Independent curator, SaSssa Bassac Contemporary Art Gallery, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Modern Art of Common Space
Modern Art, politics, commerce and culture all unfold in space that is essentially public – civic, common, shared. Our social relationships are sculpted by the institutions hosts to modern arts. That is perhaps why culture is common, even when it is insular and parochial; why modern art museums speak to how and even whether we live together. The linkages between modern art, space and time and the manner in which we live our shared political and cultural destinies turn out to be determinative in ways that are often invisible but always critical. In CIMAM’s 2016 Annual conference on The Museums and Its Responsibilities, which arose out of collaborative work with a group of artists, curators, museum directors and managers explored the many innovative approaches and challenges that have emerged in recent years that utilize modern and contemporary arts in thinking about common space and democracy. These approaches included cultural paradigms that address anomie, privatization and commercialism in the developed world. We have learned from Machiavelli and Rousseau to speak of the art of politics. But there is a deeper, anti-ideological politics of art – a civic architecture of the commons – whose lessons are yet to be learned.
Thank you for such a sincere welcome to me in CIMAM. I loved the conference theme and ideal, the respective tracks, and the extraordinary stimulation and genuine dialogue I experienced as delegate. I met so many wonderful people who I hope to see again anywhere! To the organisers, there are really no words other than to say you trength the most wonderful and meaningful conference I have attended for many years and you went above and beyond the call to ensure that events ran smoothly. I congratulate you all for hosting such a wonderful series of events and hope we have the pleasure to meet again.