Whenever art questions its limits, ruptures and advances take place. Art can be brilliant when moves beyond phases of activism and politics, and finally ends up transformed into aesthetic form. The 2012 Creative Time Summit was a diffused scenario where important parts of the presentations reflected an inconsistent desire to travel between the realms of art and politics.
This fourth version of the summit focused on economic inequity. This year the problems are bigger and the global economic crisis is more serious. This event mainly consisted of projects from outside the art world. With Nato Thompson premise - “it doesn’t matter if it is art or not, what matters is if it’s just great” – as a guiding principle, the summit could gather “cultural makers” with social activists, who handled political codes, and developed different methods to generate artistic practice. It was a curatorial practice of resistance, forcing our gaze to face the crisis. Thompson’s intentions did not succeed with all the presentations.
The day was divided into four sections; the quality and content of the presentations as the day progressed. The lack of preparation in some presentations in the morning was obvious. This made it difficult for the audience to witness how some projects were explained. The weakest presentation was during the second section: the feminist intervention by A.L. Steiner in the name of Pussy Riot. This forced-mic-check-style presentation didn’t work because she assumed that the entire audience had similar political interests, which is not realistic. Her presentation felt out of place.
Interest peaked in section 3, called “Making,” which gathered projects that could find a concrete form in the visual arts. Among the notable participants were Fernando García-Dory, Michael Rakowitz, and Hito Steryerl; and finally, the very lucid philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, who was probably the highlight of the summit. Zizek gave a proactive and masterful lecture about the role and necessity of public space in society. By the same token, the speaker Martha Rosler emphasized the use of public space through her garage sales, she exemplified how different museums are pursuing and inviting practices from real life to ‘perform’ and active their spaces.
The summit demonstrated an over diversity of projects and clear contradictions, which today inhabit the cultural world. Apparently remained in the air what is the solution to various crises: the notion of being and going ‘public’ should be re defined, once again. Unfortunately, only some presentations generated an air of loaded questions. Finally, hierarchies and power systems exist in all places and areas; the summit this year was no exception.