Lost Conference 2020... ...Relic Site 2021
The Crisis Collective! 11th SAR International Conference on Artistic Research, Bergen 2020 was set to become a milestone effort and presentation of artistic research on the current societal challenges. In a twist of fate, it had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Cancellation is an anti-event: it creates absence.
But its voice – absent as it was – hasn’t been silenced! Jointly, the conference organisers – SAR and the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design at University of Bergen (KMD, UiB) – agreed to finance and create a relic site and a time capsule to the 2021 SAR conference Vienna and into the future. We approached all participants in spe to take initiative and speculate on the past of a future that couldn’t happen. And we received the spectacular response by more than 30 contributors which is now displayed here. Together, we show care for the momentum of the past creative acts and research – longingly fragmented and cryptic as they may be – giving the imminent yet suspended resonance a place.
The Lost Conference Relic Site honours and presents the work of the keynote speakers, the conference committees, and all those who had been invited to speak and had already made efforts in preparing contributions. With its entry points to the original programme, the keynotes, the current contributions, and the original website, it harbours the potential conference, the imagined, the fragmented, unfinished work to be explored by peers and public. Audio-visual recordings, images, texts, references, etc., appear in their original form or with adaptations the authors choose to make in the light of the past year, including statements and reflections on what has changed. This website was jointly conceived by SAR President Deniz Peters, SAR Executive Board member Chrysa Parkinson, and KMD Vice Dean Anne-Helen Mydland, designed and edited by Jonas Howden Sjøvaag, andhosted and funded by KMD. It is now published as a lasting issue on the Research Catalogue.
The conference title, strands and program was made by the Program committee: Professor Frans Jacobi, The Art Academy, KMD (Chair), Associate Professor Jostein Gundersen, The Grieg Academy, KMD, Professor Dora Isleifsdottir, Department of Design, KMD, Professor Leena Rouhiainen Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki & SAR, Professor Angela Bartram University of Derby & SAR, Giaco Schiesser, Zurich University of the Arts & SAR.
The four topical strands were: Emergency, The Great Conversation, Hammer and Mirror, and Various Rehearsals. Their vision ‘Crisis Collective!’ proposed that: ‘Each conference proposal/presentation adds into the shared vision of troubles and possible paths active now and in the future and generates a response by Artistic Research to the current crises.’
Inauguration & Discussion on “Suspended Absence”
The Relic Site will be officially inaugurated at the Lost Bergen Conference “Suspended Absence” discussion room on 8. April, 2:30pm as part of the Care Dare Share 12th SAR International Conference on Artistic Research. Following the inauguration, we are seeking to kick start dialogue on absence, as opposed to the omnipresent consideration of (virtual) presence. Questions raised might be: A performance planned & prepared & rehearsed & then cancelled leaves a question mark, sometimes a devastating gap – how to respond constructively to such absence? Our community is littered with events that got dropped – but can one even pick up what was dropped? How to acknowledge lost togetherness and exchange? And what are potential ethics of cancellation?