In 2013 and 2014 a Social Context conference programme takes place in cooperation between Copenhagen Initiative and Art Workshop Lazareti. Two open conferences are held in Copenhagen and Dubrovnik, with support from the Danish Arts Council and the Ministry of Culture Croatia.
Visual artist, educator and activist
Based in Copenhagen and London
Photo: Mark Knudsen/Monsun
Jakob Jakobsen (born 1965) is a politically engaged visual artist, educator and activist. He is based in Copenhagen and London.
He was part of the Copenhagen Free University from 2001 to 2007, was co-founder of the trade union Young Artworkers (UKK) in 2002, and the artist-run television station tv-tv in 2004. He was professor at the Funen Art Academy from 2006 to 2012. Recent exhibitions include Billed Politik at Overgaden, Institute of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen and This World We Must Leave at Kunsthalle Aarhus in 2010 and Trauma 1 - 11: Stories about the Copenhagen Free University and the surrounding society in the last ten years at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde in 2011. He was part of And And And /dOCUMENTA 13 with the The Antiuniversity Research Project in 2012.
Based in Copenhagen
Morten Goll (born 1964) is a socio-politically engaged artist, working with social platforms for political change. Based in Copenhagen, he holds an MFA from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (1994) and an MFA from Otis College of Art and Design (1999). He is one of the co-founders and current executive director of the Trampoline House: a user-driven refugee justice community center located in Copenhagen, where refugees and other residents of Denmark can meet, share experiences, and work together for a just and humane refugee and asylum policy.
The center operates as a non-profit, self-organized platform for social interaction, knowledge exchange, and solidarity building across boundaries of privilege, exclusion, and inequality, and offers a series of services and activities intended partly to inform the Danish population about the conditions for refugees living in the Danish asylum centers or underground, and partly to provide refugees and asylum seekers in Denmark with a platform from which to better their situation.
The Trampoline House was established in October 2010 by more than 100 asylum seekers and migration justice activists in reaction to Denmark’s strict immigration law and asylum system.
Institute for architectural research
Based in Split
Platforma 9.81 is a collective of architects from Croatia engaged collaboratively and independently in the critical rethinking and debate of urban planning and public space. Working as architects they take part in the production and transformation of the built environment, yet this practice is closely entwined with their active involvement in the organization of platforms for discussion and research into economic and cultural shifts, desires and realities that become tangible through architectural transformations.
Dinko Peračić and Miranda Veljačić, from Platforma 9,81, focus in their research particularly on the Croatian coastline driven by rapid tourist development, as well as other cultural and spatial transformations of coastlines. Their other projects include an investigation into the swift changes in Croatia during the period of transition and an activation of a network of temporary public spaces for cultural activities in abandoned premises.
Artist & curator based organisation
Based in Copenhagen
Publik is an artist and curator based organisation, carrying out art projects in the public space of Copenhagen since 2005. Through temporary projects, reflecting on present socio-political questions, publik aims to challenge the dominating ways of structuring the urban and the common, and to make room for other ways of grasping relations, communities and everyday life.
Publik opened the project room bureau publik in the fall 2012, focusing on the ongoing economic crisis and the protests taking place in Europe, the US, North Africa and other parts of the world. bureau publik is a location for artistic and discoursive activities, seeking to comprehend this situation and to generate perspectives and meanings that point to alternative ways of constructing the world.
Philosopher and Sociologist
Based in Ljubljana
Renata Salecl (born 1962) is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Professor at the School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, and Recurring Visiting Professor at Cardozo School of Law, New York.
Her latest book Choice (Profile Books, London, 2010) has been among other languages translated into Danish and Croatian.
Salecl investigates the paradox of today’s society that on the one hand we have vast possibilities for new knowledge but on the other hand we are inventing ever new ways to close our eyes and find particular enjoyment in denial. She recalls the famous psychoanalytic maxim that people do not have the passion for knowledge, but rather passion for ignorance. This passion leads us to close your eyes and ignore what is to be seen and comprehended. In her work Salecl poses the question, how come that we have become so passive in regard to social changes? How come that when we actually have the choice in regard to the type of society we want to live in for the future we rarely envision it and behave as in the best scenario the future is going to be just the continuation of the present?
Based in Zagreb
Photo: Damir Zizic
Siniša Labrović (born 1965) is a freelance artist. In 1997 he graduated Croatian literature and language in the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. He started to be involved in visual arts in 2000. He has exhibited in collective and individual shows and put on actions, performances, done graffiti and been involved in urban interventions in Croatia and abroad.
