Islands: Possibilities of Togetherness
Islands: Possibilities of Togetherness stands for a long-term collaborative research, exhibition and discursive project initiated by Jindřich Chalupecký Society and realized in cooperation with diverse international partner organizations and personalities. The project begun in January 2019 with the exhibition (Dis)connection in Kunstvereniging Diepenheim in the Netherlands, linked to a symposium and performative program, and continues in June 2019 by the exhibition Interconnection: On Bodies of Water in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 2020–2021, the project continued with the large-scale project Beyond Nuclear Family presented at the Centre for Contemporary Arts Prague and abroad. In the following years, further "chapters" will follow in the form of exhibitions, performance events, meetings, workshops and other ways of working with contemporary art.
The notion of an abandoned island serves as an imaginary platform for projecting both utopian and dystopian visions and scenarios for the future pictured by “escapists” from contemporary global crises. The island here needn’t be a physical (lost) paradise, and doesn’t even have to be far ashore. It is rather a metaphor for our exploration of the joint agendas and disparities of past, present and imagined communities, communal practices and forms of “togetherness” which might inspire actual action and alternative forms of sustainable collaboration and coexistence. The project will also shed some light on the uncomfortable “dark side” of the island, exploring forms of separatism, elitism, alienation and delimitation from the rest of the world. Through Islands, the curatorial team of JCHS, together with other participating curators and collaborators, aims to research related artistic and theoretical positions and inspire creation of new artworks, texts, strategies and situations dealing with similar themes, therefore somewhat mapping the emotional state of a society for which the vision of escape to an abandoned island might sound like a tempting solution to overly complex problems.
Besides thematic specification, the Islands project offers methodology for our search for participating subjects and exploration of the possibilities of mutual cooperation. “Islands” here also stand for artistic communities and scenes, art institutions and other partners of the project. Critical (art) institutions have often been referred to as “social interstices”, simulators for alternative means of socio-political configuration. Through this project, we search for like-minded organizations and communities which, due to their geographical position, programming or other specifics, represent such islands of unorthodox ways of thinking. Within Islands, we hope to begin to create an international network of personalities and organizations based on long-term and in-depth relations and conversations. Islands also represent an experiment with “fluctuating” curating where the curatorial team of Jindřich Chalupecký Society invites curators from partner organizations to participate not only in interconnected exhibition and presentation projects but also in collective gatherings and thinking sessions addressing how we can draw on the Islands-related topics to find inspiration for actual social change. The whole SJCh team has worked together as a collective on the recent projects in this series.