Lopud Seminar – The Institution As An Agent Of Change
September 14–17, 2017 | Lopud Island, Croatia

Hubert Robert, Imaginary View of the Grande Galerie du Louvre in Ruins, 1796
Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Institution as an Agent of Change, the 8th iteration of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary’s Lopud seminars to date, invites leading experts working across diverse disciplines, collections, archives, exhibitions, and museum practices to share their experiences and perspectives on the role of institutional frameworks in an era of social turbulence, environmental change and digital culture. As institutions begin to reshape their roles in the 21st century, emerging considerations for social and environmental justice offer a compelling case for the argument that institutions can and should play a role in supporting a wider agenda as agents of change while adopting new programs, policies, and curatorial practices. As agents of change, institutions are asked to commit to the production of knowledge allowing broader communities to contribute actively to pressing issues of our time.
Since summer of 2005, TBA21 has been holding seminars and debate sessions on the Croatian island of Lopud. Conceived to create an impetus for innovation, dialogue, and exchange by interconnecting different agendas and practices the Lopud Seminars negotiate relevant issues regarding art, architecture, ecology, institutional practice, and preservation. The debate sessions, held in small groups, not only reexamine and correct the institutional course but also open it up to transdisciplinary evaluation and activity.
Traditional means of categorization are now obsolete. The 2017 seminar aims to explore new ways to mobilize the institution as an agent of change, as an incubator for monitoring and supporting new communities and the distribution of values. The challenge lies in maintaining an inclusive discourse that is divested of any form of patronization and rhetoric agenda. As the technological world generates innumerable channels of perception, cognition, expression and distribution, a balance is to be found between maintaining a level of specialization while taking advantage of the new forms of collectivity and rapid communication offered by the digital age.
In response to the growing concern for environmental justice, institutions are reconsidering their practices on many levels to take into account the effects and impact of their activities on the environment as well as on human and non-human communities. Critical discussions produced by this seminar shall generate well-defined missions for an expanded definition of sustainability.
Epistemological changes and new forms of pedagogy favor participatory models. By inviting brilliant minds to address these compelling issues, TBA21’s satellite platform in Lopud makes space for such shared forms of learning.
Nabil Ahmed (Architect, London); Julieta Aranda (Artist, Co-Founder Of E-Flux, Nyc/Berlin); Adam Budak (Chief-Curator, National Gallery, Prague); Diana Campbell Betancourt (Curator, Dhaka Summit, Dhaka); Thomas Boutoux (Theorist, Curator, Castillo/Corrales, Metronome Press, Paris); Sebastian Cichocki (Chief Curator, Moma, Warsaw); Kat Davis (TBA21–Academy Assistant Director); Jiří Fajt (General Director, National Gallery, Prague); David Gruber (Marine Biologist, Nyc); Carles Guerra (Director, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona); Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza (TBA21 Founder, Chair-Woman); Stefanie Hessler (TBA21–Academy Curator); Václav Janoščík (Theorist, Curator, Academy Of Fine Arts, Prague); Linton Kwesi Johnson (Poet, Musician, London); Hilary Koob Sassen (Artist, London); Dee Kyne (TBA21–Academy Strategy Director); Armin Linke (Artist, Berlin); Antonia Majaca (Curator, Zagreb/Berlin); Camila Marambio (Director, Ensayos, Tierra Del Fuego); Heike Munder (Director, Migros, Zurich) (TBC); Sandra Noeth (Writer, Researcher, Berlin); Boris Ondreička (TBA21 Curator); John Palmesino (Territorial Agency, London); Filipa Ramos (Co-Curator Vdrome, Editor In Chief Art-Agenda, London); Hani Rashid (Architect, Co-Founder Asymptote, NYC); David Resnicow (President, Resnicow & Associates, NYC); Markus Reymann (TBA21–Academy Director); Mohammad Salemy (Curator, Critic, The New Centre For Research & Practice, NYC); Pooja Sood (Director, Khoj, New Dehli); Frederike Sperling (TBA21 Assistant Curator); Katarina Stanković (Artist, Film-Maker, Belgrade/Berlin); Sandra Terdjman (Founder, Council, Kadist, Paris); Janaina Tschäpe (Artist, Nyc, Rio De Janeiro); Jindra Vejvodová (Director TBA21-Prague); Davor Vidas (International Law Association, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway); Jana Winderen (Artist, Oslo); Daniela Zyman (TBA21 Chief Curator)
Lopud Island, Croatia
September 14–17, 2017
The Institution as an Agent of Change
The presentation of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), Vienna, at the National Gallery in Prague, Salm Palace, marks an extraordinary experiment in collaboration between a private art collection and a leading European public art institution. TBA21 will take its collection, innovative curatorial practices and commitments to a city lacking a museum specialized in contemporary art. This partnership will inaugurate a dynamic program of cultural innovation shaped by the critical discussions arising from this seminar. 

Creating the Ocean Space
The Ocean Space ambits to produce narratives that bring the general public closer to the oceanic realm. As a generator of interdisciplinary research, a hub of discussions around ecological issues, the Ocean Space aims to utilize art as a medium through which new parameters of perception and cohabitation can emerge. By gathering a diverse range of information, the satellite space aims to devise innovative solutions for the future of our oceans. This panel of discussions asks important questions regarding the potential influences that cultural spaces can have on the legislative shifts regarding ecological decisions.  

The Institution in the Era of Digital and Educational Environments
“Interpretational participation” on the most fundamental concepts like truth, freedom, identity, culture, etc. gained relevance by eroding democratic consensus. Digital flows of information bring drastic changes to traditional pedagogical systems. While also being aware of the complications that horizontal means distribution can bring, this panel speculates on the possible new structures that can arise from digital communitarism. How can museums keep specialized methodologies of research while adapting to new forms of experimentality and connectivity?   

The Institution in the Era of Adaptive Change (= the Anthropocene)
An institutional format based on progressive change must be aware of its manifold environmental impact. As environmental degradation has passed critical limits, the museum must adapt to new parameters and commit to the formulation of expanded notions of sustainability. With these pressing issues in mind, the participants discuss the role of the museum as an agent of ecological change. 

The Institution in the Era of Social Turbulence
As racializing discourses, gender inequality and extreme forms of defensive nationalism continue to proliferate, museums must abandon their traditional roles as preservers of value systems and conservative norms. The exploration of social injustice demands a self-conscious and responsible approach that avoids any form of patronization. How can museum professionals adopt new ways of mobilizing the institution as an agent of dialogue and producer of solidarity while keeping in mind autochthonous expressions of belonging? 

The Institution in the Era of the Irreducible Present (= the Contemporary)
The irreducible present continually accommodates and recruits the past and reconfigures it to its actuality and for future potentiality. This temporal negation causes categories to erode and knowledge production to expand at an exponential scale. Faced with the contemporary saturation of information, how can museums work without categorization? How can we orient research and curatorial aims in an environment overburdened with impulses and signs?  

Performances and Music Interventions by
Hilary Koob Sassen
Janaina Tschäpe and David Gruber
Linton Kwesi Johnson
Nabil Ahmed
Filipa Ramos
Jana Winderen