Frame Espresso in September: contemporary = transcultural art?

Frame Espresso, Frame’s conversation series, is asking in September what is the potential held by transculturality in contemporary art.  How can art be a positive force against the growing racism and the politics of fear shadowing our time? Frame invites everyone who has a stake here – from artists to institutions – to take part in this urgent debate on Tuesday 22nd September at 2–4 pm. To kick off the discussion the artists and curators of Mänttä Art Festival 2015 Kalle Hamm and Dzamil Kamanger will share their views with Taru Elfving, the Head of Programme at Frame.

“The Finnish art field has become significantly more international during the last decade, and as a result, national borders have begun to seem artificial.  In arts, cultural mobility has for some time been the norm. It takes place in every encounter between people with different backgrounds, crossing and operating between borders. This is called transculturation; it entails the right to not be categorised and the right to stay in between, in the grey, undefined zone.”

Thus write the artists and curators of the Mänttä Art Festival 2015 Kalle Hamm and Dzamil Kamanger, who wish to present in Mänttä “the diversity already among us and to give it the status and space that it deserves”. The Finnish contemporary art scene has to diversify from within, from grass roots level to institutions. This is the ground on which rests not only the international potential of our art but also its significance in the increasingly multi-cultural society and global reality. With their exhibition Hamm and Kamanger raised the question of why the practices and structures of the visual arts in Finland do not yet reflect the transculturality of the numerous artists from diverse backgrounds who live and work here today.

In response Frame Espresso asks now what is the potential held by transculturality? Artists share with each other ever-expanding artistic influences and networks, knowledge and methods. Can they also challenge the institutions and the prevalent conceptions of art from a range of critical positions? Can they impact change that is required by both the internationalization of art and the multi-cultural society? How can art be a positive force against the growing racism and the politics of fear shadowing our time?

Frame Espresso is a series of discussion on topical issues, trends and challenges in contemporary art.

Frame Espresso on Tuesday 22 September at 2–4 pm in Chamber of Koneen Säätiö (Tehtaankatu 21 b 45, Helsinki). 

The Photo: EGS: World Maps Down Under, 2015.