On 23 September 2014, BAK’s artistic director Maria Hlavajova presents a lecture titled “And So We Participate” at the symposium The Museum as a Workshop, organized by the Centraal Museum, Utrecht (for more information on the symposium and the forthcoming publication of the same title, see here). The lecture is a part of a series of public and internal exchanges between the two key Utrecht-based art institutions, BAK and Centraal Museum, who, in the course of 2014–2015, explore various collaborative possibilities and contribute to rethinking the mission of the art institution in today’s rapidly changing global condition.

The collaboration comprises a parallel and mutually entwined series titled Future Vocabularies—Future Collections. While Future Vocabularies (2014–2016) is a discourse-driven research, learning, exhibition, and publication series aimed at rethinking our conceptual vernaculars in face of changing social, economic, and political contexts today, Future Collections examines various modes of embedding such present-day, future-oriented discourse into the key activity of the museum: that of art collecting.

Future Vocabularies—Future Collections departs from an acknowledgment of the present-day global condition, undergirded by the culture of networks (social, digital, religious, and other) and the proliferation of resistance forms and collective initiatives. Observing new politics and alliances in the streets and collective mobilizations across the world, the program asks how artistic, intellectual, and activist practices might help to build an understanding of the changes this new reality brings for the notions of “audience” and the “public.” Future Vocabularies—Future Collections reflects on the consequences these changes bear on the work of a middle-sized discursive art institution and the museum. Rather than taking the research of “future vocabularies” as a thematic exercise on issues of “survival,” “the posthuman,” or “degrowth,” the program mobilizes it as a method of acting in the world today. Accordingly, the two institutions seek ways of mutualizing their respective resources of space, time, competencies, knowledges, finances, and other in order to establish a model of sustainable cooperation with these newly evolving “future publics.”

The collaboration between BAK and Centraal Museum has been made possible by the DOEN Foundation, Amsterdam.

  • Part of Future Collections long term collaborative project by BAK and Centraal Museum Utrecht
  • Part of Future Vocabularies long-term research and propositional trajectory rethinking art’s conceptual lexicon