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Campus inSaint Petersburg

Is There (NO)Future for Cultural Institution? International Seminar Takes Place in Istanbul

Dr Margarita Kuleva along with co-organisers Eda Yigit and Orhan Cem Çetin participated in the (NO) Future Institutions event held between the 15th and 17th December in Istanbul. Supported by the Centre for German and European Studies, St Petersburg State University, Bielefeld University and the ‘Digital Art History’ Research Group (HSE University), the seminar focused on the modern challenges facing cultural institutions, their curators, and associated workers. The event was introduced and chaired by Dr Kuleva, who was inspired by the rapid changes surrounding the future survival of cultural institutions in the pandemic age.

Be it about economic, ecological, political or pandemic-related issues, the creative industry has experienced a continual crisis multiplied by the current world circumstances. The seminar, held in a unique off/online setting, addressed issues such as ‘workflow change’, a term used by Anastasia Tarasova during the event to describe the rapid adaptability that the creative industry has undertaken in recent times, notably concerning the digitalisation of collections and international collaborations. The work of the seminar proves ever relevant in the modern-day, where galleries and exhibitions are closed, and art lovers are confined within the four corners of their computer screen. The seminar continued to discuss the consequences of the attempted mass-digitalisation in such spaces and how this may affect future production and consumption patterns within creative industries. This was complemented by an intriguing lecture by Lev Manovich, who discussed our ability to predict future cultural trends using statistical analyses and machine learning.

Other topics discussed at the (NO) Future Institutions event included the ‘Pandemonium’ of the digital past and future (Benjamin Binstock), Queer Spaces in Art Archives (Valerij Ledenev), the Relevance of Radical Pedagogy of Early Soviet Art Museums (Angelina Lucento) and Institutions in the Age of ‘Platformisation’ (Panos Kompatsiaris). The event was supplemented with a tour of the Our Nature exhibition (TAPA at Barın Han Art Centre) and a discussion about the future of Turkish and global art and photography led by local artists Bager Akbay, Ebru Yetiskin andOrhan Cem Cetin. The event took place in alignment with covid-19 regulations and statutes of Turkey and the Russian Federation and concluded with a discussion on the 17th December, whereby joint publications and collaborations were discussed in relation to the (NO) Future Institutions theme. 

The full video version of the seminar is on YouTube. 

Text by Robin Mitchell and Svetlana Zorina