In 2021, 50 contemporary art curators, researchers, and museum professionals from 32 different countries were awarded support to attend the CIMAM 2021 Annual Conference, in-person and online.
For the first time, and thanks to the generous support of The Getty Foundation who sponsored the virtual platform, 27 grantees attended the conference online, while 23 attended onsite.
Launched in 2005, CIMAM’s Travel Grant Program is designed to foster cooperation and cultural exchange between contemporary art curators and museum directors in emerging and developing economies and their counterparts in other regions of the world.
Michal Grzegorzek's Conference Report
The following are given:
1) Otobong Nkanga is standing over an abyss. Stones appear on her head. Reversed time (science-fiction). I cannot see their exact color from a distance, but I know from history that they are mala-chite green and azurite blue. Like all this land. She calls it The Remains from the Green Hill. She says: "meet the hole."
The mine ruins are a colonial story of Namibia. The land tells this story - how excitement becomes a machine that becomes an industry (1). A motion that captures bodies and doesn't end for deca-des.
In Nkanga's work/works, we see a body that vibrates. The trembling, the search for balance, vulnerability, and finally, the power. Gestures produce infrastructures. The hole in the landscape is the hole in the heart.
2) Steel stairs attached to the elevation of the Ujazdowski Castle lead through a window to the bar. The hole in the wall is an act of resistance. Kem calls it Dragana (Kem is a queer-feminist collec-tive; Kem is kame; Kem is chem, is sex).
Dragana is a bar of dancing queer bodies in a Polish public institution. It derives from the lack of safe spaces in public spaces: dancefloor and dance hole.
Alex Baczynski Jenkins says that the path from gesture to infrastructure is through presence, touch, and dance. In the nightlife of the museum, we can see the need (and possibility) for creating new formats and hideouts. What could be the secret performance of an institutional structure? How to imagine a museum in a constant transition?
3) The CIMAM Annual Conference took place in Poland, wherein in 2020, the authorities established almost 30 percent of the country's territory as an LGBT-free zone.
A map with a blank spot. The unpromised land. The unglory hole.
I want to thank Ines Jover and the Getty Foundation as well as the CIMAM Travel Grant Commit-tee for their trust and support, giving me the possibility of joining the CIMAM Annual Conference in Łódź and Gdańsk. Thanks to all the under-pressure artists and activists, present and absent at the conference.
(1) An interview with Otobong Nkanga at Kadist Paris, more: https://vimeo.com/144554605
(2) Kem is created by Aleksandra Knychalska, Anna Miczko, Krzysztof Bagiński and Alex Baczyński Jenkins. More: https://www.kemwarsaw.com/