Statement

Here you can read the statement we, Mar Fjell and Malin Arnell, published as part of our engagements as artist and curators for the exhibition Circuit Training – a retrospective in becoming. Konsthall C 15 years 2004-2019 during September 5-Oktober 20 2019. Konsthall C have made a decision to take down the text from their website.

Station # 7, internal work routines, methods and structures, part 2, Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell, Oktober 16-Oktober 20.

On Konsthall C’s webpage under the headline “About Konsthall C” one can read the following “Konsthall C works for a democratic society based on values of diversity, equality and solidarity both in its organisation and in the content of its programmes” (18:41, October 14 2019).

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

As part of the curatorial framework for the exhibition Circuit Training, we, Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell, decided that the installation- and deinstallation weeks would be part of the exhibition and by this give ourselves as organizers the task of practicing and developing some of the internal work routines, methods and structures which have been developed over Konsthall C’s 15 years of activities.

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

Since the beginning of the exhibition Circuit Training, a number of Konsthall C’s internal routines and some of the consequences of these have been made available to us. We have realized that we have been credulous and naive both in relation to our own position and in relation to Konsthall C’s board, its directing manager and the history of the art space. In parallel with the unfolding of the exhibition Circuit Training we have tried to get an overview of the last year’s situation, mainly in regards to employment contracts and appointments of advertised positions.

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

A year ago we received a request from the then directing manager Anders Jacobson and producer Samuel Girma to be responsible for the planned retrospective exhibition. We accepted on the basis that we think that the art space’s activity is of great significance and is an important place for socially and societal engaged contemporary art. Most likely, we received the request on the basis that we had applied for the position as artistic directors for the years 2019-2020, which subsequently was withdrawn due to a labor law dispute between curator Corina Oprea and the board of Konsthall C. Now neither Corina, Samuel nor Anders are working at Konsthall C.

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

At the end of 2018 Corina ended her two years as artistic director according to the format of the assignment. Anders quit the job due to a burnout. In June 2019, Samuel, who was promised continuous employment until the end of 2019/20, chose not to sign the project employment contracts that Konsthall C instead offered him in order to avoid LAS.

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

We have talked to Erik Annerborn. We have talked to Samuel Girma. We have emailed with the board. We have talked to Ashik Zaman. We have talked to CinemAfrica. With art collective Brown Island. With Per Hasselberg. We have talked to colleagues. Former board members. Former artistic directors. We have talked to participating artists. We have talked to each other. We have talked to others. There are many we haven’t talked with.

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

On September 10, during a board meeting, Ashik Zaman (the only PoC person left on the board) decided to leave his board assignment in protest and in solidarity with Samuel Girma. We have also been told that other board members have left due to ethical and solidarity reasons. On September 15, last day of Station #2, decoloniality, Brown Island decided to pull out of the exhibition and take down their work. On September 27, CinemAfrica announces that they wanted to withdraw and not carry out the planned screening and subsequent artist talk at Konsthall C on October 6. This not to expose Samuel Girma to an impossible situation. On October 2, Macarena Dusan who was commissioned to be in the Election Committee for Konsthall C’s board also announced her resignation because of how the board has mismanaged the issue of Samuel Girma’s employment, both ethically and regarding union concerns.

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

We will hereby try to make visible the structures that underlie the prevailing whiteness norm at Konsthall C. We want to point out that when a PoC describes the situation from their perspective, it is referred to as affective, dramatic and as from one who malign the activities of the art space. We would like to point out that when a white person describes the situation from their perspective, it is referred to as formal, correct and as from one who brings good will to the activities at the art space. We would like to point out that when PoC reacts to the exclusion of another PoC, it is considered to be based on their mutual ”relationship”. We want to point out that this means that these ”relationships” are something other than white people’s interconnectedness. Thus, this interconnectedness is not called relationships, but is called agreements, collegial discussions and board meetings.

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

Based on the specific situation at Konsthall C, we have several questions: Why do a white heterosexual cis-man receive an indefinite term employment, without a probationary period? Why is it a PoC queer person who is not allowed to keep his contract that he was promised? Why does the only PoC left in the board decide to resign? Why does the PoC in the Election Committee leave her assignment? Why does Konsthall C’s board believe that Brown Islands and CinemAfrica’s removal from the exhibition is based on relationships with Samuel Girma and not on collegial responsibility?

Why is the chairperson of the board a white heterosexual cis-man at the age of 75, the initiator of Konsthall C a white heterosexual cis-man at the age of 50 and the managing director a white heterosexual cis-man at the age of 35? Why does a white heterosexual cis-man (chairperson of the board) maintain a dialogue with a white heterosexual cis-man (managing director) and not with a PoC queer person (the producer) when the latter two are in a working conflict? Why is it that almost only PoC’s bodies have left Konsthall C’s activities and the exhibition? Why don’t we talk about race?

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

We read aloud from Reni Eddo-Ludge’s book ”Why I’m No longer Talking to White People About Race” (2017/translated 2018): “Not seeing race does little to deconstruct racist or materially improve the conditions that people of color face every day. In order to break down unjust, racist structures, we must see race, which is too much affected by negative stereotypes about race and which are given power and privileges – well deserved or not – because of race, its class and gender. Seeing race is necessary to change the system.”

