Institutions are an
ambiguous subject. Some despise them for abuse of power or dominance over free will and choice, others rely on them to save
us from corporate harm or social demise.
In the worlds of art I got to know, the relations between
artists and institutions are just as varied. I’ve seen short affairs or serious engagements, refusal by principle and embrace
of the moment. In the few hours we have together, let us talk about the relationships we want and don’t want, should and should
not, can and cannot have with institutions, and how we can work with, for or around them to create the things we would like
to live among.
To start our conversation, I’ll share some ideas and stories about institutionality as a site that
can be occupied; about an artist who became a mayor of a village just to dissolve it once he succeeds; about making things
that are bigger, more social, more collaborative than art; about an artist who found a fourth significant way of working within
an institution and thereby changing its character and future; about instituted practices as alternative to entrepreneurship
initiatives propagated by art schools; political practices that don’t require getting into politics; institutional fiction
and institution building, the wireless occupation of a building from 1908 in the 3rd district, a superfood brand that wants
to become the Red Bull of the art world and “Institutions as a way of life”, a research project that is about to begin.
Bernhard Garnicnig is the current Very Artistic Director of the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien, a historic site for futuristic
art; he co-founded continent., a journal and publishing collective for thinking through media; and the Bregenz Biennale, a
festival for ephemeral public art in the town he was born. He is the director of Supergood, a lifestyle brand and catering
service that exists in the ambiguous space between product and performance.www.palaisdesbeauxarts.atwww.bernhardgustavanton.comwww.ixdm.ch