The study day Gathering Spells is the closing event of the second year of the Creative Europe project DE.a.RE – DEconstruct and REbuild organized by BJCEM – Biennale des jeunes créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée and co-funded by the European Union.
This set of conferences and panels concludes a 50-hour-online program held between July and September 2023 by the scientific committee of DE.a.RE (Denise Araouzou Alessandro Castiglioni Simone Frangi Svetlana Racanović) with the complicity of several guests (Corina Șuteu, Suzana Milevska, Marianna Takou, Emanuele Braga, Grégory Castéra, Justin Randolph Thompson, Giulia Gregnanin, Cristina Da Milano, Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfaù, Krystel Khoury, Chiara Cartuccia, Sinthujan Varatharajah).
The program Gathering Spells departs from the multifaceted difficulties and responsibilities cultural organizations face across Europe and the transMediterranean today. It invites us to explore pluriversal perspectives and knowledge systems and how they shape our practices. It shares tools, tricks and rituals that contribute to a collective ideation and experimentation of alternatives that respond to deeply-rooted political and economic structural issues. In addition, it critically reflects on what it means to implement a sustainable operational framework as a cultural organization by acknowledging and including pluri-geographical perspectives. Gathering Spells also delves into how organizations could become agents of regeneration for their local multispecies (human and more-than-human) communities. Beyond the local, how can just, trans-local networks be cultivated sustainably in an era of hyper-nationalist rhetoric and urgent energy transition? How does circulation of art and the globalization of culture impact precarious cultural producers and marginalized sites of artistic production?
The final study day of Gathering Spells in Kristiansand, Norway, will address the need for transnational artistic platforms that critically look at the ideas of territorial remoteness and smallness through the lens of artistic research, by looking at decentralization as a political and social alternative that is more just, inclusive and ecologically aligned. It will dwell into collective possibilities to defamiliarize from stereotypes that populate our geographical imaginaries, especially those linked to the eurocentric interpretation of the “Mediterraneans”, plural notion formulated by David Abulafia to identify those connective spaces in the middle of the lands – seas, deserts, oceans – where the deep relationality of exchanges is always associated with forms of hostility. It will then speculate on if and how artistic research can be intended as a pedagogical and transformative tool towards social and political phenomena such as marginalization, colonial legacies and nationalisms: can art enact or support political and social structural changes?
Sarah Kazmi, Test and Taste the Norwegian Water, 2023, sound, 6’34’’
The reading Test and Taste the Norwegian Water is a speculative yet poetic study around the politics of sea, the relationship between maritime commerce, migration, and resource extraction. It was commissioned by Coast Contemporary for their 2023 assembly OCEAN EYES and was performed at Arbeider’n in Lofoten, Norway.
Vlad Plisetskiy, What You will do when the War starts?, 2023, color, sound, 33’
This brave story by anarchist Plisetskiy from Ukraine pivots around the unbreakable Kyiv Underground foundations. First missiles are falling on Kyiv, first sirens are singing and first video documentation shots are taken by the guardian angel of the Kyiv underground. In the moment of an absolute common tragedy on 24.02.2022, Plisetskiy takes his camera to defend the free spirit of his home-town and community. There is no place for the tears when you are facing your enemy. The power of self-organization and the usage of any tools available to defend humanity from the “Z – virus” are fundamental. During 2022-23 Ukrainian community is on the battlefields, workshop studios, clubs, galleries, and underground stations…literally everyone is doing their best to save all EU continent from a bloody dictatorship. The world film premiere by Vladyslav Plisetskiy will infect the viewer with the spirit of resilience and give strength to survive this difficult battle period that we are all going through together – What You will do when the War starts?
