"Propositions #1: What We Mean" is the inaugural performative conference of BAK’s long-term research itinerary Propositions for Non-Fascist Living, prompted by the dramatic resurfacing and normalization of historical and contemporary fascisms in our present. Through impromptu artworks, lectures, readings, discussions, screenings, performances, and explorations of the assembly—of being together—as an art form, it opens up a space for politico-aesthetic experiments practicing art as imagination, thought, and action intervening in the contemporary. The gathering takes place in a makeshift environment amid the renovation of BAK’s new venue and brings together diverse publics with the BAK 2017–2018 Fellows, as well as other artists, scholars, and activists to take on the pressing concerns of our time.
Propositions for Non-Fascist Living attempts to articulate and inhabit methods of de-individualized living; methods in which multiplicity and difference enact relations other than those enamored with power and hierarchy. Inspired by philosopher Michel Foucault, BAK develops and gathers propositions for an “art of living counter to all forms of fascism, whether already present or impending,” including “the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.” "Propositions #1: What We Mean" begins from an urgency for—and uncertainty about—what living in non-fascist ways could and does mean. From and with artistic practice, it collects, identifies, blends, and surveys myriad interventions brewing in efforts to move alternatively, situating a flexible base for this project and its attempts at creating ways of being together otherwise.
Contributors to "Propositions #1: What We Mean" include BAK 2017–18 Fellows: Sepake Angiama; Isshaq Al-Barbary and Diego Segatto (Campus in Camps); Matthijs de Bruijne; Luigi Coppola; Quinsy Gario; Ola Hassanain; Otobong Nkanga; Wendelien van Oldenborgh; and Pelin Tan.
Other contributors, who will be present either in person, in work, or in video, include, among others: Nico Angiuli; Kader Attia; Amy Balkin; Yael Bartana; Tania Bruguera; Danilo Correale; Dilar Dirik; Mijke van der Drift; Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian; Stefano Harneyand Fred Moten; Sanja Iveković with Angela Dimitrakaki and Antonia Majaca; Hiwa K; Karrabing Film Collective; Evi Lachana (with Otobong Nkanga); Charl Landvreugd (with Wendelien van Oldenborgh); Delaine Le Bas; Isabell Lorey; Sven Lütticken; Migrant Domestic Workers network FNV (with Matthijs de Bruijne); Aernout Mik; Ahmet Öğüt; Antonis Pittas; Elizabeth A. Povinelli; Nina Power; Vijay Prashad; Oleksiy Radynski; Pedro Reyes; Marinella Senatore; Koki Tanaka; Ana Teixeira Pinto; Gloria Wekker; Giovanna Zapperi; and Vivian Ziherl.
Artistic interventions and the screening program of "Propositions #1: What We Mean" remain on view Sunday, October 8, 11am–6pm.
Throughout the Propositions series, BAK gradually, and in the company of the public, moves to a new venue, Pauwstraat 13a, Utrecht amid its renovation. Concurrently, "Propositions #1: What We Mean" inaugurates BAK’s Fellowship Program, which offers ten research positions per year to practitioners involved in arts, scholarship, and activisms that engage art as a public sphere, a political space, and a multiplier of political interventions. "Propositions #1: What We Mean" also initiates the repurposing of BAK’s digital platform, introducing its digital journal titled Basics.
This project has been conceptualized by Maria Hlavajova and Matteo Lucchetti with Hidde van Greuningen, Wietske Maas, and Whitney Stark, and is organized by the BAK team. It has been made possible through financial support by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the City Council, Utrecht. The BAK Fellowship Program is realized in partnership with BAK’s long-term collaboration partner MaHKU at HKU Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design, Utrecht as well as Utrecht University, Utrecht. BAK specifically acknowledges philosopher Rosi Braidotti, who introduced us to Michel Foucault’s notion of “non-fascist life.”