feb 22, 2006 - feb 24, 2006 | Arteleku



Coordinated by: Carles Guerra and Leire Vergara
Participants:Neil Cummings & Marysia Lewandowska, Roger Buergel, Maurizio Lazzarato, Lukasz Ronduda, Renata Salecl.

Fresh perspectives on amateur practices in the age of cognitive capitalism

The amateur revolution

When the services economy is wiping out industry, the justification for the amateur also disappears. Now that the factory has closed down, either because production has been shifted elsewhere or due to its own obsolescence, the clash between compulsory working time and free time has become blurred.

However, it’s not only capitalism that has produced amateurs. The factories of socialism also gave rise to an enthusiastic period in which the workers, instead of producing any old thing, produced themselves, and shaped their individuality.

In communist Poland, amateur film clubs sprang up all over the place. Founded at the request of the Party, their original task consisted of documenting important public events. The first of May or the visit by the first female Russian astronaut, Walentyna Tiereszkowa, would be sufficient grounds for mobilising several cameras the same ones that would be used to film more personal, socially committed issues with the film that wasn’t used during extravagant official ceremonies.

Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska have rescued the huge production of images that came out of these film clubs from obscurity. Their project, Enthusiasm, has resulted in an exhibition format with two clearly differentiated periods. Enthusiasts opened at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw. There the subjectivity of amateur filmmakers with regard to their cultural, political and social context was reinforced. The presentation of Enthusiasm at the Whitechapel Gallery (London), KW (Berlin) and Antoni Tàpies Foundation (Barcelona) provided the possibility of analysing the power of collective motivation that was a catalyst for a counterculture in the socialist system. We are now starting on a new phase at Arteleku, in which the exhibition format is transformed into an active educational space.


This workshop will be organised around various closed working sessions, and screenings and lectures that are open to the public. The screening of thematic sections of amateur Polish films prepared by Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandoska under the headings, Love, Longing and Labour, will provide a context for reflecting in greater depth on the most important issues that the project raises: the economic and cultural possibilities of enthusiasm, the use of the archive as a new artistic medium and the creative and productive possibilities that this free archive offers.


Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandoska, along with the authors of the films, have registered part of the material included in Enthusiasm under a Creative Commons licence. They aim to place the collection in a new space that opposes the gradual privatisation of the rights to broadcast, reproduce and disseminate these documents. For artists this operation constitutes a dialectic clash between so-called “official” cultural memory and the recording of a collective practice immersed in its own historical process. The free format of this archive recovers the collaborative motivation that pervaded amateur Polish filmmaking.


In parallel with the activities in the workshop, from the 20th to the 24th of February several monitors will be set up in the exhibition hall at Arteleku on which a wide-ranging selection of digitalised films will be shown. This material forms part of the Enthusiasm project.


Wednesday 22nd of February
Introduction by Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska

Screening of LOVE 60’, video, b/w

Commentary by Lukasz Ronduda

Conversation between Roger Buergel and Neil Cummings & Marysia Lewandowska

Thursday 23rd of February
Workshop with Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska

Introduction by Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska

Screening of LONGING, 60’, video, b/w

Commentary by Leire Vergara

Lecture by Renata Salecl

Friday 24th of February
Workshop with Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska

Introduction by Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska

Screening of LABOUR, 60’, video, b/w

Commentary by Carles Guerra

Lecture by Maurizio Lazzarato

Neil Cummings/ Marysia Lewandowska.
Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska have been working together since the mid-1990s. Their projects deconstruct the fantasy that art functions with an unlimited degree of freedom that is opposed to other social spheres. Not Hansard the common wealth, (John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, 2000) ENROLMENT

To attend the sessions on Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th in the morning you need to fill in the registration form. Requests to attend must be made by sending the attached registration form, a curriculum and a short letter in which you explain the reasons why you wish to take part in the workshop to Arteleku before 14.10 on the 17th of February 2006 (by e-mail or by post).

By e-mail:     arteleku@gipuzkoa.net

By post:
Kristobaldegi, 14. E-20014
Donostia-San Sebastián
Via the web page:     www.arteleku.net

Arteleku will provide a grant for the people selected.

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