Inclinations #13: Activism in Art: For the De-proletarianized Petty Bourgeoisie

July 15, 2014

Or Gallery Berlin is pleased to present Michael G. Birchall in Activism in Art: For the De-proletarianized Petty Bourgeoisie, for the thirteenth in our speaker series Inclinations hosted by Patricia Reed.


Since 2008 protests and demonstrations have taken place across North America and Europe, occurring for a variety of reasons, and fundamentally as a resistance to neo-liberalism. Art practitioners and cultural producers have responded to these actions by participating in protests, providing means to equip protests and using their skills to fight for the cause.


Recent examples such as EVA International (2012), the 7th Berlin Biennial and Documenta 13 reflect overt and covert political ideas in exhibitions via a range of practices. Yet, are these contributing to Hal Foster’s theory of the neo-avant-garde? Foster’s use of the term has entered a working alliance with the widespread rise of new forms of sociability and praxis in art since the mid-1990s. Beyond this, activism has begun to operate as a testing ground for various social interventions, transformative actions and participatory collaborations, both in and outside of institutions.


A monthly speaker series at Or Gallery Berlin, hosting philosophers, artists, curators, and…


The presentation of work revolves around the posing of a question that is the thrust of a guest’s activities. It goes without saying that questions may not be answered, but are grappled with in their unresolvability. An inclination is the force of attraction to a question (without a straightforward response), yet also to each other, as a community who partakes in a common quest(ion).
Hosted by Patricia Reed.


# Arriving at a question is already a departure.
# Questions are a declaration of departure.
# Arriving at a question in thought or activity is also the creation of a trajectory, of inclining oneself towards an unknown goal, yet not without direction.
# A question inclines a departure in a particular way, but a question itself is generic – it propels all modes of seeking some thing. Questions possess the force of bending and swerving ideas/action.
# A question is the confrontation and departure from a lack. To arrive at a question is to arrive at a gap in knowledge, action and speech – a gap that cannot be immediately filled in without the inclination towards something other.
# A question is indisciplinary; the inclining magnetism of a question knows no disciplinary bounds.


In Kooperation mit der Botschaft von Kanada/In collaboration with the Embassy of Canada

Participant Bios

Michael G. Birchall is a curator, writer and PhD candidate at the University of Wolverhampton, where he is researching the role of the curator as a producer in socially engaged practices. He has held curatorial positions at The Western Front, Vancouver, Canada, The Banff Centre, Canada and Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. His writing has appeared in Frieze, Frieze d/e, thisistomorrow, Modern Painters, C-Magazine, and various catalogues. Since 2012 he has been lecturing on the Postgraduate Programme in Curating at the Zurich University of the Arts, where he is co-publisher of the journal On Curating. He lives and works in Berlin.