Solo installation / congress:
ID: E19.20


of Cultural Workers

November 23, 2019

Lo-Fi Social Club, Minsk, Belarus

Almira Ousmanova, Jonatan Habib Engqvist, Aleksei Borisionok, Mona Wallstrom, Sofia de la Fuentes, Gleb Otchyk, Stsiapan Stureika, Tania Arcimovich, Uladzimir Hramovich, Alena Aharelysheva, Volha Maslouskaya, Aliaxey Talstou, Linda Tedsdotter, Lizaveta Mikhalchuk, Mikhail Gulin, Olia Maslovskaya, Sergey Shabohin, Darya Amelkovich, Paval Kasciukievich, Aksana Haiko, Iryna Lukashenka.
Artistic intervention
into the space:
Sergey Shabohin 
Total installation Greenhause Conditions

Sergey Shabohin:
Greenhause Conditions,
Lo-Fi Social Club,
Minsk, Belarus

November 23, 2019 in Minsk the project STATUS: The role of Artists in Changing Society (Belarus and Sweden) will host the Congress-performance of cultural workers.

During the one-day event, there will be discussions and conversations, workshops, and performances, as well as presentations of artworks that deal with working conditions and legal status of artists in Belarus and Sweden. These works discuss issues such as the defence of rights, equality, gender and age in the context of the art world. The Congress invites professionals from the fields of arts and culture, as well as other interested audience members.

The purpose of the Congress is to discuss and draw attention to the legal status of artists in Belarusian and Swedish society, in order to make state bodies aware of the necessary changes that should be made to the legal and financial aspects of artistic labor.

STATUS is a collective research project that has been created by the joint coordination of Swedish and Belarusian partners: Konstepidemin in Gothenburg and KX Space gallery in Brest. The aim of the project is to bring together artists and cultural workers with a common goal to analyze the conditions of artistic practice and give visibility to the people who conduct it in today’s world. The publication Artistic Practice and Social Change. Observations from Belarus and Sweden contains texts, artworks, and documentation of the STATUS project and will be presented at the event.

Sergey Shabohin:
Greenhause Conditions,

Sergey Shabohin:
Greenhause Conditions
Lo-Fi Social Club,
Minsk, Belarus
10:00 The opening of the Congress and the presentation of the publication Artistic Practice and Social Change

Observations from Belarus and Sweden. with the project’s Leaders and Ambassador of Sweden to Belarus, Christina Johannesson.

10:15–12:00 Post Work. A panel Discussion on Art and Labor.

Participants: Almira Ousmanova (Belarus/Lithuania), Jonatan Habib Engqvist (Sweden).
Moderated by Aleksei Borisionok.

In 2012, the seminal book WORK WORK WORK. A Reader on Art and Labour was published by IASPIS, The International Artists Studio Program in Stockholm. In his essay from this publication, theorist and curator Lars Bang Larsen registers the paradoxical relations of art and work. On the one hand, art has now more than ever been integrated into the socioeconomic sphere and therefore could be recognized as work. On the other hand, artistic practices break the normal working rhythm, “a refusal to take part in the production and reproduction of that what exists,” in Bang Larsen’s words. What does the term cultural work mean today? How does it fit into the market-driven economy and labor system, resulting capitalist exploitation, and bureaucratic mechanisms of control? How do cultural workers address these issues, and what are the ways of organizing? What are the differences between Northern and Eastern Europe?

A Twenty-five minute statement from a philosopher, Almira Ousmanova, and a curator, Jonatan Habib Engqvist, will be followed by a moderated discussion and questions from the audience.

12:00–14:00 Legal Status of Artists. What is the future? Panel Discussion.

Participants: Tania Arcimovich, Uladzimir Hramovich, Linda Tedsdotter.
Moderated by Aliaxey Talstou.

A widely known stereotype artist being hungry, yet inspired manifests itself in the Belarusian reality through the uncertainty of their legal status, among other things. The same applies to critics, curators, art managers, and other cultural workers. Being in rather precarious conditions, working from exhibition to exhibition, hoping for a sale or a minimal fee, agreeing to project work, taking part-time work, and at the same time trying to build a career, people from this area of the world are rarely confident in their future. But how to determine one’s current status? What professional role does one take in the labor market Is one a private individual, an entrepreneur, or a staff member? Or do artists officially register as craftspersons? Is artistic professional affiliation confirmed by a certificate issued from the Ministry of Culture? Are artists employed on another “official” work contract? Or maybe they are considered as “parasites” by the state? There are many questions. During the discussion, we will try to cover some of them.

14:15 A Social Role.

Performance by Mikhail Gulin.

15:00–16:30 Artistic Unions: Cases from Belarus and Sweden. Panel Discussion.

Participants: Sofia de la Fuentes, board member of the Swedish Artists' Association and board member of the International Artists' Association IAA Sweden and Gleb Otchyk, First Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Union of Artists.
Moderated by Mona Wallstrom.

We invite the representatives from artistic unions of Sweden and Belarus to speak about the urgent issues of its members, views towards cultural politics of their governments, problems, and concerns regarding the legal status of artists and how a membership in the organization can help artists to fight for their rights. How do artistic unions from Belarus and Sweden react to the new forms of creativity, new forms of employment, and precarity?

16:30 – 18:00 Art, Gender, and Age: Support Structures and Invisible Work. Artist talk.

Moderated by Alena Aharelysheva.

The talk will be dedicated to the position of the artist-mother in the field of artistic production, economy, and precarious labor. Besides this, the talk will also address questions related to age and ageing and discuss the importance of social welfare in artists’ lives.

18:30 – 20:00 Collective Reading Session and Discussion of the Codex of Culture.
Readers: Darya Amelkovich, Paval Kasciukievich, Aksana Haiko, Iryna Lukashenka. 
Moderated by Alina Dzeravianka.

Collective reading session and discussion of the Codex of Culture will be based on the short presentations, readings and analysis of selected abstracts from the Codex of Culture—one main legal document that has not been discussed in detail.

20:30 Performance by Olia Maslouskaya.

21:00-23.00 Music and drinks.

dj all you can eat
dj Gray Mand()rla

Organizers of the project: Konstepidemin (Sweden), KX Space gallery (Brest).

Project partners: The Swedish Institute, Swedish Union of Artists.

Idea and realization: Aleksei Borisionok, Tania Arcimovich, Inha Lindarenka, Alina Dzeravianka, Mona Wallström, Denis Romanovski.

Artwork for the poster: Masha Svyatagor.

Poster design: Maria Kirilchik.