Sue Jane Taylor, Beatrice Voices from across the Moray Firth, 2018, color, sound, 15’
For nearly 40 years, the Beatrice oil field, located in the Moray Firth, has been part of the eastern Highlands contemporary maritime landscape. Unlike most oil and gas installations located far out to sea, Beatrice field, consisting of Alpha, Bravo and Charlie platforms, is visible and close to land. When the oil boom hit the north, Beatrice played a part in that big shift: Nigg Oil Terminal in Easter Ross was constructed on top of sand dunes and beach shoreline to accommodate huge storage tanks containing the black-tarry crude oil from Beatrice’s pipeline. In 2018, Sue Jane Taylor gained permission to visit Beatrice Alpha platform for one week; three months before this field was fully decommissioned. Onboard she filmed and interviewed people in their working environments and invited offshore workers, James Able and Phil Hodgson, to use her GoPro camera to film their own platform ‘viewpoints’. This film is a valuable documentation of portraying an aspect of offshore working life within the North Sea oil & gas industry.
Hamid Waheed, History is a Black Circle, 2023, color, sound, 23’07’’
History is a Black Circle is an experimental video essay that revolves around questions of desire, queer experience and history. It is a story that transcends the fabrics of time and space to inhabit the bodies of past, present and future – and it does so through an array of video sources and formats. The film is a recorded documentary, told as speculative fiction and a reflection on the notion of ‘black’.
Tinne Zenner, Nutsigassat, 2018, color, sound, 20’20’’
Go outside. The lovely mountains two, Sermitsiaq and Kingittorsuaq, look at them. While the housing blocks carry a past of the national diaspora, layers of snow cover a future development in the city of Nuuk, Greenland. The landscape acts as a scenery for collective nostalgia and industrial production, as the film studies glitches in translation of language and culture in a post-colonial modernity.
h 9:30 am
Launch of the screening program with audio-visual contributions from Sarah Kamsi, Vlad Plisetskiy, Sue Jane Taylor, Hamid Waheed, Tinne Zenner
h 10:00 – 10:30 am
Professor Lisbet Skregelid (University of Agder)
Inger Margrethe Stoveland (FLUKS)
Mercedes Giovinazzo (BJCEM)
h 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Remoteness, marginality, and smallness in Nordic waters: What impact does decentralisation have on the arts?
Moderator Alessandro Castiglioni (DE.a.RE)
Joachim Aagaard Friis (Denmark/Norway)
Jóhan Martin Christiansen (Denmark)
Eva Lín Vilhjálmsdóttir (Iceland)
Eduardo Cassina (Norway)
h 2:30 – 4:30 pm
Coloniality and extractivism in the North(s): diasporic and indigenous narratives VS toxic nationalistic rethoric
Moderator Simone Frangi (DE.a.RE)
Giulia Gregnanin (UK)
Sue Jane Taylor (UK)
Sergey Kantsedal (Ukraine/Italy)
Tinne Zenner (Denmark)
Elmedin Zunic (Norway)
h 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Can art be a pedagogical strategy for structural change? Defamiliarization as a method: from hegemonic approximations to accurate imaginaries in the plural Mediterranean
Evagoras Vanezis (Cyprus)
Marie Nour Hechaime (Lebanon)
Sustainable art practices at the age of ecological collapse: what to produce?
Giulia Colletti (BJCEM)
Davide Ronco (Denmark)
Joachim Aagaard Friis (Copenhagen, 1992) is a curator and researcher who lives and works in Copenhagen. He is a fellow of the BJCEM program A Natural Oasis? 2023. Curated projects include I didn’t think it would turn out this way…, Sixty Eight Art Institute, in Copenhagen, 2024; Habitat I & II for Agder Kunstsenter, Kristiansand, 2022-2023; Art Zone for Roskilde Festival 2016-2018.
Eduardo Cassina (Spain, 1986) is an artist and researcher who lives and works in Giehtavuotna/Kvæfjord and Kristiansand (Sápmi/Norway). Curated projects include Artist Residencies as participative research methodologies in contested urban sites in METASITU, Kyiv, 2014-2020; The Degrowth Institute, Ukraine, 2015-2020; Monitor Lizard House, Bangkok, 2020-2021.
