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Closed Borders: Cultural Boycotts

A recording of the 7 May 2015 program of Venice Agendas held during the opening week of the Biennale. The premise began as: Do boycotts work or are they just ways that culture is used as a smokescreen for satiating public conscience? Specific observations are voiced about the Manifesta 10 project boycott in St. Petersburg by artists and curators responding to Russian anti-gay laws and the Crimean invasion. Plus similar actions taken by artists in response to local policy from Israel to Africa. And the apparent apathy to violations in places like Qatar. Organization, collectives, engagement, action. Clarity is key.

Moderated by curator, writer, and critic Gilane Tawadros (Director of DACS, The Design and Artists Copyright Society, a campaign for artists’ rights) with participants Anna Bitkina,(co-founder of Creative Association of Curators, St. Petersburg), Vassiliki Tzanakou, (London based political scientist, independent arts curator and writer), David A. Bailey (a British Afro-Caribbean curator, photographer, writer and cultural facilitator, living and working in London and Nassau, The Bahamas), Sue Williamson (artist/activist, England, South Africa), Emeka Okereke (Nigerian artist, Invisible Borders, The Trans-African Project), and Sacha Craddock (London-based curator/writer).

Venice Agendas 2015 is a program of breakfast events and performances, curated by London-based workinprogress, during the preview week of the 56th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. The theme for this edition is Crossing Boundaries; an open brief, which considers the many ways art not only trespasses geographical territories but how it crosses cultural, political and artistic boundaries.
The first edition of Agendas held at the Venice Biennale was in 1999, created by the sound artist Bill Furlong and the writer Mel Gooding, Since 2011 workinprogress, Clare Fitzpatrick and Terry Smith, have continued the project working closely with Vittorio Urbani, director of Nuova Icona who has supportedVenice Agendas since 1999.




This series is our online radio collaboration with workinprogress a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting experimental working practices. workinprogress supports innovative projects, from educational programs, art exhibitions and performances to events. Part of this organization is the Experimental Art School, an independent university of learning that looks at all of the art disciplines. Created by UK artist Terry Smith and curator Clare Fitzpatrick, workinprogress commissions artists to produce work which it then administrates and realizes, including through fund-raising and budget oversight. Some of their events include DRAWN CUT TORN and FILM/VIDEO/PERFORMANCE. workinprogress organized the 2013 Venice Agendas: Speed Dating, Live Art, and The Alternative Scene, as well as the up coming 2017 Venice Agendas: The Contract