How critique becomes translocal? – RECLAIMING COMMONS

By Vera Leisibach on
Wednesday 30th of November 2016

In 2014, Mexican artist Teresa Margolles presented her installation La Busqueda at Migrosmuseum in Zurich. The work probed a mysterious series of female homicides. La Busqueda is a monument of the extreme violence in the northern Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez. The experience of seeing La Busqueda in a Swiss art museum is the starting point for our conference, which explores the effects of art that addresses topics that are situated in a specific local and cultural context and which use activist artistic or mediating strategies for reclaiming “commons“, as Alvaro Sevilla-Buitrago defines it.

What happens with the unique codes and knowledge when they cannot be deciphered in their full complexity elsewhere? How can activist strategies against “enclosures“ take place in public spheres – sites that mean after Ancenl/Girel „»new territories of art« – which grow at the city center as much as at the outskirts, and which question and re-define the place of the artist in the city and in people’s everyday life.

Does the transfer of the artwork into a different context change its meaning and reception, and if so, what are the consequences? Are misunderstandings by the audience an inherent part of these negotiations, and can they therefore be productive in a critical way? Can a work still become political without understanding its specific translocal implications? Or can critique only work within a specific local constellation? How can we reclaim commons in mediation and artistic practices in a translocal understanding of ’reclaiming commons and public ground’, which takes into account that on one hand, every translation creates new meanings, and on the other hand, reflects ones specific position?

Photo: Stefan Altenburger Sammlung Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst


10:00 – 12:00 – Workshop Alberto López Cuenca. Reader in the Master’s Program in Art and Aesthetics at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Mexico) based on his text Economic Value, Equivalence and the Nonidentical    


13.00 – Introduction „Reclaiming commons“ Sabine Gebhardt Fink and Alena Nawrotzki

13.30 – Art and the collective imagination of the commons
Lecture: Alvaro Sevilla-Buitrago
Responden: Sabine Gebhardt Fink

14.30 – Translating conflicts into translocality – About artistic agency
Lecture: Anke Hoffmann
Respondent: Sabine Gebhardt Fink

15.30 – Who Speaks as the Artwork Speaks? Enter Jolly, Proud, and Sad Characters
Lecture: Hinrich Sachs
Respondent: Siri Peyer, HSLU D&K


17.00 – Lecture: Theresa Margolles
Respondent Sabine Gebhardt Fink

18.00 – On global Artistic Labour and the Commons
Lecture: Alberto López Cuenca (Mexico-Spain)
Respondent: Karen Mata

19.00 – Reflections Peter Spillmann, HSLU – D&K, and Karen Mata

19.30 – Apéro

Concept and organisation:
Sabine Gebhardt Fink, Siri Peyer, Pablo Müller, Karen Mata, (Preparation Rahel Lüchinger) HSLU -D&K in collaboration with Alena Nawrotzki, Migros Museum Zurich

Hochschule Luzern – Design & Kunst
Bau 745, Viscosistadt
Nylsuisseplatz 1
6020 Emmenbrücke
Room 345

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