image by Institutions by Artists

Happening this weekend is the very important and highly anticipated Institutions by Artists conference. Put on primarily by PAARC (or, the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres), the wide-spanning event provides the strata for important conversations about the past, present, and future of artist-run centres across the world. Participating institutions include Vancouver mainstays such as 221A, Access Gallery, Artspeak, the Or Gallery, Project Space, VIVO, and the Western Front.

The convention itself takes place on Oct 12 - 14th, at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at SFU. Its mandate is as follows:

Institutions by Artists is a three day, international event that evaluates and activates the performance and promise of contemporary artist-run centres and initiatives.

Convening a world congress of artists, curators, critics, and academics, Institutions by Artists will deliberate, explore, and advance the common interests of artist-run centres, collectives, and cultures, creating a catalyst for new as well as divergent assessments and perspectives on such phenomena today. Using experimental formats, performative frameworks, and participatory vehicles, the three day series of events is designed to challenge and generate new thinking about artist-run initiatives globally, examining many dimensions whether urban or rural, fixed or mobile, and local or regional, among others. Inspired by the many artists wrestling creatively with building, using, shaping, and deploying institutions by artists,we will explore economies of exchange and knowledge; institutional time and space; as well as intimate and professional networks, among other critical interrogations.

Throughout the Institutions by Artists week, artist-run centres will present special projects that link to the themes of the Convention. From internet art pioneers, to grassroots cinema collectives, to media pirates and institutional revisionists, this series of presentations will invite and engage the public to meet visiting artists, and to examine the many phenomena impacting and defining artist-run institutions globally.

Among the Convention’s experimental tactics are re-enactments of key histories from the annals of artist-run culture, radical distributions of printed matter, the re-purposing of data and systems, as well as DIY models of education, which ultimately support an in-depth examination of the innovative, critical, and irreverent spirit of artist-run cultures and initiatives.

If you missed out on tickets (as I did), the conference will be streaming live on the Institutions by Artists website. There are also featured articles to peruse on the website, events occurring across the city in conjunction with the conference, new artworks that have been commissioned specifically by IBA, and an article written by Sarah Todd on Akimbo provides an informative investigation into the conference itself. If your interests lie in artist-run culture at all, this weekend will prove to be an invaluable one.