Art in Dark Times

 to 30.11.2020


Curated by Galit Eilat and Erden Kosova


The current pandemic paralysis of world societies has changed the definition of the term of ‘‘crisis’’ irreversibly, reinforcing the sense of deepening tectonic changes in relation with the inner structuring of our contemporary societies and the destruction of nature under capitalism. Yet, the appeal to the term of ‘‘crisis’’ decade has already escalated along with successive complications within the political sphere: the turbulence of state sovereignty, the unravelling of basic premises of secularisation by the hands of new and traditional ideological movements, the rise of historical revisionism erasing past crimes to open up for new ones, increasing appeal to misogyny, majoritarian politics and authoritarianism, catastrophic consequences of hyper-consumption and conversely, undeclared resurgence of human slavery. The series of talks framed as ART IN DARK TIMES will try to trace the ways in which artistic and cultural practices (curatorial projects, academic texts, activist campaigns, video and films) have been responding to these antagonising complications. Relating to the specific conflicts of their own burdened geographies, the invited guests will examine the interconnected and global character of these shifting grounds. The program of the series was conceived last autumn and adapted recently to the current pandemic circumstances.

Funded by the Bezirkskulturfonds  Bezirksamt Mitte in Berlin.


bi’baxchange aims to showcase cross-border collaborations with cultural actors, project spaces and initiatives. Based on interdisciplinary and transnational cooperation projects, bi’baxchange seeks to exchange ideas, perspectives and know-how. In lecture performances, pop-up exhibitions, readings and presentations, bi’baxchange focuses on the decentralized, rhizomic connection between art, design, academics, participation, urban space and local activism.


Live Q&A at 21:00 paste this link:

Followed by a talk with Galit Eilat and Erden Kosova

Art and Dark Times

In the first session of the series, Galit Eilat will explain the progression of the theoretical framework and how it relates to Syndromes of the Present. Resurgence of eschatological thinking and art establishment’s complicity with the authoritarian regimes are among some of the themes Eilat will examine in the format of a pre-recorded interview. Sources of information are lacking and distrustful, the institutions seem to be failing us, the museums are no longer contemporary, they have become heritage museums for contemporary art. The artists advertise the art fairs and not on the contrary, and the curators, if they are not attending summer schools, are advertising only themselves.   

Erden Kosova is an art critic in Berlin and Istanbul. In 2017 he curated the exhibition “Contemporary Syndromes”, which was shown in Thessaloniki, Izmir, Amsterdam and Berlin. In 2019, he was a co-organizer of the Young Curators Academy, which took place at the Maxim Gorki Theater as part of the 4th Berlin Herbst Salon. In 2019 he was also involved in the exhibition of the SIS collective “In the blink of an eye” at the nGbK. Kosova is the editor of the Istanbul online magazine, 03.06.2020 20:00


Followed by a talk with Jelena Juresa,

Who has the freedom to forget?

The video works of the artist Jelena Juresa deal with the psychological effects of political violence. State-supported terror and its dehumanisation policies, collective silence, and amnesia on crimes that have been inflicted on masses, and the therapeutic mechanisms of memory are among the motifs of her recent practice. Juresa’s films Aphasia and Ubundu from the year 2019 are a call to break the collective silence and to look at the blind spots that seem to have become a fundamental part of our European identity. 

Jelena Juresa was born in Novi Sad and currently lives in Ghent. She has been extensively working with the questions of cultural identity, gender, politics of memory and oblivion through the media of photography, video and text. In her work, she relates individual stories and questions of identity to collective processes of oblivion and remembrance. 


Followed by a talk with Jacqueline Rose

Women in Dark Times

One of the main focal points of Jacqueline Rose’s writing has been the historical misogyny and asymmetric social conditions inflicted on women. Her recent book Women in Dark Times takes this focus on the tragic and creative biographies of famous women in history and merges it with a more contemporary framework in which she explores the lives of three women who have been victims of ‘honour killing’ and the works of three contemporary artists who deal with the global condition of women today. Rose will investigate the questions about the extent which our present time differentiates itself from previous historical conditions.

Jacqueline Rose is Co-Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities and the London Critical Theory Summer School. She is internationally known for her writing on feminism, psychoanalysis, literature and the politics and ideology of Israel-Palestine. Her books include The Haunting of Sylvia Plath (1991), States of Fantasy (1996), The Question of Zion (2005), The Last Resistance (2007), Proust Among the Nations – from Dreyfus to the Middle East (2012), the novel Albertine (2001), Women in Dark Times (2014) and most recently Mothers – An Essay in Love and Cruelty. Her new book, On Violence and On Violence Against Women will be published early next year. 


Followed by a talk with Quinsy Gario, Galit Eilat and Erden Kosova

Disrupting the Dutch Cultural Archive

Quinsy Gario is the artist behind Zwarte Piet Is Racisme (2011–2012) and Action Image (2013-2014), the performance art work about the permit for the Amsterdam Sinterklaas parade that went all the way to the Dutch Supreme court. The works confronted the public perception about the racist figure and practice of Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), which survived to the modern times as a result of structural and institutional  support on all levels in the Netherlands. Gario’s contribution will give an account of the aftermath of the campaign and delineate the specifics of historical escapism in the present-day Netherlands.  

Quinsy Gario is a visual and performance artist from the Curaçao and St. Maarten, two islands in the Caribbean that share continued Dutch occupation. He is a Master of Artistic Research graduate from the Royal Academy of Art The Hague, a 2017/2018 BAK Fellow, a board member of De Appel, a member of the artist collective Family Connection with members of his family and used to be a recurring participant of the Black Europe Body Politics biannual conference series. His recent writings were collected in the book, Roet in het Eten (Spanner in the Works).