Center and Periphery
Cultural Deserts in Eastern Europe
Center and Periphery: Cultural Deserts in Eastern Europe is a two-year project organized by tranzit.cz in collaboration with OsloBiennalen as a part of the activities of the Biennale Matter of Art. The project is funded through the EEA and Norway Grants as a part of the programme Culture.
Power relations permeate the artistic field and create hierarchies – among spectators and participants, within artistic institutions, and between artists and other actors both inside and outside the artistic field. They are determined by social and economic conditions, and they define art and how much and for whom the art in question is accessible, but they never do so without limits. How is it possible to subvert existing power configurations from the position of one who is themself permeated by them? Where does the desire of the artist, curator, producer, and other actors come from, and what role does it play in disrupting these power schemas, in creating collaborations that seem impossible and relationships that inevitably collide with great social and cultural differences? How does one create relationships and collaborations with others, transform one's own institutional practice on the basis of these relationships, and think about the extent to which various socio-economic processes (e.g. gentrification, revitalization, state funding strategies for the arts) imprint themselves on these relationships? The project focuses on peripheral and liminal forms of art making and transformative artistic strategies that enter into open and active relationships with other disciplines and communities. It turns its attention simultaneously to the inner essence and the outer context of artistic operations. We direct our focus toward people with a broad range of experiences and those who come from different social classes, and in dialogue and collaboration with them, we search for new and different (or old and rediscovered) content and formats for artistic, cultural action.
Within the framework of the project, we organize artist and curatorial residencies in Prague and Oslo, initiate the creation of new artworks and participate in their production and funding, publish a discussion podcast series, and organize public discussions and workshops. The project will culminate in an international exhibition of contemporary art – the Biennale Matter of Art 2022.
OsloBiennalen is an international biennale of art in the public space. The projects in Oslobiennalen use the city of Oslo itself as a starting point, taking place around the city or in the public arena such as on the radio, in newspapers, on the Internet, in films, and so forth. The biennale aims to engage a varied public in order to underline, expand, and disseminate the long tradition held by the city of Oslo for collecting and investing in art and for engaging artists in projects in public spaces. The idea is that through the biennale, local and international artists are invited to work in Oslo with the city itself as a material for artistic production. Oslobiennalen is initiated and financed by the City of Oslo Agency for Cultural Affairs. The inaugural exhibition, with the subtitle osloBIENNALEN FIRST EDITION 2019–2024, opened 25 May 2019 and was conceived, developed, and curated by Eva González-Sancho Bodero and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk.
tranzit.cz is an initiative for contemporary art and a member of the tranzit.org network, founded in 2002 and working independently in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. Over the course of its existence, tranzit.cz has been engaged in numerous international projects and exhibitions within the framework of tranzit.org, such as Monument to Transformation 1989 – 2009; Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain (2010); Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module; New Museum, New York City, USA (2014); and others. From 2007 to 2017 tranzit was a part of the project of the tranzitdisplay gallery in Prague. In 2017 tranzit.cz initiated the code of practice of the Feminist (Art) Institution, and in 2018 it established the Biennale Matter of Art, which is a member of the East Europe Biennial Alliance (alongside OFF–Biennale Budapest, Hungary, Kyiv Biennial, Ukraine, and Biennale Warszawa, Poland). ERSTE Foundation is the main partner of tranzit.cz.