Among his performances are “Gloria” (where he recited the weekly women’s magazine Gloria at the most frequented places of Zagreb, Rijeka and Split), “Marking” (an action of drawing a circle with his own urine between the buildings of the parliament, the government and the constitutional court), “Punishment”, “Bandaging the wounded” and the series “Phrases”, “Pissing” and “Leisure”. In 2009 at the 11th Istanbul Biennial he presented the work (book) “Lisansustu Egitim” (“Postgraduate Education“), and in 2012 he represented Croatia on the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, titled Common Ground.
Based in Rijeka
Slaven Tolj (born 1964) is a multimedia artist from Dubrovnik, Croatia. His artistic works incorporate themes and issues related to political transformation and the emergence of multiculturalism and globalization.
Besides his own artistic production Tolj is involved in organizational and curatorship activities. Among others he was the commissioner of the Croatian pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2005. In autumn 2012 he was appointed director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka.
In 1988 Tolj founded Art Radionica Lazareti in Dubrovnik (Art Workshop Lazareti) – an independent centre for contemporary art. ARL brings together artists, philosophers, writers and theoreticians, promoting an active and investigative approach to contemporary art and culture, society, politics and its inter-relations.
Based in Zagreb
Srećko Horvat (born 1983) is a Croatian author, philosopher and activist, belonging to a younger generation of Croatian intellectuals.
His latest publications include After the End of History. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement (Laika Verlag, Germany, 2013) and together with Slavoj Žižek Was will Europa? (Laika Verlag, Germany, 2013) and Savouns-nous de nos sauveurs! (Editions Lignes, France, 2013).
He is editor-in-chief of the critical theory dossier Up & Underground and deputy editor of the journal for cultural and social issues Zarez. He is one of the founders of the Subversive Festival, one of the most important leftist gatherings in Eastern Europe.
Cultural worker and activist
Based in Zagreb
Teodor Celakoski (born 1971) studied philosophy and comparative literature at the Philosophical Faculty in Zagreb. He is a project coordinator at Multimedia Institute, Zagreb, for which he organised numerous events in critical net culture. He initiated numerous projects dealing with social and cultural aspects of new technologies and new media, including NGOs.
In the last ten years he initiated several projects and platforms focused on advocating change in the Croatian culture policy field like Clubture, Zagreb Culture Capital of Europe 3000, Operation City. Recently he has been engaged in The Right to the City campaign, fighting against devastation of public spaces in Zagreb and Croatia.
Based in Copenhagen
Thomas Højrup (born 1953) is professor at the Saxo-institute, department of Ethnology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. The last 30 years he has explored cultural life modes and state forms in Europe and beyond. The life mode analysis is a critical kind of investigation exploring the structures and contradictions in societies and between states.
A part of Højrup’s work focuses on the actual enclosure processes undermining coastal communities and monopolizing the access to the marine resources in the hands of big capitalist companies. He is inspiring popular movements of fishing families who are trying to find alternative ways to maintain their fishing rights and a sustainable fishery. A concrete example is the cooperative quota company The Guild of Thorupstrand coastal fishermen created by the fishing families of Thorupstrand in Northern Jutland. Another example is the cooperative boatyard Han Herred Havbåde in The Bay of Jammerbugt, Skagerrak, where young people learn the local art of building clinker crafts to the fishermen – in opposition to the industrial monopolization of boatbuilding in fibreglass.
Based in Copenhagen
Tone Olaf Nielsen (born 1967) is a Copenhagen-based independent curator, whose practice is based on a firm belief in the ability of artistic and curatorial work to contribute to social and political transformation. She holds a Cand.Phil. in Art History from the University of Copenhagen (1994) and an MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies from UCLA (2002)
With projects such as Democracy When?! Activist Strategizing in Los Angeles and Minority Report: Challenging Intolerance in Contemporary Denmark, Nielsen has made significant contributions to the politically engaged ‘project exhibition’ of the late 1990s–early 2000s, advancing a conception of the curated exhibition as a transnational-transdisciplinary platform from where to address the root causes of social, economic, and environmental inequities and to present other ways of organizing the world.
In 2005, she formed the transnational feminist curatorial collective, Kuratorisk Aktion, with feminist curator Frederikke Hansen. And since 2010, Nielsen has worked as Program Coordinator in the Trampoline House, a user-driven refugee justice community center for refugees and other residents of Denmark working together for a just and humane refugee and asylum policy, that she co-established with artists Morten Goll and Joachim Hamou in collaboration with more than 100 asylum seekers and migration justice activists in reaction to Denmark’s strict immigration law and asylum system.