Can Station #7, part 2 be the beginning of a joint effort against the prevailing whiteness norm at Konsthall C and the structural racism that daily defines all of our areas of action, either positive or negative? Right now, Konsthall C is blinded by their own good will, by their good ambitions, by their interrelationships, their homogeneous recognition and contact surfaces. This creates exhaustion in some bodies. We and many with us are tired.

Something is not right. It doesn’t match. It shatters and it cracks.

Something must be done. Re-done. We need a new beginning. We demand an end. We demand a different order. We try to take our responsibility. Based on our care for the art space’s continued activity, we demand that Konsthall C review its routines and internal relationships. We demand that Konsthall C recognize the special treatment of white, heterosexual, norm-functional cis-persons that is constantly happening within the activities of Konsthall C.

It’s about time for Konsthall C to take responsibility for the diversity of lives, experiences and expressions which needs to make the art space become a “strong voice in discussions of justice, democracy and urban development”.*

Bo Andér, Per Hasselberg and Erik Annerborn – we demand that you take responsibility for your white, heterosexual, norm functional cis-person’s privilege and use your power in such way that you dismantle yourselves. You do not “mirroring the society as a whole”* and you are not indispensable for Konsthall C.

During this week we will deinstall the exhibition and clean away all traces. No incense, no hay, no seaweed, no pillows, no rugs, no hanging tapestry or living room, no oysters, no potatoes, no herbs, no rest. We say “No”. We leave it as white as when we arrived.

During the next exhibition period about 1000 5-year old children from Farsta district’s municipal pre-schools will fill the art space. It is our shared responsibility to make each one of them to feel welcomed.

* See The objectives of Konsthall C

Circuit Training – a retrospective in becoming. Konsthall C 15 år 2004-2019

With Camila Marambio, Sandi Hilal, Ulrika Gomm, Sidsel Nelund, General Sisters, Malin Arnell och Mar Fjell.

The exhibition Circuit Training serves as a retrospective examination of Konsthall C’s 15-year activity and a prospective speculation through six themes that the former artistic leaders formulated during their periods at the art space. During the first years, the focus was on democracy, urban planning and neighborhood work (2004-2010), followed by a period during which the art space’s internal work routines, methods and structures were reviewed and processed (2010-2012). Since 2012, three different artistic leaders or groups have each formulated a two-year curatorial framework for the art gallery’s activities. The themes they have worked on have been sustainability (2013-2014), home works (2015-16) and decoloniality (2017-18). The sixth theme is rest and recovery (2019).

Invited artists will, during the exhibition Circuit Training, use Konsthall C’s activities, premises, archives and neighborhood as workplace and materials, and raise issues based on the six areas that have previously been the focus of Konsthall C’s activities. Through a public program, some of the invited artists will also invite to participation through conversations and doings.

The artists Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell have, based on a request from Konsthall C to be responsible for the retrospective exhibition and to celebrate its 15-year of activity, organized the exhibition Circuit Training.

Program and Biographies

Kajko

As part of Kajko Art and Music Festival Tsomak Oga and I performed for the first time together.

List of songs: NOXXNOXY, Fucking Real, Revolt Riot Rage, Scopophilic Pervert and We are the one’s we been waiting for.

Titanik off-site: Mapping the Pauses

On Sunday 21 July the first public gathering within the off-site project ”Mapping the Pauses” will unfold: Pause #1 – The Dog Park

Dogs are not surrogates for theory; they are not here just to think with. They are here to live with.
– Haraway, Donna, The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness (2003)

INFO: Artists Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell invite you to spend two hours together with them and the dog Loi, as part of “Mapping the Pauses”, a series of public gatherings they are organizing every Sunday, throughout their monthly off-site engagement at Titanik.

Pause #1 – The Dog Park is a participatory investigation which demands a two hour dedication and presence together with the group and the environment of the dog park. The gathering will include two parts: an introduction and presentation, which will be followed by some physical exercises through task-like performance scores.

More on: https://www.facebook.com/events/1278904838950607/

Grant: International cultural exchange

I’m happy to have received a grant for International Cultural Exchange, to be able to invite General Sisters (Ginger Brooks Takahashi och Dana Bishop-Root) from North Braddock, PA, USA to Hökarängen, Stockholm. They are invited to take part in the exhibition ”Circuit Training – a retrospective in becoming. Konsthall C 15 years 2004-2019” at Konsthall C, curated by me and Malin Arnell.

https://www.konstnarsnamnden.se/default.aspx?id=23174

Cirkelträning – en retrospektiv i blivande. Konsthall C 15 år 2004-2019

During September and October, me and Malin Arnell will organize and engage in ”Circuit Training – a retrospective in becoming. Konsthall C 15 years 2004-2019” at Konsthall C. The exhibition works partly as a retrospective examination of Konsthall C’s 15-year activity and as a prospective speculation through six themes that the former artistic leaders formulated during their periods at the art space.