Traction 3: BDS movements’ workshop – Riwaq Premises

This event addresses the relationship between BDS and contemporary art. Although it aims to take stock of concrete, recent developments within the art-institutional landscape of Palestine, it also addresses the working premises of contemporary art internationally speaking. BDS borrowed much of its early language from an artist initiative, but art practitioners within Palestine and abroad are often more standoffish than practitioners in other fields. Some actually insist on contemporary art’s exceptionalism, arguing that it is necessarily open-ended, and dialogical. Thus the idea of boycotts as bringing dialogue to an end is seen as antithetical to an essence of art. All of which rests on several assumptions. First of all, that dialogue is a supreme value to begin with. Secondly, that boycotts actually stifle dialogue. And finally, that art really is so very dialogical. As it happens, few are aware of the rich, colorful, and surprisingly successful history of boycotts within art. Even though they are often held, boycotts are rarely theorized or historicized. This is where the third rendition of the RB5 Traction series comes in. How have artists here and abroad positioned themselves over recent years? And what would be the best way to push the conversation in more transparent directions?
The March EAR workshop will allow for a limited audience only, but is meant to lay the foundations for a public event early September 2015.