Former West

Example of’ “experimental institutionalism” and  research exhibitions by BAK Utrecht [NL]
Contains research library, texts, lectures,  video recordings, exhibitions etc. Great resource.

exhibition at BAK: 12 September−28 November 2010

Vectors of the Possible, installation view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010 (photo: Victor Nieuwenhuis)


Image: some institutional habits die hard, why for instance are ‘installation view’ photographs taken as if the white box gallery ideology still is the norm?  i.e. no people or interacting spectators/users; a pristine empty space isolating art inside the gallery from outside or life, and setting up an encounter with the viewer of the photograph based on a so called nutrality/ isolation.


FORMER WEST: This site is the web platform of the FORMER WEST project. The project is organized and coordinated by
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst. BAK is responsible for the website content.

  1. What is FORMER WEST?

    FORMER WEST is a long-term international research, education, publishing, and exhibition project (2008–2014), which from within the field of contemporary art and theory: (1) reflects upon the changes introduced to the world (and thus to the so-called West) by the political, cultural, artistic, and economic events of 1989; (2) engages in rethinking the global histories of the last two decades in dialogue with post-communist and postcolonial thought; and (3) speculates about a “post-bloc” future that recognizes differences yet evolves through the political imperative of equality and the notion of “one world.”


    The project takes the year 1989—as a critical landmark in our recent history and a catalytic moment in the move away from the three-world partitioning of the Cold War and towards to the “new world order”—as its starting point. The so-called West, blinded by the (default) victory of neoliberal capitalism on a global scale, failed to recognize the impact of the massive shifts put into motion by the events of that year, and has continued to adhere to its own claims of hegemony. The term “former West,” never articulated as a counterpart to the widely used “former East,” thus does not refer to the status quo, but is rather an aspired to, imagined “farewell” to the “bloc” mentality; it is a critical, emancipatory, and aspirational proposal to rethink our global histories and to speculate upon our global futures through artistic and cultural practice.

  3. What does FORMER WEST consist of?

    (1) An extensive transnational, transdisciplinary research undertaking including: a series of educational activities, individual research projects, research seminars and symposia, research exhibitions, and major public events in the form of Research Congresses. The constantly evolving process of the research trajectory is registered and made publicly accessible through this online platform; (2) major publications: a critical reader and a catalogue (2012–2013); and (3) an international exhibition (2013).



Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s