What, How and for Whom/WHW: Exhibiting Normalization

Free School for Art Theory and Practice

The Free School for Art Theory and Practice considers as the basis of its philosophy the concept that contemporary art and culture produce an excess of knowledge and experience, which can be recycled and used in broader social discourse, beyond their own primary context. The aim of the Free School is to increase the theoretical and practical arsenal of the local art scene based on active participation and dialogue in seminars, and also by analyzing artistic positions, critical aspects and the institutional system. With its name, the school marks community gatherings for people to meet with a view to exchange knowledge and learn from one another.
The school will function in the form of regular weekend seminars, held by invited curators, theoreticians and artists, allowing for the specificities of the contemporary Hungarian art scene and local discourses.

Application deadline for the second seminar: October 8, 2006
Send applications to:

What, How and for Whom/WHW
is an independent team (its members are curatorial collective Ivet Ćurlin, Ana Dević, Natasa Ilić, Sabina Sabolović and designer and publicist Dejan Kršić) formed in 1999, that organizes different production, exhibition and publishing projects. Since 2003 WHW has been directing the non-profit gallery called Galerija Nova in Zagreb, Croatia.

International WHW exhibitions include “What, How & for Whom, on the occasion of the 152nd anniversary of the Communist Manifesto” (Home of Croatian Artists, Zagreb, 2000 and Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, 2001), “Broadcasting Project, dedicated to Nikola Tesla” (Technical Museum, Zagreb, 2002), “Looking Awry” (Apex art, New York, 2003), “Repetition – Pride and Prejudice” (Gallery Nova, Zagreb, 2003), “Side-effects” (Salon of Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, and Gallery Nova, Zagreb, 2004), “Normalization” (Gallery Nova, Zagreb, 2004), “Collective Creativity” (Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, 2005), “To Be Put up for a Public Debate” (Operation City, Badel Factory, Zagreb, 2005), “Final Exhibition”, Gallery Nova, Zagreb, 2006, and “Normalization, dedicated to Nikola Tesla”, Gallery Nova, 2006 WHW published several books (“Against Indifference” selected essays by Renata Salecl, “Hieroglyphs of the Future” selected essays by Brian Holmes, “Zagreb, 16/6/01” book of interviews by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Croatian artists, reader for the “What, How and for Whom” exhibition with essays by Slavoj Žižek, Richard Barbrook, Boris Buden, Fredric Jameson, Charles Esche...) and regularly publishes Gallery Nova newspapers.

Exhibiting Normalization

The name “What, How & for Whom”, which WHW collective adopted from the name of its first exhibition, dedicated to the 152nd anniversary of the Communist Manifesto and organized in Zagreb in 2000, refers to three basic questions of every economic organization – what, how and for whom –operative in almost all segments of life. What, the problem of how many of every possible goods and services will be produced with limited resources and social input, how, the choice of certain technology according to which each good, chosen by answering the question what, will be produced, and question for whom, that concerns distribution of goods among members of the society. Of course, these are the questions that also concern the planning, concept and realization of an exhibition, as well as the production and distribution of artworks or artists’ position at the labor market.

The topic of the seminar will be to explore the tactics and approaches through which exhibitions can challenge and deconstruct omnipresent strategic systems of representation of national identities marching towards self-fulfillment in recently historicized narrative of progress towards the free-market and liberal democracy grail. The key question is: how to create critical projects that will not become prisoners of their own “will to influence” but will stay open to play of contradictions and enable constant re-investigations of representational strategies, exhibiting forms and actions in public space, at the same time working out a kind of parallel ‘cultural policies’ and infrastructure.

In Croatia, as in the wider region, complex relationships emerge between issues that are ignored, made unfashionable by their lack of “New Europe glamour” and non-marketability, swept under carpet or even openly suppressed, such as collective relationship to the past and construct of history, economic transition, questions of national identity and nationalism, post-war normalization, pro-EU orientation and status of ethnic minorities (primarily Serbian) in contemporary Croatian society. During the seminar, we will discuss approaches taken by several recent WHW exhibitions such as “Side Effects”, “Collective Creativity”, “To be put up for a public debate” and “Normalization, dedicated to Nikola Tesla” and the ways exhibitions and art projects can be used to parasite on “cultural industries” in order to implant discussions on relevant social issues into broader public discourse.

The Free School for Art Theory and Practice
Goals are:
- To examine the current phenomena of contemporary visual culture in artistic and curatorial practice;
- To enhance critical thinking and dialogue within the art field
- To define the role of art theory and art criticism, to analyse critical concepts and study the possibilities for their adaptation to different contexts
- To discuss the identity /role of the curator and the artist in an international context.

Subjects covered:
- The role of context in cultural production
- The interplay of theory and praxis
- The public domain between the institutional system and forms of self-organization
- Constructive interplay between curatorial and artistic practice

Target audience: Artists, curators, students and anyone interested in contemporary art

Dates and lecturers 2006
21 - 24 September, 2006
Barbara Steiner, director Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig

19 - 22 October, 2006
Who What and for Whom (WHW) formation, Zagreb

23 - 26 November, 2006
Branislav Dimitrijevic, art historian, curator. Founder and lecturer of the School for History and Theory of Images, Centre for Contemporary Art, Belgrade

16 -17 December, 2006
Jens Hoffmann, artistic director, Insitute of Contemporary Arts, London

How to apply
Artists, curators, students, who undertake to prepare for and to take an active part in the seminars (as is relevant to the lecturers), are invited to send a letter of motivation.
One seminar may be attended by maximum 15 participants.
Application deadline for the second seminar: October 8, 2006 (for the III. Seminar November 12, 2006, IV: December 3, 2006)
Send applications to:

Planned Schedule
Thursday Public lecture by invited lecturer (s), afterwards discussion;
Friday-Sunday (Fri-Sat 10-13, 14-18 , Sun 10-13) seminar for the closed seminar group with the lecturer.

Attendance at the free school is free. On request we can help in organization of accommodation.