The International Summit of Synapse 2 took place in April 15 & 16, 2016 and it explored the role of art institutions and cultural organizations in the current political and economic context of global dispossession, austerity and inequality.

This time, the International Summit explored the role of art institutions and cultural organizations in the current political and economic context of global dispossession, austerity and inequality. What kind of institutions should art biennials be? Where should they look for their public and political constituencies? What kind of practices should they nurture? What forms of sociability, relationality and political imaginaries should they foster? Where shall they draw the boundaries, if any, between their inside and their outside? Questions about the formation of new biennials, common praxis and practices, regionalism and body politics were discussed by a group of international scholars, artists, activists and cultural organisations.

Structured in four theoretical strands (Why, What, And For Whom? Making a Biennial”, “Common Praxis”, “Regionalism and the New South”,” Acting Out: On the Body Politic”) the summit explored issues such as the prospects and limitations of the formation of new art organisations, the new, activist – based curatorial approaches, the geopolitical significance of Greece as a crossroads and the wide, but certain concept of personhood.
Co – Programming: Massimiliano Mollona and Stephanie Bailey
The summit took place on the 15th of April  at the National Theatre – New Rex and on the 16th of April at Bageion respectively.

Summit Hours:
Friday, 15th of April | 11am – 5.15pm, National Theatre – New Rex
Saturday, 16th of April | 10am – 6.30pm, Bageion

April 15, 2016

Venue: National Theatre – New Rex, 48, Panepistimiou Str.
Schedule: 10 minutes per speaker, 40 minutes for conversation and 20 minutes for Q&A

11:00 – 11:10 Welcome
Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, Poka-Yio, Thodoris Abazis
11:10 – 11:30 Introduction
Massimiliano Mollona
11:45 – 13:45 Session I
13:45 – 14:15 Lunch Break
14:15 – 16:30 Session II
16:30 – 17:00 Closing

    Session I: Why, What, And For Whom? Making a Biennial
The session opens with Vasif Kortun introducing The Time of Work, redefining institutions through a postcuratorial approach and interdisciplinary dialogue. The panel continues with a discussion on the notions of ‘relational aesthetics’ and ‘(neo)institutionalism’ in contemporary Europe, through specific experiences that complicate and blur the boundaries between these institutional forms.
Stephanie Bailey (moderator), Nicolas Bourriaud, Vasif Kortun, Viktor Misiano

    Session II: Common Praxis
The panel discusses some activist, artistic and curatorial practices including media activism, virtual platforms, self-organisation and counter-hegemonic histories, that counter state violence, civil war and radical capitalist dispossession.
Katia Arfara (moderator), Sotirios Bahtsetzis, Maria-Thalia Carras & Olga Hatzidaki, Vasyl Cherepanyn, Apostolos Kalfopoulos, Mohammad Salemy, Ala Younis

April 16, 2016

Venue: Bageion, 18 Omonoia Square
Schedule: 10 minutes per speaker, 40 minutes for conversation and 20 minutes for Q&A

10:00 – 10:30 Introduction/ Summary of the previous day’s proceedings
By Massimiliano Mollona, Xenia Kalpaktsoglou & Poka-Yio
10:30 – 12:30 Session III
12:30 – 13:00 Lunch Break
13:00 – 15:10 Session IV
15:10 – 15:30 Break
15:30 – 16:30 15-minute Summaries
16:30 – 18:30 Open Conversation

    Session III: Regionalism and the New South
The panel discusses new spatial and geopolitical configuration of ‘the South’ with Greece as a crossroad between Europe’s north, south, west and east. Can art biennials in the South revitalise the project of the Third World, South-to-South co-operation or the ancient routes of regional cosmopolitanism?
Binna Choi, Angela Dimitrakaki (moderator), Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Elpida Karampa, Qalandar Bux Memon, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Simon Sheikh

    Session IV: Acting Out: On the Body Politic
The panel discusses artistic practices revolving around ideas of personhood, reproductive labour and ‘the corporeal’ to sketch a post-capitalist imaginary.
Marwa Arsanios, Karen Mirza & Brad Butler, Helena Papadopoulos (moderator), Alexei Penzin, Theo Prodromidis, Gregory Sholette, Kuba Szreder

Stephanie Bailey, Angela Dimitrakaki, Helena Papadopoulos, Qalandar Bux Memon

The international summit of Synapse 2: Rethinking Institutional Critique – A View from the South will be conceptually bridged to a two-day symposium which will be co-organised by the Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens (OCC) and the Athens Biennale with the generous support of the Onassis Foundation within the frame of the OCC’s Fast Forward Festival.

