The first event in our series “Ways of Disagreeing,” a new live discussion format conceived by TEXTE ZUR KUNST, focused on the relationship between art and activism, and on the self-conception of artists working with and as part of a collective. From Documenta to Turner Prize, and ranging from strike movements in museum contexts to the collective artistic direction at the Volksbühne now – collectives are currently quite popular in art. Much as cooperative and collaborative teamwork could show a way out of a “society of singularities” (Andreas Reckwitz), there is always the risk that idealising the collective will serve to legitimise the privileges of individuals under the guise of collectivity. So how should an understanding of collective work and action be conceived in politicising discussions on art to serve the interest of emancipatory forms of working and living?
Author and presenter Kai van Eikels (Berlin/Tokyo) discussed this and related questions with Sofia Bempeza (artist and cultural expert, Athens/Zurich), Marlene Engel (music curator and dramaturg at the Volksbühne Berlin) and Omsk Social Club (arts collective, Berlin).