Performing the Fringe is an artistic and curatorial research process that explores three different contexts in the rural–urban fringe areas of the cities of Stockholm, Pori and Vilnius. It started with inviting artists to undertake research hikes during spring and summer 2019, experiencing three distinct environments that have now materialized into artistic commissions. Exhibition Performing the Fringe at Konsthall C is the first iteration in the series of presentations of those artistic commissions.
Within these contexts, hiking unfolded as a common activity that combines walking, observation, inquiry, talking, listening, and engaging with regional specificities. Collaborating with guides on site and visiting particular locations, hiking-practice operated as a tool for research and understanding, seeking to change perceptions of the terrains between city and rural areas.
During the last three decades, the harsh neoliberalisation of economies has impacted Nordic and Baltic societies across different registers and timescales. Those developments have manifested changing relationships between the commons and privately owned lands, resulting in ecological and economical abuse of the environment, and the application of capitalist logics to urban-rural areas. Processes of ongoing natural resource overconsumption coupled with growing income gaps have also caused both melancholia and the incapacity to act collectively in productive ways. It has also crumbled beliefs in democratic decision-making, enabling populist voices to gain popularity. The situation demands speculating about new kinds of agencies that could affect understandings of cohabitation; urban and rural spaces; and who and what could be considered active agents within a region’s societal, political and economic level, as well as within the broader cultural field.
There is a certain economic activity described by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing as “pericapitalist” that exists in the geographic or social periphery of the capitalist gaze; it is both in between, or almost, capitalist. Sometimes inhabiting suburbs or unused spaces in the city centre, it encourages different economic models to meet. There seems to be more and more grey-zones that can be called pericapitalist, always shifting, and thus having the potential to reimagine the current system. The areas of pericapitalist activity both constantly contaminate and operate as sets for negotiations and struggles that are developing and reproducing hybrid zones, where non-capitalist change could prosper. Small Nordic and Baltic cities—and their traditionally active economic and social use of pericapitalsit fringe areas between the city and non-city—can be seen as models for negotiations between the city/rural; human/non-human; and economic, social, and cultural agencies.
The project brings forward artistic practices as ways of exposing and materialising permacultural traditions, non-human histories, post-neoliberal urban activities, non-industrial food producing, allotment garden towns, and other small-scale economic and ecologic activities in the region. Also, it challenges the normalised divisions of function/non-function, human/non-human, built/empty, and productive/non-productive, to open up more hybrid, blurred, and merged notions about contemporary urban and rural spaces, and the agencies forming within them.
Research hikes were organized in collaboration with Erik Annerborn, Managing director, Konsthall C, Anni Venäläinen, director, Pori Art Museum and Ūla Tornau, curator, CAC Vilnius.
Exhibition design: Kaisa Sööt
Graphic design: Nerijus Rimkus
Further iterations of the project will be presented in collaboration with Pori Art Museum and CAC Vilnius.
Supported by Nordic Culture Point, Nordisk Kulturfond, Lithuanian Culture Institute, Danish Arts Foundation.
Konsthall C is supported by The Swedish Art’s Council, The City of Stockholm and the Region of Stockholm. All public program in collaboration with ABF Stockholm. The research Station is supported by Kulturbryggan.
Curators: Jussi Koitela, Inga Lāce
Artists: Lara Almarcegui, Kipras Dubauskas, Valentina Karga, Flo Kasearu, Michèle Matyn, Andrej Polukord, Asbjørn Skou, Urban Fauna Lab, Jon Benjamin Tallerås, Eero Yli-Vakkuri
Performing the Fringe
Konsthall C, Stockholm
13 March –17 May, 2020
Photography: Johan Österholm