Johanna Bruckner

BLOCC seeks to alter the relationship between Contemporary Art and gentrification. While not exceptional in its relationship to gentrification, contemporary art is but one arm of a multi-pronged approach of urban renewal that displaces one population for another—a rampant phenomenon across urban centres, and peripheries globally. Whether intentionally or inadvertently, the artistic field (galleries, project spaces, artist studios, beautification projects, biennials, and cultural capital) has become, at best, a useful pawn in this process and, at worse, an eager profiteer. BLOCC seeks to alter this relationship and will unpack ways the contemporary cultural sector —with its reliance on deregulation, mobility and precarity—feeds neatly into the capitalist wheels of gentrification and the financialization of living space.

As the first step in this multi-pronged approach, the group has developed a series of educational modules, aimed at equipping art students and the public with the tools to address the ever-changing relationship between the artistic field and contemporary capitalism. These modules amount to a series of lectures, discussions and exercises, all working to counter Contemporary Art’s role in the production of cities where the majority of inhabitants cannot afford to live.

#example 1: Module by Johanna Bruckner & Alexandros Kyrikatos: Art, Infrastructure and the Building

The starting point of the discussion will be the legislation "Kunst am Bau" (Art in the public space) in Switzerland and internationlly interrogating the loopwholes and gaps of its law and policy making. Following a description of Kunst am Bau the principal focus of this workshop will examine how one arm of existing policies could be transformed into public policy. One, which enables social infrastructures, and regulations in artistic production to emerge from the 1% that is usually provided for public art work related to new building construction.

BLOCC is an international research structure, whose group has developed a series of educational modules aimed at equipping art students and the wider public with the tools to create within the ever-changing relationship between the artistic field and contemporary capitalism. Designed by the fellows of Sommerakademie Paul Klee 2017-2019 as a response to Tirdad Zolghadr’s REALTY framework.

Participants: Johanna Bruckner, Crystal Campbell, Luiza Crosman, Heather O'Brien, Alexandros Kyriakatos, Alexis Mitchell, Bahar Noorizadeh, Jonathan Takahashi.

Upcoming: In 2018 we are giving a series of workshops at HBK Bern, and ZHdK Zürich based on the modules that we are developing individually and in small groups. Further material on request.

Image Credit: Heather M. O’Brien