Unorganised Response explores the ways in which artistic production is used as a tool for influence by organisations engaged in international cultural relations and diplomacy. Bringing together artists, activists and community organisers, this project asks how creative workers navigate local and international cultural infrastructures when commissioned to build connections, engender trust, and respond to complex geopolitical events.
Throughout this programme we encounter a pervasive image of an ideal creative worker who is autonomous, transnational and readily mobilised, employed to facilitate the soft power politics of repair, healing and regeneration under the guise of cultural development. How does working in this way affect artists’ experiences of belonging, representation and cultural ownership?
Unorganised Response launches with an exhibition at Auto Italia featuring works from Kareem Lotfy, Christelle Oyiri and Grace Samboh + Julian Abraham “Togar”. The exhibition explores the ways in which artists mobilise critically and collectively to resist being reduced to their various identity markers, through a series of projects that explore advocacy and self-organisation through personal and often celebratory experiences.
The exhibition features a publication of conversations co-commissioned by Auto Italia and Cemeti Institute for Contemporary Art and Society in Yogyakarta, which includes contributions from Marleen Boschen, Kate Cooper, Ali Eisa, Sulafa Hijazi, Daniela Ortiz, Christelle Oyiri, Jamal Nxedlana, Grace Samboh and Julian Abraham “Togar”. The publication brings together artists’ experiences of the politics of representation, community organising and educational work.
Unorganised Response is a project by Auto Italia in collaboration with Marleen Boschen developed through three years of collaborative research and residency projects in Berlin, Johannesburg and Yogyakarta.
Publication design by Eloise Harris
Publication editing by Jay Drinkall
Publication translation by Ratna Mufida
Special thanks to Lois Stonock, without whom this project would not have been initiated, and to Helene Alinot-Jackson, Alice Darko, Ben Dawson, Dinamo Typefaces, Scott House, Isabelle Kinsella, Lenart Kirbis, Francesco Oneto, Lucy Methven, Lawrence Prebble, Bianca Trombi, Mariam Turay, Tommy Xie for helping us bring it to life.
The exhibition and publication programme has been supported by Arts Council England, British Council Indonesia, Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society, Fluxus Art Projects, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in London and Tower Hamlets Council. Research and development phases of this project have been supported by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts and Goethe-Institut London.