Alessandro Castiglioni (Gallarate, 1984) is a researcher and art historian who lives and works in Milan. He is Senior Curator and Deputy Director of Museo MA*GA, Gallarate. He is Lecturer of Art and Design History at Istituto Marangoni, Milano. Since 2014, he co-directed with Simone Frangi, A Natural Oasis?. He was also Senior Curator of BJCEM Biennale Mediterranea 19 – School of Waters, San Marino, 2021. In 2019 he was co-curator of San Marino Pavilion at the 58th Biennale di Venezia.
Jóhan Martin Christiansen (Tórshavn, 1987) is an artist who lives and works in Copenhagen. He is currently part of the Of Public Interest Lab at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm 2023-24. His solo exhibitions include You are a flower, and in the winter, I miss U, Heerz Tooya, Bulgaria. His group exhibitions include Leave Me Breathless, Danish Printmakers House, Copenhagen; Down North – North Atlantic Triennial at Portland Art Museum and Reykjavik Art Museum. Christiansen has received honorary grants for his work and working scholarships from the Danish and Faroese Art Foundation amongst others. He has been teaching at the University of the Faroe Islands and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. In 2023, he founded the artist-run project space Bonne Espérance in Copenhagen.
Giulia Colletti (Palermo, 1993) is a curator and art historian who lives and works in Turin. She is Curator of Public Programs at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin and Digital Curator at BJCEM. She lectures in Contemporary Art, Curatorial Practice, and Philosophy of the Mediterranean at Abadir Academy. Recent exhibitions and projects include Fragile Soil, Fertile Souls, UNSSC, 2022; A Letter from the Front with Nikita Kadan, Castello di Rivoli, 2022. She was part of the curatorial team of BJCEM Biennale Mediterranea19 – School of Waters, San Marino, 2021.
Simone Frangi (Como, 1982) is a researcher and writer who lives and works in Milan. He currently serves as Professor of Theory of Contemporary Art at Fine Arts and Design Academy in Grenoble (FR), where he founded and coordinates with Katia Schneller the Research Unit Hospitalité artistique et activisme visuel pour une Europe diasporique et post-occidentale, 2015-ongoing. He co-directs Live Works – Free School of Performance at Centrale Fies. Since 2014, he co-directed with Alessandro Castiglioni, A Natural Oasis?. He was also Senior Curator of BJCEM Biennale Mediterranea 19 – School of Waters, San Marino, 2021.
Giulia Gregnanin (Rome, 1990) is a curator who lives and works in Helmsdale. She is the director and curator of Timespan, Helmsdale, cultural institution dedicated to using culture as a catalyst for political, social, cultural, and environmental change, where she curated projects include Beatrice: Transition Under Petrocapitalism, 2023; Coastal Commons, 2023; When Bodies Whisper, 2022. In 2020, she funded Understate Projects, Glasgow, where she curated Too Much, Tittle Tattle. She was part of the curatorial team of BJCEM Biennale Mediterranea19 – School of Waters, San Marino, 2021. In 2016, she co-founded Il Colorificio, Milan, with whom she co-curated exhibitions and programmes in MA*GA; Fondazione ICA Milano / Istituto Svizzero; Teatrino Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana; MAXXI; The Modern Institute, among others.
Marie-Nour Hechaime (Beirut, 1989) is a curator who lives and works in Beirut. She works as a curator of contemporary art at the Sursock Museum, Beirut. She is a fellow of the BJCEM program A Natural Oasis? 2023. Her latest exhibition Earthly Praxis looks at modern regimes of landed property in Lebanon.
Sergey Kantsedal (Ukraine, 1989) is a curator who works and lives in Turin. He runs the non-profit space Barriera, Turin. Recently he curated the residency program HOW YOU DARE?. This one year project at Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan was made with the main goal of offering professional and moral support to the Ukrainian artists affected by the war due to the Russian invasion.
Sarah Kazmi (Pakistan, 1990) is an artist and writer who lives and works between Oslo and Karachi. Her upcoming and recent solo exhibitions include Cooking, time?, Intercultural Museum, 2024; Sweet Dreams, Karachi, 2023. She is currently working on a poetry collection titled et bilde i et bilde (“a picture within a picture”) to be published in the fall of 2025. Some of these poems will be recited at the House of Literature in December, 2023. She was recently part of a group exhibition CURRENTS, curated by Open Out Festival, Trømso, Norway.
