Art on the scale of enterprise
Talk and Book Launch: Kathrin Böhm and Christoph Chwatal
A conversation between artist/organiser Kathrin Böhm and art historian/critic Christoph Chwatal on the intersection between art and economics, and interdependent spaces for transformative action.
In conjunction with the Berlin launch of the publication Kathrin Böhm: Art on the Scale of Life, Kathrin and Christoph are discussing their shared interest in artistic practice as economic practice. Following the call by feminist economic geographers J.K. Gibson-Graham to “Take Back the Economy” as we know it, the talk focuses on the pro-active economic subjectivities artists inhabit and take on, in order to re-organise the economic underpinnings of contemporary art. Kathrin will present ideas and insights gained from, and explored through practice, such as the art enterprise Company Drinks, The Rural School of Economics (Myvillages) and Interdependent Art Worlds (Centre for Plausible Economies). Christoph will expand on his current research on transformative models that emerge within current art practice, emphasizing collective and organizational aspects that operate within real life economics.
Kathrin Böhm works across interdependent realms of cultural production, including the art world. Her organising and constructing supports collective forms of (re-)producing public space, taking back the economy for people and the planet and enabling a new trans-localism that acknowledges the rural. Since the mid 1990s Kathrin has expanded the terms of socially engaged ways of working by co-producing complex spatial, visual and economic forms. These often entail the production and ongoing re-production of organisational infrastructures, manifested in collectives such as Myvillages (since 2003), Public Works (active 1999–2012), Keep it Complex - Make it Clear (2016–2020) and Company Drinks (since 2014). Kathrin teaches and publishes regularly and as a researcher contributes to the wider topics of New Economy, Usership of Art and Re-production of Public Space, and currently holds an art professorship at the Department of Economics/ Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences.
In 2020 Kathrin stopped initiating new projects and engaged in a process of ‘composting’ what she had produced as an artist so far, in order to make ‘fertiliser’ for evolving long-term infrastructures such as The Centre for Plausible Economies c/o Company Drinks and Myvillages’ Rural School of Economics.
Christoph Chwatal is an art historian and critic based in Berlin and Amsterdam. Currently, he works as a Lecturer of contemporary art history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Christoph’s Ph.D. Dissertation, titled “Contemporary Art’s Strategic-Organizational Complex,” examined practices guided by longer-term, strategic, and organizational approaches, presenting a critique of short-term interventionism and the tactical.
His current research interests include political theories of organization and alternative organizational forms patterned across contemporary art—referred to as alternative, diverse, or heterodox economies—extending beyond the neoliberal grasp on art production and “the” economy.