[-empyre-] another guest, Jan-Erik Lundström

I wanted to introduce another guest of this month topic, Jan-Erik
Lundström. He is a curator and art historian, director for the
BildMuseet in Umeå, http://www.bildmuseet.umu.se, a great arena for
contemporary Art in the North of Sweden.
Jan-Erik is my working partner in the Crusading network, he is now
traveling that's because I post his abstract.

Through curating, writing, lecturing and organizing, as well as
through running institutions (such as Bildmuseet, a space of
contemporary art and visual culture, where I am currently director), I
have maintained a focus on the interface of aesthetics and ethics, or,
phrased differently, art and politics - in theory as well as practice.
This involves as well as conception of the arenas and discourses of
contemporary art as open spaces/practices where such socio-political
or ethical work may take place; art as both the place for politics and
the political, to make use of Chantal Mouffe's terminology.

One particular aspect of this has been a long chain of events -
exhibitions, lectures, essays - investigating documentary practices in
contemporary art as well as historically. Questions regarding
documentary issues not only highlight the complex issues of realism
and empiricism, but also narrate and choreograph that challenging
nested issue of the politics of representation and the representation
of politics. Projects such as Real Stories, Projects for a Revolution
and After the Fact have adressed these issues.

Another aspect has been shaping programming – in the institutions
where I work and in independent project, as well as in
writing/lecturing - towards issues such as the postcolony or Fortress
Europe, or, pushing geographical issues through giving space towards
non-Western art - African, Latin american, Arabic. Bildmuseet, the
institution which I have been directing for the last 7 years, has in
fact been a hotline for introducing artistic projects with these
geographical backgrounds. Thus Bildmuseet initiated a multi-year
project with South-African art and cultural institutions, resulting
in, among other things, exhibitions such as Democracy's Images and
Head North. And, likewise, has been a part of Contemporary Arab
Representations in three installments at Bildmuseet.

Thus, Bildmuseet and myself is also engaged in the Crusading project,
which I have taken part in developing as well, as a way of adressing
the contemporary political landscape by joining historically decisive
events to present day developments – discursive and actual. In
particular, the Crusading project observes the crucial use of
particular metaphors, historically traceable, which organizes both
thinking and acting.

Art, being a continuously transforming public space, offers exclusive
but real possibilites for finding and founding new modes of activism.
This is what artists/activists explore today. And this is what Empyre
will be within and about this month.

Jan-Erik Lundström

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth
with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you
will always long to return.
— Leonardo da Vinci

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