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The Organisational Art Thin Book Summit 2004

At 'Organisational Art Thin Book Summit' 20 leading artists, practitioners and researchers meet to explore contemporary art projects where organisations and organisational issues are central themes in the art itself.

An art form is emerging. Professional artists are currently generating an important field that works together with non-artistic organisations (companies, institutions, governments, communities and NGOs) to produce art that in one way or another evolves around organisational matters. With their artistic practice they aim to advance and challenge both art and organisational practices.

Until now, there have only been few joint efforts to explore and document this art form across the boundaries of disciplines. This is why the research consortium ‘The Creative Alliance' (TCA) at Learning Lab Denmark and a group of contemporary artists have teamed up to organise an international summit for twenty leading artists, practitioners and researchers, on what tentatively can be called ‘Organisational Art'. Apart from documenting current practices, the aim of the summit is to find ways to move forward; ways that both the artists, practitioners and researchers will benefit equally from.

The summit is organised as three days with various documenting and wor king sessions for the twenty invitees and concludes with a summary symposium open to the public and media. The findings will be documented in a so-called ‘Thin Book', edited and published shortly after the summit by Learning Lab Denmark together with a number of the participating artists. It will be distributed on a not-for-profit basis, targeted at various sta eholders within the field (artists, practitioners, business people and researchers), and will hopefully pave the way for mutual successful future collaborations in this field.

As the summit is collaborative event, no concrete projects will be accentuated in this connection - instead we refer to publicly available websites and the following general description.

The Thin Book will naturally feature rich accounts and documentation of completed and ongoing projects.

This emergent art form can tentatively be characterised as:

•  conceptual as it concentrates on organisational issues and creative processes without necessarily producing ‘artworks' in the traditional sense (e.g. painting and sculpture);

•  socially engaged or ethical, that is, motivated beyond narrow financial objectives and with a strong ambition to make sustainable changes for the collective better in social environments;

•  trans-discursive, that is, partnering with non-artistic partners (consultants, researchers, managers, employees, etc.) and working across various disciplines and organisational levels; and

•  site-specific and contextual as it works specifically with people and relations ‘on site', such as employees and managers in an organisation or members of a community.



The Thin Book is currently being authored jointly by the participants of the summit and edited by David Barry, Kent Hansen and Martin Ferro-Thomsen. For more information please contact Martin at me@ferro.dk.

The summit took place 25-28 November 2004 at Lisegaarden Conference Center in Liseleje, Denmark.

The summit was co-organised by the research consortium The Creative Alliance (TCA) at Learning Lab Denmark ( David Barry, Martin Ferro-Thomsen and Hilde Bollen ), artist Kent Hansen (democratic innovation) and an advisory group consisting of artists Henrik Schrat (Germany), Philippe Mairesse (Local Access, France), and Teike Asselbergs (Orgacom, The Netherlands).

As this art form does not exist isolated in society, key fringe representatives, such as curators, consultants, researchers and entrepreneurs, were invited to participate. The participants were:

aladin, CEO alkhemi, strategist, social development practitioner, interdisciplinary artist, magician (UK)
Barnaby Drabble, Artist/Curator (UK/SW)
David Barry, Professor, TCA (DK/US)
Gavin Wade, Artist/Curator (UK)
Henrik Schrat, Artist (DE)
Hilde Bollen, Consortium Coordinator, TCA (DK/B)
Karolin Timm-Wachter, Siemens Arts Program (DE)
Kent Hansen, Artist, democratic innovation (DK)
Lise Autogena, Artist (UK/DK)
Lotte Darsø, Research Director, TCA (DK)
Majolein Schaarp, Art critic/Writer/Curator (NE)
Martin Ferro-Thomsen, Project Manager, TCA (DK)
Nicola Setari, PhD Researcher, Scuola di Studi Avanzati di Venezia in Science of the Art (IT)
Barbara Steveni, Cofounder and Director of O+I (formerly APG), Artist (UK)
Teike Asselbergs, Artist, Orgacom (NE)
Tine Byrckel, Writer/Art critic, Information Newspaper (DK)
Patrick Mathieu , Consultant FR)
Philippe Mairesse, Artist, Acces Local (FR)
Henrik Mayer, Artist, Reinigungs-gesellschaft (DE)
Scott Rigby, Collaborative Artist and Director of Basekamp exhibition space (US)
Susanne Kandrup, Entrepreneur etc., TCA (DK)

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This is the official background article that was made public and circulated in relation to 'The Organisational Art Thin Book Summit' (only briefly edited to fit this page).

For a personal account of the summit you may read my feature 'The Experiment in Liseleje' which was published shortly after the summit. It should be noted that this was written for a mainstream audience without expert knowledge on contemporary art.
Go there.

For more information on Organisational Art, please refer to my thesis 'Organisational Art - A Study of Art at Work in Organisations'.
Go there.


ferro.dk / academic / oa-summit
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