- Zehra Begüm Kışla
Participants: Silent University and unitednationsplaza
Extended Structures surveys the work of Silent University (SU), initiated by artist Ahmet Öğüt, and unitednationsplaza, a collective project founded by artist Anton Vidokle, through a presentation of documentary and archival materials. By pairing these two distinct education projects, the exhibition intends to frame the method of “instituent practices,” seeking to confront institutions not through sharp opposition but rather through the logic of extension and negotiation.
SU, a solidarity-based knowledge-exchange platform, negotiates with institutions and creates a venue for displaced people and forced migrants to teach classes according to their experience and skills. This exhibition looks back on SU’s branches and lecturers and marks the launch of a new branch in Upstate New York, developed through a seven-month collaboration with the Center for Human Rights and the Arts at Bard College.
unitednationsplaza, a temporary experimental school, was established in Berlin in 2006 following political disagreements that led to the cancellation of Manifesta 6 in Cyprus. Extending to other institutions, the project traveled to Mexico City in 2008 and New York City in 2009. Its programming spanned public seminars and reading rooms that later evolved into making publications and movies. Extended Structures gives a first look at ephemera and documentation of this project, as well as its journals and the film New York Conversations (2011), in which unitednationsplaza members attempt to alter the format of the art publication.
Silent University and unitednationsplaza resist becoming formal institutions. Instead, they benefit from collaborating and investigating if negotiation can be used as a resilient method by stretching institutional boundaries. Extended Structures invites the audience to think beyond conventional institutional patterns, and fosters an ongoing dynamic by maintaining SU’s Upstate New York branch.
With support from the OSUN Center for Human Rights & the Arts at Bard.