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  • Read & Repair - Who has the key? with Vijai Maia Patchineelam and Gordon Douglas
    2023-01-28 11:00:00
    Published at 16 January 2023

    From August 2022 to February 2023, Varia Library and Rotterdam Electronica Depot hold Read & Repair events on the last Saturday of every month. We invite you to visit our space, make yourself comfortable, read or repair some things together, and share thoughts and ideas. For this event a vegetarian lunch prepared by Sara Hamadeh will be served in the hour between workshops.

    For this month, we will be exploring the theme Who has the key?


    Date: Saturday, 28th January 2023

    Time: 11:00-13:00 CET

    Location: Varia (Gouwstraat 3, Rotterdam)


    13:00 - 14:00 we share a free, catered lunch. Please email us if you have any dietary restrictions at readandrepair@varia.zone.


    Date: Saturday, 28th January 2023

    Time: 14:00-16:00 CET

    Location: Varia (Gouwstraat 3, Rotterdam)


    The Read will be guided by Vijai Maia Patchineelam.

    Kroz rupu na vratima Galerije modern umjetnosti polazivao sam povremeno prst bez uprave galerije. 1969

    From time to time I stuck my finger through a hole in the door of the Modern Art Gallery without the management’s knowledge. 1969

    Goran Trbuljak: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti. 1973

    For the first part of the day of the event Read & Repair, Vijai is bringing several copies of the book The Artist Job Description (2022) and would like to propose a collective reading of selected portions of the book. The book, through different strategies, recounts Vijai's personal experience of being inside and going through different art institutions. In an attempt at recognizing and dealing with, rather than avoiding the tensions that exist in the relationship between artists and art institutions at a time when most art institutions themselves are under the pressure of austerity-politics. From the recounting of an individual experience, Vijai hopes that the collective reading opens a space for a broader discussion around the topic where we can share our own relationships with and in art institutions.

    The Artist Job Description, for the Employment of the Artist, as an Artist, Inside the Art Institution (2022) constitutes the result of Vijai Maia Patchineelam’s PhD research in the arts at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, University of Antwerp and a.pass, advance performance and scenography studies, Brussels.

    Vijai Maia Patchineelam’s artistic practice focuses on the dialogue between the artist and the art institution. Placing the role of the artist as a worker in the foreground, Vijai’s research-driven artistic practice experiments with and argues for a more permanent role for artists — one in which artists become a constitutive part of the inner workings of art institutions. This displacement of roles is part of a larger trajectory of his recently concluded Ph.D. research titled, The Artist Job Description: A Practice Led Research for the Employment of the Artist, as an Artist, Inside the Art Institution at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, the University of Antwerp and a.pass, advanced performance and scenography studies, Brussels. As outcome of his doctoral thesis, Vijai has published the book The Artist Job Description: for the Employment of the Artist, as an Artist, Inside the Art Institution, in 2022, with Track Report (Antwerp), in collaboration with OAZA (Zagreb) and a.pass (Brussels). As well as, the photobook Samba Shiva: The Photographs of Sambasiva Rao Patchineelam, in 2017, co-edited with and published by Revista Zum and Instituto Moreira Salles.


    The Repair will be guided by Gordon Douglas.

    Just after the beginning, there’s sometimes an Artist Contract.

    Bound in A4 (or A4-adjacent) pages, contracts follow a now recognisable pattern of feeling out interest and availability through suggestive meetings, a flirtatious scouting of intentions, separate coffees with friends gauging the legitimacies of rumours we heard, and a settling on whether the collaboration is workable; whether our characters are compatible.

    If this then that: The Agreements Card Game sets out to take place at some point(s) within this contract dance, and proposes a starting point for artists and arts workers to work out their common language by airing the hidden expectations of our agreements. It’s a game that hopes to circumvent the character of contracts which are co-signed but rarely co-authored, frequently being delegated to the party with the most lawyers (or lawyer-adjacents) to produce and enforce.

    The Repair session will be hosted by Gordon Douglas, a performer from Glasgow and the writer of If this then that. It will involve several configurations of play-testing, applying the game within existing collaborations, fantasy collectives, and as a divination and memory device. The session will hopefully offer an index to practices that sign themselves intentionally or accidentally to institutional complicity, and to affinities beyond that strive for solidarity between artists and arts workers within our accelerating landscape of cultural austerity.

    Gordon works with arts, healthcare and educational organisations towards trying to understand collaboration and performance. He adopts responsibilities in long-term artistic embedded positions, being introduced to staff members with terms like ‘performative auditor’, ‘associate artist’, ‘critical friend’. These might suggest distance, but he is frequently invited to uncomfortable depths. In the past, he’s been tasked with: celebrating Travelling Gallery’s 40th Birthday with a bespoke song about their diverging futures; assessing power, access and accountability within CCA Glasgow’s open source approach to programming; and electing a non-human agent to Scottish Sculpture Workshop’s Board of Trustees. He is invested in the comedies and tragedies that play out within complicity, interdependence, and collaboration, and invents games to have fun exhausting them with other people.

    Our August 2022 to February 2023 programme is funded by Gemeente Rotterdam.