curatorial Practice, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen (UiB) and Frontier Imaginaries, curated by Anne Szefer Karlsen and Vivian Ziherl. The project was made possible through the support of the Mondriaan Fund, the Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst and the University of Bergen.
The Van Abbemuseum participated in the symposium and working sessions with several staff members. The museum supports the initiative of Humans of the Institution, finding it a constructive contribution to reflect on key-issues that define today’s art world. After the symposium the museum partnered up with the organisers to help realise the e-publication which you can find here.
Working Group Statement conveners and participants were:
Platform BK (Joram Kraaijeveld and Rune Peitersen), the Norwegian Association of Curators (Martin Braathen and Silja Leifsdottir), W.A.G.E. (Lise Soskolne), Rick Heron and Mack McFarland, Florence Cheval, Kris Dittel, Benjamin Fallon, larose s. larose, Taylor Le Melle, Nat Muller, Miriam H. Wistreich, Lesley Young, Önder Özengi, Sabina Sabolović, Jonathan Baumgartner, Agata Cieslak, Sarah Cattin, Jasmin Schaedler, Leeron Tur-Kaspa, Floris Visser, Polly Wright, Thomas Bakker, Iris Bouwmeester, Sharelly Emanuelson, Hanne Gudrun Gulljord, Lian van Schaik, Çelenk Bafra, Ericka Florez, Diewke van den Heuvel, Anna Jensen, Tuğçe Karataş, Alexandra Landré, Susan McAteer, Sarah MacIntyre, Arkadiusz Półtorak, Karolin Tampere, Vivian Ziherl, Kirsteen Macdonald, Anne Szefer Karlsen, Ben Callaghan, Camilla Crosta, John McDougall, Nikki Kane, Yvonne Billimore, Cicely Farrer, Frances Davis, Gordon Douglas, Katherine Murphy, Marcus Jack, Seonaid Daly, Jennifer Clews, Naoko Mabon, Peter Basma-Lord, Rachel Woodside, Natasha Ginwala, Marieke van Hal, Gilda Axelroud, Torill Østby Haaland, Max Bouwhuis, Erdem Çolak, Charles Esche, Katrien Reist-Van Gelder, Nikki Kane, Christina Li, Alan Michelson, Sun A Moon, Zeynep Öz, Joanna Warsza, Lara Khaldi, Rachel O’Reilly, Eszter Szakács, Hanns Lennart Wiesner, Rana Anani, Daisuke Kosugi, Luay Al Derazi, Guus van Engelshoven, Cassius Fadlabi, Ella Grace McPherson-Newton, Fadwa Naamna, Michelle Wong, Christiane Berndes, Steven ten Thije, Tatiana Lozano, Jepkorir Rose Kiptum, Hernán Barón, Nell Donkers, Mitchell Esajas, Ina Hagen, Jagna Lewandowska, Karima Boudou Mzouar, Ong Jo-Lene, Petra Ponte, Ahilapalapa Rands, Randi Thommessen, Ana Bigotte Vieira, Natasha Marie Llorens, Nicolas Jones, Natalie Hope O’Donnell, Rodrigo Ghattas, Ina Hagen, Jasmine Hinks, Maria Jonsson, Natasha Marie Llorens, Michael McLoughlin, Maija Rudovska, Helle Siljeholm, Ana Laura López de la Torre.