Concept elaborated jointly with Will Bradley
'Manufacturing Today' has been conceived as a five year research project and exhibition based in Norway but created, this time, in collaboration between art academies in Norway, Finland, Lithuania and the UK. This research will be publicly manifested in formal workshop sessions, a symposium, a publication, an exhibition and a series of commissions, all in an effort to address the question of how art and art education might resist instrumentalisation by the art market on one hand and the streamlining efforts of the state on the other. To resist this instrumentalisation means to support the idea of a potential within the institution of art for the imagination of an alternative social order. To focus on education is to engage with real political questions about how institutions shape society.
The title 'Manufacturing Today' is appropriated from a US and European industry journal. In choosing this title, we wanted both to point to the coming industrialisation of European art education, and to the role of culture in making the social superstructure, in manufacturing society.
In shaping our concept one of our main worries was that it could run the risk of simply contributing to the current tendency to see art schools as places that produce students as a product for the market. But is there an alternative to this situation? Is there a social role for art students, for young artists, other than to succeed or fail as producers/products in the culture industry?