The symposium Art at the borders: spatial politics and postcolonial strategies in the Middle East will be cocurated by Katia Arfara (Artistic Director of the OCC’s Theatre & Dance and of the Fast Forward Festival) and Massimiliano Mollona (Programme Director of the Athens Biennale 2015 ― 2017 OMONOIA) and will take place at the Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens (27 May) and at Bageion (28 May)

    List of Speakers

Arfara, Katia / Artistic Director of Theatre & Dance at Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece
Arsanios, Marwa / Artist, Part-time teacher, Co-founder of 98 weeks Research Project, Beirut, Lebanon
Bahtsetzis, Sotirios / Writer, Curator, Educator, Athens, Greece
Bailey, Stephanie / Senior Editor of Ibraaz, Contributing editor to ART PAPERS and LEAP, Editor-at-large at, Writer for Artforum International, London, UK
Bourriaud, Nicolas / Curator, Art Critic, Co-founder of Palais de Tokyo, Director of La Panacée, Paris, France Butler, Brad / Artist, Co-founder of, London, UK
Carras, Maria-Thalia / Curator, Co-director of Locus Athens, Greece
Cherepanyn, Vasyl / Editor of Krytyka Polityczna, Lecturer at the Cultural Studies Department of the National University of Kyiv, Head of Visual Culture Research Centre, Kiev, Ukraine
Choi, Binna / Curator, Director of Casco – Office for Art, Design & Theory, Utrecht, Netherlands
Dimitrakaki, Angela / Writer and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History & Theory at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Guardiola-Rivera, Oscar / Writer, Lecturer of Law and Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, UK Hatzidaki, Olga / Curator, Co-director of Locus Athens, Greece
Kalfopoulos, Apostolos / Architect, Independent Curator, Art-Critic, Lecturer at the School of Architecture in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Founder and Director of DYNAMO, Thessaloniki, Greece
Karampa, Elpida / Art Theorist, Independent Curator, Athens, Greece
Kortun, Vasif / Curator, Writer, Lecturer, Director of Research and Programs of SALT, Istanbul, Turkey
Memon, Qalandar Bux / Editor of Naked Punch Review, Assistant Professor, Co-founder of Café Boi, Lahore, Pakistan Mirza, Karen / Artist, Co-founder of, London, UK
Misiano, Viktor / Curator, Founder, Editor of Moscow Art Magazine and Manifesta Journal: Journal of Contemporary Curatorship, Moscow, Russia
Papadopoulos, Helena / Curator, Founder & Director of Radio Athènes, Athens, Greece
Penzin, Alexei / Reader at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Wolverhampton, Researcher at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Member of the group ChtoDelat/What is to be done?, London, UK Salemy, Mohammad / Artist, Critic, Curator, New York, USA
Sengupta, Shuddhabrata / Artist, Curator, Co-founder of Raqs Media Collective, Delhi, India
Sheikh, Simon / Curator, Theorist, Reader in Art and Programme Director of MFA Curating at Goldsmiths, London, UK
Sholette, Gregory / Artist, Writer, Core member of Gulf Labor Coalition, New York, USA
Szreder, Kuba / Theorist, Curator, Member of Free/Slow University of Warsaw, Poland
Prodromidis, Theo / Artist, Athens, Greece
Younis, Ala / Research-based Artist, Contributing editor at Ibraaz, Co-founder of the non-profit publishing initiative Kayfa ta, Amman, Jordan