Project realized by Simultan Association and h.arta.
Participants: Huba Antal, Maria Crista, Anca Gyemant, Simona Homorodean, Levente Kozma, Rares Moldovan, Alin Rotariu, Mihai Salajan, Sergiu Sas, Szilard Szoke, Rodica Tache, Stefan Tiron, Botond Vajna
At the beginning of 2010, Simultan Association and h.arta group initiated in Timi?oara a series of reunions bringing together local artists. These reunions, which were also open to the public, started off from questions such as: What are the chances of developing a system that would make it possible for us to work together, in the current context in which it is often difficult to find the time and space for long-term collaborative work? What is the potential of real collaborative work, beyond the rhetoric of grant proposals, in this current context in which the increasing shortage of funding for culture and financial crisis dystopias create an atmosphere of uncertainty-while-waiting? How can we use the practical example of work based on friendship as a model to counter the general tendency towards individualism and competition that the artistic scene and society in general seem to adopt – a model countering the panic generated by the crisis and the frantic struggle to save yourself and not think about the others?
As a follow-up of these reunions of friends and colleagues in our town, we visit places that have remained stuck in the logic of transition-later-turned-into-crisis, places with a modernist history whose utopia of continuous progress has been stopped, places dismembered during the privatization process of transition, places waiting and being rendered to a provisional state in the context of the financial crisis. They are old factories and warehouses now in ruin, free spaces between blocks of flats, torn down buildings on streets that are still called Progress or Light Street. We step into abandoned warehouses where the light coming through the broken windows falls on piles of dust and we notice the enigmatic traces left behind by the workers. We search for newspaper fragments on the way in which these factories have been forcefully bankrupted, dissipated traces that remain online from the histories of abuses, strikes and protests. We talk to people who live and/or work around these places (neighbors, guards, former workers) and we once more realize that the memory of our recent past is much more nuanced and complex than the official discourses present it.
During these contemplative walks through places of the past, through spaces that wait for an uncertain future, places that are metaphors for our own precariousness, we explore the possibilities and limits of the artistic process. These spaces that, through their mixture of uncertainty and possibilities, remind us of our condition as artists during uncertain times and are at the same time symbolic for the boarders between spaces that art can relevantly and effectively talk about and those spaces for which art remains superfluous. In them we are often tourists visiting the past and trying to analyze it, but beyond this limiting gaze of the tourist that always goes back to his safe place at “home” – the artist’s condition – there is always the possibility for art (even though in a limited and merely symbolic way) to be the spark that triggers understanding and leads to action.