Based in Dakar, Senegal, RAW Académie is a residential program for the research and study of artistic and curatorial practice and thought that is rooted in the question: “How do we learn from each other?” For the ninth session of its Académie, RAW will relocate its staff and organization to Philadelphia in an experiment in institutional exchange, alternative pedagogy, and hospitality. The session, Infrastructure, is directed by artist, curator, activist, and filmmaker Linda Goode Bryant.
Over the course of seven weeks, Goode Bryant will work with a group of international fellows and an interdisciplinary roster of visiting faculty—, including Gudskul, Rujeko Hockley, Arthur Jafa, Thomas Lax, Louis Massiah, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, and Greg Tate. Running parallel to the inquiries of the fellows, ICA has taken up infrastructural questions within its own organization and will respond to the desires and infrastructural needs of local partners and its immediate neighbors at Penn and in West Philadelphia. The session’s investigations will be shared through a series of public-facing events, an evolving exhibition, and exchanges that extend beyond the walls of the ICA’s galleries.
In her prompt for the session, Goode Bryant writes:
“For centuries, the infrastructure that props up today’s global production and market for art has been based on a business model that adheres to the fundamental principles and values of material gain and worth. Despite changes in the ways cultures and art have evolved during that same period, this infrastructure has essentially remained the same. What if a different type of infrastructure were to be envisioned?
“Using the public art museum as both a point of connection and departure from art’s current infrastructure, and situated at ICA, Session 9 fellows will engage with and begin to answer these questions as they envision and conceive of an infrastructure that supports and expands the level and degree to which artists pursue a perpetual need to create and create anew. A structure that diversifies the ways and means for making artists more selfsufficient in meeting their living and creative needs, drawing on knowledge born from the artists and their works themselves. An infrastructure that can exist as creative hubs within local communities and that expands ongoing access and direct engagement with art as a natural, daily part of life.”
The institutional collaboration with RAW grew out of the ICA initiative / is for Institute (2016-present), which examines the perceptions and parameters of contemporary arts organizations as a way to create a space for dialogue about how we might reimagine them. To date the project has unfolded through a series of exhibition exchanges and over 50 conversations with curators and directors reflecting on their work within their specific institutional and local contexts. The conversations are archived online at iisforinstitute.icaphila.org.
RAW Académie Session 9: Infrastructure is a collaboration between Linda Goode Bryant; RAW Material Company, founded by Koyo Kouoh in 2008; Alex Klein, ICA Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE’60) Curator; and James Britt, ICA DAJ Director of Public Engagement; with support from Ali Mohsen, Digital Content Editor. I is for Institute is organized by Alex Klein with Tausif Noor and Gee Wesley, Spiegel-Wilks Curatorial Fellows.
ICA gratefully acknowledges support from the Katherine (CW’69) and Keith L. Sachs (W’67) Guest Curator Program. RAW Académie Session 9: Infrastructure is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Toby Devan Lewis. Programming support is provided by the Sachs Contemporary Art Fund. Additional support has been provided by Linda & Jeffrey Chodorow, Stacey & Benjamin Frost, Marjorie & Michael Levine, Toby Devan Lewis, Christina Weiss Lurie, B.Z. and Michael Schwartz, Lori & John Reinsberg, Dorothy & Stephen Weber, and Susan J. Weiler.