Berlin, June 2016

Artist Dis-Placement – Placing Artists in Non-Artistic Organisations


At ZK/U we initiated a residency program with the ambition to create an experimental transdisciplinary space that seeks a critical approach by twisting existing practices, and where specialists from many fields would collaborate together. Especially, we hoped that we could create configurations in which artists would work not in the art market sphere, but outside of their natural environment by setting up programs and projects that create a breach in the image of the arts, so to reach a different audience, less elitist and more amateur.
That’s the starting point of our artist placement program which is inspired by the 1960ies Artist Placement Group. With this project, we aim to connect the international artists who come in residency to ZK/U to our conceptual framework and to a context that is for most of them foreign, non-artistic organisations (industries, small and medium businesses, governmental organisations, etc.). This is a way to work with an audience – the staff of the host, in this case – that is not necessarily familiar with the language of art or not accustomed to it. Through this, we invert the dynamic of the audience coming to the art sphere.
With this initiative, ZK/U aims to get an artistic overview on what makes a city what it is. By placing artists in organisations involved in a city’s functioning level, we wish to set up a framework for artists to research on the open field of public or semi-public services.
The placements will be a chance for the artists to offer alternative discourses to strongly coded practices that won’t be framed in moral and economical boundaries or traditions. With their expertise in creative thinking, the artistic formats will help the workers of the host organisations to work outside of their natural boundaries, leaving to the company valuable long term skills of adaptability and of thinking “outside of the box”. For this to be achieved, the project will be chosen in a way that the hosting environment become a participative actor that can engage as co-designers of artistic practice, not producers or merely spectators of an art show.
The artists will engage the hosts and its workers dynamically. We don’t aim through this to revolution the host environment habits, but more to foster a mix of practices, where artistic methodologies (through workshops, performance, etc.) can enrich organisational logics, and encourage situations where the worker becomes an art producer. We invite artists prepared to be challenged, ready to engage through social and urban work, and create a broader mutual understanding and productive interaction between all the stakeholders. All parties will benefit of the stimulating input of working with people that they would never work with otherwise, enriching the daily life of the host organisation, by bringing projects that excite the everyday routine.