To Seminar / BAK, basis voor actuele kunst



Design: Kummer & Herrman.

To Seminar
March 10–May 21, 2017

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst
Lange Nieuwstraat 4
3512 PH Utrecht
the Netherlands
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 12–6pm

T +31 30 231 6125

To Seminar—an exhibition evolving over time through a series of performative and discursive public meetings—inquires into the practices of learning about, with, and through art today. It asks how we can move beyond the present-day ramifications of the so-called educational turn in contemporary art and toward a collective pursuit of learning with a real relation to social praxis.

The project unfolds as a contemporary reading of philosopher Roland Barthes’ essay “To the Seminar” (1974). Engaging with the notion of the seminar—as a concept and as an intimate and complex practice—as something pivotal for learning today, To Seminar transforms the noun into a verb in an attempt to activate its “unpredictable rhythm,” proposing it as a tool for intervention into the settled practices of education today; in art and beyond. For what was once celebrated as the “educational turn” today turns far too often into either routine initiation into a knowledge economy or cognitive capitalism, or into the placatory emptying of the meanings of “knowledge production,” “community,” and “method.” If, like Barthes’ time of writing, ours is a present immersed in “a certain apocalypse in culture,” the true task of learning is not to normalize this present’s morbid symptoms as has become customary, but rather to collectively think through and act out alternative imaginaries. With artists, theorists, and other cultural practitioners, To Seminar reengages the three conceptual spaces that intersect when a seminaring takes place—institution/ transference/text—and seeks to recompose them into a balanced comradeship for renegotiating the conditions of the contemporary.

A series of public gatherings—performances, talks, screenings, etc.—takes place in the course of this exhibition-as-seminar:

Seminar: Sleeper
March 10, 2017, 5–7pm
Tiong Ang in collaboration with Heekyung Ryu, Kristina Országhová, Jan Yongdeok Lim, Robert Wittendorp, Ola Hassanain, Alejandro Ramirez, Winston Nanlohy, and Andrés Novo, on the occasion of the opening of To Seminar

Seminar: Institution
March 21, 2017, 7–10pm
İnci Eviner, Sara van der Heide, and Jan Verwoert, moderated by Marijke Hoogenboom

Seminar: Co-Action Device. I rather laugh
March 23, 2017, 7–10pm
İnci Eviner in collaboration with Sırma Öztas, Adnan Devran, Iris Ergül, Buse Aktas, Şafak Çatalbaş, and Ecem Sarıçayır

Seminar: Text
March 30, 2017, 7–10pm
Job Koelewijn, Falke Pisano, and Mick Wilson, moderated by Vivian Sky Rehberg

Seminar: Transference
April 6, 2017, 7–10pm
Tiong Ang, René Francisco, and Marquard Smith, moderated by Margo Slomp

Seminar: Art Works on Commission, Free
April 13, 2017, 5–7pm
René Francisco

Seminar: Education is what enables every person to judge for themselves what secures or endangers their freedom
April 18, 2017, 7–9pm
Jeremiah Day

Seminar: Reflection on Knowability
April 20, 2017, 7–9pm
Irit Rogoff, followed by a discussion moderated by Kitty Zijlmans

Seminar: Campus
May 18, 2017, 3–5pm
Sarah Pierce in collaboration with the students of DAI, Arnhem

To Seminar has been conceptualized by Henk Slager. Seminars are realized with contributions by numerous graduate art programs in the Netherlands and beyond. A publication will be published by Metropolis M Books in summer 2017. To Seminar has been made possible through the collaboration between BAK and MaHKU (HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht).


Co-action Device: I rather laugh / performative workshops