Vlad Plisetskiy (Otel, 1990) is an artist who lives and works in the underground of Kyiv. His solo exhibitions include Wet-Hole, 2021-2022, Dzherelo, Kyiv; Mold-Kid, 2021-2022, Dzherelo, Kyiv. In 2020, he participated in the online marathon dedicated to the International Day against Homophobia with performance Queen of Golden Rain and presented his first performance Fuck why I don’t see your changes bitch fucking pelt on Coming Out of Isolation 2.0, a long-term project of the IZOLYATSIA Foundation and the NGO KyivPride.
Davide Ronco (1993 Udine) is an artist who lives and works in Copenhagen. Whether with sculpture, furniture or site-specific installations, his diverse work revolves around found materials, unconventional methods and up-cycling processes. Solo exhibitions include Studio del Fragile, L’illusion des Sosies, Studio del Presente, 2019-2022. His works have been presented in Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design, Copenhagen, 2023; 62° Faenza Prize, Museo Internazionale delle ceramiche, Faenza, 2023; Sharp Projects and Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, Copenhagen, 2022.
Sue Jane Taylor (Munlochy, 1960) is an artist who lives and works in Dornoch. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions and her work is held in public collections such as The National Museum Scotland; Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums; City Arts Centre Edinburgh; University College London; New England Regional Art Museum NSW Australia; National Museum Sweden. She has led numerous notable community public art projects within the UK. Her work is represented by Brown’s Gallery Tain/ Inverness.
Evagoras Vanezis (Nicosia, 1988) is a curator, researcher, and writer who lives and works in Nicosia. He is a fellow of the BJCEM program A Natural Oasis? 2023. Recent projects include Anachoresis: Upon Inhabiting Distances, the Cyprus Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale, 2021; Formworks, Thkio Ppalies Project Space, 2019 – 2022).
Eva Lín Vilhjálmsdóttir (Reykjavík, 1995) is a writer who lives and works in Reykjavík. She is currently at i8 Gallery and part of Nordic Noise, a cross-artistic project publishing a publication at the beginning of 2024 and is the co-curator, with Odda Júlía Snorradóttir, of Landscape for the Chosen Ones currently on view at Hafnarborg, Centre of Culture and Fine Art in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. She has written about art and interviewed artists for several online magazines and publications, such as Visual Art in Iceland, the Icelandic Art Center, Accessos (Complutense University of Madrid), Artzine and Scandinavian Standard.
Hamid Waheed (Oslo, 1995) is an artist who lives and works in Oslo. He has recently presented his work in the solo exhibition I Think We’ve Waited Long Enough, K4 Galleri, Oslo, 2022. His group exhibitions include The Queer Gaze, KODE, Bergen, 2022; Folk tror foxtrot, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, 2022; Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling, Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen, 202; De Te Fabula Narratur, Museum of Cultural History, Oslo, 2021.
Tinne Zenner (Odense, 1986) is a visual artist, filmmaker, and programmer who lives and works in Copenhagen. Her films have been shown at international film festivals including New York Film Festival; Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin; Image Forum Tokyo; EXiS Seoul, among others. Her installation works have been presented at Reykjavik Art Museum; Nuuk Art Museum; Greenland National Museum; Gothenburg Kunsthal; BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts Brussels; Kunsthal Kongegaarden; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, among others. She is a member of the film collectives Sharna Pax and Terrassen. Her upcoming solo-exhibition (Im)material Extraction will open at Vermilion Sands, Copenhagen, in November 2023.
Elmedin Žunić (Bosnia & Herzegovina, 1979) is an artist and academic who lives and works in Kristiansand. Curated exhibitions include På Sporet av Villhestene, Ekserserhuset, 2023; Geen Doorgang!, ARKIVET Peace and Human Rights Centre, 2022; Resurrecting Fallen Heroes, Chiang Mai University Art Center, Chiang Mai, 2021; Srebrenica: historiens blindsone, 51K Arteriet, 2020).