CENTRIFUGAL Sezgin Boynik, Taru Elfving, Kalle Hamm, Minna L Henriksson, Nicole Hewitt, Daniel Jewesbury, Susan Kelly, Aisling O’Beirn, Platforma 9.81 The project brings together art practitioners and theorists from three European cities, all positioned in close relation to the borders of Europe, particularly as defined in terms of the European Union: Helsinki, Zagreb and Belfast. Focusing on the smaller centres, or “off-centres”, of artistic practice in Europe, the project draws attention away from the cosmopolitan cities such as London, and questions the persisting dichotomies such as centre-margin and global-local. This project re-inscribes London, not as a centre, but as a centrifugal point, from which collaborations spin off to other locations. Centrifugal asks the following questions: What kinds of exchanges take place in the seemingly geographical margins of Europe, where its boundaries are constantly under negotiation? What are the geographical and political borders in Europe, and how do they define citizenship? What do the the terms local and centre mean today in what has been described as a smooth global world, where ‘origins’ and directions of power can no longer be clearly located? What is difference in this context? And finally, what do these positionings mean for artistic practices? At the heart of the project is a desire to evaluate the idea of the European project from within, problematising the meaning of this notion of belonging and difference. The complex ways that we position ourselves in relation to Europe may be what actually binds together and simultaneously distinguishes the local situations. This shared point of reference is extremely fragmented and contradictory, and it cannot be pinned down even though it persistently haunts our attempts and desire to relate to each other. The project explores this troubled common ground through an investigation of the relationship between historical European Kingdoms and Empires and their inherited and colonial peripheral European lands and how this history also haunts the contemporary European project. These questions and histories are particularly pertinent in the case of applicant countries, such as Croatia, whose interim status pushes against all of these working definitions of Europe. Thus, Centrifugal reworks notions such as centre, periphery and border both on historical and contemporary, conceptual and structural levels. TIP As disciplines, concerns and actions continue to converge, and as these scenes in different parts of the world remain thankfully different , TIP aims to provide an open ended inernational arena where practicing artists and researchers can test out, exchange and question their theories and practices. The conference brings together a wide range of practitioners and researchers from very different backgrounds and levels of academic research – undergraduates, graduates, MA students, PhD students and their supervisors as well as established artists and theoreticians who have informed their practice. TIP is open to improvisation, while still based around a daily schedule of artists presentations and papers. In addition to this, participants are asked to suggest and contribute any other material they would like to show. This means that apart from a scheduled paper reading slot, or seminar presentation, there are empty slots available for impromptu programming and the kitchen and its resources remain an integral part of the contribution of the conference goers. One of the main objectives of the conference is to demistify theory and theoretical rhetoric, to create an environment where students and young artists will exchange ideas and discuss their theoretical concerns. The focus is on discussion and experimentation, the point of the exercise is to create an atmosphere where those completely new to the field as well as experienced lecturers feel able and willing to take risks and try out ways of presenting their research/work. Research can be presented in the form of a conventional paper, but it can also be presented in other ways. TIP has no theme, the focus is on learning and teaching. Everyone present is also presenting, so everyone has to be willing to engage both as audience and presenter, the academic and professional levels are heteregenous enough to create links and combinations not always encountered in more prescribed events.
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