Tuesday, May 27, 2008

About Us

critical method suspends judgment, judgment suspends critique

The reading group is a collective of art theoreticians, curators and artists that was founded with the aim to collectively study and research theoretical texts on art and cultural theory, philosophy, political theory and aesthetics as well as their interdisciplinary intercrossings. Through these readings the group’s activities focus on the specific ways, in which contemporary art is organized, disseminated, contextualized and received. Based on the formation of a basic corpus of seminal canonical as well as erratic texts the group is particularly interested on issues that are raised by problematizing methodology, interpretation and critique. The group's main focus is to develop nomadic and interventionist reflection and critique on contemporary art projects and the discourse, which is formed by them.

The reading group carries out research, using a common critical method, while it gradually forms a common critical competency and organizes a method of working. The group investigates in a self-reflexive manner the concept of collective and collaborative authorship, a topic, which is examined in a series of published round table discussions that take place between the members of the group and invited guests and other statements. In these terms the group becomes one of the factors that shape the local art scene, strongly believing that scholarship and everyday practice in contemporary art are important resources for personal emancipation and community development. Beyond its “reading time” the group makes presentations in public space, institutions, galleries, universities... It concentrates also in making books (being in charge of research, editing, translation) in collaboration with publishing houses. Another focus of the group is to intervene in the selection and editing process of other media such as magazines, editions that are then re-used as curated projects.

The reading group was formed in October 2004 by Manty Albani, Elpida Karampa, Polina Kosmadaki, Christopher Marinos, Sotirios Bahtsetzis and Kostis Stafylakis who are its current members.

Projects and Activities

The reading group had the design and editing of the third issue of the GAP magazine (July, August 2005) of futura publishing. This has followed after a series of discussions and readings on the topic art and biopolitic. Among a selection and translation of texts the group has invited ten visual artists to propose projects for the magazine’s pages. GAP magazine was published by Michalis Paparounis.

In May 21 – May 24, 2005 members of the reading group have participated in the Athens art fair Art Athina (booth D44) and researched on the basis of questionnaires the engagement and active participation of the public in the fair, proposing changes to the management.

Since September 2005 the reading group has started a workshop based on a series of lectures by invited theoreticians on the topic of art and subjectivity. This on-going project will result on a publication, entitled Subject – Art.

In November 15, 2005 the reading group has organized a workshop with six students of the Athens School of Fine Arts on the topic art and feminism. The panel discussion was part of the “Video-Readings” a parallel event of the exhibition “Videographies- The Early Decades” of the EMST (National Museum of Contemporary Art).

In April 6, 2006 the reading group has organized a critical presentation and a panel discussion about the inaugural issue of Spot magazine. Spot is a magazine based on the idea of binding together contemporary art projects coming from around Europe and the South Eastern Mediterranean. The reading group focused the critique on issues such as folklore and multiculturalism, centre and postcolonial periphery. Spot is edited by artist Stefanos Tsivopoulos and designed by Christos Lialios.

As participators to the exhibition “What Remains is Future” October 15 – November 19, 2006 during Patras European Cultural Capital the reading group has presented a printed edition, with the title Reading the Future. This was based on a discussion on the idea of future and issues such as youth, self-representation and subculture that took place in Athens with six artists who have participated in the exhibition. "What Remains is Future" was curated by Nadja Argyropoulou.

In July 2007 the reading group has presented its publication “Exercising Idiorrythmy” that has followed as a series of discussions and readings. On the occasion of Vangelis Vlahos’ and Zafos Xagoraris’ participation in the 27th Sao Paulo Biennial the collective reflects on the exhibition format of the Biennials following the current trend of their proliferation. It also makes a critique on the exhibition as a platform of relational aesthetics.

Since October 2007 the reading group has started a series of readings based on the topic of art and participatory, community based, relational practices. This on-going project will result on a publication of translated seminal international texts on this topic, which will be distributed to art schools and universities.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Reading Group @ Sao Paulo Biennial, october 2006

Vangelis Vlahos

Zafos Xagoraris

(part of) The Reading Group in Sao Paulo