Foto: Aline Xavier Mineiro, 2022
Do art spaces and artistic initiatives have social and political power? How do they influence their city, their region — or maybe even European thinking more broadly?
In collaboration with the other partners of the Kunstgebäude network, Akademie Schloss Solitude invites the European community to a cultural exchange program unlike anything seen in Stuttgart before: Under the title Soft Power Palace — Festival about Independent Art Spaces in Europe five artistic initiatives, from five European cities, will be working in a publicly visible process on perspectives about trans-European cultural exchange. During a two week »laboratory«, the artistic initiatives will be working in an open studio, to enable everyone to engage in conversations with the attendees. Each day will conclude with a feature event on the open stage.
The open studios will lead up to a three-day festival, which will include exhibitions, presentations and performances by the artists, a panel discussion, and an open dialog with the Stuttgart community. The mission of the festival aims to highlight the relevance of these kind of self-organized, independent carriers of culture, in addition to their transnational connections.
October 29 to November 7, 2018, daily from 7 pm
> Kunstgebäude Stuttgart, Schlossplatz 2
November 8 to 11, 2018
> Kunstgebäude Stuttgart, Schlossplatz 2
How relevant to society is the work of the independent art scene beyond big institutions? Do art spaces and artistic initiatives have social and political power? How do they influence their city, their region — or maybe even European thinking more broadly?
Far away from the so-called »high culture«, artistic initiatives, independent off-spaces, and different kinds of collectives are creating new meanings in the cultural landscapes in their respective cities and regions. Fueled by passion and dedication, they have become an essential part of every vital and varied cultural scene. Not being bond to municipal or other big institutions means that artists find innovative solutions to the battle with red tape, thereby allowing for their creative potential, and to offering a wider scope for spontaneous and unconventional projects. Another asset is the creation of a network of partners and allies. Despite their little to no funding, these cultural initiatives often achieve astonishing things — with heart and soul, knowing how vital their work is. In Stuttgart, the partners of the Kunstgebäude network want to direct public attention to this issue.
In 1988 Lothar Späth founded the project »4 Engines for Europe«, which served as a starting point in the conceptualization for SOFTPOWERPALACE having a mission of connecting the economically paralleled »partner-regions« of Catalonia, Lombardy and Rhône-Alpes to Baden-Württemberg. Their latest goal included enhancing infrastructure facilities and deepening cooperation in research and technology policy.
While their original plan included facilitating cultural exchanges between the regions, they faced certain difficulties with this goal. SOFTPOWERPALACE aims to develop similar ideas by adding the Danube-Region as fifth »engine« to expand the cultural network and impacts. The Baden-Württemberg region is already increasing its investments in the Danube-Region, to counteract the growing of authoritarian structures by using »soft power«.
The concept for SOFTPOWERPALACE was created by Paula Kohlmann, co-initiator of the former art space LOTTE in Stuttgart, who will realize the project along with Mareen Wrobel and the support of the five carriers of culture. Kohlmann and Wrobel began organizing the project first by visiting the partner regions to gain a better understanding of each community.
The five representing initiatives include Ardesia Projects, from Milan in Lombardy, which is a curatorial project dedicated to photography. Æther from Sofia in the Danube-Region, is an independent art space that will focus on the idea of the ethics of »The Other« engaging with the local community and artists. Fireplace, is based in Barcelona, Catalonia, and is an artist-run cultural platform that functions as a meeting point, a community, a facilitator and a laboratory, to carry out a series of collaborative and practice research projects about what an art organization can, should or can’t be. ZZ Studio from Rhône-Alpes is an artist-run Space and artist studio, which due to costs inevitably relocated to the suburbs of Lyon, pooling of ressources with their coworkers, designers and craftmen.
With GmbH, a joint venture consisting of organisers of the two projects Jacob17 and contain’t is participating in SOFTPOWERPALACE on behalf of Baden-Württemberg. They emerged from the Waggons at Nordbahnhof and have made a name for themselves as temporary platforms for musical, artistic and performative events at intermediate locations.
Terms like sub and off culture carry the connotation of the irrelevant, the excluded, and not established scene at the edge of our cultural society. In collaborative thought this is to be reconsidered by the participants and partners: The goal of the project team is to develop sustainable and practical possibilities how a trans-European cultural network could work in the future.
COLLABORATIONS / KUNSTGEBÄUDE NETWORK
A project by Akademie Schloss Solitude in cooperation with ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Theater Rampe, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, University of Applied Art, Design and Media, Stuttgart
Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg